Up at 7:00 with a light fog and glassy calm water. Interesting night with a large deadrise on the other side of Knapp Narrows loading up with a crew late in the evening, lots of talk and laughter and gear banging around, then returning in the early morning hours, the crew sounding tired and ready to head home for some sleep. Spartina rocked along the floating dock as a handful of boats passed through the narrows.
I take my time stowing the gear then walk over to the hotel for the buffet breakfast, enjoying some granola and glasses of orange juice as I read the news on my phone. We cast off from the floating dock a little before 10:00, motoring just across the narrows and tying up at a dock marked "workboats only" but they are all checking their nets and crab pots. I figure I can top off the fuel can and buy a couple of bottled drinks in the store before anyone knows I've tied up there. Casting off a few minutes later I radio the bridge tender and get an immediate lift.
Sails up as a light but steady NW winds fills in under the low broken overcast. Making 3 kts on the Choptank River I realize I don't have any particular destination for the day. The hurricane is three to five days away, I can easily reach Cambridge in a day, so I might as well do some exploring. Heading to Broad Creek as the clouds give way to blue skies, cool air and calm water.....I think to myself this is what fall sailing is all about. Wind picks up and making 4.5.
I sail across the wide mouth of the creek, looking at the chart and Harris Creek to the west catches my eye. At Nelson Point I come about and with wind over the starboard quarter sail back to the Choptank, a deadrise rigged for oyster racing across Spartina's bow.
At noon we round Change Point, leaving the Choptank and turning up wind on Harris Creek, a pair of eagles flying just above the surface of the water. Steady tacks across the river it is mostly trees and farmland alongshore, a few houses, silos and duck blinds.
At 2:40 making 3.2. Passing Bozman just after 3:00 the creek narrows. The afternoon gusts start begin to roll down the creek and the gps shows 5+ kts at times. It's a peaceful sail with no other boats on the river. North of Bozman the creek splits into Northwest and Northeast branches. I explore each but find that there are too many home along shore or the coves don't offer the protection from the wind that I want. I turn back south and in a mile or so round up into a little notch on the shoreline with trees and a corn field. Anchor down just a little after 5:00.
A beautiful evening. Crisp and clear. I dig out a small box of red wine that I had bought on Tilghman Island, enjoying it while watching the sun go down.
I check my phone to see a text from Kantala. They are on their way to Easton to ride out the storm, stopping for a day near Oxford. The storm forecast is not looking good. It could reach North Carolina by Saturday afternoon, Chesapeake Bay by Saturday night. I tell them that I will see them sometime tomorrow.