Early morning I can hear the birds, the wind whipping through the trees. The creek is glassy calm. For the first time on the trip I don't hear deadrises rumbling across the water. I sleep later than usual.
We sail off anchor under mizzen and jib, a reef tucked in the furled main. The north wind pushes us towards the Wye. Weather forecast calls for strong winds and maybe some rain. A 40' cruising sailboat is anchored in the mouth of the creek with no signs of life aboard.
Out on the Wye River Spartina rounds up and I raise the single reefed main. Downwind towards the Miles River we make four+ knots. Off of Shaw Bay we round up to tie in a second reef before leaving the Wye. Out on the Miles we make nearly five knots towards St. Michaels.
The wind is excellent, the water calmer than I had expected. We shake out a reef. The sun tries to break through the overcast. The wind drops and we shake out the second reef - full sail on the Miles.
Mid-morning we pass Deep Water Point and slip into Long Haul Creek. The creek is lined with homes, a marina and beautiful classic boats. We sail a ways up into the main branch, come about and turn back to the Miles.
Just around the next point I can see the entrance markers for St. Michaels, and soon the red roofs and lighthouse of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. We make a lap through the harbor to get a good look at the skipjack Rosie Parks and the buy boat Winnie Estelle. Just beautiful. Then out around the point to come into the docks.
We tie up at a slip across from a crab shanty and some classic Chesapeake Bay boats, walk to the museum entrance where they tell me I had chosen a good spot for Spartina. Then it is a day of running errands, grabbing lunch and walking through beautiful downtown St. Michaels.
Early afternoon I straighten up Spartina - we are at the halfway mark of the trip and I find everything is in pretty good shape - then grab a hot shower at the museum facilities and enjoy a plate of oysters at The Crab Claw.
Late afternoon I'm standing on the dock next to Spartina talking with another sailor when he says somebody is calling me. I look across the water to see Kristen, a long-time email and blog friend who is now the president of the museum. "I'll be over in a few minutes" she says.
And soon she walks down the pier for her first look at Spartina. Kristen smiles when she sees the fishing poles and frayed straw hat hanging on the transom, looks over the cruising gear and sees how it is tucked away. We hop on board and pull out the chart book. She shows me where she has kayaked, I show her where I have sailed. Spartina rocks in the water while we talk about the museum and Chesapeake Bay, sailing and kayaking, trips we have made and trips we have planned. We laugh when we realize that if she had walked out of the house where she is staying about 8:00 this morning she would have seen Spartina sailing down the Wye River.
It is a fun visit but Kristen needs to get back to work. I thank her for taking time to say hello, then she waves as she walks across the docks back to her office. I cast off the lines and motor a couple of hundred yards to anchor out in the cove.
Evening. Blue skies and a steady breeze. Writing in my notebook I hear a voice call out over the water. "Your boat is as cute as a button!" I tend to not take kindly to Spartina being called "cute," but when I look up to see the comment was coming from a woman with a pretty smile and she is at the helm of the classic 1926 catboat Selina II what else can I say but "thank you, you have a nice boat too." With a reef tucked in the huge main, Selina II sails by Spartina, the captain asking about Spartina's design and designer.
Just before sailing out of the harbor the woman looks back and shouts "Welcome to Saint Michaels. Come early, come often."
I tell her I will.