Tuesday, May 12, 2015

day one - Maw Point

Captain Jack remembers me this time.  We had met a few times before as I rigged Spartina at Shawn's place, Pate Boat Yard on Goose Creek Island.  He had said in the past that he did not remember me, not one bit, but he remembered the boat.  Something about her lines caught his attention.  This time he remembers the boat and me, shakes my hand.  I'm making progress. 

Both Captain Jack and Shawn mention the low that is forming off of Florida.  "Keep a weather eye," Captain Jack tells me, and make sure my communications are working.  I think him and Shawn for their hospitality, Shawn casts off our lines a little after 11:00 on a sunny day with a light breeze out of the southeast.  

It's a skinny path down the ditch from the boat yard to Jones Bay, made even skinnier by the storm-damaged trees that lean in from both sides.  The ditch opens to a creek and then with a marsh on either side opens into Jones Bay.  Mizzen up, then main and jib, we sail downwind wing and wing towards Goose Creek Canal.  Approaching the canal I can hear a mechanical humming from the fish house with large shrimp boats tied up alongside.  

The breeze is coming up the canal and with a steady stream of snowbirds heading north there is not room for tacking.  I leave the sails up but power into the wind.  At red marker 22 the canal ends and Gale Creek turns a winding path to the southeast.  I shut off the outboard and tack the width of the creek.  Greetings and thumbs up from the large cruising yachts.  Blue skies, just a few clouds on the horizon and a steady wind, perfect sailing.  Tacking close to the marsh I hear the birds chattering in the cord grass.

Not quite yet 1:00 we slip out onto the Bay River.  Out of the tree-lined creek and canal the wind is a little stronger, we make 5.6 miles an hour through a patch of red crab pot floats.  We tack the width of the Bay River, in no hurry with Maw Point, the destination for the evening, already in sight.  A cloud passes overhead and it feels cool on the water.  Then the sun returns.

We sail into Fisherman Bay just behind Maw Point at 3:00, the afternoon wind picking up and turning warm.  We sail along the grass line casting for fish, but the wind is too strong and from the wrong direction.  Jibing away from shore we sail a hundred yards out and drop anchor.

Eating a pouch of freeze dried beef stroganoff in the evening something swirls in the water a few feet from Spartina.  A fish, maybe a river otter, or maybe a dolphin.  It is gone before I can get a good look.

14.8 miles for the day

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