Archive for the ‘Just Having Fun’ Category

4th ANNUAL “ART ROCKS THE INNS” IN CAPE CHARLES, VA WAS A BIG SUCCESS

Tuesday, August 22nd, 2017

Bay Haven 1This past weekend, art lovers on Virginia’s Eastern Shore were treated to the 4th Annual “Art Rocks” walking tour to discover the many creative treasures to be found on the gracious porches and grounds of the 5 Bed & Breakfast inns in Cape Charles. Part of the annual Cape Charles, VA “Harbor For The Arts” Festival, “Art Rocks The Inns” featured numerous local artists showcasing their work on the porches at Alyssa House B&B, Bay Haven Inn of Cape Charles, Cape Charles House B&B, Fig Street Inn and Sea Gate B&B. Attendees traveled between venues not just by car but by bike, golf cart and shank’s mare, and lots of oohs and aahs could be heard over the beautiful art pieces being shown at every Inn. Even Foster, the brown dog mascot of the famous Brown Dog Ice Cream, winner of many awards, came to support the arts.

Lots of art mediums were represented— from painters, potters and photographers to weavers, jewelers and Fig Street 4carvers, plus lots of other artisan types, including copper working and garden art. A myriad of beautiful original creations were on display and available for purchase at each venue. Food “art” was available from Parisian Sweets, which makes gorgeous and delicious handmade macaroons and Bay Haven’s famously colorful homemade chow-chows were on display, along with some juicy looking heirloom tomatoes. Thanks to innkeepers Kathy Glaser, Tammy and Jim Holloway, Bruce and Carole Evans, Donna and Greg Kohler and Chris Bannon for hosting this charming annual event and to the many accomplished artists who participated, it was definitely a delightful afternoon and many who attended when home with a new treasure!

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Clams, Carnivals, Chesapeake Cowboys And A Shriner’s Parade –The 3rd Annual “Shuck and Suck” Festival Weekend In Cape Charles, VA

Friday, August 11th, 2017

DSC_3807“Lots of fun” is how the town-wide 2017 “Shuck” Festival in Cape Charles, VA last weekend is being described. Headlined by the Shriner’s Parade, a favorite part of the weekend — their crazy mini-cars and mini-tractor trailers are such fun and Shriners is a great organization that helps so many sick children, hats off to them !! And of course “kids” of all ages loved the Fireman’s Carnival.

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Over on King’s Creek at the Oyster Farm, several very popular contests pitted numerous talented challengers against last year’s winners, including a clam eating competition, the much anticipated oyster eating contest, the daring Smith Island Skiff race, a cornhole championship, and, of course, the exciting “Chesapeake Cowboys” boat docking competition. New this year, a “Chesapeake Cowgirls” docking contest too. Way to go, ladies!! Lots of lively music out on C-Pier as well as under the main tent, some line dancing going on too. At the Town Harbor, the tall sailing ship Virginia was back in port offering Chesapeake Bay sunset cruises. To top it off, a lively fireworks display at the Oyster Farm. Definitely it was a jam-packed weekend!

 

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DUCK BREAKFAST A LA CARTE’

Tuesday, August 1st, 2017

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This is a true Eastern Shore duck tale, not a tall Eastern Shore duck tale.  But “breakfasting with friends” took on a whole new meaning for me down at the Bayford crab shacks in Nassawadox, VA recently. I had left home at first light, hoping to shoot a few photos of  some colorful puffy clouds reflecting over the confluence of the Chesapeake Bay and the Nassawadox Creek inlet at Bayford.  

But once I got there, what really ended up captivating me was a duck breakfast.  (Very different than breakfast atDSC_0735 Duck Donuts for those in Duck, NC  and Virginia Beach, who are addicted to those fabulous treats).  Dawn was just breaking as I pulled in. As it grew lighter, I noticed 2 ducks paddling steadily up the inlet towards the boat ramp. Arriving, they proceeded to walk directly up the ramp and onto the land, totally ignoring me.  They waddled, quack-quacking,  over to an old pier adjacent to the ramp in what I initially thought was just random meandering. But immediately 2 additional ducks popped up to greet them from a large crevice by the dock pilings, which apparently are a duck version of Air B’nB accommodations, emphasis on the “air”, as in very open air!

