After awakening to a glorious morning on the Onancock Creek and visiting the Farmers Market, we set sail for Crisfield.

We once again sailed by majestic homes that line the creek.

We sailed under perfect conditions for four hours heading north. We passed Tangier Island and then Smith Island, both on our port side. Not many boats were out, even though it is a Saturday, school holiday time and the weather is warm and sunny.

We arrived in Crisfield at about 2.00pm, to welcoming dock hands. Mark returned from the office with two pieces of the famous Smith Island cake – 10 layers interspersed with chocolate icing. (Each layer is only 1-2 millimetres, just in case you were wondering!)

People are so friendly here. One of the dock hands drove us to the grocery store, waited for us and then drove us back to the boat. Now that’s what I call service!

The temperature is again in the mid to high 30sC (90sF) and as this state marina has a swimming pool, we are off to cool down.

Such is Life!


On the eastern shores of Chesapeake Bay there exists a little gem of a town called Onancock (o-NANN-kock) which is located 5 miles up the beautiful Onancock Creek. Lining this creek are opulently restored homes with manicured yards. The town is a short walk from the wharf, literally! It has a few art galleries, gourmet wine and cheese shop (yum-yum), a vintage movie theatre and antiques shops.

We left Tangier Island at 9.00am for the short sail to Onancock. We needed to find a secure spot sheltered from the west winds and rolling thunderstorms which were predicted for that evening. This lovely site ticked all the boxes and more.

Late afternoon we explored the historic part of town. The town was laid out in 1681 and was once a bustling sea port for steamboats transporting Virginia tobacco. Being a Colonial town it has a town square and is still used as a meeting place. It is a compact town of essentially two streets with an abundance of tastefully restored and maintained buildings. Unfortunately, there are a few commercial buildings in disrepair, but hopefully they will be repurposed in time.

Today was a much cooler day. It only reached about 36C, so we decided to explore on our bikes. Mark undertook an IQ test in assembling the foldaway bikes. At last we could enjoy our bikes. No flat tyres, no arseritis. We visited antique shops, biked cross-country on a nature trail and completed a circuit over two delightful bridges. Life is good… a little hot… but good!

This evening we attended the Art Stroll down Market Street. Mark enjoyed the wine and I enjoyed the art. We then crossed the street to North Street Market – home of wines, fine cheese and artworks. A very eclectic and trendy store. Mark enjoyed the wine, cheese and artwork so much he left with lots of goodies. And I enjoyed the cheese and artwork so much I left with lots of goodies. We are richer for having visited Onancock and Onancock is richer for having us visit!

Tomorrow is Market Day. Yahoody! Wonder what we will buy!

Such is Life!

Tangier Island

And now to a totally different pace of life…

We left Reedville as the sun was rising and sailed eastwards to Tangier Island. The bay was calm, the skies clear. Our first glimpse of the island was of the blue water tower.

Mark called ahead (twice) to Mr Parks of Parks Marina, a crusty old waterman of the Chesapeake, to be told not to bother him as he could not hear Mark. We did a sail by to try and figure out where we would tie up. It did not look promising. Narrow berths with wooden pylons and extremely short piers, did not look accommodating for Bushranger. Three large vessels had already claimed their places at the T-dock. After passing twice we saw Mr Parks shuffle from his home and two sailors hurriedly walk down the T-dock to where they indicated Bushranger should come alongside.

Mark deftly maneuvered Bushranger between narrowly placed pylons and one of the large vessels, only to find we kissed the bottom in the shallow waters. Secured alongside, we thanked all and introduced ourselves to Mr Parks. He is an elderly gentleman and an ‘institution’ on Tangier Island. He is a thoroughly delightful ‘rough diamond’, a sweet talker and great raconteur. He has lived all of his 88 years on Tangier Island and is probably related to everyone, too.

Tangier Island is an island, 1.3 square miles, disappearing beneath the waters of the Chesapeake Bay. It is losing 16 feet of ground every year. It is an island with the highest point being only 4 feet above sea level. The island is composed of three ridges separated by marshes and tidal streams connected by bridges. At high tide seawater laps in front yards of some homes. Homes are being shored up with sandbags. Boaters are asked to take all rubbish with them when they leave, as removal of garbage from the island is expensive.

