Saturday, September 28, 2013

Baltimore, MD

At the National Aquarium, we were watching the dolphins frolicking together in the underwater observatory when all of a sudden one of the dolphins peed directly in front of the window, leaving a long yellow stream. The group of young adults next to us collectively groaned. "Did that dolphin just pee?" asked one woman. Her male companion said, "Yeah! I mean, that's just disrespectful. We didn't need to see that." The woman said, "Wow! I didn't know dolphins peed!" Nice to know the aquarium is meeting its objectives of educating the public.

Although the aquarium is smaller than Chicago's, it uses it's space efficiently and there were a lot of interesting fish and exhibits. The archer fish feeding alone was worth the price of admission. The fish squirted water to knock down crickets that the docent suspended over the water on a stick. It was the kind of scene you only get on National Geographic television. Speaking of TV, the highlight of the aquarium for Mark was watching the various short videos that were part of the exhibits. That boy loves his TV.
We went to the aquarium on Friday evening because they offer drastically reduced admission. It allowed us to be out late enough to hear the start of the opening act for Ke$ha in the open air pavilion. The very first line sung had definite R-rated language, so we didn't linger. We were not out long enough to see the freakiness that reportedly converges on Fell's Point on weekend evenings, which was somewhat disappointing. Being big city folk ourselves, we were mildly curious about what passes for wild behavior in this neck of the woods.

Baltimore's Historic Fell's Point district, where we were anchored, is vibrant, young, and hip. We haven't seen this many joggers along the waterfront since we left Chicago. There's also a high concentration of museums around the downtown harbor. Unfortunately, most of the major museums are closed on weekdays in September. After striking out with the Science Museum and the Children's Museum, we visited the Star Spangled Banner museum. It was surprisingly interesting for a museum devoted to one specific, gigantic flag that was sewn for Fort McHenry during the War of 1812. This was the flag that inspired Francis Scott Key to write the words to the Star Spangled Banner, so I guess it's not just any old flag. Even with the uncooperative museum schedules, we had a very educational visit for our boat schooled kids.

We've also managed to knock off some boat work. We picked up our recharged engine room fire extinguisher that mysteriously discharged. Also, Matt rebuilt the water pump for our fridge. This time he had to take apart the whole thing and put it back together several times to get it pumping again and to fix a leak. Both problems were caused by the barnacles that seem to infest everything. The next time you grab some ice out of the freezer, be grateful that you don't have to worry about things swimming into your cooling system and making a home.

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