|| November 1, 1999
|| Alexandria, Virginia
|| Teacher Aboard Ann Strine
What do you want to be when you grow up? Maybe a doctor, a lawyer, or a
teacher? How about a deckhand, first mate, second mate, boatswain, engineer,
cook, or captain of a ship? I love the sea and, when given the opportunity to
walk in a deckhand's shoes for a week aboard the Pride of Baltimore II, I
jumped at the opportunity.
What does a deckhand do for a week aboard ship at sea or in port? Well, pack
your sea bag -- not too much stuff, but warm clothes are a must -- and come down
to the sea and a tall ship with me. I'm Ann Strine, your Teacher Aboard
Pride II, for this wonderful week. We'll be sailing from Solomons
Island, MD, to Alexandria, VA.
Saturday, October 23, 1999
It has been 10 months since I first found out that I was going to sea
for a week as your Teacher Aboard Pride of Baltimore II. My first choice
of embarkation (getting on the boat) was the port of Solomons Island. Today is
the big day for this long anticipated trip. It took about an hour to get to
Solomons from my home in Rockville, MD.
Pride II hadn't arrived from St. Mary's City yet, so I decided
to tour the United States Coast Guard Cutter James Rankin which was
having an open house. The Coast Guard's job is to keep the channel open in
They place buoys and sometimes break the channel ice in the winter when
the Bay freezes. A huge 18,000 pound cement sinker holds the buoy in place. A
buoy this size costs between $5,000 - $6,000. The "Coasties" (nickname for
Coast Guard sailors) use a lot of technology aboard their cutters (ships) to
keep them running smoothly.
I reported aboard Pride of Baltimore II at 1900 hours (7:00 PM). First,
I was given a tour of the ship by Brad, a deckhand, and then I met Captain Dan
Parrott. My first night aboard ship was very comfortable. I was surprised that
there wasn't much rocking and rolling.
Sunday October 24, 1999
I got up at 6:50 AM and went topside to get some sunrise pictures.
One fishing boat, Miss Regina II from Solomons, was heading out into the
Bay for a day of fishing. Later in the day, I talked to Robbie Robinson,
captain of Miss Regina II. He said he was a waterman and both of his
grandfathers were waterman in Solomons. However, with the decline in the oyster
and crab industry, he switched to running a charter fishing boat.
Why do you
think there was a decline in the number of oysters and crabs caught? (You can
find some answers in the Maryland Exploration about Maryland's Watermen.) Captain
Robinson said fishing has been replaced by the tourist business in Solomons.
The Captain also said he goes fishing every day, loves the water, and has been a
volunteer fire chief for 30 years. He doesn't have any complaints about the
Each morning, Captain Parrott, the captain of Pride II, holds a meeting
on deck with the crew and passengers to go over the plans for the day. Today,
he told us about the daysail for the Governor's Conference on Tourism and a
To prepare for the daysail and evening party, the crew was given
different jobs. My job was to polish brass on the aft part of the ship.
Jessie, one of the deckhands, showed me his secret for sure fire, shiny brass.
It was like getting ready for company at home. Could you compare and contrast
the two jobs of getting ready for company at home and company coming aboard a
The morning daysail began at 9:30 A.M. There were people aboard from
Maryland's twenty-three counties and Baltimore City whose job it is to promote
tourism. Everyone enjoyed the daysail. Why is tourism so important to our
As a deckhand aboard ship, you'll want to visit ports when you are given
liberty. Here we are in Solomons Island, a charming fishing village, so let's
go exploring! Since transportation in any port is a problem, I decided I would
need a map and a pair of comfortable walking shoes to get around. Follow along
on the map as we take a hike through the Island. (You can also look things up
on Solomons' web site.)
It is 1.1 miles from the Calvert Marine Museum (#4 on the map) to the Chesapeake
Biological Laboratory (#12 on the map) at the very tip of Solomons Island. The
walk through this small fishing port is fascinating. It shows a very different
side of Maryland than your other Teachers Aboard have reported so far.
- Captain Smith's Seafood Market
- Thomas Johnson Bridge, Rt. 4 to St. Mary's County
- Bristol Technology, Inc.
- Calvert Marine Museum
- Creative Canvas Designs
- Zahniser's Sailing Center
- Lore Oyster House
- Solomons United Methodist Church
- Solomons Water Taxi
- High Tide Marine
- St. Peter's Episcopal Church
- Chesapeake Biological Laboratory
- Solomons Marine Towing
- Washburn's Boat Yard
- Molly's Leg
We'll start exploring at Calvert Marine Museum.
museum you'll find many different things. One of them is the oldest vessel on
the Bay that carried passengers, the Wm. B. Tennison. Also, there is a marine
art collection, a boating exhibit, some 15 million year old Miocene fossils, and
an oyster bed.
You can also visit the Drum Point Lighthouse which was
commissioned in 1883. Let's look inside the lighthouse to see what life was
like in the early twentieth century in a lighthouse.
The lighthouse keeper and his family heated the lighthouse with a
potbelly stove and coal. You can read about life in a lighthouse in the book,
The Lighthouse Keeper's Daughter by Arielle Olson.
The next stop on our tour is the Governor Thomas Johnson Bridge
that you can see for miles around. The bridge was completed in 1977 and named
after the first governor of Maryland. Before the bridge was built, there was a
ferry that connected Solomons to St. Mary's County across the Patuxent River.
If you traveled by car before the bridge was built, it would take over 2 hours
to get to a town across the river. Now it takes 25 minutes. The Patuxent River
is 120 ft. deep under the bridge, and the height of the bridge is 140 feet. What
a great view from under the bridge!
Next, I visited Creative Canvas Designs, Zahniser's Sailing Center,
and the Lore Oyster House (#5, #6, & #7 on the map). All of these businesses
are related to the water.
I also saw many marinas along the way, with hundreds of boats
tied to the piers. Solomons has deep harbors and many coves that provide a safe
harbor for ships.
At 6:30 PM, the Governor's Conference on Tourism held a reception at Solomons
Yacht Club and aboard Pride of Baltimore II. There was food from the Bay
with music aboard ship by the "Oyster Boys" and bagpipes with a dancer. The music
was selected to meet everyone's taste. It was a great reception that ended late
that evening. Pride of Baltimore II sparkled because of all the care and
attention the crew spends on keeping her looking sharp. You would have been
proud of our Goodwill Ambassador!
Go to Part 2 of the November 1, 1999 Log