Vinni-Chesapeake Bay South

We left Soloman Island the 10th of August and made our way south. We’ve decided that the rest of our trip here on the “BAY” will be on the western side, as this is the most interesting historically and because the eastern side from here on down is mostly marsh and sump with few towns. The water on the eastern side is also much too shallow for a boat like Capri.

A great surprise! A hour after we left and early in the morning, we suddenly get called on our VHF. Sailing the world as a long range cruiser can be a bit of a lonely affair, so meeting someone you know is always an unexpected pleasure. This time it is our Australian friends, Daryl and Leanne, who spotted Capri on their chartplotter. We haven’t seen them yet, apparently because their AIS isn’t sending with the same strength as ours. Carsten and Daryl have a long talk on the VHF about visas – apparently Daryl and Leanne have all the same issues we do. As we get closer, we stop our boats (going in opposite directions) and say “hi” in person. They’re trying to get to Annapolis by nightfall. We agree to meet in Charleston in November. We keep running in to them – we met them in Oriental a couple of months ago.

After a good days sailing, we pass Point Look Out at the mouth of the Potomac. The Potomac will lead us roughly 100nm up to Washington D.C. We’ve planned to use 3 days to get there and our first stop will be in St. Mary’s, which lies on a tributary right in a large horseshoe shaped bend in the river. We drop the hook in this idyllic bay along with 2 other sailboats.

 

Our guidebook tells us that we should visit the university and the historic part of the town. It tells us nothing else. Strange. Normally the guidebook tells something about the town history, places to eat, visit, etc. There is, however, a good reason for this lack of description. There is no real town left, only the small university with 1400 students, who are on summer holiday. We dinghy in and look around, finally finding the “historic site” which is an open-air museum alongside one of the old university buildings.

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original college

The university was founded in 1845 and was a women’s college – although it since has become co-ed. I wondered why someone would found a women’s college out here “in the middle of nowhere”, it would seem more likely that they should have founded a nunnery this far from civilization. We got the answer when we reached the open-air museum nearby the old Statehouse from 1676, where a sign tells us that St. Mary’s actually was the capital of Maryland until Annapolis took over in 1694. That’s the reason a college was founded here.

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Unfortunately, the university was pretty much closed for the summer, but the open-air museum was more than interesting, not only because it had reconstructions of some of the early buildings, but also told the history of the place.

The first settlers in this area of Maryland were the Yaocomaco Indians, who migrated here in the summers to be close to Chesapeake Bay and the cooler ocean air. They were farmers, planting corn and tobacco and fished extensively. The Indians came approximately 12,000 years ago and when the first European settlers showed up one would think that it would have resulted in a bloody fight. It didn’t – in fact they lived in a close symbioses with each other. The Indians gave land to the Europeans and taught them how to farm corn and tobacco, the Europeans gave the Indians clothes and iron tools.

I learned something here I had never heard about before. Many of the settlers from the UK came here as indentured servants (contract slaves). They didn’t have enough money to pay for the long and expensive trip by sea, so they sold themselves on typically 5 or 7 year contracts as slaves to one of the plantation owners. After having paid off their debt for the trip, the now released indentured servant was given some money, tools and food and left to realize their dream for a new and better life in the colonies.

The open-air museum has a number of reconstructions of the houses of the European settlers, Afro-American slaves and Indians set out much as the town was back in the 1600’s.

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The local shop/bar/market

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Indian house

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Slave house

Despite the importation of many slaves to Maryland, the area still needed more workers. In most other areas of the colonies, any slave that was caught after trying to flee, was sentenced to death, either by hanging or shot in an effort to frighten other slaves from getting their own ideas about fleeing. Here, however, they were whipped and put in stocks as an example.

Just outside the courthouse there are two types of stocks, one for the head and hands and one for hands and feet. Right alongside the stocks is the whipping post where the condemned was bound up and whipped. Just the thought of being whipped or put in the stocks was enough to scare me.

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It is strange that the entire town simply disappeared when the capitol moved to Annapolis.

The next day we upped anchor early and sailed further up the Potomac. Our pilotbook tells us that the Potomac is ignored by many cruising sailors, this despite the fact that there are many inviting anchorages and even a number of marinas, if you have a shorter keel than Capri. The river is the border between Maryland and Virginia and runs through a beautiful landscape. Especially the latter part of the trip is idyllic.

Approximately 15 miles from Washington we pass Mount Vernon, George Washington’s plantation. The house is situated high on the hill with a 360-degree view.

