I stay in my sleeping bag later than usual, enjoying the warmth and comfort while the wind howls outside the boom tent. The forecast for winds 15-20 out of the SW is sounding very accurate, just as accurate as the forecast for morning thunderstorms that are rumbling to the south. I won't be going anywhere soon.
Out the back of the tent I can see deadrises dragging their nets - scraping it is called - over the subaquatic grasses in search of crabs. Inside the tent I pack everything away, then relax and read my book.
The wind picks up, thunder gets closer and the rain falls. The watermen keep working as if nothing has changed.
The rain stops and the skies lighten. I listen for more thunder and hear none. I listen to the weather radio and learn that the SW wind will keep blowing. My thoughts of a softshell crab sandwich at Lorraine's on Tangier Island go away as I think of pounding into the swell for hours. Better, it strikes me, is riding the wind across Tangier Sound to a river that I have not yet explored - the Annemessex.
Spartina slips out of Back Cove, passing by the deadrises, under mizzen and jib. We make 3.5 knots across the Cove, then 4.5 knots out in the open water of Tangier Sound, still under m and j. The skies are overcast and the water is grey green. A little after 9 a.m. I raise a double-reefed main and make 5 knots towards the eastern shore, now visible low on the horizon.
The clouds peel away and I have blue skies. But I feel like Spartina is not making any speed. I check the gps and we are doing 4.5 knots. It is easy to get spoiled by good wind.
I sail past the white beaches at Flat Cap Point, the river entrance. Arriving in the narrower river channel of a river I have not explored, I round up and drop the main, continuing downwind under mizzen and jib. Spartina moves at almost 5 knots in the protected water.
At the last turn in the river we round up again, raise the double reefed main and tack back towards the river entrance. At noon I see the channel markers for the entrance to the Daugherty Creek Canal which cuts between the mainland and undeveloped Janes Island. The wind is coming right up the canal so I drop the sails and motor into the canal.
It is a pretty canal, campgrounds to port and Janes Island to starboard. I see a small marina at Janes Island State Park, tie up to get a cold drink. The camp store is closed, but a kind ranger offers to open up for me and I buy three bottles of tea. Then get back on Spartina and head towards Crisfield.
The canal opens out on to the Little Annemessex River with Crisfield and Somers Cove less than a quarter mile away. But the skies are clearing and the water a pretty green color, we are not ready to head to the ramp quite yet.
I sail down and across the river to the entrance of Broad Creek. The wind is perfect to carry me most of the way through the creek, ospreys flying from their nests on top of the channel markers and fish jumping in the calm water.
I leave the creek and enter Pocomoke Sound as the wind falls off and the afternoon becomes hot. Drifting just outside of the creek, flies and gnats start to swarm about the boat. I scan my charts for a nearby anchorage for the evening. Every place nearby looks marshy and "buggy". I drift for a while, feel the heat and think about what I should do for my last evening out.
Back into Broad Creek, the wind making a welcomed reappearance that carries Spartina back north to the Annemessex River.
Out of the creek I turn west to an area where pelicans are diving in the calm water. I drop the anchor just before 5 p.m. There are gnats buzzing around the boat, but it is not too bad.
At twilight the gnats go away and a banded water snake swims across the glassy surface. The snake noses up to Spartina, glides along the hull, swims away.
distance travelled 27.6 nm
moving time 7 hours 33 minutes
moving average 3.2 knots