Monday, June 1, 2009

First Great Circle Trip of 2009!!!

Once again the Chesapeake weather gods were on our side...this past saturday was our first all day Great Circle Tour of the year...a trip that takes in 10 of the Bays northern lights with a stop at Tolchester for lunch.

We ran south to Sharps Island Light first and then headed north up the bay with the tide and wind in our favor...took in a nice meal at Tolchester Marine and then headed back south...just in time to catch both a wind and tide change...

The sailing activity at the along the Western shore was vigorous..and beautiful as always...while shipping traffic was lighter than some days we did get to see a few of the tugs pushing up the Bay and one or two commercial freighters.

We had a fantastic group of folks join us...lots of good questions and loads of smiles...hoping to get pictures from some of them to share here with all of you !

Many thanks to all of our passengers who made the day so much fun...

Captain Mike

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Memorial Day Passage Trip ...great fun!

Mother Nature did us well this past Saturday as we set out for the 5 light Passage trip...we had a full boat of enthusiastic passengers...and fantastic weather through out the day.

The wind did pick up a bit as we headed south down the bay towards home...but these folks were up for the challenge...

Those who chose to come astern and finish the trip under the canopy were fully entertained by the die hard few who stood on the bow greeting each Chesapeake Wave with great hoots, screams and lots of laughs...while we did get a few shots of this ribaldry..our video was not cooperative and we missed most of the action...promise that the next time we will have all equipment up and running to capture these moments.

Thanks again to all who made this day a terrific success.

See you soon aboard the M/V Sharps Island

Captain Mike

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's not too early.......summer trips are booking

This morning as we sit in the office, reviewing trip schedules, the Captain looking over charts and plotting for The Southern Expedition, we are gifted with a beautiful scene...

Snow over Dogwood Harbor....if you are not local you may not realize that here on our side of the Chesapeake snow is really a rare occurance. While Washington and Baltimore may be getting inches, the water temperature of the bay usually manages to deflect any fronts that may bring us winter precipitation...

On this wintry day it is hard to believe that folks are planning for their summer explorations...but it's true..just yesterday we booked passengers for our Fourth of July tour.

So if you are considering a Lighthouse tour as one of your summer outings...give us a call !!

Capt. Mike

Monday, January 26, 2009

Onancock, Virgina proposed overnight location for Southern Expedition

As you may know , we are in the planning phase for the Southern Expedition Lighthouse trip scheduled for August of 2009.

As this is a two day trip we will require and overnight stay at the mid way point. We are really leaning towards the centuries old waterfront village of Onancock, Virginia.

The February edition of Chesapeake Bay magazine includes a great one page write up on this town (page 27).

"That is one of the things that makes Onancock Wharf and Onancock itself such a great place to visit. Everything from restaurants, withing easy walking distance of the marina."

"We found the Charlotte Hotel on North Street, where we feasted on fabulous seared Hatteras grouper. On a scale of 1-4 we gave it a 5"

We are lucky to have some old Navy friends living in Onancock who have given us a big thumbs up on the area. Carol and I will be heading down to spend the weekend in Onancock next month to check into the accomodations, the restaurants and the marina...but it sounds like a fantastic spot for our mid way overnight.

You can access the article at

We will keep you posted as details of the trip firm up.

Capt. Mike

Pooles Island...A John Donohoo Lighthouse

Many Thanks to Erik Nyfenger who traveled with us in September of this past year on The Great Circle Route.

After speaking with Erik this past week about the upcoming Southern Expedition we received and email with a few of the pictures that he shot on the trip.

While small in stature, there is just something about the Lighthouse on Pooles Island that is really is extremely simple...beautifully balanced...the back drop of the island is fantastic against the white tower.

As we bring the boat around the southern end of the island there is one brief bit of time when the back drop is just perfect, allowing you to get the lush green foliage behind the white tower and the clean blue of the sky behind the black lantern room.

Seem a bit funny to get so excited about something this simple....well, maybe...but when you spend so much of your time in appreciation of these extrodinary, unique structures you begin to develop a true sense of what each one has to offer.....
We can't wait to get back out there !

Wednesday, January 14, 2009


While it may seem a bit frigid and early the year to be thinking about a day out on The Chesapeake Bay we are eagerly planning for a fantastic year. For the first time in our 5 years of Lighthouse tours we are putting into the play a trip into the Southern Chesapeake.

Listed below you will find our initial itinerary draft.

We have had some fantastic dialog with some of our previous passengers about this trip and we welcome feedback from you as well. If the Southern Expedition is of interest to you please contact us at your earliest convenience with your questions or to make your reservation.

