Getting a lot of cleaning done while waiting

I have been sailing and fishing on the Chesapeake Bay from the Annapolis area for over 38 years. Initially I raced and cruised a S2 7.9 sailboat and when the season opens I will be fishing and cruising my Albemarle 26.8 sport fisherman. Needless to say, after looking at the Massachusetts boating rules during the virus, I am envious that you are able to get on the water with limited restrictions. Maryland pleasure boating has been closed since the virus began. If you get out on the bay to go fishing, it can only be for subsistence catches. We definitely would need a bigger boat to keep our 6 foot spacing on the water. Since I am currently working as a geriatric psychiatrist doing telemedicine consults at people’s homes while they are sheltering in place and nursing homes, I don’t see myself sneaking out on the bay for subsistence fishing.

For readers unfamiliar with the Chesapeake Bay, our boating season runs from around April till early November. There even people in the water 12 months a year. Trophy fishing for striped bass or rockfish usually starts in April, but trophy season was canceled due to over fishing. Hopefully the females will be able to lay eggs undisturbed. When the season reopens, we are looking forward to cruising to Chestertown, Oxford, and St. Michael’s and digging in to the Chesapeake’s oysters and crabs. (We even catch our own crabs on my friends Grady White using a trotline which is 600 ft long and has a bait every 6 feet).

Turtles caught sunning themselves on the C&O canal where the author has been walking while waiting for things to reopen.

So the question of how to make the most of a canceled boating season came up when Gov. Hogan announced our restrictions. Our original plan was to stay over at the marina, but with the clubhouse and bathrooms closed we needed a plan B. I started out my boating season studying online forums on boat cleaning and reading old practical sailors. I can’t tell you how many vinyl and deck cleaning articles I read. It was interesting all of the strange cleaning suggestions online including cleaning vinyl seat covers with engine degreaser and waxing the decks. As soon as my marina announced that their forklift was operating and they could put your boat in cleaning racks, I stocked up on metal cleaners, waxes including reading all the reviews on Amazon. I go out of my way to support local boating business in Annapolis, but with many of them closed the Internet became my supplier. I never was a big cleaner, but here was my chance to get down to the bay and watch the freighters coming and going from the Port of Baltimore. My marina overlooks the lighthouses at Sandy Point and the Baltimore light and it seemed like my boating season was starting. Polishing stainless, cushions cleaned, getting the stains out of the deck and vacuuming my bunks got my boat Bahala na to a cleanliness standard it has never seen. I never pictured myself using a toothbrush on the stainless. For every job I took my sweet time and relaxed so that I could sit in the captains chair and watch the ospreys, swallows, and great blues that live on our creek. In terms of social distancing most of the boats in the marina remained covered in plastic and there were never more than two other boats being cleaned. With the virus peaking in Maryland in early May, I’m thinking at least mid June before we can motor away from the marina. Since I’m running out of cleaning projects, I am looking forward to my wife and I picnicking while the boat is on a service rack and having my swimming pugs Buddy and Mimi join us and take a swim.

Lastly, making the most out of our boating season on the hard, we’ve been taking advantage of hiking through Maryland parks, (which remain open with social distancing), and hiking the C and O canal which parallels the Potomac River and keeps us by the water. With few people on the paths, the snakes, turtles, and even a red fox seem to be out roaming in numbers.

Michael Glasser
Annapolis, MD