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After 3 days we reach Washington, but the sail in doesn’t hold a candle to our sail into New York.

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Believe it or not, we find a mooring ball right here in the center of Washington, $20 per night – the cheapest “hotel” in the city We’re not allowed to anchor here or it would be free. We have access to showers and a laundry in the marina on the other side of the river. The only complaint we have is that the airport is right in the center of the city and we can hear the planes landing and taking off. But, on the other hand – we have a golf course 100 yards away and a gigantic fish market a 3 minute dinghy ride away.

“Holy Christ!!!” we wake up thinking we’re in the middle of the Vietnam war. Military and police helicopters fly right over us, so low that we are actually concerned about them hitting our mast.

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There are something like 30-40 helicopters overhead every day – where are they all going? Later that evening, right in the middle of our dinner, three big marine helicopters pass over in formation and make the turn for the White House. Trump is probably on his way home after playing golf up in New Jersey. We’re told that the White House is being remodeled at the moment.

The next three days we’ll be tourists in Washington

Day 1

I’ve always thought that a “Mall” was a huge shopping center, today a “Mall” got a whole new meaning for me. We started by walking up to the National Mall, an enormous open green park surrounded by museums collectively known as The Smithsonian. Here we find no less than 12 museum and countless galleries, so we’ll be hard pressed to choose which ones we want to visit, starting tomorrow. Museums are for tomorrow and the next day – today we have other plans.

How in the world did this museum Mecca come about? A very rich James Smithson built a palace-like structure, known as The Castle, and donated it to Washington to become a national museum. Today, the Castle is home to the visitor’s center and Smithson’s crypt. Since his time, the museum has spread and built specific purpose buildings all along the Mall. It will take weeks to see them all.

 

We planned a modest 10-kilometer hike here on our first day in the Capital. The 10 kilometers is a trek around the Mall and the Lagoon to see the more famous monuments etc. 10 kilometers will not bring around to see all of them. Our first stop is the Washington Monument, where we hope to climb the many steps to the top and get a view out over the entire city, but it is closed for renovations (Carsten sighed happily at the thought of NOT having to climb all those steps), so we were reduced to admiring it from the outside.

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From there we went to the White House. I’ve dreamed (like many others) of getting a guided tour of the inside, but unfortunately since 9/11 security has been tightened considerably. If you’re a foreigner you need to be accompanied by the Charge des Affairs of your embassy and the Danish Embassy has no way to offer this service to visiting tourists. American citizens need to have an invite from their Congressman. So, we’ll just have to look at it from the outside. I’m surprised the White House isn’t bigger.

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From here, the trek naturally follows the reflecting pool to the Lincoln Memorial, where the Presidents are sworn in, as hundreds of thousands watch from alongside the pool. On the way, we pass the memorials for the First and Second World War. Particularly the latter is impressive and lies at the end of the Reflecting Pool opposite the Lincoln Memorial.

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We wander along the reflecting pool enjoying the morning and end up on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, along with many others. Here he sits, tall in his chair, the President who fought to preserve the Union and by his Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves in the rebellious south.

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He is quoted from a letter to Horace Greeley:

“My paramount object in this struggle is to save the Union, and is not either to save or to destroy slavery. If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it, and if I could save it by freeing all the slaves I would do it; and if I could save it by freeing some and leaving others alone I would also do that.”

He actually did the last with the Emancipation Proclamation. It proclaimed that all slaves in the rebellious south were free and it was hoped that they would rise up against their masters. At the same time, it did NOT free the slaves that were in the northern states. Lincoln needed to keep a good relationship with his northern supporters. Personally he was against slavery – “All men are created equal”.  Slavery in the rest of the states ended with the ratification of the Thirteenth Amendment to the Constitution, effective December 1865.

On one of the walls is the text of Lincoln probably most famous speech, The Gettysburg Address, held 4 months after the great battle that turned the tide of the war in the Union’s favor. Carsten stood and studied it carefully, explaining that when he was in school, they had to learn by rote. Unfortunately, his “senior moment” has weakened his memory and he no longer can recite it from memory. He’s actually sorry he can’t – I tested him.

Just like last night when he claimed to be able to sing the entire “Star-Spangled Banner” from memory. Well, he knew the words – but he shouldn’t quit his dayjob yet for a singing career. I guess in some ways he is more American than Danish even though he has always been a Danish citizen. He did admit that he didn’t know the Danish National Anthem by heart (shame, shame) but at least he knew the name and most of the lyrics. When I laughed, he challenged me to sing it – to my surprise I could – the entire song.

Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate — we can not consecrate — we can not hallow — this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.

After a quick lunch we passed by Martin Luther King Jr. monument.

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The guidebook recommends walking along the “Tidal Basin”, also known as “The Lagoon” where the Jefferson Memorial dominates the shoreline.

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Jefferson Memorial dominates the Lagoon

But first, we passed by the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial even though we have visited his home in Hyde Park, New York. The exact opposite of the Jefferson Memorial that dominates the shoreline, the FDR Memorial is set back amidst the trees and is nowhere near as showy. Perhaps the difference tells something about the two men’s personalities. The FDR Memorial is a very untypical Memorial and very difficult to photograph as a whole because it is a long wall going in many directions. Made of granite, it blends beautifully into the background of the trees and the landscape. Along the walls are several of FDR’s famous quotes, here is one of them that I especially like:

”The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little”

FDR founded the American Social Security System. He was an aristocrat, but perhaps his Dutch background came through here.

There is also a statue of Eleanor here and one of her quotes:

” The structure of world peace cannot be the work of one man, or one party, or one nation… It must be a peace which rest on the cooperative effort of the whole world.”

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The statue of FDR is also very different. He sits with his beloved Scottish Terrier, Fala, by his side. I just had to scratch Fala behind his ears.

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The last monument on our list for the day is the Jefferson Memorial. Thomas Jefferson wrote the Declaration of Independence singlehanded and was later part author and signer of the Constitution. Here on the walls are inscribed a number of his speeches where, amongst other things he declares that all men are created equal, have equal rights and the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, and that slaves should be freed. Despite all these sentiments, he was a signer of a document that declared that slaves should only be counted as 3/5ths of a man. He was a plantation owner and never freed his own slaves. He’s also known for siring 6 children with his slave Sally Hemmings. He never freed her, but did free their “illegitimate” children when they turned 18.

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All in all, a long trek filled with impressive monuments and statues. Ended up with sore and very tired “maxi-taxis”. Back on Capri, I decided my Maxi-taxis had become mini-taxis

2nd dag

Museums. As I noted earlier, the National Mall has 12 Smithsonian museums along it, today we chose two.

First, we visited the American Museum of History. A huge and typical historical museum that pictured the United States beginnings as a nation and much newer history, with a strong focus on the political side. Inside we needed to be selective and my interest lies with the early history. We walked through a very detailed history of the continent up to and including the Revolutionary War against the British, 1776-1783 and the Civil War, 1860-1865 and a less detailed history of the civil rights struggles from the 1950’s and 1960’s. I found it all so interesting that I bought an American history book that I’ll attempt to chew my way through. I expect that my English will not be quite up to the task and I’ll have to use my two-legged translation dictionary, otherwise known as Carsten. So, he’s decided to read the book first so he can answer all my questions.

Next up is the National Museum of African American History and Culture. A completely new museum that opened last year. Really crowded. Busloads if people unloaded out front all day, more than 90% of whom are Afro-Americans. A truly modern museum that over 3 floors showed the Afro-Americans history from slavery to Barrack Obama. It is really difficult to describe the atmosphere inside this museum when so many Afro-Americans of all ages are confronted with their ancestor’s life as slaves. I can hear several of the older visitors talking about their experiences as children, when Segregation ruled the land and was a part of their daily life. I experienced a similar intense atmosphere years ago when I visited the Tate Gallery in New York that was showing an exhibition on lynching. It was also sobering.

The visit here made a big impression on me and I’m not particularly proud of my skin color this day. When we visited Christiansted on St. Croix I was ashamed of Denmark’s role in the slave trade and in the use of slaves. My conscience is eased somewhat when I learn that Denmark’s role was minimal, the slave trade was divided as follows:

Denmark – 85,000 slaves (still 85,000 too many)

The Netherlands – 500,000 slaves

Great Britain – 3 million slaves

France – 3 million slaves

Portugal – 5 million slaves

The exhibit barely mentions though (they really should clarify this) that it was Africans that captured the fellow Africans and sold them to the Europeans. Men, women and children were taken as prisoners in their tribal wars, taken to the coast and sold. This was not mentioned anywhere.