Of course we will also be running the full compliment of our other tours, The Tri-Light, The Passage, The Great Circle and the new Great Schooner Race Trip. Should you have interest in one of these trips or wish to purchase a gift certificate we would be happy to help you with that.

Looking forward to a fantastic 2009 Season and wishing you a terrific winter!

Capt. Mike


Chesapeake Lights Lighthouse Tours
Southern Chesapeake Bay Lighthouse Expedition

We have had many requests for a tour of the Southern Bay lighthouses and in response to these requests we are in the process of researching the details of “The Southern Expedition”. Initial plans include two 2 day expeditions which will each encompass twelve historic lighthouses/replacement lights and an overnight visit to historic Onancock Virginia. Tentative dates are the first and last weekends of August.

The first day we will travel south on the Western shore to see 5 lights before turning Eastward to arrive in Onancock in the late afternoon.

We will reserve a block of rooms at a local Inn or Motel and passengers will be responsible for making their own reservations at the facility.

The second day we will travel Northward into historic Tangier Sound seeing 7 lights before arriving at Tilghman Island in the late afternoon.

The cost of the Lighthouse portion of the trip will be about $200 per person with a 16 passenger maximum. A 50% deposit will be required and a 30 day cancellation period will be applied. We would like to have all reservations taken by May 15th. We are only running 2 of these trips this season so space is limited.

Please note that while some of the lights are replacements and not the historic structures it seems logical to visit these sites as we will be traveling by them in route. We feel that the value of seeing the system that was put into place by The US Lighthouse Service will add considerably to the overall understanding of the importance of the system to commerce in the late 1800’s. We will also offer detailed narrative on the history and service of the original structures on these sites and offer photos when possible.


Day One

Cove Point
Cedar Point
Point No Point
Point Lookout
Smith Point
Hooper Island
Day Two
Tangier Sound
Janes Island
Solomons Lump
Sharkfin Shoal
Hooper Straight
Hooper Island
Sharps Island

The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race October 4, 2008


We had such a fantastic time on this trip that we are now adding it as a 'standard' to our annual schedule.

For those of you who are not familiar with this race it has quite an interesting history and the variety of vessels that particpate is absolutely phenomenal!

"The Great Chesapeake Bay Schooner Race (GCBSR) was founded to promote public awareness of the Chesapeake Bay's maritime heritage and to encourage the preservation and improvement of the Chesapeake's natural resources. We accomplish this goal by donating the proceeds of the race to one or more charitable organizations involved in conservation of the natural resources of the Chesapeake Bay. To date, $104,600 has been donated to support children's education programs of the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.
The race begins in Fells Point, in Baltimore, Maryland, and ends 127 nautical miles down the Chesapeake Bay in Portsmouth, Virginia. Entry is open to all schooner-rigged vessels.

We started out from Tilghman around 10am and headed North up under the Chesapeake Bay Bridge in hopes of catching some of the fleet as they came down from Fells Point to the start line. Our timing was perfect and we were able to get quite a few 'pre-race' photos of some of the 'big girls' as they traveled South.

While all entrants in this event must be schooner rig, this does leave quite a bit of leeway as there are many types of schooner rigs of various sizes. The contrast between some of the participants was just the Behemoth Mystic (170 ft. overall length) sailing side by side with The Martha White (65 ft. overall length). It was also a blast to see the 'personalities' of the vessels as brought about by the crews...some in crisp matching uniform, some 'come as you are' and some just down right bawdy and having a terrific time in pirate costume or crazy hats with noise makers.

The weather was perfect including a dramatic disappearance of the wind right at the start of the race. There was about a 15 minute window during which all vessels were becalmed...when the wind did finally pick back up it made the start pretty interesting. It did take us a bit of time to figure out the starting horns for the different classes...the huge number of vessels all vying for a place at the start was almost overwhelming....In addition to the vessels in the race there were also a large number of boats, such as ourselves, who were there as made for some interesting navigation at the mouth of the river.
We traveled with a list of all participating
vessels and their photos and had great fun looking them up as we spotted them, determining home ports and reading the histories.

After watching the start of all classes we had the privilege of traveling south in the company of The Virginia , The Pride of Baltimore and Woodwind as they sailed neck-n-neck down past the tip of Kent Island. Once again the photo opps as we traveled with them were just incredible...the late afternoon sun from the western shore really gave us some nice silhouette shots.
Look for the 2009 Great Schooner Race on our Trip schedule and phone early to book your 'berth'!!

You can learn more about the history of this event and pre-race activities at