SpinSheet July 2014

Page 49

Anchored in Hudson Creek  Story by Eric Vohr, photos by Michaela Urban


have nothing against staying on my boat. I usually prefer it, but it’s nice to stay on shore every now and then, especially in crisp white sheets on large comfy beds in spacious rooms with big brass bathtubs. The drawback of staying in nice inns is that it’s decadent and therefore impossible to get an early start. On the boat I wake with the sun, make coffee, have a bagel, fire up the motor, pull anchor, and go. Snuggled in my bed at the Hambleton Inn, one of St. Michaels’s nicest bed and breakfasts, I had no real motivating desire to “rise and shine.” The only thing that pried

Hudson Creek Where



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On the north side of the Little Choptank River: 38.3227N, 76.1428W A nice stopping point on your way south; an easy sail from St. Michaels or Annapolis; good anchorage. Crowded on summer weekends.

me out of bed was the smell of coffee and bacon cooking downstairs. The inn’s scrumptious breakfast, worth lingering over, further prolonged departure. There were other factors that contributed to our late start. My new headstay was sagging, and I needed to call the Harken guys to find out how to adjust it. Since I was working over the water, I had to be slow and careful not to drop anything overboard. We all know that dreaded sound: dink, dink, dink, splash. We arrived in Hudson Creek late, so we quickly dropped anchor, ate, and crashed. Overnight, the wind shifted, and we were dragged into the middle of a crab line. I awoke to the sound of a diesel boat making numerous close passes and popped my head out to receive an early morning smile from an older waterman and a couple of barks from his well-fed Labrador Retriever. I waved and asked him if we were in his way (stupid question, because we were). He gave me a warm smile and shouted back in a pleasant tone, “It’s fine, and even if it isn’t, there’s not much we could do about it.” I don’t know what it was, but this guy made my day. There was something so pleasant about his manner, his boat, his dog, the whole scene. I’m sure it must

be hard keeping the bills paid with crabs and whatever else these watermen pull out of the Bay, but I can’t help thinking they have us all beat. If given a choice between fighting morning traffic, sitting in a cubicle under fluorescent lights, and getting Carpal tunnel syndrome working on a computer; or catching the sunrise on the Bay with a thermos of coffee and your trusty dog at your side, what would you choose? As the early morning crabber drifted by me with his dog, he just lifted my stress and let it melt into the glassy water around us. I’m not one of those people who see spirituality in everything; I’m as hard boiled and cynical as they come. But as the great Robert DeNiro says in the film “The Deer Hunter,” “This is this.” I recounted this experience to a good friend at our annual sailor’s Viking Party in Cambridge in November (see page 32 February SpinSheet). This friend grew up on the Bay and paid for his first car with money he made crabbing. He echoed my sentiment. If you don’t embrace the history of the Bay and the life of the watermen who still live that history, you’re missing the whole point. There are lessons to be learned on these waters, all you have to do is open your eyes. SpinSheet July 2014 49

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