Monday, 28 September 2015

BALTIMORE IN THE BAY. 18th September 2015

Approaching the mighty Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

A gorgeous day was forecast so we decided to go take a look at Baltimore. Departed Galesville around 10.30am and motored out into a flat windless glassy bay. Lots of other vessels of every shape and size were out doing the same, cris-crossing each others wakes on business of their own. Our business was a mere 26nm run north up the Bay. Once again under the mighty Chesapeake Bay Bridge with clearance of 183 feet so we didn't expect to hit it. 

Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse

There are several interesting light houses enroute and we detoured to get pictures. The first was Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse was built in 1871. Widely recognised by locals, it is the only screw-pile lighthouse still on its original site. The building is a 1½ story hexagonal wooden cottage, equipped with a foghorn as well as the light.

Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse

Next there is Sandy Point Shoal Light, a brick three story lighthouse on a caisson foundation that was erected in 1883.
Its a brick, three story lighthouse on a caisson foundation,  erected in 1883.   The whole gamut of light sources has been run, from oil wicks to incandescent oil vapor (1913) to electricity (1929). The present light is powered by a pair of solar panels attached to the roof on the south side. After automation in 1963, it was vandalized and the original lens was destroyed, apparently smashed with a baseball bat. What a terrible shame.! In 2006 it was sold at auction. Nice isolated little nook if you like a remote getaway!

Baltimore Harbour Lighthouse
The Baltimore Harbour Lighthouse was Commissioned in 1908. Like an iceberg, there is much more to this lighthouse than what appears on the surface. Its sunk deep into the Chesapeake muddy bottom to prevent ice in winter dislodging it! The three story octagonal brick cottage is constructed on a one hundred and three foot tall concrete and stone filled cast-iron caisson. The main deck of the cottage is sitting room, storage area and galley. The second deck is keepers quarters in two bedrooms. The third deck is one large open space, known as the watch-room. The watch-room provides a 360 degree view. On the the 3rd story sits the lantern room. Connecting these levels is a spiral staircase that leads from the lantern room to the cellar floor, ten feet into the caisson. 

7 Foot Knoll lighthouse has been replaced by a tall tower 

The 7 Foot Knoll Light has been replaced with a tower and now stands in Fells Point Historic District.

After taking in the light house sights along the way we continued to motor into Baltimore City Center where, in the inner harbor we juggled in tight confines with 3 yachts already at anchor, to nestle into a tight spot. The guide says there's room for 1 boat but 4 is possible at a pinch. 
The harbor has quite a lot of tourist traffic so anchoring is only permitted in a very small corner. Somewhat miss-led by the placement of some buoys which appeared to limit the anchorage to a narrow strip between the paddle boats and the line off the docks we discovered from the Water Police several days later that the buoys were placed by the paddle boat operator as a disincentive to yachts from anchoring into the small cove. So we all picked up our anchors and moved further into the area.
Anchorage is inside the blue line.

Our foray ashore on Saturday found us in the National Aquarium right on the waterfront beside the anchorage. It is hard to miss. There are several impressive modern structures clustered around the old docks and linked by overhead walkways. The Aquarium exceeded expectations. All the glass aquariums were clean and the displays were excellent. Good information and not too much of it!  There is an exceptionally good reproduction of a Northern Australian canyon in a very large glass terrarium. Birds crocodiles and snakes included. It just felt like the Kimberly in there.
Northern Territory in Baltimore.

Fells Point Historic District and Federal Hill, overlooking the inner harbour were all easy walking destinations so we strolled and nibbled and photographed.

Anchored next to the Aquarium and the old Chesapeake Ship Lighthouse.

Fells Point was a center for a "Nest of Pirates", ship owners, who, provided with a Letter of Marque, (a government license,) were permitted to harass and capture vessels of the British Fleet. The plunder was divided between owners of the vessel, crew and the Government. This was in effect a private navy and was very lucrative for the ship owners who had to outfit and arm their own vessels and for the Government.

 We ended up spending 4 days in Baltimore before heading south to Galesville.

Fells Point
For more pictures from around Baltimore go to CHESAPEAKE BAY