Though I just recently returned from 6 idyllic days in Solomons, a paradise not far from Annapolis, MD, my heart is still there. I was lucky enough to be the guest of a fellow Krogenite aboard her palatial and gorgeous 55' Expedition, Invictus.
I left my office on the gritty, though on-time, 2:22 LIRR out of Hicksville on Tuesday, October 2nd, destination: Penn Station. So what's so special about that one may ask, especially if that one is a New Yorker. What was special is that I decided to take Amtrak to Baltimore instead of flying, a first for me. I was more than pleasantly surprised.
I had a Business Class ticket on the 4:05 to BWI (Baltimore Airport). Good thing I decided to spring for the extra $36 for the upgrade 'cause the BWI-bound train before mine was cancelled, meaning that train's passengers would now be on my train. While the conductor was exhorting everyone to put their bags in the overhead racks and put everything else in their laps, I was spread out in a huge seat with tons of legroom. I don't think there were more than 20 passengers in the entire car! Bliss! While listening to Bunnie's Playlist on my iPod, I did the NY Times Sunday crossword puzzle and had a soft pretzel slathered in spicy mustard. Holy cow! A feast!
In what seemed like no time, we were pulling into BWI (it was actually 2 hrs., 45 min.) I dragged my way too heavy Lands End canvas tote and another more stylish bag (both stuffed to the gills) into the elevator, across the walkway, down 1 flight and walked right into Lisa's car. How civilized. After dinner, we dashed into the wine store for "provisions". From there, we ran into the grocery store (by this time, it was nearly 10:30 pm). List in hand, we dashed up and down the aisles (even picked up a beautiful bouquet of fall flowers) until we had everything we needed for docktails, a potluck supper and Saturday night's feast. From the grocery store, we headed to the waiting Invictus and our adventure.
The adventure actually began before we boarded the boat. To my acute dismay, the boarding finger was so narrow and the area so dark, I panicked a bit. We solved the dilemma by having me get on the boat (very carefully) and Lisa handing over the (many) bags and carton of wine (I was actually more worried about handling that carton of wine) if you don't mind my saying so. Once aboard I calmed down, helped put everything away and hit the sack.
Next day dawned sunny and bright. We were up early to meet our co-pilot Mike, and head to Solomons. We had a fantastic trip, with much laughing and chatting. You all know that I rarely sit still for more than 10 minutes, right? Well, since our trip across the Chesapeake to Solomons would take close to 6 hrs, I forced myself to slow down and enjoy the ride. I did manage to sit in the other helm chair to enjoy the view. However, before long, my feet were swinging, tapping and moving about. It wasn't long before I flipped one of the breaker switches. That fixed, I went back to sitting (what I thought was quietly), but lo and behold, I flipped another breaker switch. Okay, now this was too much, so I vowed that I would keep my toes away from the breaker panel. Just when I thought I had succeeded, it got very quiet in the pilothouse. You guessed it, my foot hit the breaker switch for one of the 2 engines and killed it. Amid the alarms going off, I realized my mistake. Taking good natured ribbing, the engine was soon started. You know that wasn't the last I heard of this during the trip.
Soon Solomons was in sight. What an impressive sight to see all the beautiful Krogens lined up on 2 docks in all their glory!
Equally wonderful to see was the magnitude of folks waiting to help us with our lines. As it turned out, we were only temporarily docked since our assigned space was occupied by a 48' who was hosting the Man Overboard drill for the ladies.
Once the drill was over (and the audience mooned by several of the participants), we moved Invictus into her home for the next few days. Do Lisa and I look thrilled to be a part of this wonderful group?
When we were finally settled, we headed to the registration tent (which was also the location of all the classes and festivities). We met the ladies of Sea Sense along the way, Carol and Patti...
Once in the tent, a wonderful sight awaited us (not me, the banner)!
With all the introductions along the way, it took Lisa and I until the 2nd day to get our "welcome" kit. Needless to say, our welcomes were many and warm. It's rare to encounter so many wonderful people in one place - and who not only share a love of boating in general, but specifically, boating on a Kadey Krogen yacht! We attended nearly every class offered, including the class on maintaining our Northern Lights generators. I should add that Lisa and I were among the few women in the audience! After 4 days of classes, docktails, pet parade, best decorated in Key West theme boat, dinners, night caps on new friends' boats, etc. Saturday night arrived. We were treated to mountains of barbecued ribs, chicken and a staggering array of side dishes and desserts contributed by each attendee. In addition to the open bar hosted by KKY, we danced to a fabulous band who played the songs we all love and remember. Crazy thing is, everyone knew the words to all the songs, so we danced and sang our hearts out. The theme was Papa Hemingway in Key West and Havana, so there were some great get-ups. Not to be excluded from the dress-up fun, I borrowed a hat and a cigar.....
I'm sorry to be such a wallflower, but I did try my best to have fun. LOL
All too soon it was Sunday morning (despite our best attempts to drag Saturday night into Sunday morning). Even the most dedicated of us party goers had to call it a day/night. After our departure meeting, we moved to our respective boats and like a finely oiled machine, the boats began to peel away from the dock in incredible order and precision. Not one bow was bumped, scratched or in any way even touched. The men on the dock braved the drizzle to get everyone safely on their way. I took a final look before turning my attention to Invictus' helm. Lisa and I were taking her back to Annapolis alone - all nearly 60' of her!
We had a wonderful trip back despite the rain and wind. Halfway into our trip, the rain subsided along with wind. We still had to keep a sharp eye out since there was quite a big of commercial ship and barge traffic. I decided to make us lunch (leftovers from our Saturday night feast) and heated the oven. Lisa and I were happily chatting in the pilothouse when the most awful-sounding alarms went off. On no, I wasn't near the breaker switches, so what could those alarms mean? The oven heating in a closed salon caused the carbon monoxide alarms to trigger. We were so startled by the sudden uproar, that we forgot about our lunch in the oven until an hour later.
Once Invictus was safely back in her slip at Port Annapolis, Lisa and I settled down to lunch (it was now about 4 pm). We had no sooner sat down than Lisa's cell rang. It was one of our Krogen friends inviting us to dinner in Annapolis. We said of course and had just hung up when the phone rang again - another Krogen friend asked us to stop by to say good-bye since they were heading upstate NY early the next day. Of course we chorused. One more call, it was Mike saying he wouldn't make dinner, but how about a nightcap? You guessed it - of course, we sang! We were busy until quite late Sunday night, but what a great time was had by all.
Monday was cool and a bit overcast - good weather to end a great time. Mike drove us to the airport (after stopping for brunch of course) where Lisa boarded her flight and I boarded my train. I'm counting the months until next year's Krogen Rendezvous - we already know the dates! Hopefully Serenity can join the fun next year. We would be so proud to show her off. The ride home was pleasant. Even the last leg of the trip on the LIRR to Huntington was uneventful. Those of you who know the LIRR either firsthand or in stories, know that uneventful is VERY good!
Thank you Lisa, Invictus and the Krogen Cruisers for making my first Rendezvous so fabulous, for making me feel welcome and most importantly, for making me truly feel like a real part of the Krogen family!