Up before 6:00 we tuck in a reef for the downwind sail on the Pamlico River. Soon we slip out from behind the eastern tip of Beard Island and feel the waves rolling up the river.
We find calmer water a few hundred yards of the shore, the sun coming up directly behind us and already highlighting the green and red entrance channel markers of Goose Creek. I listen to the radio and hear the warning of the possible tropical storm. The forecast is for two days of rain and wind, and then the storm could arrive the following day. With the wind I know that I could be in Bath or Belhaven by noon, or Washington by mid-afternoon. I listen to weather radio one more time, and keep the course for Goose Creek.
Once in the creek we shake out the reef and it is full sail down the creek and into the canal. Puffs of wind come across the canal and we do a steady 6+ mile per hour. I drift off to the side and feel the centerboard and rudder clunk with something under the water. The heavy centerboard drops back in place, and I lean over the transom to push the rudder down.
Past the small Coast Guard station, under the bridge and alongside the fish house we turn east onto Jones Bay. Sails come down and we motor into the ditch leading to Pate Boat Yard, retracing our path on the gps because I always have trouble recognizing the entrance to ditch. Passing beneath the leaning trees I can see the boathouse at the end of the creek.
Motoring into the basin there is Shawn sitting patiently at the picnic table. He had watched Spartina's track and new we were coming back to the ramp. I do not make it easy for Shawn. Fooling around with cameras I had neglected to have the dock lines ready to go. Shawn leans out, grabs the forestay and hangs on while I dig out the lines. Blue skies above and I wonder about the storm.
Total for the trip: 111 miles