Up before daylight, calmer with a nice WSW wind and the sun reaching over the clouds to the east. Wing and wing out of Otter Creek, 3.5 knots. Centerboard touches bottom over Pingleton Shoals. Out on the sound to round Long Shoal Point large rolling waves come up from the south, remainders for yesterday's wind. Still wing and wing heading into the sun, I enjoy the shade.
I am surprised by the size of the waves building up on the shoal and find myself working to keep our course with the rollers coming directly on the stern. I drop the mizzen so the wind does not tug us side to side. A few waves break over the shoal and I use the gps to find the narrow passage through the shoal, hitting 7.4 knots down the face of a wave. Past the shoal the waves are smaller, wind is excellent. With main and jib we make 5.5 to 6.5 knots, sometimes more.
Looking east across the sound I can see the Bonner Bridge leading to the north end of Hatteras Island. Wind lightens, water calms at we sail at 3.5 knots to the NE. Just after 10:00 I can see the tree line of Roanoke Island and the water tower at the village of Wanchese. A few minutes later a plain marker to the NE becomes Bodie Island lighthouse. Making under 2 knots we start the outboard, then under sail again as the wind fills entering Smith Creek, which does appear to be a creek at all but instead the channel leading to the east side of Roanoke Island across shallow water.
Docked at the Outer Banks Marina at 1:25, I walk through the boat yards to O'Neals Sea Harvest, a fish processing house with a retail restaurant out front, for a basket of soft shell crabs and french fries. The air conditioning feels good.
We cast off at 2:30, but I find I am indecisive. Outside of the Wanchese Harbor I tack back and forth, looking at the chart and considering the Roanoke Marshes to the south and Broad Creek to north. I'm in no rush, it is early in the afternoon and I have only a short distance to sail to either location. Storms are forecast for the evening, and the protection of Broad Creek makes the decision for me.
We sail north along the shore and inside of the marshy point that separates the creek for the channel where the big offshore fishing boats run. The water is calm, marsh grass bright green and I think I made the right decision.
We sail to a little cove where I drop anchor, bring down the main and jib. The perfect place for an afternoon swim. It is hot, I enjoy the cool water.
Anchored out in the middle of the creek that night, far from the mosquitos in the marsh, a flock of 50 or 60 ibises fly in a line past Spartina. A single dolphin rolls in the water. I watch thunderstorms passing to the north and south, then slip into the bivy.
Splashing on my face wakens me from a deep sleep. It is raining. Spartina twists and turn at anchor, cool air rushing in from the east. Thunder and lightning.
I drop down the waterproof top to the bivy and fall asleep.