I wake after a bright starry night, bright moon and bright mars glowing red. Morning comes clear and calm in the tiny little cove. A few mosquitoes but they are small and more of a nuisance than a problem. We sail off anchor with a light west wind just after 6 a.m., the sun just coming over the tree tops and tinting the sails light orange.
I see a local power boat cut the channel so we sail south past the red and green markers making Cedar Point at 6:25, two pelicans standing on abandoned post jutting out of the shallows. Past Gum Thicket before 7:00 we find stronger wind on the open Neuse River and make just under 4 mh.
Mid-morning the wind fails on the Neuse, the fills in from the southwest. We start making slow tacks toward Adams Creek but looking west across the river I can see the fine little village of Oriental and the thought of a nice lunch has us sailing towards the harbor. Wind fades, fills in again. Three or four dolphin pass by. I look to the south and wonder if tiny ripples mean more wind. Yes, they do! A fine sail into Oriental, tied up at the town dock by 10:30.
A nice burger for lunch but only because I missed seeing the fried soft-shell sandwich written on the "specials" chalkboard. I pick up some bottled drinks and almost-ripe peaches at the provision shop, then duck into The Bean coffee shop to charge my cell phone and have another glass of iced tea. Walking in the door I step into the middle of a performance by two ladies from the local ukelele club. You never know what you'll find in Oriental.
Sails up in the harbor just before 1:00, sailing in light wind to Adams Creek at 1.8. Pleasant and peaceful. Halfway across the river the wind fails and leaves the water a glassy calm that reflects the blue sky and a few white clouds. Under power to the creek, entering it with a following tide.
The afternoon wind comes strongly out of the south mid-afternoon as we follow the curve of the creek directly into the hot breeze. At 3:40 we drop anchor on long, wide Back Creek, just a few homes spaced out on the north shore and marsh backed by tall trees to the south.
With batteries charging from the solar panel on the foredeck I lie down in sliver of shade on the starboard bunk flat and sleep with straw hat tilted over my eyes.
With evening comes a dinner of spicy pasta with sausage, excellent. I slip into the sleeping bag listening to the birds in the marsh. The chattering amplifies as the sun goes down, filling in with humming and buzzing, shrill three-note songs, gasping breathes and the noise of an ill-fitting door scraping back and forth across a wooden floor. Maybe it was the stillness of the night, but I cannot remember a marsh so loud and pleasant sounding.