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 Then the 4 of them, like the group of old buddies they were, immediately turned back around, waddled down the ramp and straight into the water. These old  friends of a feather swam leisurely over to a nearby dock offering plenty of mud and barnacle-encrusted pilings and began to nibble around them, devouring what I assume was their idea of a delicious meal, probably bristle worm ceviche, served with a mud aioli and finished with chiffonade of eel grass.  Duck Breakfast a’ la carte!   Thereafter the sunrise, with soft pink glows, huge billowy clouds, vivid water reflections, everything I had come to see and photograph. Voila’, full daylight and off to my people breakfast.  Thankfully, no worms, mud or eel grass on that menu!

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Fabulous Beachfront Lot In Cape Charles, VA Ready For Your Dream Beach Home

Friday, July 14th, 2017

The ColonyLonging for a life lived with your toes in the sand? Look no further than this gorgeousDSCF0205 beach lot located in Cape Charles, VA in The Colony Village at Bay Creek Golf Resort on the scenic Eastern Shore of Virginia. Save money– this property is a terrific value, priced at just $239,000. With soft warm sand underfoot and blue skies and golden sun above, The Colony is a perfect place to build your retirement, vacation or full time home. Imagine your dream home rising up from just beyond the shoreline, comfortable and breezy, abundant light from floor to ceiling windows, an inviting deck for entertaining, the real essence of a relaxing coastal home. Get ready to live the Eastern Shore sweet beach life!

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And you will love the brilliant sunset views as the sun sinks slowly below the horizon,  streaks of pinks, purples and golds nightly painting the infinite sky. Wine on the deck at twilight, tangy Bay breezes and waves quietly lapping the shoreline, all adding to the relaxed coastal ambiance. Boaters, this is just a hop, skip and 2 jumps from two state-of-the-art marinas — perfect for sailboats and power boats alike. Time to embrace your inner mermaid and come see this impressive property.

 

P.S. For frosting on the cake…Palmer and Nicklaus Bay Creek Signature golf courses, pool and tennis and memberships available in the Bay Creek Beach Club. Lots of amenities available for properties owners at The Colony at Bay Creek.   http://www.blueheronva.com/golf_course_home/

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Second Season Underway For The Cape Charles, VA Farmer’s Market

Friday, July 7th, 2017

DSC_1671The long awaited second season for the brand-new-last-year Cape Charles Farmer’s Market finally rolled around in May and now the vendors are getting into high gear with loads of summer goodies. ( Hours this year will be from 3-6 pm, rain or shine, from now till October.)  So if it’s Tuesday afternoon, whether you’re a local or a visitor, it’s time for foodies and farm-to-table enthusiasts to break out the walking shoes, a wicker market basket and head out to the spacious, grassy Museum grounds on Stone Road in the little Eastern Shore of Virginia coastal town of Cape Charles to shop for the fine local farm produce… and much more.

 

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I found last year that the best way to tackle the cornucopia of goodies on offer was to take a stroll, making a circuit around the whole Market, to preview all the little vendor tents and the tempting items on offer, then circle back around again to make selections. This proved to be the right strategy again this year. Starting on the north end across from the handsome brick Museum building was Shore Beef and BBQ, where owner Ron was fielding multiple customers drawn by deep smoky aromas and intent on securing some of his delicious beef brisket and vinegar- dressing cole slaw.

