Morning comes clear as we hide in the lee of tall trees. Up before the sun, the best night's sleep I have had on the trip and the first in a few days without the boom tent.
Weather radio and the tops of the trees both tell me of high winds out of the southwest. We tuck in both reefs and sail off anchor at 7:25. I enjoy the sail along the shore, peaceful and relaxing, but can look ahead and see the chop on Broad Creek. The morning sun casts the mizzen's shadow on the reefed main and I'm happy with the set of the sails.
Passing Cedar Point the shore falls away and we begin to feel the wind and the swells. Beyond Deep Neck Point Spartina heels under the force of the wind and spray flies off her bow as we beat into the chop. Not yet fully exposed to Broad Creek I suspect we are not going far today. We come about, head back to calmer waters. Regrouped, we come about again and head back towards open water. Spartina heels again, crashes into the chop. The wind and waves are coming across the broad Choptank River and funneling into Broad Creek. I can make out a dark line on the horizon that would be Cook Point, realizing we will not get there today. And I remember once reading how the Choptank River earned her name. We turn back into Edge Creek.
We are anchored in the lee of the tall trees by 8:30. I break out the cook kit and make a freeze dried meal of scrambled eggs, potatoes and bacon - just perfect with a little Cajun Sunshine hot sauce splashed on. And then I lean back in the cockpit for a nap.
I wake late morning and the wind is still howling. Deadrises run back and forth on Edge Creek working their trot lines, and there's a smaller boat too with a big umbrella shading the captain. I'm antsy to go sailing and start looking over the charts. Lots of little creeks and coves line edge creek and I ought to do some exploring.
Under mizzen and jib we fall away from the shore and head east on the creek. We sail across the mouth of Elberts Cove and then a patch of water marked with stakes as a private oyster lease. The crabber with the umbrella runs up alongside Spartina and asks about the boat and the trip. His name is Trevor and he had watched me sail into Broad Creek earlier, waiting for the boat to capsize in the wind. I told him I was surprised his big umbrella stood up in the wind. He is friendly and we talk for a few minutes about sailing and trot lines and this year's crab season. He tells me to be safe, waves goodbye.
The name Solitude Creek catches my eye and I think maybe that would be a nice place to spend the night. A quick look reaching the channel markers tells me there is no solitude there, the creek is lined with homes. We come about and head west.
Early afternoon we enter Broad Creek for the third time. Wind has dropped and the chop is not so steep. It is too late in the day to head into the Choptank, and I'm not sure how the conditions would be there anyway, so we keep our westerly course across the creek and sail into Leadenham Creek. The crabbers are finishing up there day on the water, tossing old bait into the water and heading for the docks, clouds of seagulls swooping in to feast on the bait.
We round up to raise the main with a single reef and follow the gently winding tree-lined creek. I start scanning the chart for an anchorage, settling on an unmarked creek just past Caulk Cove. Dropping anchor a little after 2:00, I can see trees and the hint of a farm house to the east and farmland to the west. I think it should be named Paradise Creek because that is what it seems to be.
A warm afternoon with blue skies, the chance for a swim and I grab the scrub pad to scour tiny barnacles off Spartina's hull. Then I float in the water alongside the boat, finding myself thankful that high winds and chop gave us the chance to explore tiny creeks that we would have otherwise bypassed.
Dinner and a good book, and I am exactly where I want to be.