Friday, May 17, 2013

Annapolis, MD

After our very pleasant stay in Oxford, we jumped back across to the west side of Chesapeake Bay to see Annapolis.  We were there by car a couple of years ago but wanted to visit it from the water.  Annapolis is just one of those towns you need to see if you are a boater.

There is an area just south of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge for naval ships to anchor.

Another lighthouse was easy to spot.  Thomas Point Lighthouse, built in 1875, is the only screwpile light on the Bay still in its original position. It now has a solar-powered light which has an 11-mile range.

There appeared to be a race in progress as we approached Annapolis.  Several of the boats had their spinnakars out for the downwind leg.

I wasn't sure what was going on with this picture the first time I saw it.  A tsunami wave maybe?  Then I found out Rhonda had selected the fish-eye option on the camera!

Here's the Naval Academy from the water.

Lots of tour boats along the waterfront area.

We were fortunate to get a prime spot right in the heart of Annapolis and only a couple of blocks from the Academy.  It's a small city dock with only room for a few boats our size.

Rhonda and I don't usually do tours but we decided to take that option for the Naval Academy.  You can actually walk around the campus and buildings on your own, but we figured the guide would be pointing out the interesting stuff without us having to figure it out ourselves.

I won't give you all of the facts and figures, but it's pretty interesting hearing about some of the statistics, traditions, etc.  I will say this - the competition to get into the academy is fierce and the dedication it requires is even more so.  The midshipmen gave the impression and appearance of being first class young men and women and we felt proud to know they are representing our country in this way.

Our first stop was the athletic building.  All midshipmen are required to participate in sports.  On the way to the facility we passed the mascot - a goat.  The story is that in one of their early football games, Navy had no mascot, passed a farm along the way, saw a goat, "appropriated" it to be their mascot, won the game, and the rest is history.

The guide thought he'd be funny and said that the reason the pool is empty is because of the sequester - they had to drain the pool and sell the water.   

All midshipmen are required to make the jump from the 30-meter platform at least once.  No one has ever not completed the jump - sort of like practice for if you have to abandon ship!

There are several hallways full of hall-of-famers in all sports.  The two everyone recognized were David Robinson (basketball) and Roger Staubach (football).  Here's the Heisman Trophy for Staubach - the player and the school each get one.

The dorms are fabulous.  This one building houses all 4400 students.  Only the university in Moscow has a larger dormitory building.  Everything they need is right there including food, medical, barbers, etc..  They all eat together and the food is served to all 4400 of them in about 3 minutes!

I don't recall my dorm area being quite this spectacular, do you?

The grounds are beautiful.

The commanding officers' quarters were pretty nice.  They were duplexes but not bad!

Pictures of the chapel.

And in the upper ceiling area in the back of the chapel is a boat votive, representing prayers ascending to heaven for those sailors not yet returned from their assignments.

And finally, the really interesting story of John Paul Jones.  He was the Navy's most revered seaman and never lost a battle.  I did not know this but he also fought for other countries and never lost a battle for them either.  He died at age 45 and was "preserved" in a coffin full of alcohol, but his body was later misplaced in France.  Teddy Roosevelt ordered that his body be found to be buried at the academy and it took 6 years to narrow the possibilities to about 6 bodies.  They used a bust of Jones to determine which of the six was Jones, and he was given a very special crypt in the bottom floor of the church right under the dome area.

There's a nice museum that is really first class.  There was so much to see but we thought the "bone ship" replicas carved by  French prisoners were the most interesting.

All in all the visit makes you proud to be an American, proud of what we stand for, and though we have made some mistakes, very, very proud for our history and the principles and traditions this great country was founded upon.

Back in town, here's the Maryland State House.

Here's one of the downtown streets leading down to the water with a mural on one of the buildings.

And a pretty flower to end the day.

Next stop - Chesapeake City, MD and then a short run into Delaware.

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