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The shells reminded me of the Star ­Spangled Banner. But these bombs were not bursting in air; they were hitting ships.

New mascot replaces PFD Panda

Telltale signs, and how to fight back

To experience our past, I had to travel to Argentina

Embrace the madness

Cheer super-avian feats of prowess at International ­Migratory Bird Day

Imagine the epic journey of the red knot as it flies 9,300 miles along the Atlantic coast from its wintering grounds in southern South America to its high Arctic breeding grounds. The journey is so taxing that it requires two to three stopovers for refueling, including one at Delaware Bay. When the knot arrives there, its body is half its starting weight, devoid of fat and even some muscle. Here, it will spend some 10 days consuming the eggs of the horseshoe crab to regain its weight before...

Fruiting plants need feeding

As you move tomato plants into your garden, here’s some advice to help improve your harvest.     First, limit the amount of fertilizer and compost you apply when you transplant your tomato plants. Applying too much high-nitrogen fertilizer or high-nitrogen compost will produce extra-large plants and few late tomatoes.     It’s in the production cycle that tomatoes need nitrogen.     A fruiting plant must absorb nutrients sufficient not...

Keep it simple to start

The thrill of catching a trophy rockfish leads to a second act in the kitchen and a third at the table, for rockfish are very good to eat.     It’s high season here in the heart of rockfish country, where Maryland recreational and commercial anglers catch more than four million pounds each season.     Having made my own share of that catch, I have experimented with any number of approaches and made a couple of basic discoveries on how to prepare this...

A highbrow popcorn flick for the masses

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.: The Judge) dreams of a world without The Avengers. He’s been secretly experimenting with artificial intelligence in hopes of creating a legion of AI peacekeepers to safeguard the world from aliens, disasters and humanity. He sees this legion as his new legacy, erasing his years in the weapons industry.     When The Avengers recover the scepter of Loki, Stark and his science buddy Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo: Foxcatcher) examine its power...

Tactician Terry Hutchinson rises to top spot for a second time

Terry Hutchinson has been named the U.S. Sailing Association’s 2014 Rolex Yachtsman of the year.     A veteran of four America’s Cup campaigns, Hutchinson in 2014 was atop more major regatta leader boards than any other American sailor. Competing as chief tactician, he won the Farr 40 and TP52 World Championships and the Oman Cup’s RC44 one-design class, among other big-boat regattas around the world. He also was at the helm in the Annapolis Fall Brawl, as the...

Can’t get your boat to a pump-out station? One will come to you

If you spend much time on your boat, it’s probably got a head. What you put into the head can’t go into the Bay. It’s against the law to pump effluent into the Bay or its tributaries or within three miles of the U.S. coastline.     Porta-potties you can carry yourself to sewage stations. Holding tanks are not portable. Most Clean Marinas have pump-out service, subsidized by Maryland Department of Natural Resources through the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service:...

Hidden Harbour Marina honored as Clean Marina of the Year

Chesapeake Country has hundreds of marinas, each unique in its own way. They come in different sizes, different locations, different facilities — and different levels of cleanliness and Bay friendliness.     About one-quarter of Maryland’s 600-some marinas have adopted pollution prevention practices and meet the regulatory requirements to fly the flag of Clean Marina. Standards include overall cleanliness; compliance with regulations and best practices for servicing...

That’s the story of Volvo’s 7,200-mile Leg 5

Imagine this scene …         You and the women aboard Team SCA are sailing along at about 30 knots in the Southern Ocean aboard a sleek 65-foot sailboat. It is night, the wind is howling, the sails banging and popping as you surf giant 30-foot waves rolling north from frozen Antarctica. The water is a bone-chilling eight degrees. Every time you hit the bottom of a wave, a wall of water crashes over the bow and envelops the whole boat as if under water....

More ups and downs

Will 101 million spawning-age females produce a sustainable future for Chesapeake Bay’s blue crabs?     That’s the $64,000 question raised by this year’s Winter Dredge Survey, Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ census of crabs asleep in the mud of the Bay.     The population is well — more than half — below the target female population of 215 million. This year shows an uptick. But the survey’s 24-year history has...

A nautical life leads to Annapolis Maritime Antiques

Life gets interesting early for some people. Mark Zuckerberg invented Facebook when he was 20, was a billionaire by 23 and had a movie made about him by 26. For more of us, it takes a lifetime to build a story.     For Tony Kime, the owner of Annapolis Maritime Antiques, life’s story got more interesting after retirement — his second.     Not that he was a beach bum. He served in the Navy during Vietnam and rose to the rank of commander in the Coast...