In a small section of the museum is Emmett Till’s casket. The atmosphere here is intensely palatable. Emmett was a 16-year Afro-American boy from Virginia who visited his uncle and cousin in Alabama. Emmett’s mother had warned him before he went about the racial hatred that existed in Alabama and that he should be careful. One day Emmett and his cousin were parked in their car outside the local grocery store when the storeowner’s wife came out. Emmett thought her pretty and whistled. That evening, the husband and his brother-in-law drive out to Emmett’s uncle’s house and took Emmett for a ride. He never returned and was finally found when his body surfaced in a nearby pond. He had been tortured and was almost unidentifiable. His mother chose to show Emmett publically in his casket and pictures of this are printed around the country. The casket is on exhibit, because some years ago, the body was exhumed for DNA analysis to make sure it was Emmett (it was of course). He was buried again, but in a newer casket, his old one donated to the museum.

The killing of Emmett and the imprisonment of Rosa Parks, the Afro-American woman who refused to give up her seat to a white person on a bus, were two of the sparks that ignited the civil rights movement in the 50’s and 60’s. The civil rights movement was at times violent and a number of Afro-Americans and also white civil rights workers were murdered. I’ve heard Carsten tell many times that he remembers the scenes of riots and demonstrations from TV news broadcasts when he was a youngster. Aside from documenting the Afro-Americans history, the exhibition also clearly sends the message that the creation of the United States as well as the development of the country into a wealthy nation, was in no little part due to Afro-Americans, not the least through their labors as slaves and their participation in both the Revolutionary as well as the Civil War.

I’m also pleased to see, especially in the larger cities, although also in the south, biracial couples. Apparently without any open antagonism from whites being visible.

Carsten and I walk back to Capri in silence. The impressions we’ve experienced today will some time to digest.

Day 3

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Today we walked the Mall down to the United States Capitol Building and the Congress, which is situated on a hillock at the end of the Mall. A fascinating building, it reeks of power, and has a glistening white dome topped by The Statue of Freedom. After having successfully rebelled against the British and writing a Constitution (signed in 1787 and ratified in 1788), the new nation decided that its Capital should lie in the middle of the country and both Virginia and Maryland ceded a plot of land, which was to become the District of Columbia. The new capital was then named after George Washington. Construction of the Capitol Building began in 1793 and the US Congress has met here since 1800. The Congress has two chambers, the Senate having 100 members, elected for 6-year terms and the House of Representatives having 435 members, elected for 2-year terms. The Senate Chambers are in the northern end of the building and the House Chambers are in the southern end. The building has undergone many renovations, reconstructions and enlargement in the more than 200 years it has existed. The biggest reconstruction was after the British burned the building in 1814 (during the war of 1812), where the dome, made of wood, burned and collapsed completely. The wooden structure was replaced with one made of iron, not marble as I thought. We gained entrance to the Rotunda, the heart of the Capitol building, under the great dome. A beautiful room that has no purpose today other than ceremonial functions and for funerals of state (Rosa Parks was granted a State funeral here in 2005). The underside of the dome is magnificently painted and the Rotunda is filled with statues of important personages from American history. Truly impressive.

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Despite it being on summer holiday, we gained permission to visit the Senate Chambers.

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After having visited a number of historic sites and places in the US on our travels, I’ve realized that FREEDOM is the basic value that all American culture has been built on over the past almost 250 years. We’ve seen Statue of Liberty in New York harbor and now The Statue of Freedom which has stood on top of the Capitol Dome since 1863.

As I understand the American culture, it’s basic tenent is that I, as a citizen, will realize my possibilities and not be limited by the governement or other authorities. This, despite knowing that not everyone has the same possibilities and therefore not the same good conditions for making it in the society, is a healthy basic value, as long as we remember that we have a common responsibiity. I can’t help but compare this to the culture we have developed in Denmark. How many citizens have become “clients” instead of self motivated and decisive members of the society? Frequently, the attitude is that it is the society’s fault that I am where I am and not where I desire to be. Frequently it seems that the goal is to grab as much (welfare) as possible instead of trying to take care of oneself. I think things are going the wrong way in Denmark. Of course, there are weaknesses in both cultures.

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After lunch in the Capitol cafeteria, we visited the National Museum of The American Indian. “A Forgotten People” according to Robert Redford, who along with a professor of Indian Studies, himself an American Indian, have constructed this exhibition. Here are few visitors, itself a confirmation of Redford’s statement.

Our expectations were high after visiting the Afro-American Museum yesterday. But the historical section filled only a little in comparison with the exhibitions of current Indian life. There is an extremely detailed showing of the different Indian tribes that still exist in North and South America. We learned about their tribe’s size, culture and value system and how they live today. Surprisingly, the Indian population is growing. Many of the young go to the cities to get an education and then come back to the reservations to establish their families.

