Chesapeake Bay – St. Michaels, MD
We arrived in St. Michales, MD last night and we are staying until the wee hours of Friday. We are docked in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. The largest collection of watercraft in existence – 76 boats scattered over 18 acres and 23 buildings. The American Spirit perfectly fits into the landscape and people come up to the ship thinking they can walk on and exlore as you can do with the other 76 boats in the museum. There is always a staff member standing out side explaining our ship, kinda fun when people in our exploration of town ask us what our ship is and where it goes.
Day started with my breakfast of vanilla bean french toast covered in fresh berries. Then onto the 9am sailing on the EcoTour River Cruise out on the bay. We were introduced to all sorts of live critters by Kelly, our biologist. We were able to see in action what we have been told about all week. A waterman going for crabs in his little boat. They start around 4am and lay out a 1/2 mile long line with bait of chicken necks tied to the line every ten feet. When the crabs wakeup and are hungry, they smell the bait and hook onto the chicken neck. The waterman goes along and pulls up the line as he hangs over with a net to scoop up the crabs eating his bait. He does this while he is also running the boat as he is alone in the whole operation. Interesting to watch and I realize what a great education I have received on the life of the watermen which is the life of the Chesapeake Bay.
The afternoon found us walking around St. Michales, which is one of Maryland’s oldest towns. Cute, quaint, with many homes from around 1700 and 1800. The town flourished in Colonial Times with shipbuilding, timber and tobacco. Watermen are still active here but the main industry now is tourisim, as many people from the large eastern cities have second homes in the area. The ship organized an afternoon Trolly Tour for us as the sun was getting to hot to walk around. We learned more history and stories of the area and ended with a free ice cream cone at the local fudge and ice cream store.
We have had some routine rotation of staff on the ship and we are lucky enough to now have the Executive Chef for the whole American Cruise Line fleet as our own chef for the rest of our trip. As the food was good before it has all just been raised five levels. Lunch, hordourves and dinner all had an “Executive Chef Flair.” Crab sandwiches with huge amount of meat, soft shell crab for dinner, all sorts of suprises for us. My lemon cake dessert presentation was almost (note I said almost) too pretty to eat. I am looking forward to two more days of gaining another five pounds on top of the five I am sure I have already gained. (no scale in your cabin for a reason).
The Captain spent lots of time with the passengers today as the ship is docked for the day. Chef Mate is always around the ship to speak to also. We bumped into our Crusie Director Nickki in the shops today. She knows everyone by name, what cabin they are in and who the fun characters are. It is close to the end of the cruise and everyone has formed friendships and become like family. It will be sad when this is over.
After our delicious dinner, we had a musical performance of “The Oyster Boys”. A fun musical duo from Annapolis where we will sailing to tomorrow. They were quite accomplished musicians of many insturments and gave us a informal educaiton of Eastport and Annapolis. They said, “we are your first intoduction to the area, so when you go on your tours and they try to tell you things different than we told you, you tell they they are wrong that the Oysters Boys said.” They were quite funny and we gave them a standing ovation. Have I mentioned the rootbeer floats that are served every night in the lounge during our lectures and entertainment. When was the last time you had a root beer float? Well, on this cruise, every night!
Tonight some time we leave for Annapolis where we will tender into downtown. Tomorrow being our last day…