The population is 440 and they are descendants of Cornish stock. There is a strong Methodist influence here and the island is dry (no alcohol). There are numerous graveyards on the island, but what is amazing it that some homes have their own graveyards at their front gate. Members of family were allowed to be buried where they lived. Everyone is very friendly and wanting to share their way of life with visitors. Their language is descended from Elizabethan-era settlers, quite lyrical and at times hard to understand. There are three main family groups: Pruitts, Parks and Crocketts all related to each other.

The island is the home of watermen who have crab shanties standing on pilings out in the water. These are colourful and varied, with some in total disrepair. Crab pots abound everywhere.

To move around the island, the Turners (of Gregg and Carol limousine fame and more recently, postal services fame) hired a golf buggy. This is the mode of transport for all. We enjoyed driving over the quaint bridges, all over the small island. We visited the beach, gift shops, churches and museum. The ice-creamery was also a most welcome stop in scorching heat.

After a full day of sightseeing we enjoyed sundowners on our flybridge – the last we will have with Gregg and Carol for a very long time. They recommended this trip to Tangier Island and we are very grateful to have seen a unique way of life and an island which may not have a future in 10-20 years.

Such is Life!

The White House

Guess who had a tour of The White House today? Our wonderful friends of the Gregg and Carol Laundry Services, as well as the Gregg and Carol Valet Services, not to mention Gregg and Carol Limousine Services, secured passes through their local Congressman for us to tour The White House.

Up early, before sparrows sing, we boarded the Metro from the outskirts of Washington DC for an 8.00am tour. Along the way we grabbed breakfast to sustain us. The tour was self-guided (heavily overseen by the Secret Service) which lasted 1.5 hours.

The White House is a grand building, but not entirely white! There is the Yellow Room, the Blue Room, the Red Room, the Green Room, the Ballroom, the State Room, the Library, the China Room, the movie theatre… We were allowed into the Ground Floor Corridor and the East Wing. These areas are for more formal state and diplomatic occasions, and perhaps quiet reflection. Marble and polished wood abounds, as do beautiful items of furniture and lighting from other eras. It is a beautiful showcase of American history.

We exited the building on the north side and when I asked a Secret Serviceman where the stairs behind him lead, he was reluctant to tell me it was the staircase to the private quarters.

But wait, there is more… Yesterday, we visited the Thomas Jefferson Library of Congress. Now, you would be forgiven for thinking (just as I did) this library is like any library, filled with books, with a slight musty odor and drab interior. Oh so wrong! This building is absolutely stunning! From the moment we saw the entry fountain and statues (think Trevi Fountain) and set foot on the mosaic marble floors, our jaws dropped.

Library of Congress is connected to The Capitol via an underground passageway. The three buildings that comprise the Library of Congress – the Jefferson Building houses the artifacts, the John Adams Building houses books and parchments and articles, and the James Madison Building houses the staff. In Maryland there are four more large repositories for articles.

So what is so amazing? The architecture and iconography is breathtaking. Many immigrants, especially from Italy, worked on the intricate marble statues and filigree for no pay, just for board and lodgings and the privilege of having their artwork on display. It was built after the Civil War when there was no money to create the Library. To fund it, all copyright in the USA was to be given by the Library: photos, books, newspapers, inventions, naming rights, intellectual property, maps, etc. It quickly paid for itself.

There are nine reading rooms, but we were shown the largest. It is absolutely breathtaking.

We were also shown Thomas Jefferson’s book collection which he sold to the Library. The collection is on permanent display. There are also other exhibitions throughout. Every nook and cranny contains a delight. This building was not on my radar, but would recommend it to all.

And so these last two full days brings to an end our incredibly enjoyable adventures in Washington DC.

Onward to the next adventure.

Such is Life!

Back on Bushranger

We are back onboard having sailed Bushranger to Buzzard Point Marina on the Wicomico River. We moved Bushranger to a staging site for an upcoming trip to Tangier Island.

I must shout out the Gregg and Carol Turner laundry service at Doziers Marina was outstanding. There are not many marinas where your washing is picked up from the boat with the promise of it being returned, fully laundered, to your next marina venue, the very next day! Now that is what I call “good friends”!

Leaving our Rappahannock berth and our laundry behind we passed osprey nesting on the channel markers. Calm seas forecast. Mild wind blowing.

Three hours later we sailed past the Reedville fishing fleet, complete with accompanying fishy smell. (Hope we don’t get a southerly wind change!)