 

Mattawoman Creek FarmMoving counter-clockwise, Mattawoman Farms CSA’s counter was heaped high with loads of fresh organic veggies including the most beautiful red and green lettuces, soft yet crisp, just gorgeous. And kohlrabi, which after some indecision I decided I would finally try this year, as well as some tatsoi, a deep green plant similar to bok choi. Mattawoman had tall racks of healthy looking plants, perfect to pop immediately into a home garden. Across the way, the honey guy’s wares were shining golden, the sun glinting off the jars, you could almost savor lush sticky sweetness on the tongue merely by looking at it. At our house, local honey is the go-to sweetener for tea, especially green teas, it just smooths out every cuppa.

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Moving down the line, waving to the Bread Lady from The Bakery at Riverside Farm who had sold out in the first hour. And no wonder, she has fab sour dough breads and at my house we are addicted to her cinnamon raisin bread (which we often buy on Thursdays year-round at the Gull Hummock gourmet shop on Mason Avenue.) Toasted, spread lightly with peanut butter, so divine with morning coffee ! Next door to Bread Lady, a new vendor this year, the cleverly named Kitchen Sync Catering, whose chef, Louise Oliver, is offering a scrumptious menu of prepared foods that can be ordered on-line and picked up at their kitchen at the Eastville Inn on Friday or purchased at the Farmer’s Market on Tuesday. Their samples looked delish, especially the colorful layered salad with a side of cilantro avocado dressing and the chopped broccoli salad with cranberries and almonds with a honey yogurt dressing. Just around the corner, Copper Cricket Farm’s table was piled high with totally gorgeous veggies including crispy fresh spring onions, arugula and Swiss chard.

DSC_1715Further down the line, another new vendor, Lauren Gardner of Parisian Sweets, was offering French style macaroons. Or rather, not offering, since, unfortunately for me, but nice for them, she was also sold out.  But lucky early birds to the Market were able to indulge in her lemon, raspberry cheesecake or mocha flavors. Going to go earlier next week ! Did manage to snag some of Pickett’s Harbor Farm’s just-picked-this-morning peaches though, a favorite of my husband’s, but do peaches compare to lemon or mocha French macaroons ?  A tough decision but one I didn’t have to make since there were no macaroons !  Too many other great vendors to mention here, offering everything from The Flying Pig’s traditionally fermented organic sauerkrauts to organic veggies, local seafood as well as organic eggs and meats from several different local farms. The Cape Charles Farmer’s Market will not disappoint, check it out, 3-6 pm, rain or shine, every Tuesday, May through October

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Celebrating the Fourth of July, 2017 In Cape Charles, Virginia

Thursday, July 6th, 2017

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On July 3, 1776, John Adams told his wife Abigail that when Independence Day came, it should be celebrated with ” pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports… and Illuminations.” Then, voila’, on July 4,1776, the Founding Fathers signed the Declaration of Independence and as a country, we’ve never looked back ! Now, in 2017, on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, the historic little coastal town of Cape Charles, VA celebrated America’s 241st Independence Day with the very same traditions John Adams wished for… and more ! This year, the festivities kicked off at 10am with the traditional Parade, the best ever in my book, led by the Color Guard from the US Coast Guard Station Cape Charles.

 

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The Cape Charles Parade is always a marvelous combination of local pageantry, floats, banners, fire company trucks with air horns blasting a loud ” howdy”, antique tractors and cars, horses, kids on bikes, motorcycles, decorated golf carts, etc., from local organizations, clubs and individuals. They march enthusiastically down Bay and Mason Avenues, tossing candy, beads and even a few yellow rubber duckies to the appreciative spectators lining the streets cheering them on ! This year, however, the parade within the parade, the Golf Cart Parade, was truly amazing ! Golf cart entries were dressed to the nines, red, whites and blues galore, flags, balloons, Pom-poms, streamers, banners, signs, Uncle Sam top hats, creativity shone everywhere. Since they are street-legal in Cape Charles, many residents own electric golf carts and a little friendly competition among neighbors resulted in dozens and dozens of fantastic cart entries this year, all the better to enjoy the Parade !

