Friday, July 11, 2014

Month-long Sailing Trip: Crisfield-Part 2

--Blogpost written by Bob & Maggie

Tuesday, July 8

Bob:  Somers Cove is a 515-slip marina owned and operated by the State of Maryland--it also acts as a convention center, hosting local events like the Crab Derby.  (The $0.50 per foot rate we mentioned in an earlier blog post was a special rate for month of June--our rate was $1.25 per foot but we did get a free night's stay after paying for two weekday nights--so, this slip is costing us $32 per night--still, a great deal!)

Our entire stay in Crisfield so far (except our first evening) was accompanied by high winds (15 to 20 knots).  The strong winds, clean water, and inexpensive living would make Crisfield an ideal place for retired live-aboard sailors except, of course, during the winter.

This is an image I see quite frequently while sailing.  All lines to control the sails lead aft
to the cockpit.  The red line with the yellow tracer is the main sail reefing line--it reduces the 

area of the sail.  The black mechanism on the left is the rope clutch--it allows 
a rope to move in one direction only unless the handle is released.

Today is the only day of this trip that I kept my cell phone with me.  I was waiting for a return call from the diesel mechanic I contacted.  I forgot to take my cell phone out of my pocket before going into the pool this afternoon.  Needless to say, it is a goner.  We tried removing the water & immersing it in rice (to pull the water out) but all to no avail.  During our 2-day mid-month break in Galesville, I'll have to get a new iPhone.

Maggie:  Today's lazy pace prompted some reminiscing about Crisfield. My dad grew up here during the depression, often selling vegetables door to door to help the family finances. At 16, after graduating from Crisfield HS, he hitchhiked to Wilmington, DE to attend Goldey-Beacom College to study accounting. The war interrupted his studies when he joined the Army Air Corps.  He never lived in Crisfield again but took our family to visit regularly, keeping the family ties strong and giving me fond memories of this "Crab Capitol of the World".

I am disappointed in how Crisfield has deteriorated but it doesn't
change my fond memories of Crisfield as a child.

Wednesday, July 9

Bob:  A local diesel mechanic named Lee (he works for Mark Milbourne--410.968.0795) stopped by this morning to troubleshoot the intermittent starter problem we've been having lately.  He came to the boat with just a multi-meter (but he had tools in his truck, of course).  He was very knowledgeable and the engine cooperated by failing to start   the first time I hit the starter button--in fact, it didn't start for about six times in a row.  This was good for trouble shooting the problem.  After about 30 minutes of checking voltages at various points during starting attempts, he concluded it was the starter's solenoid--it got very hot to the touch during the attempts to start the engine.  He removed the starter with solenoid attached and took it back to his shop.  The solenoid is a 31-year old sealed unit--it can't be repaired, but instead needs to be replaced.  This was on my project list for next year--I guess this project will be completed early!  As a result, I think we will be staying here in Crisfield at least through Friday morning, maybe even Saturday morning.

It is overcast today, cooler, and not quite as windy as it had been.  While the mechanic was here on the boat Maggie rode into town on a rented bike, picked up some gin, fruit, and sandwiches for lunch.  I am not normally a gin drinker but for some strange reason a gin and tonic (with goldfish crackers) seems the perfect drink for this summer's sailing trip--I really can't explain this rather sudden urge.

Maggie:  After dropping off the groceries and gin, I rode into the main part of town to the post office.  I mailed a birthday card to my step grandson and looked around the town.  Most of the buildings are dilapidated and empty.  I could see where the McCrory 5&10 once was and where some local shops once thrived.  It's so different from what I remember. Going into town with my grandmother was always such a treat, with a soda at the lunch counter in McCrory's a must.  I biked further down main street and passed the funeral home where all my relatives had their viewings and the church where my cousin got married, but Country Club Road, where my grand mother and aunts and uncles once lived was out of reach by bike.  After our delicious chicken salad sandwich lunch back at the boat I headed back out on the bike just to ride. I circled the marina and went back out to Route 413 and rode down a few different roads which finally led me back Main Street. 

We walked around the town's waterfront this afternoon and got some ice cream.
How many towns can boast about a waterfront ice cream shop?"

Bob:  We talked to the proprietor of a combination business (an oil company and a gift shop) about the town's past.  She explained the town's demise being caused by the decline in crab harvests over recent years.  (To me, it just seems obvious that watermen can't just keep taking crabs from the water year after year without giving back in some way--like having hatcheries or making protected crab maturation areas, for example.)  We learned about Gordon's Confectionary being a hangout for watermen in the morning--we plan to go there for breakfast tomorrow.

Maggie bought Blue Sapphire Gin (which I have never tasted before--it's expensive!)--the strong juniper smell cured me of my urge to drink gin and tonics for the remainder of this trip!

Based on the weather forecast today (80% chance of thunderstorms on Friday), Saturday will be the best day to leave for Onancock.  Assuming we spend Sunday in Onancock, we can be back in Galesville for our mid-month break on the 15th or 16th, weather permitting (and skipping a stop in Oxford).

Thursday, July 10

Gordon's Confectionery on Main Street is the local hangout in Crisfield.

This is where all the watermen gather after harvesting crabs--they roll in between 7 and 9 AM
because their day started at 2 AM.  Breakfast at Gordon's "weren't too bad"
as they say here in Crisfield.

This is Main Street in Crisfield--four lanes and parking on both sides but the town is basically empty.

Big Willey's is the local drive thru beer distributor--it is just off Main Street, on South Seventh Street.

A very colorful place in Crisfield--the Crisfield Tiki Bar on the waterfront. 

Watermen's Inn on Main Street is an upscale place for dinner
in Crisfield and the food is excellent!

There were some "discrepancies" with the new solenoid when it arrived.  So, we are still waiting here in Crisfield--maybe tomorrow?

Friday, July 11

The wind changed direction to easterly during the night.  This morning was calm, cool, and foggy.
The weather forecast still looks good for a Saturday departure.  The nearest boat in the
above image is a Dickerson 36 which was made near Oxford, Maryland.

For some reason, spiders like sailboats.  I captured this image
of a spider web on our lifelines this morning.

After attempts to get a suitable solenoid failed, we got a complete new starter with the solenoid.  
The old starter and solenoid is on the left and the new one is on the right.  The new one is a 
reduction gear starter and uses less electrical power for each start.

Within 30 minutes of arriving, the new starter was installed and it worked perfectly!

Bob:  We've learned a lot more about Crisfield in the past few days.  
(1) It is the southern-most town in Maryland.  
(2) It has a population of 2726 (2010 census) and it had 4116 people in 1920.
(3) Forty-six percent of the town's area is water.
(4) The people are basically honest and hard working.
(5) Crisfield once had a minor league baseball team: the Crisfield Crabbers.
(6) In its heyday, Crisfield had about 150 seafood processing and packing plants.
(7) The movie, Hookman 2, was mostly filmed in Crisfield in 2010 and 2011.
(8) It will take a miracle to bring this town back to life and, unless the miracle involves more crabs, some fiercely independent townsfolk will fight it all the way.

This will be our last night in Crisfield--we had a nice stay.

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