Looking at the calendar I noticed that it was two years ago this week that I took Spartina out on our first cruise, a four day visit to the islands on Chesapeake Bay's Tangier Sound. Above is the boat loaded for a week (I always pack for a week just to have a cushion in case of bad weather or whatever) for one person. It will look pretty much the same when Bruce and I load it up for two people for up to ten days. I'll have a larger duffel than the one you see here. That is a 20 liter, I'm now using a SeaLine 35 liter backpack style bag. It fits up in the same spot, just a little larger in diameter. Bruce will keep his duffel on the opposite side. Those two grey boxes are Rubbermaid three gallon Rough Neck storage boxes, about $9.00 each at the hardware store. I drilled small holes in the handles and ran a loop of bungee cord through the holes and over the lid. The cord keeps the lid in places and also makes for a nice spot to tuck a piece of gear or bottle of water. The boxes are held in place by small pieces of nylon line and clips that connect to eye straps. The port box contains my log book, flash lights, anchor lights, matches, candles, etc (all separately bagged). To the starboard is my cook kit with cooking pot, utensils, bowls, olive oil, spices and the like. They work great. They are not "waterproof" but with the design of the lid I have never gotten a drop of water in either of them.
That's Spartina tied up at the public dock at Somers Cove Marina in Crisfield, Md. The small harbor opens out on to the Annemessex River which leads to Tangier Sound. Due west of the river entrance is Smith Island, a place I've always heard about but never visited. We'll take care of that this fall as Bruce and I will sail out of Crisfield on our way north to the Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival. Our first stop will be Smith Island. I can smell the crab cakes already.
That is the beach at Watts Island. Decades ago the island was large enough to support a plantation. It has since eroded away to the point that it is just a narrow, wooded strip of land, a nesting area for thousands and thousands of sea gulls, herons, osprey and terns. It was one of those great cruising moments, just walking around on a tiny island with bits of sun bleached driftwood, birds squawking and gentle waves rolling up on the shore.
And there is Spartina anchored on the sand flats between Tangier Island and Port Isobel. In the background you can see the church steeple and water tower of the village on Tangier. It is a very interesting, quaint little island. It has been so isolated for so long that the locals still speak a brogue that I'm told is related to old english. Get two or three of the old waterman talking together and you'll be lucky to pick out a few recognizable words.
And this is my first experience in small craft warnings in Spartina. Quite a ride across the Sound. I learned to trust John Welsford's great design. In fact I believe that the weakest thing about the boat is the guy at the tiller. Spartina has taken me on some great trips. I can't wait for this next one.