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After the Parade, it was on to the arts and crafts tents and food vendors out on Bay Avenue by the beach. Lots of fun stuff to see and buy. Business was brisk at the Italian Ice stand and yummy aromas wafted from the taco tent and the shrimp po boy tent, with nearby hot dog and burger venders ladling on mustard and ketchup at a fast pace too. Down at the Gazebo, Mistress of Ceremonies, perennial favorite Trina Veber, announced all the Parade winners, including best golf cart float which celebrated the now-extinct Cape Charles ferry and best Novelty entry, awarded to Reid Diggs, who drove his boat-into-a-car conversion in the Parade.

 

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Next up on the events schedule, the “Guppie Challenge”, a fishing tourney for kids, held out on the Cape Charles Fun Pier and sponsored by New Roots. Seemed to be lots of entries, excited kids milling around the LOVE sign, waiting for parents to finish the sign ups. And right next door, the medical assistance tent in case anyone got hooked by their hook… or whatever ! Teams were registering for beach volleyball and the corn hole contest. ( If you’ve never seen Corn Hole played, it’s a pretty simple set-up, a wide tilted board with round holes cut through it, hence the name corn hole ). The object of the game is to toss little bean bags through the not-much-bigger-than-the-bean-bag holes. One of those things that sounds easy but in practice is complicated, no doubt a metaphor for life in these days. ) Out on the Gazebo, live music all day and into the evening, keeping everybody rocking and rolling through sunset and last light.

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My young great-grandkids love the fireworks on the 4th of July best of all. As soon as darkness starts to fall, it’s like a road trip — but instead of “are we almost there ?”, it’s “are they going to start soon? ” Meantime, I’m still fooling with camera settings, hoping to get a few good shots of the fireworks, which seems always to be a challenge. Suddenly, the first loud booms and the crackly sizzles of lacy sparklers. Then oohs and ahhs, the squeals of sheer delight, wide young eyes staring at the sky with amazement as brilliant colors and shapes streak upwards, illuminating the darkness, then fading, softly falling back towards earth. Each seemingly more beautiful than the one before, going on and on and on, until the spectacular Grand Finale, the always perfect conclusion to a marvelous 4th, a Cape Charles 4th !!

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Contemporary Eastern Shore Virginia Waterfront Home With West Indies Style Architecture

Thursday, June 15th, 2017

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Located in Cape Charles, VA, on the beautiful Southern tip of  Virginia’s Eastern Shore, this colorful contemporary West Indies style custom home is sited on a small freshwater lake with long dramatic views down the lake and out to the Chesapeake Bay. Take advantage of its low maintenance construction, with Hardie Board siding and a standing seam metal roof, making upkeep a breeze.  Priced at $445,000, the bright and flowing floor plan includes 3 bedrooms and 3 full baths. The extensive floor-to-ceiling window package fills the interior with lots of comfortable natural light, adding to the casual coastal feel. Lots of intricate detail work, custom built-ins, a great room fireplace, granite counters, etc. Small lot for easy maintenance, but very nicely landscaped.

 

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And a very special place to hang out at sunrise or sunset is the sunroom with its wall of windows bringing the outdoors in and magnifying the spectacular sky colors . Or later maybe out on the deck  in the hot tub, Milky Way twinkling overhead, stars seeming so close you could just reach out and touch one.  Fabulous ! As part of The Colony village at Bay Creek Golf Resort, this home enjoys deeded beach access, indeed a soft sand community beach is within easy walking distance.  Pool and tennis are also on the amenity list.  It’s easy to take a swing at some great Eastern Shore golf because the owner’s golf membership to the Bay Creek Palmer and Nicklaus  Signature courses as well as their golf cart will convey with the property. Frosting on the cake — it’s located just a few minutes from a state of the art deep water marina. So you can have it all beach, boating and golf with this great coastal home  http://www.blueheronva.com/golf_course_home/

 

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The Barrier Island Center’s Annual Art And Music On The Farm Event

