Archive for April, 2010

Patuxent Adventure Center - The Place for Outdoor Adventure

Saturday, April 24th, 2010

Schooner Heron edged

When you make a recreational visit to Southern Maryland, try to get in a schooner sail aboard Heron, our beautiful 60′ staysail schooner. Schooner Heron Charters offers the best deal on the Chesapeake Bay to take a personalized schooner sail out of Solomons Island. $390 for a 5-hour daysail charter for 6 people, including lunch! There isn’t a better offer like this, anywhere. Captain Aram Nersesian will do everything he can to make your personalized sailing charter a wonderful experience and a great day on the Chesapeake Bay.

Bikes on racks

Compliment your sailing experience with bicycling and kayaking. Patuxent Adventure Center has kayak and bicycle rentals, as well as lessons, tune-ups, and full repairs. Open six days a week, closed Mondays, Patuxent Adventure Center is your center for all your outdoor needs when you come down to Calvert County for a day or weekend getaway.

Kayak Demo day

May 8th, Patuxent Adventure Center will have a Demo Day at the Solomons Beach on the right side of the main drag going into Solomons Island. Current Designs kayaks will be there in force, and Hurricane and Heritage kayaks will be supports through rentals.

paddle boards

Also, Patuxent Adventure Center now carries Tahoe Stand Up Paddleboards, the lastest craze on the water. These great paddleboards are more for flatwater, and provide higher stability and higher speed/track than stand up paddleboards used in ocean waters.

Kayaks are available on the water, every day, ready for a test paddle. Just let them know what kind of kayak you’re interested in trying out, and they’ll arrange to have a few for side-by-side demonstration. This is really the best way to find the kind of kayak you’re looking for. A 1/2 day kayak rental is $35, and that fee is taken off the price of the kayak if you purchase one.

Sunday, May 16th, the Patuxent Adventure Center is helping to sponsor the Leonardtown Criterium Bicycle Race put on by the Pax Velo Cycling Club. This is a full day of bicycle racing on the square in downtown Leonardtown. Races go all day and the kids race is always a fun time.

Heron aerial

And don’t forget… a visit to Southern Maryland and Solomons Island isn’t really complete without some time out on the water, so plan a day sail aboard Schooner Heron and enjoy the natural beauty of the Chesapeake Bay.

First Charter of the Season… Blustery and Exciting

Monday, April 19th, 2010

Heron heeling into breeze

Schooner Heron Charters had its first charter of the season on April 18th. With 20+ knots of wind blowing from the NW, and temperatures in the 50’s, it was a pretty chilly day out on the water. But the John McManus family from Bethesda, including wife Barbara, and kids Justin, Jessica, and Jack, made their way south to take the first charter of the season on Schooner Heron.

McManus family

They came well prepared for the chilly weather with jackets, gloves, hats, long underwear: surely this is a family that knows how to have a good time outside, year round. John was at the helm most of the day, with Jack, 11 years old, taking the helm several times.

John at helm

John, a powerboat owner, had a little bit of the sailing convert in his eyes, when a puff would hit and Schooner Heron would heel over. And little Jack, well, he was amazing. Pure concentration! He steered better than some of my friends who have been sailing with me for over a decade. And how many 11-year olds can tell their friends they steered a 44,000 pound boat in small craft advisory conditions.

Jack at helm

John is owner of The Barking Dog Bar and Restaurant in Bethesda, and from the sound of it, that’s where I’m going, next time I’m in the area.

Barking Dog

It’s located at 4723 Elm Street, in Bethesda, and their phone is 301-654-0022. This place sounds great. They do it all. It can be your local pub, they can cater your large party… great happy hours! Send an email to them for more information, and when you’re there, lift a pint to the McManus family for being a bunch of gritty sailors who gave me a great first charter for 2010.

And come on down to Solomons Island for a great recreational escape, and take a daysail on Schooner Heron.

April/May… new “doings” in Calvert County

Monday, April 19th, 2010

At Schooner Heron Charters, we’ve had our first charter of the season on April 18th. It was a blustery but very exciting day with a wonderful family from Bethesda. Please see our post above, and check out our website, and come on down to Southern Maryland for a great recreational visit. And while you’re here, book a charter on Schooner Heron and have the time of your life!

Little bit of a breeze

Once again, thanks to our local Tourism Specialist at the Department of Tourism in Calvert County, Joyce Baki, we have the latest and greatest in what’s going on in Calvert County this month and next. Questions about events and special activities, call Joyce at 410-535-4583.

Museum Lighthouse

On Friday, April 23, the Calvert Marine Museum and the Leagues of Women Voters of Calvert and St. Mary’s Counties invite you to explore To the Last Drop: Our Looming Fresh Water Crisis. Dr. Robert Summers, Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment will deliver the keynote address. A panel discussion, posters and displays will also be available.

So. Md. Celtic Festival

The 32nd Annual Celtic Festival of Southern Maryland will be held on Saturday, April 24. It is the oldest Celtic celebration in Maryland, highlighting the heritage of the Scots, Irish, Welsh, Manx, Breton, Cornish and British. More than 50 clans and societies will have information to share. Three performing stages offer continuous music and dance featuring internationally known recording artists and groups. Enjoy craft and country dance demonstrations. Listen to storytellers weave their tales while harp and Scottish fiddlers play in the background. competitions will occur throughout the day including pipers, fiddlers, highland dancers, athletes, drummers, pipe bands and Celtic harpers. After closing ceremonies, there will be an evening ceili.

