I wake to clouds, dark and heavy with rain, roaming over Pamlico Sound. Spartina is dry, but very buggy. Three mosquito mornings on this trip, one of the buggier trips I've made. But I've got it down to a science now. Unzip the mosquito mesh from the bivy, hop out, crank up the outboard and haul the anchor. Motor just a hundred yards out of the creek, leave the bugs behind and tidy up the boat while adrift on the open water.
Under sail before 6 a.m. with a light south wind. A little after six I can see the ICW at the far end of Jones Bay. The wind swings to the southwest, still light but strong enough for a pleasant sail. A couple of tacks along the north shore of the bay, passing close by a crabber working his line of pots. The clouds clear away and it is a pretty morning with blue skies.
I drop the sails at 8 a.m. and motor toward the ditch. It seems like a long time ago that I launched out of Hobucken. Eight days, a couple of hundred miles. Swan Creek, Beaufort, Cape Lookout, Core Sound, the Pungo River. A good book, some nice meals and excellent sailing. A couple of storms, bugs. Sunrises that you won't find anywhere else. Birds, otters swimming on the ICW and wild ponies walking on the beach. Wind and pretty water. Solitude.
I see the boat house at the end of the ditch. Shawn is walking over to help with the lines, help me haul the boat out of the water. He asks about the trip, but already knows much about it as he watched my SPOT track and kept an eye on me. I thank him for his hospitality.
By 10:30 I'm all hooked up and driving home with Spartina in tow.