Tuesday, June 6th, 2017

1Rain clouds gone,  last Saturday dawned as bright and beautiful as one could have wished for the Eastern Shore Barrier Island Center  2017 “Art And Music On The Farm” festival. This Machipongo, VA event is one of the largest art/artisan annual festivals on Virginia’s Eastern Shore and one of our very favorites. Absolutely something for everyone… plus great live music !  And delicious food !  All day long !  Oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings, decoy carvings, sculptures, bronze work, weather vanes, plants and garden art, ceramics, hand-crafted wood pieces, wool working and so much more on offer for the many enthusiastic attendees.  Island View Farms even brought 3 woolly characters from its herd of authentic Hog Island sheep, descendants of the original super hardy sheep that roamed that off-shore barrier island decades ago, explaining that their sheep enjoy the attention from the visitors as much as the visitors love seeing the sheep.

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And what’s a festival without food ? Definitely plenty of goodies to munch on here,  including at Kitchen Sync Catering, whose savory bill of fare included a delicious jambalaya, fresh strawberries & cream for dessert, with ice cold pink lemonade to wash it all down. Coastal Roasting had brewed its famous Marsh Mud iced coffee plus fruit and herb iced teas, hitting the spot perfectly on the warm summer’s day. Delicious aromas wafted from the Taqueria and Kielbasa & Brats tents, their spicy menu pairing well with the adjacent Beer Garden. Not far away was Chatham Vineyard, well-known for its luscious Chardonnay, also doing a brisk business.

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CrowdFrom 10am until closing at 4pm, five different and talented groups performed on fiddle, guitar and mandolin, playing to a very enthusiastic crowd.  The main stage area included an adjacent dance floor for those in the audience who wanted to accompany the liveld Musicy music with some clogging or free range dance. Toe-tapping and delightful, the music was rooted in the various styles of bluegrass and the old time country music traditions of rural Virginia. We stayed and listened to the entire one hour performance by Erynn Marshall and Carl Jones, lots of good energy, well played. ( In fact, we enjoyed it so much we brought their authentic sound home with us in the form of their latest CD. ) And when their set was over, to the delight of the audience, Erynnn got on the dance floor and back into her groove with some enthusiastic clog dancing ! Hats off to local long time clogger, Bill McLaughlin, who helped several youngsters give clogging a try. All in all, a wonderful day, full of fresh breezes, good music, delicious food and beautiful art. In short, another great Art and Music on the Farm festival !

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P.S. — A huge shout-out and thanks to everyone at the Barrier Island Center, to all the volunteers and all the artists, artisans and musicians who make this outstanding event possible each Memorial Day weekend !!

Spend A Vacation Week Or A Lifetime In This Delightful Beachfront Home Near Cape Charles, VA

Thursday, May 25th, 2017

 

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Overlooking  the wide blue waters of the Chesapeake Bay, this delightful Cape Cod style home is a perfect place to spend a vacation week — or indeed, a whole lifetime.  Haven’t reserved the place for your summer vacation yet ? Looking to purchase a leisure or full-time home ? Located near the vibrant little historic town of #CapeCharles on Virginia’s Eastern Shore, this gorgeous 4 bedroom, 3 and a half bath home, priced at $775,000, is your unique opportunity to spend a week and discover if perhaps you’d love it for a lifetime. Sort of try and buy ! Imagine dramatic water views, golden sunshine, sandy beach, salty breezes and gentle tides — this home has perfected the relaxed feel and open style of a truly comfortable coastal home.

 

 

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Located just a few minutes from the quaint historic town of Cape Charles which offers so much to do and see.  From fine and casual dining to art galleries and little shops, Cape Charles is ground zero for fun and relaxation.   Boaters — provide a home for your boat at one of its 2 state of the art marinas.  Golfers– take a swing at the 2 gorgeous waterfront Signature courses, a Nicklaus and a Palmer, among Virginia’s top ranked courses. Joggers — take a run down to the beach and throughout this charming little town on the new community path.  Whether is for a vacation week or a lifetime, this bayfront home offers the Eastern Shore’s sweet beach life.  Call Blue Heron Realty at 757-678-5200 to make an appointment to see if this property would be the right leisure or full-time home for you. This is the perfect place to live the #EasternShoreSweetBeachLife!

