Saturday, October 20, 2012

Visit to Blackistone Island

Today Anuenue headed south to St. Mary's county. It was a long drive in the car, past DC and into rural Maryland. She even drove by some buggies at the Mennonite farmer's market. 

Finally she reached Oakley, Maryland - previously an area of tobacco farms, there are now corn and soybean farms and commuters from Washington.

Down at the dock is the ship - the Sae Hrafn, a replica Viking longship! The Sae Hrafn is waiting for the crew to arrive, and so is Anuenue.
 While the ship was being readied, Anuenue checked out the oyster floats near the dock. She also investigated this empty crab pot. Most of the crabs were in hiding today, as they start to move to warmer waters in the fall.

The crew arrives and the Sae Hrafn gets underway! There is a bit of a headwind, and Anuenue wishes she had brought a hairband. She meets some Vikings (mostly not in costume) and some other guests, but since the oars are too big, she is exempt from rowing.

The Sae Hrafn rows and rows from Canoe Neck Creek out to St. Clements Bay. There are so many people on board that the ship sits low in the water and starts to leak a bit in places. But there is a bilge pump so everyone stays dry. 
After getting a push from a motorboat, the ship reaches Blackistone Island, now called St. Clements Island. The island is in the lower tidal Potomac River, and is the site where the first Maryland colonists landed in 1634. There is a dock, so the ship stops for a quick visit.

Anuenue checks out the "beach" on the island - we're not in Hawaii any more!

There is a lighthouse on the island, the original lighthouse was built in 1851 but destroyed in the 20th century. It has recently been rebuilt as a replica of the original. The gigantic cross commemorates the site of the first Catholic mass in English North America. There is also a black-eyed susan garden, the state flower, but only a few blossoms are left.

After wrapping up the visit, she headed back onto the ship for the return voyage. The sail was used for part of the trip back home!

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