Above is the track for day two, sailing from Pine Tree Point back across the Bay River to Rockhole Bay. The front had moved through. Bright blue skies, no clouds and a nice wind out of the west. That morning in Rockhole Bay is one I'll remember for a long time. The marsh grasses were golden, the water smooth. I ghosted along the marsh under mizzen and jib. I sailed north into the bay then turned northwest, tacking up the little creek that feeds the bay. A river otter swam by. The only sounds were the boat sounds and the rustling of the marsh grasses rustling in the wind. When I head back down the creek to the bay I saw a school of dolphin had followed me into the bay, they were rolling and jumping halfway out of the water. At least a dozen maybe more, their spouts were backlit by the morning sun. Life was pretty good.
Leaving Rockhole Bay I tacked into the west wind. The day was getting warmer. Near lunchtime I approached Gale Creek, the southern entrance to that portion of the ICW. Instead of entering the creek I sailed west looking for Little Bear Creek. I could see the larger Bear Creek, but Little Bear Creek a little to the south was a mystery until a skiff slid out from an narrow opening in the marsh. A lot of the creeks are like that, you can hardly pick out entrance hidden among the trees and marsh.
I worked my way up into Little Bear Creek, dropped the anchor and enjoyed lunch in the warm sunshine. I had lunch, thought I would relax for a couple of minutes, closed my eyes only and spent the next two hours in a deep sleep.
The warm sun on my face woke me up. Under full sails I raised the anchor, returned to the bay river and turned north to Gale Creek and the ICW. Wind was out of the west, I had a nice ride up the ICW until tall trees blocked the wind near the eastern entrance to Jones Bay. I motored the last hundred yards or so, then raised sail for a run downwind on Jones Bay to Drum Creek where I dropped anchor for the night.
Tucked in my bivy with mosquito net up I waited out the dusk run of mosquitoes (they'll sometime show up at sunset and disappear an hour later). Just as the bugs were leaving I heard the putt-putt of an outboard. It wasn't the rumble of a waterman's diesel engine or the high powered outboard of a skiff. I couldn't quite figure out what it was. Then I heard Dawn calling. "Ahoy, are you awake."
What a treat, I had not expected to see Paul and Dawn until the next morning. But there they were, motoring up alongside in the dark. I turned on a flashlight and pointed it at Spartina's hull so Paul could see me, put a fender over the side and helped them tie alongside. They had rigged Dawn Patrol late evening at Pate Boatyard and got on the river just at dark. So here we were, rafted up in the dark, talking about my trip so far, their drive down to the coast and the kind of sailing we hoped to be doing over the next couple of days.
Two days of good solo sailing, now the chance to sail with some friends!