Now we are bobbing in a little creek, safely tied to a pier, waiting for a thunderstorm to dump on us. Did I mention the temperature has dropped from 39C to 36C and it is 6.00pm?

Such is Life!

Hello Fredericksburg

Fredericksburg… a most fascinating, architecturally pleasing, historical town. It is situated halfway between Washington DC and Richmond, Virginia, on the Rappahannock which made it strategically important to both sides of the Civil War. A town steeped in Revolutionary and Civil War history. A genteel town beautiful to behold. A town ravaged by some of the most hostile battles of the Civil War. A town in which to meander.

We viewed a brief film in the Visitor Centre before boarding the trolley tour. We have been extraordinarily lucky to have had some wonderful guides and our tour guide today was just so informative, at times it was hard to take in all the history of this once incredibly crucial port-town.

Caroline Street, the main street, has shops housed in quaint 18th and 19th century architecture – very pleasing to the eye. There are no department stores or chain stores in Fredericksburg. Bespoke clothing and curios shops line the way. We went to Goolrick’s – the oldest continuously operated pharmacy and soda fountain diner in the country. We splurged on a hot fudge sundae.

On the opposite side of the Rappahannock, high on the banks of the river, sits Chatham. Chatham was built in 1771 as a plantation with slaves working the fields. It was used for meetings with George Washington prior to the Revolutionary War. Over the years Chatham hosted Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, James Monroe and Dwight Eisenhower. In the Civil War it was used as the Union Army headquarters and hospital. It was stripped bare during the war and left in ruins. Subsequent owners restored the house but were unable to keep the fields. It is now in the hands of the National Parks Service.

From Chatham and the surrounding high ground cannon fire rained on Fredericksburg. Cannonballs are still imbedded in church buildings and homes throughout the city. Not far from the centre of town is Sunken Road. This was the site of a bloody skirmish which was renamed ‘murder’. Unionists were ordered to breech a sunken road which was ringed by a stone wall. Confederates had the high ground on the western hill and were able to slaughter the Unionists. Over 8,000 Union soldiers had been shot in front of the stone wall at Marye’s Heights. Many of those remaining on the battlefield from both sides were still alive, but suffering terribly from their wounds and a lack of water. Richard Kirkland (Confederate) gathered all the canteens he could carry, filled them with water, then ventured out onto the battlefield, giving the wounded Union soldiers water, warm clothing, and blankets. Soldiers from both the Union and Confederate armies watched as he performed his task, but no one fired a shot. Kirkland did not stop until he had helped every wounded soldier (Confederate and Federal) on the Confederate end of the battlefield. Sergeant Kirkland’s actions remain a legend in Fredericksburg to this day and he is honored with the statue on the Sunken Road. An account of bravery and honour, in a city which was rocked by war and tragedy.

Fredericksburg is a stylish and refined city: a city we are the richer for having visited.

Such is Life!

Goodbye Washington DC

Our last day in DC was packed. Up early, we hit the road for more sights to explore.

First stop was Great Falls. Great Falls is a series of rapids and waterfalls on the Potomac River, 14 miles upstream from Washington DC, towards the beginning of the Potomac River. The spectacular falls roared beside us as we made our way to one of three vantage points.

Next stop was the Washington National Cathedral perched high on a hill in NW Washington. This gothic cathedral is the sixth largest cathedral in the world. We undertook the guided tour with a wonderfully entertaining and at times, irreverent docent, who brought the cathedral to life. She explained the ‘hidden’ meaning of the iconography and ornate decorations. The stained glass windows are exquisite, full of entertaining and meaningful images. There is even a window dedicated to space exploration. The cathedral’s foundation stone was laid in 1907 and the completion ceremony was held in 1990. It has a charming and delightful Bishop’s Garden. The 360 degree views from the towers are stunning and far reaching. We could see all the major memorials and Potomac River, as well as the Blue Ridge Mountains. What we thought was going to be a short. 30 minute stop, ended up being over 2 hours and oh, so worth it.

We then drove through the Chevy Chase and Georgetown precincts. These areas contain many embassies and the Vice-President’s home. The homes and schools we passed were staggering in their size and architecture. Very wealthy communities.

