The mouth of the Hawkesbury River in Australia is, Webb Chiles tells me in an email, delightfully empty. He had read my post about the film Oyster Farmer, which was filmed on that river, and Webb was sharing some of his experiences sailing in that area.
I appreciated Webb's comment, as always, but what caught my attention was the phrase "delightfully empty." I've been thinking about it for the last couple of days. That's exactly the kind of place I look for when I sit down with the maps, charts and google earth to plan a trip. Whether it is Core Sound, above, or Cod Harbor at Tangier Island, below, I am looking for places that are less traveled, a little bit quieter. I have always known that is where I want to go, but I have never heard those places described so well. "Delightfully empty." Thanks, Webb.
So it was today that I started looking over the map of Tangier Sound for the Spring walkabout. What better way to spend a slow day at the office? I have sailed on the Sound several times over the last few years and I can't wait to get back again. Each time out there I see more places I want to see. More creeks, marshes and islands catch my attention every time I sail the Sound. A quick look at this map below shows that for every place I have visited, there are dozens more places not yet explored.
For example on my Fall trip, the Wet and Windless 162, I anchored one evening on the northwest corner of South Marsh Island, what I consider to be the "back" side of the island since it faces Chesapeake Bay and not Tangier Sound. The next morning heading south along the island I saw for the first time Pry Cove. It looked to me then just as it looks now on the charts - a nice wide shallow body of water that offers protection from just about any wind. That would be a place I would like to anchor on the walkabout. Or even right around the southwestern corner at Sheepshead Harbor - another very nice spot. And what about the little creek that connect the two? They will all be on the list for Spring.
As will be the protected areas in the marsh behind Cedar Island. I passed through there on Broad Creek, which runs north/south between the two, last Fall and saw two creeks reaching out to the east and west - the Prong and Fishing Ditch. Not the most elegantly names creeks, but nonetheless very beautiful to my eye. It was too early to stop and anchor that day, but I knew right then I would return on a later cruise. Maybe this Spring.
I even pencilled in a few days on the vacation calendar next to a weekend late April and early May that might make for a nice little trip. It could be a bit chilly then, but that means less bugs; and it would be before crab season kicks in, which means less waterman on the water.
I might find those places quieter than usual, more peaceful, and maybe just a little bit more delightfully empty.