 

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Whale Watching In Coastal Virginia — Thar She Blows !

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017

Big WhaleThar she blows!  Splish, Splash, Flipper Slap !  This past winter our family enjoyed some great Whale Watching— not in Alaska, not in Hawaii, not in the Caribbean –  but right here in our local coastal Virginia waters less than a hour from our front door! So this is a whale of a tale starring boats, a bird, and, of course, whales. For about the last 10 years I’ve been hearing that a few juvenile humpback whales have been migrating through our area in winter, sticking around for a bit, munching on menhaden, etc., apparently the whale treat de jour. But for the last couple years, from the middle of December to about the middle of February, quite a few of these friendly marine mammals have been staying longer.  Apparently they are having a whale of a time in our home waters, not far from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel,  breaching, Big Splashing, flipper and tail slapping, just generally cavorting, acting like the acrobatic teenagers they are. So this past February we decided to take a whale watching tour with some of our kids and grandkids, a little adventure to see these magnificent creatures with our own eyes. So glad we did.

 

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We set out mid-afternoon on the Rudee Whaler, a comfortable 80 ft catamaran which leaves from Rudee Inlet in Virginia Beach, slipping past the strip of beachfront hotels gleaming in the distance, past the Cape Henry Lighthouse and into the ocean waters beyond. It wasn’t long before our wildlife guide spotted a whale blowing.  All whales have to come up to breathe about every 15 minutes or so (although they can stretch that to about 35 minutes) and after they inhale they then exhale or “blow”, expelling air and water through their blowhole at up to an amazing 300 mph ! So spotting the blows helps the Captain gently advance in the direction of the whales.  (Fortunately, there are specific guidelines for protecting whales, including how to approach, how close boats can come to a whale, etc. . These important rules are issued by NOAA and all the local tour boats adhere to these guidelines.)
It wasn’t long before we were seeing multiple whales, both to starboard and port, all doing their gymnastic thing! Rolling over and slapping flippers– apparently those wacking sounds alert other whales to their locations. Plus it seems like they are having great fun ! Then breaching, with a Big Splash back into the water. Or surfacing and then diving, waving their tail fins. Nearly everyone on board had cameras, most with with telephoto lenses, click-clicking rapid fire. For well over an hour we watched amazing acrobatics, totally captivated by the antics of these gentle creatures. (These are juveniles, estimated to be from 3 to 7 years old and from 15 to 25 feet long. )

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The on-board wildlife guide said that tour boat operators help notify the many big ships in the Hampton Roads shipping channel of the whale locations. This in turn helps reduce the number of whales injured by collisions with ships, which is a serious problem. They also take photos of these whales and their tail and pectoral fins to forward to the environmental group, Allied Whales. Allied reviews the photos, then sends them on to be catalogued by the North Atlantic Humpback Whale Catalog group. Computer recognition software enables the catalogers to identify specific individual whales through the distinctive markings on their tail and pectoral fins, helping scientists to track their migration patterns, etc. She said that this identification program indicates that just for the boat we were on, about 31 different individuals have been spotted this year and about 10 of these are confirmed to have been in our local waters previously. Incidentally, it’s the male humpback that “sings” the haunting whale song recordings we’ve all heard on You Tube, songs that can last up to 20 minutes or more.

 

 

Boats in a RowBut too, too soon it was time to return to port. Fortunately, there were lots of other sights to enjoy on the way back, including many normally viewed from above when traveling on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. Seen from relatively close by, on the water and at eye level, gives one a whole different perspective. A nearby Navy ship and a container ship literally towered above as they slowly proceeded past. Then, to cap off the day, as we slid back into the Rudee berth, we were greeted by lovely reflections in the water of the other boats moored there, a beautiful end to a wonderful afternoon.

 

 

 

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