Our next stop was the waterfront and Old Town Alexandria. What a delightful area! We visited an old torpedo factory which had been converted into an arts community centre. We dined at The Chart House overlooking the Potomac and watched water ferries come and go with holiday makers. Driving home we meandered through the magically lit streets of Old Town.

It has been a wonderful few days here in Washington DC, made possible and all the more special by sharing our ‘discoveries’ with Gregg and Carol Turner. They were our superb tour guides.

Washington DC … We will be back!

Such is Life!

Happy 4th of July

To our American friends, happy 4th of July. We are in the nation’s capital, Washington DC, to observe the festivities with our friends, Gregg and Carol Turner.

Our time in Washington DC has been full and interesting. Yesterday we took the overview tour of the city, noting the history and architecture. We dined at Capital Grille for lunch; visited the National Archives to see the Constitution and Bill of Rights; and toured the Capitol building.

The previous day we visited Mt Vernon – home of George Washington, which is perched high above the Potomac River. After touring the house, we sat on the porch and breathed in the bucolic vista. From Mt Vernon, we travelled to the nearby Gristmill and Distillery, owned and operated by the Washington family.

We started today with a visit to Arlington National Cemetery – a most moving experience. Arlington is the most prestigious national cemetery but it is not the largest. It was originally the Arlington Plantation, built by George Washington’s step grandson. Washington’s great granddaughter, who inherited Arlington, married Robert E Lee, who later went on to lead the Confederates in the Civil War. It is a most gracious and serene place with beautiful vistas of the nation’s capital.

Up early, we headed out to beat the heat. Due to closures on the nearby Metro rail system, we parked at Reagan National Airport and caught the Metro to Arlington. Once inside, we took the tram tour around the cemetery. We visited the eternal flame at JFK’s resting place. Although we recognized some of the well known names, all residents here are heroes. At one stop, a tram guide identified Gregg as a veteran and proceeded to give a heartfelt vote of thanks and handshake for his and all veterans’ service to enable a free and prosperous USA. It was an unforgettably emotional moment, producing many a misty eye.

On to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the changing of the guard ceremony. The precision with which the Honor Guard carried out their duty, encapsulated the high esteem held for the fallen. After watching the ceremony we toured the pavilion behind the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier to further enrich our understanding of the ceremony. Again, very moving.

After completing the tour, we headed off for Georgetown and lunch in air conditioned comfort. Due to a hick-up in our Big Bus – Hop on Hop off bus (route severely curtailed due to 4th of July festivities), we decided to head back to our abode for a LLD – little lie down before the fireworks.

Unfortunately, thunderstorms struck. Flash flooding predicted. So, we opted to stay inside and watch the festivities on the tv.

So much to see! So much to do! So little time!

Such is Life!

Rest and Recuperation

Dear readers,

By now you are used to the chronicles and voyages of Bushranger as she makes her way around the Great Loop. Sorry to interrupt with a tale of delay, illness, recovery and achievement… just like James Cook!

Posts have been few in recent days. That’s because Bushranger has been holed up in the delightful port of Deltaville, Virginia, at the most accommodating of marinas – Dozier. We arrived Tuesday for an overnight stay, both suffering a coughing virus.

Wednesday came with little enthusiasm to sail. We pottered; we loitered; we went to town; we dinghied to a restaurant for dinner.

Thursday came in which we were knackered after a night full of coughing. Let’s sail tomorrow.

Friday came, and the marina offered us a month’s rental at less than it would cost to stay here until after 4th July celebrations. All mod cons, pool, courtesy cars, magnificent sunsets over our stern, a passing parade of boaters. We took it. We intended to stay until 8th July anyway.  

In the tradition of Captain Cook… idle hands make idle minds. What can we do? Bugger the cough! In 35-40C degree heat we sanded, masked and prepared windows and swim platform for varnishing. Trips to town to get a few supplies and a bit of downtime (well nap time actually) in the AC comfort inside the boat. What we are missing in new harbours and anchorages we are gaining with Bushranger looking ever more beautiful as timber work is raised back to its original lustre.

In the words of Captain Cook (maybe), “All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. Jack being a sailor. So, as the weekend ends, we look forward to meeting Gregg and Carol, our tour guides for the next week, exploring Washington DC, a tour of the White House, and 4th July celebrations overlooking the Mall. They have put together an amazing program culminating in us spending the night at the historic Tangier Island in the middle of Chesapeake Bay. Coughs be gone!

Such is Life!