We accidentally discovered St. Clement’s Island in the middle of the night, in the middle of an overnight sail, in the middle of a trip from the river to the bay. Charles was enjoying an overnight solo watch and in the wee hours of the morning he dropped anchor in a protected cove, sheltered by a small dark island in the middle of the river.
As the sun rose we discovered that we were anchored next to St. Clement’s island, an uninhabited 40-acre state park featuring a bell tower, a 40 foot stone cross, and a lighthouse. This island is the site of Maryland’s first colonial landing by The Ark and The Dove, hailing from the Isle of Wight in England. The sailors landed in 1634 on the feast day of St. Clement, the patron saint of mariners, and the island was thereby named.
After breakfast, Charles, Sylvie and I stretched our legs on the wide expanse of beach. Sylvie’s been to the beach on previous sailing trips and loved it every time.
St. Clement’s Island is only accessible by boat. In the summer, regular water taxis ferry tourists and history buffs to the lighthouse museum and picnic areas.
We walked the length of the island and heard only the birds, a surprised deer and Sylvie exploring the brush. Although the island is small, it was wonderful to know we were the only people there. Our home marina is an urban resort and although I love the energy and the options that our touristy historic neighborhood offers, it was refreshing to be totally alone on 40 acres.
I climbed the bell tower because how often do normal adults get to climb a bell tower on an uninhabited island? The rope is knotted, so no errant bell ringing.
We had a perfect view of the lighthouse as we sailed away. St. Clement’s Island is close enough to home to make it the perfect off-season getaway and far enough away to make it feel like we actually went somewhere.
OC was enjoying the chilly bay breeze in his fur and the sun on his whiskers as we sailed into the afternoon. He didn’t say it out loud but I think he enjoyed spending the afternoon alone on the boat, away from our 8 month old pup, the whippersnapper.
“Some years ago, never mind how long precisely, having little or no money in my purse, and nothing in particular to interest me on shore, I thought I would sail about a little and see the watery part of the world.” -Melville