Wednesday, June 21, 2017

day four - from the bay to the river to the sound to the river to a creek

I wake to the cries of seagulls, sail off anchor at 6:20.  Both the orange glow of dawn and a light breeze come from the east.  Three knots up Turnagain Bay, then 4 knots as the bay widens.  The wind is warm.  Sailing to the mouth of the bay I debate where to go next.  The east wind could easily carry us north up to the Pamlico River.  Or we could just as easily turn south to reach Oriental for lunch.  Warning signs in the marsh to the east remind me of last night, I wonder if it was just a dream.  I choose to head north to the Pamlico River.

Cutting across the shallows at the mouth of the bay and sliding out on the the Neuse River the wind picks up, making 5.5 knots, then 6.3 on a wonderful morning with blue skies.  The wind is on Spartina's beam and sailing is easy.  Off Maw Point before 9:00 we leave the river and head north on Pamlico Sound.  

Off of Sound Bay, between the mouth of the Bay River and Jones Bay, the water is calm, wind steady.  Past Jones Bay making 4.4, broken overcast sky and looks like there might be some fog ahead.  Skies clear by 10:30, past the marsh and narrow white sand beaches of Big Porpoise Pt. then Little Porpoise Pt, some of my favorite shorelines on the sound.

We angle slightly downwind across the mouth of Mouse Harbor, reaching Pamlico Pt. just after 11:00.  Rounding the point we are at the junction of two wide rivers, the Pamlico to the west and the Pungo to the north.  I am surprised at how difficult it is to distinguish one from the other though the gps tells me all I need to know.  At noon making 3.8 knots with wind over the starboard quarter.  Looking ahead I can see the sails of boats on the ICW leaving Goose Creek to the south bound for the Pungo River to the north.  Lighter wind and waves rolling up the Pamlico River, I find that I can make better speed and keep the straighter course by raising the centerboard halfway.

Several bays and creeks along the Pamlico River but we are making such good time we pass them by.  Almost 3:00 and I have the river to myself, not another boat in sight until the Bayview ferry comes out of her landing.  I can make out the marker for Gum Point in the distance.  We angle towards Bath Creek at the marker, cutting through a field of crab pots.  Heading north towards the creek the main swings over and I sit in the shade of the sail, appreciating the break from the afternoon sun.

In Bath Creek at 4:30 I tie up at the Bath Harbor Motel and Marina.  The owner tells me I'm welcome to tie up for free but walks down to the docks with me to make sure I'm not blocking a slip for a big sailboat expected later in the evening.  Picking out Spartina's masts from shore he says I'm fine.  I walk across the street to enjoy an Italian sub sandwich and a couple of glasses of iced tea.  Motoring back out on the creek the anchor goes down at 6:30.

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