American Chestnut Land Trust

Saturday, April 24, American Chestnut Land Trust hosts two guided hikes. A leisurely guided walk along Gravatt East will allow you to view wildflowers and early migratory birds. Bring binoculars and meet at 9 a.m. sharp at the south side trailhead barn off Scientists’ Cliff road. The hike will be held rain or shine, unless thunderstorms occur. At 10 a.m. bring the kids and enjoy a guided hike along the south side trails. The hike will last approximately two hours. For information or to register for an event at ACLT visit the website or call 410-414-3400.

Picking Crabs

Celebrate Southern Maryland traditions at the Calvert Marine Museum’s Annual Maritime Festival on Saturday, May 1. Taste traditional foods, learn how to pick crabs and shuck oysters like the pros. Enjoy local gospel and old time music. See world-class water fowl carving and the Chesapeake Bay retriever trails in action. Watch model boats skim the waters of the boat basin and talk with traditional crafts people as they demonstrate their skills. Kids will enjoy traditional games, races, toy boat building and more.

The Lusby Business Association will host a Spring Fling on Saturday, May 1 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.  All four shopping complexes will provide fun for the entire family, including a moon bounce, facepainting, scavenger hunt, car show, live music, food samples, wine tasting, sidewalk sales, demonstrations, and giveaways. For more information, visit the website and learn the importance of “shopping local.”

And, as we said, visit the website for  Calvert County Dept. of Tourism for more great events happening in Calvert County.

Getting Schooner Heron Ready for Charter Season

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Ice on Mill Creek

It was a snowy and cold winter… no need to tell anyone that. The cold and wetness put off maintenance and projects on Schooner Heron, so I’m rushing to get things done before our charter season opening on April 16th.

Schooner Heron bow shot

Projects for this spring include re-routing the main engine exhaust hose to prevent hydrolocking. This happened to us about 60 miles offhsore in sporty conditions when we made a quick September, 2009 trip to Block Island. Hydrolocking occurs when water is able to back up through the exhaust hose and enter the engine cylinders, preventing the pistons from moving. You can’t compress water! But the initial symptoms can be confused with other problems. When you turn the key, you hear a clunk, then nothing… so, perhaps a dead battery? Corroded connections? But my good friend and master mariner Karl Westby, aboard for the trip, diagnosed it properly. My 100 hp 2-stroke Detroit was hydrolocked. We were sailors, without an engine. No worries. We had plenty of wind. Anyway, back to the project, the cure is to put a raised loop in the exhaust line to prevent siphoning. Sounds easy, but when you’re working with 4″ rigid exhaust hose, and need to find room for the loop in very tight quarters with an aluminum infrastructure, it can get trying. I completed this job, after a lot of grunting and groaning and lots of cuts to the hands and arms, about two weeks ago.

Maintenance also includes new varnish for the toerails, oil for the teak in the cockpit and on top of the pilothouse… some electrical work, some plumbing… and LOTS of cleaning. We even need to bend on two more sails which have been plumped in a pile in a bedroom for the winter.

We’ll be ready, and our first booked charter is April 18th, the Sunday of the Tiki Bar opening, and the second day of the rockfish season opening weekend. It’s going to be crowded out there on the Bay!

Rockfish are coming… “We need a bigger boat!”

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Giant Rockfish caught April 2010

Rockfish season opens in Maryland on April 17, and the big ones are already in the Bay. This 50 pounder was caught during a research fishing trip for the University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science Chesapeake Bay Biological Laboratory on Solomons Island, Maryland. From the looks of things, we’re gonna need BIG boats this year!!!

April Events… and… Tiki Bar 30th Anniversary Opening!

Sunday, April 11th, 2010

Schooner Heron Charters is opening its season with the greatest deal on the Bay for personalized private schooner charters, on April 16th. Plan your Southern Maryland getaway and include an afternoon sail for six people on our beautiful 60 foot schooner, Heron, and throw your cares to the wind!

Tiki Bar Opening Solomons Island

If you like huge crowds, great scenery, and an incredible Mardi Gras atmosphere, get anchored to the Tiki Bar on its 30th Year Anniversary opening party, Friday, April 16. The seasonal opening is always the biggest party of the year, but this year they will be celebrating 30 years of Tiki goodness. The Tiki Gods are planning it now and it will be a must-attend event. The Tiki Gods also remind you to drink responsibly and have a designated driver! See the website for details.

Jefferson Patterson Park Calvert County Tourism

Ever wonder what archaeologists do? Join the staff at Jefferson Patterson Park & Museum Saturday, April 17, for their 2010 season opening, Discovering Archaeology Day. Discover the where, what and how of archaeology. The park will be open from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. with demonstrations, tours, displays and hands-on activities for all ages.

Breezy Point Beach Calvert County tourism

On Monday, April 19, don your spiffy pirate duds and hit Breezy Point Beach to join Captain Jack for a real-life treasure hunt. There’s a pirate chest buried in the sand and it’s full of treasure. What sort of treasure you say? Aye, that’s for you to find out, Mate! The admission is free, but you must register by April 16. It’s easy to register – walk into any Calvert County Parks and Recreation office, phone 410-535-1600, ext. 2225, fax 410-535-2233 or go online, The program number is 460400A.

Looking for a fun way to stay fit? Breezy Point Beach has the sand, the ball and the net – all they need is you for beach volleyball. They are creating a summer league and if you are interested in keeping fit and having fun in the sun, call 410-535-0259 or e-mail the staff.