We were both a bit disappointed in this museum. I expected to learn more about the conflicts (or lack thereof) between the Indians and the Europeans (Americans) as the Europeans encroached on the Indian lands and culture. The wars they fought and treaties they signed and then ignored. Many of the treaties were apparently either oral or if written conveniently disappeared so future generations of whites had an excuse for ignoring them. Perhaps it is also because we are filled to the brim with impressions after 3 days of wandering in Washington.

We decide to sail onward the next morning.

This time we caught the current going southward and we made it almost the entire length of the Potomac (95 nautical miles) in one day, all the way to the Coan River at the mouth of the Potomac. Here we find an anchorage in a bay behind a small fishing village. “Gunkholing” at its best, and we enjoyed lying here all alone in this idyllic spot.

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Fishermen at dawn on the Coan River

We plan to sail on to Yorktown, which together with Williamsburg and Jamestown form a historical triangle. But we’ll also have a pit-stop in Deltaville.

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Deltaville at eventide

We can clearly feel that we have left the river and are in the southern part of the Chesapeake Bay, close to the Atlantic. Just as it was a dream to have the current with us on the Potomac, now we’re sailing uphill. The next 2 days we tack with the wind directly on our bows and meter high Atlantic style waves and fighting a current that is 2-3 knots against us. Slowly but surely, we close in on Yorktown and the Yorktown River.

The river is wide but the current here is strong and our pilotbook recommends that we use one of the marinas mooring balls instead of anchoring. We were positively surprised when the marina told us, over the VHF, that use of the mooring balls was free. The positive turned negative when we saw the mooring balls. Huge metal balls, that have been set for use by military barges and the like, not small fiberglass boats. We do tie up to one, but quickly decide that this isn’t going to work. I can easily see in my mind’s eye, Capri being pounded up against these metal monsters when the current changes or by he wakes of passing boats.

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Red metal bouys, a US destroyer and a double swingbridge (one of only two in the world)

A mile from the marina, we find a “gunkhole” and anchor up in 6 meters of water. Little Capri (our dinghy) was fueled all the way to the top so we can make it the mile to the marina and back again. The marina has given permission to use their facilities, showers etc for free. And it is a charming little marina with a couple of good restaurants, some small shops and a nice beach.

Our guidebook mentioned that there is a free bus between the 3 towns, but to our disappointment, we’re told that it was discontinued a few years ago. Almost everyone who comes here comes by car – so no need for a bus. Fortunately car rental is cheap here, but first we’ll explore Yorktown on our maxi-taxi’s.

Yorktown is known as the site of the last major battle of the Revolutionary War. In 1781, Lord Cornwallis surrendered his army here. The town was established in 1691 and became an important habour, servicing Williamsburg, the Capital of Virginia at that time. The town grew to 200-250 houses, but went into decline in the mid 1700’s as the tobacco plantations moved further inland after years of tobacco crops had depleted the land.

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Victory Monument at Yorktown

The great battle in 1781 destroyed most of the town, the rest disappearing in two major fires in 1814 and 1863. There are several reconstructed houses on the main street that can be visited by tourists. The old Grace Church, used by Lord Cornwallis for gunpowder storage has survived everything and is still a church for the locals. It is the oldest Episcopalian church in the United States.

Note name on the pew – yes, George Washington sat here and if the sermon was particularly boring – he probably also slept here. On our way around Yorktown, we pass some reconstructed houses and the cave Cornwallis used as headquarters when Washington bombarded the town.

 

Short history of the Battle of Yorktown

The british general Lord Cornwallis was ordered in 1781 to establish a naval base in the southern part of the Chesapeake Bay. He chose Yorktown because it was a deep water harbour. His superior, General Clinton promised to send a fleet of warships to Yorktown to strengthen the port. The French, however, had formed an alliance with the colonists and sent their fleet up from the West Indies to the Chesapeake to establish a blockade for the bay and stop British fleet from coming to Lord Cornwallis’ aid. At the same time, George Washington marched his army and a French army the 400 miles from New York to Yorktown to attack and besiege Cornwallis from the land side. After 11 days of siege and bombardment, Cornwallis surrendered. The American victory at Yorktown effectively ended the Revolutionary War and ensured the colonists independence.

As an aside, Yorktown also had a “tea party”. Just like in Boston, local colonist boarded a British ship in the harbor and threw the barrels of tea in the water as a protest against the Tea Tax and against taxation without representation. Patrick Henry and Thomas Jefferson were two members of Virgina’s House of Burgesses and spoke there eloquently for independence (Patrick Henry’s famous speech “Give me liberty or give me death”).

