As you can imagine, after a long day on the water a nice shower to wash away the salt, sweat, and sunscreen is a real treat. Bear has a shower on board, which we make use of pretty frequently. However, the shower’s water pressure is not great and, given our limited supply of fresh water, you cannot just luxuriate in it (although with free water at nearly every gas dock, we probably could have enjoyed a little longer showers on the boat). We also have a sun shower, which can provide a warm freshwater washdown on deck. But even with these offerings, we still covet the onshore shower, with the real Holy Grail being a clean shower with good water pressure and hot water in a private, air-conditioned room. Undoubtedly, the search for showers and then the analysis of their merits afterwards occupies an outsized amount of time on Bear. Continuing our preoccupation with them, here is a list of the showers we used on the trip:
- Hammonasset Beach State Park – I stayed there for a week while the boat was still on the hard at Branford Landing. Then, Margaret and I stopped back on Memorial Day Weekend so that we could wash up. There was a lot of traffic, but it was easy to blend in and Yogi a shower. The shower has no hot and cold knobs to adjust the temperature, and the water never gets hot, just kind of warm. Moreover, the bathroom is unheated, making it, in late May, a little chilly.
- La Quinta Inn, New Haven – During the first week we were on the boat, still tied up at Branford Landing, Margaret had a bad headache, so we rented a room. The room had an adequate hotel shower, lacking great pressure. Moreover, the drain backed up a bit, leaving me wading in ankle deep water by the end.
- Port Jefferson Harbormaster’s Office – After a little back and forth between the Harbormaster, who said we were free to use the showers despite not paying for a mooring, and the old grumpy dude who gave out the code to get into the showers and thought we were undeserving of having access, we used these showers three times during our week-long stay. I had to balance my clothes on a folding chair just outside the stall and the shower itself took a while to get hot, but the showers were so refreshing during that tough week.
- Hempstead Harbor Club – Unable to set the hook after five tries, we picked up a mooring from Hempstead Harbor Club, which entailed paying a ridiculous fifty dollars fee, but at least we got a shower in the morning. The shower was nowhere near commensurate with the cost, never getting too hot and having little pressure. If you cannot tell, I am still pissed about having to pick up a mooring, shower or not.
- Chip and Barbara’s House, Cape May – We are so appreciative of everything Chip and Barbara did for us during our stay in Cape May. And, arguably, the most important thing was letting us shower at their place whenever we wanted, using either the outdoor or indoor varieties. I used the outdoor shower, which was hot and refreshing. I never heard anything but praise from Margaret for the inside shower.
- Corinthian Yacht Club, Cape May – Despite having access to the showers at Chip and Barbara’s, our last night in Cape May we decided to clean up under some good water pressure one final time before the Chesapeake. The pressure and temperature were good, but not outstanding, and the lack of a shower curtain means water got everywhere.
- Skipjack Cove Yachting Resort, Georgetown, MD – This marina welcomed us with open arms and did not even charge for use of their facilities. With private, air-conditioned showers, good water pressure, and hot water, these were some of the best showers of the trip. And I came to find out that the women’s showers had been recently renovated, making them even better than the men’s.
- Haven Harbour Marina, Rock Hall, MD – For twenty dollars, we got full access to the facilities, which we made good use of. Here again we had private, air-conditioned showers, good pressure, and hot water.
- Annapolis Harbormaster’s Office – Having paid for a mooring, we could get doubloons – some people might call them tokens – that allowed us into the bathroom, shower, and laundry facility. The showers were always a little dirty and cramped at the far end of the bathroom, but they got the job done. Knowing the showers were always available just a dinghy ride away made them even better.
- Rental House in Annapolis – One of the many benefits of renting a house for PSP was daily showers. One of the bathrooms even had twin shower heads…enough said.
- Marc and Nina’s Hotel Room at the Marriott, Annapolis – We did not really need to shower at their hotel room because we had access to the Harbormaster’s Office, but it happened to be convenient and was much nicer than the public facilities. And you cannot beat a fresh clean towel that you can just throw on the floor afterwards.
- Solomons Yachting Center – Like Skipjack Cove, these guys let us come in for free and use their facilities. The showers were in private, air-conditioned rooms, but the water pressure was not exceptional. They were, however, just off the bar, which certainly increases my rating of them.
- St. Mary’s College Boathouse – We managed to sneak in to the shower at the college’s boathouse during the Governor’s Cup. The shower was a mess after dozens of sailors had used it and there was not adequate space to keep a towel and a change of clothes without getting them wet, but I am not complaining, just stating facts.
- Somers Cove Marina, Crisfield, MD – For five dollars, we got access to Somers Cove Marina, allowing us to tie up our dinghy, use the laundry and wifi, and indulge in showers, one in the afternoon and another the next morning. The showers were in the air-conditioned bathrooms, which were very clean but a bit dated, and had great pressure and temperature.
- Fishing Bay Yacht Club, Deltaville, VA – The folks at this club were so friendly. After we crashed their regatta party, they gave us free beer, the wireless password, and the run of the place. There are apparently two sets of showers at the club, and there is quite a debate amongst the members about which are better. We used the ones right off the docks, and they were quite pleasurable.
- Charleston City Marina – Our only night tied up at a marina the entire trip, I felt a little bourgeois. But that did not stop me from enjoying the showers twice. They are in private air-conditioned rooms, but some of the showers were not all that clean, having seen some use.
- Downtown Marina of Beaufort – My Dad and I showered here for only a buck each. Like Somers Cove, these showers were clean with good pressure and heat, but they too where in a dated building, which, of course, does not really matter.
- Morningstar Marina, St. Simons, GA – A sharp contrast with Beaufort, showers were five dollars a piece at Morningstar, in addition to the five dollar dinghy charge. The high pressure shower with more than enough hot water might have justified the cost, but we really stuck it to them by using them again in the morning.
The thing that surprised me while compiling this list was realizing that Tim and I did not shower on land the entire ten days he was aboard. We made good use of the shower on Bear, but I was shocked that we did not find a shower ashore. That obviously says something about how salty the two of us are.