Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Memorial Day

What a great day! We spent it kayaking on the South River with Jen and Dan.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Blue Angels

Every May for Commissioning (Naval Academy graduation) Week, the Blue Angels fly over Annapolis. They do a practice run on Tuesday and the main show on Wednesday. Mark and I discussed, though: how do you "practice" precision flying? "Oops, my bad!"

The first year I lived here, not knowing the Blue Angels were in town, I was hanging out at the beach house on my day off. The planes flew over, very low, on a turnaround back north toward Annapolis. To quote the classics, "If I woke up tomorrow with my face stapled to the carpet, I couldn't be more surprised." This year, I was able to go out with Mark on SpinSheet's boat to watch. Mark got lots of great shots of their amazing flying. It's astounding how close the planes fly to one another, especially at such high speeds. It's one more thing that makes Annapolis such a cool place to live. -S.

Saturday, May 20, 2006


This is Sara Etter in her spring finery. She is the daughter of Shannon's brother Bart, but is most excited to be related to "UncaMark." (Mark, for those of you who don't know, is very popular with the 2-8 year old girl demographic.)
We happen to think Sara is pretty swell herself. -S.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Mark at the Extreme

I got the chance to ride on this boat in the "parade of sail" as the the Volvo Ocean Race boats made their trip from Baltimore to Annapolis. It was a mascot of sorts, 65 feet long, designed by Annapolis based Farr Yachts, which also designed several of the boats in the Race. Accomodations were pretty nice, considering it was designed to be a racing boat (and lunch was even included). Several other members of the media and I joined the Sweedish crew for a great sail as we tacked our way alongside the Volvo boats on this beautiful day. I am second from the left as we display proper "hiking form". Not a bad day at the office...

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

"Action Jackson" Talbott

On Sunday, we went out on SpinSheet's boat to watch and photograph the start of leg 6 of the Volvo Ocean Race, from Annapolis to a "pit stop" in New York. The spectator fleet was estimated at 3500 boats, all assembled to watch the race fleet get underway. The course went briefly north toward the Bay bridge, for the benefit of spectators, then back south toward the Atlantic Ocean, where they faced 45-MPH winds.

The speed of the 70-foot race boats was impressive, even in the lighter winds on the Bay. We were going fairly fast in the powerboat just to keep up. At times, I was the only thing holding Mark on the boat as he took pictures (over 600 in about two hours!) A friend of the editors took this shot of our boat. -S.

Monday, May 08, 2006


Our second cousin Cooper turned one on Friday. On Saturday, his grandparents (Shannon's Aunt Beth and Uncle Walter) threw him a luau in Richmond. They flew in leis and flowers from Hawaii, and they and prepared a delicious feast, including the traditional pig. We had a wonderful time, but more importantly, so did the birthday boy!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

The size of their toys...

After racing most of the way around the world already, the boats of the Volvo Ocean Race have come to the U.S. Annapolis is the main American stopover, bringing the excitment of the Race to the Chesapeake Bay. Seven boats, each 70' long, decked out in corporate sponsor logos, and representing the cutting edge in modern fast sailing design, are now in Baltimore and will travel to Annapolis later this week. A multitude of events and parties will form around their arrival, and there is much buzz and excitement as all the preparation begins to pay off. For the first time in the history of the race (which is about as old as I am) there are "in-port" 'round the buoys' races at each stopover. Thus providing the public, or at least those with access to a boat, a glimpse of the boats in action, during an actual race, in which the scores actually count towards each team's overall standings. I was able to take out the company boat to watch the in-port race (from the sidelines, thankfully I had a zoom lens) and get some pictures on Saturday while the teams squared off, and showed off for the spectator fleet. This picture is currently featured on the home page of SpinSheet and shows 4 of the boats rounding the downwind mark and heading back into the wind.