We forgo the guided tour of the Yorktown battlefield and I wonder what the other two towns will be like. The next morning we drive up the Colonial Parkway, a beautiful drive through the forest to Williamsburg. Here is a completely reconstructed colonial town. Sponsored by the Rockefellers, the entire town is one large open-air museum. Lots of tourist and crowded in some places, but I have to admit that the concept is complete. It is overwhelming. We literally walk around in a town from the beginning of the 1700’s. The atmosphere is also there because all the personnel are dressed authentically. This open-air museum is different from others I have visited, not only in size, but also because 80 families actually live in the town – in the old houses. We visit those houses that are not lived in; the Governor’s house, barrel-maker, laundry, silversmith, the printing office, wheel-maker, City Hall , the local market and the Armory.  In each of these places, there are craftsmen showing how life was lived in the 1700’s. We ate lunch in one of the 3 restaurants, each with the authentic atmosphere of the 1700’s – the prices were from 2017 though.

Williamsburg took most of the day, but we did get to Jamestown an hour before closing. Jamestown is no longer a town, but the area is an historical icon. We spent some time in their visitor center and read about Jamestown and its founding.

In 1607 the Virginia Company of London was founded for the purpose of establishing a colony in “the newly discovered country”. The investors were rich aristocracy and also King James I. The company sent a ship with 104 “men and boys” to the James river, a marshland that was unwelcoming. Despite the harshness of the land, the men managed to establish a colony and build a town that they named after the King – Jamestown. Jamestown becomes the first permanent British settlement on the new continent.

More men are sent, but the winter of 1609-1610 is particularly hard and hunger threatens to wipe out the colony. Only 60 of 300 colonists survive the winter. More colonists arrive, but first after several years are they capable of producing tobacco. With a cash crop to sell to England, the colony grows. In need of labor, African slaves are imported. Finally in 1619 a ship with 90 unmarried women is sent and the colony now has families. The same year a House of Burgesses is established and Jamestown, the only real town in Virginia becomes the Capital.

The tobacco crops drain the nutrients from the soil and the plantation owners seek further and further away from town in an effort to continue the tobacco farming. As they encroach deeper into the Indian lands, they are no longer protected by the town. Angry and insecure, the plantation owners stage a rebellion against the British Governor who they feel doesn’t do enough to help them. In 1676, the Governor is away and the rebels attack and burn the town. The Capital is then moved to Williamsburg.

An interesting aside. In this part of the country, there is an colloquialism. If you say “See you on Sunday”, the answer frequently is “God willing and if the creek don’t rise”. Carsten, and most others always assumed that “creek don’t rise” meant if the waters in the river didn’t rise enough to prevent someone from crossing. The expression is old and has its roots in the Jamestown/Williamsburg era. The local Indians were the Creek Indians, so “if the Creek don’t rise” meant if the Creek Indians didn’t attack.

There is no open-air museum or ruins in Jamestown. We leave the visitor center and drive through the national park where Jamestown was located before heading home. It is difficult to imagine how they were able to settle in this unwelcome environment of marshland with only the brackish waters of the James River for water purposes. They must have been hard men who lived in a “male commune” for 12 years before that ship with 90 women arrived. The women must also have been made of sterner stuff. I can’t help but think – were they criminals or prisoners that were sent over? Australia was settled with criminals sent over by Britain.

Tired (again) we made it back to the marina and decided to eat at one of the restaurants. Excellent fish and chips by the way. But time marched on and it was later than planned when we got ready to dinghy back to Capri. It was almost dark. We had a serious problem, because we had neither life vest nor lights for the dinghy and as luck would have it, three RIB boats filled with the U.S. Coast Guard were lying at the dock. Shit. Shit again. Our pilotbook tells us the Coast Guard happily gives out mega fines for sailing without life vests or lanterns.

Fortunately, one of the RIB leaves, but the other two aren’t in a hurry – they just picked up some pizzas from the restaurant. Shit (again), I’ll be really pissed if we get a fine. Finally one of the two RIB leaves and the last one begins training how to dock and undock. We decide to try to sneak out under the cover of the semi-darkness. The training boat is apparently filled new cadets that are learning to sail and to dock the RIB and they are so concentrated on that, that they either don’t notice us, or decide not to bother with us. We make it out to Capri and can breathe a sigh of relief. We get ready to sail to Norfolk.

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