Kent Island expects a crowd Lazy, hazy days of summer 1994 wind to a close

September 04, 1994|By Ed Brandt | Ed Brandt,Sun Staff Writer

KENT NARROWS -- Parrot Heads is the name of a boat, no doubt owned by fans of Key West singer Jimmy Buffett, and it rode on wavelets near a pier, waiting its turn to nuzzle up to a gas pump.

It had lots of company as the last weekend of summer got under way yesterday at the Mears Point marina on Kent Narrows and many other marinas around the Chesapeake Bay area.

"We expect 147 boats in today, and another 100 tomorrow," said Scott Hagedorn, the dock master at the 600-slip marina four miles east of the Bay Bridge that is one of the bay's busiest crossroads

A half-dozen dockhands worked the pier yesterday, directing a steady procession of Silvertons, Donzis, Sea Rays and other boats into their slips by radio and running the pumps steadily at $1.27 a gallon for gasoline, $1.14 for kerosene.

"We'll probably pump 12,000 gallons or more this weekend," said Mr. Hagedorn, who was a quality-assurance manager at Westinghouse for 17 years until the company downsized him out of a job. He's been at Mears for three months.

The weather yesterday -- blue skies, temperatures in the 70s, fluffy white clouds and a steady breeze that powered hundreds of sailboats on the Chesapeake Bay -- was grand if you were a HTC boater or just about anyone else who likes to spend leisure time outdoors.

Sgt. John Tugwell of the Maryland Natural Resources Police said boaters were flocking to the waters around Annapolis, Baltimore, Kent Island and Solomons Island yesterday afternoon.

But the sergeant warned of a different day today.

"Right now, the weather forecast calls for rain and strong winds," Sergeant Tugwell said. "If it rains, that will curtail boaters. We'll have maybe a few power boaters and sailboats," he said, but most people will stay away.

On an outside deck at the Mears Point marina yesterday, an electric guitarist and a young blond singer in stretch pants entertained a sparse but growing crowd of boaters. Mean while, waitresses at the Red Eye's Dock Bar, an open air saloon, served drinks at noontime to the drink-your-lunch crowd.

"It's easy now," a barmaid said as she swirled past, "but tonight and tomorrow -- wow!"

Wow, indeed, said Bob Wilson, general manager of the 70-acre complex, which includes the marina, several restaurants, a canvas shop and other adjuncts to the boating and seafood business.

"We'll have about 1,200 people here for the bikini contest . . .," he said. "We don't have room for all the boats that will come. We just line them up along the piers so they can get in on the fun. I'll bet we'll have more than 700 boats around here."

Mr. Wilson was a firefighter for the Anne Arundel Fire Department for nine years before he came to Mears in 1981.

Does it get rowdy?

"Not too bad," he said. "We have 16 security people on watch. Any trouble usually comes from someone hitting on someone else's girlfriend, but we break it up right away. It's usually a well-ordered crowd having a lot of fun."

Back on the pier, Joe Murtha of Philadelphia was checking over his 31-footer and waving to friends at another pier.

"We have 18 boats here from Richmond's marina on Bohemia River," he said. "It's our annual big recreational weekend. We like the bikini contest -- even my boy 12 and daughter 13 get a kick out of it -- and it only takes us a couple hours to get here. And we all have a good time together."

Did they come down the bay in a cavalcade?

"Well, sort of," Sue Murtha said. "We tried, but it was hard to keep it straight."

Dockhand Tina Pitler, a firefighter for the Annapolis Fire Department, was watching closely as boats with names like Miss Piggy Too, Scarab and Reel Lady approached at the 6-knot speed limit.

"It gets a little scary sometimes," she said. "There are some amateurs out there, and they don't exactly know what they're doing."

Said Mr. Hagedorn, "Sometimes they don't know what kind of fuel to put in their gas tanks, and we have to tell them."

John Harris of Chesapeake City calls them boating yuppies. "They got rich overnight and don't know what to do with it," he said.

Mr. Harris was a member of the Murtha group from Richmond's marina, but he had a little bad luck on the way. His motor quit, and now he was examining a cabin cruiser tied up at a slip with a "for sale" sign on it. "They want $28,000 for it," he said. "I don't know, but I'll have to do something."

At another pier, Stan Allen and Ed Miller, both from Philadelphia, were talking and sipping beers.

"We just hang out. My wife doesn't like fishing," Mr. Miller said.

"You're the captain," Mr. Allen said.

?3 "Yeah, but she's the admiral," Mr. Miller said.

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