Thursday, October 9, 2014

day twelve - Tangier Island to the Little Annemessex River

Morning brings an uncertain wind, and I find my mind is just as uncertain.  Sail the mile or two to Park's Marina and tie up for the morning?  Head southeast to see friends in Onancock?  Go back to Smith Island for lunch at Tylerton's Drum Point Market?  I decide to sail east below Watts Island, then turn north on Pocomoke Sound for either Great Fox Island or Broad Creek.  

The wind and tide disagree with my choice.  Puffs carry us slowly to the southeast, the current seems to work against us.  We make an inconsistent headway and Watts Island seems a long way off.  We round up, turn north, think about heading to Park's Marina.  The breeze fills in.

Excellent wind carries us north along Tangier, then begins to falter.  I jot down speeds from the GPS - 3.4, 1.7, 4.0, 3.5 - all in a ten minute period.  It is a sparkling day and the wind once again finds a steady pace.  In the distance I can see the water tower in Crisfield.  

Passing red buoy "6" I see on the chart we are crossing north from Virginia waters to Maryland waters.  The wind fails and the tide carries us slowly south back towards Virginia.  A cormorant, wings spread in the late morning sun, sits on the red buoy and us drift backwards.  Under power we head east toward Cedar Island Straits.  Motoring, motor sailing, motoring and finally sailing we approach the straits, two crabbers working strings of pots on the north side of the channel.  

The strait is not marked and we follow our path on the GPS, Great Fox Island and tiny Does Hammock to starboard and the pretty white beach of Watkins Point to port.  The water is clear and the farther east we go the shallower it gets.  I raise the cb and rudder, then I raise them more.  The wind begins to fail and I can see the water is not much more than 15 or 18 inches deep.  I look down in the grasses to see crabs staring back up at me.  Spartina's sails cast a hard shadow in the shallows.  No cb or rudder at all and the light wind keeps pushing us to thin water.  Ahead, maybe 50 yards away, I can see crab pot markers - the water will be deeper there.  It's hot.  I wonder if the bottom is hard or soft.  Will I be able to walk on it if I have to get out and push? 

Slowly we approach the crab floats, the bottom begins to fall away. 

On Pocomoke Sound we motor towards Broad Creek, a pleasant puff of wind and the running tide carrying us into the winding path through the marsh.  Halfway through the wind fails completely and we motor to the Little Annemessex River.  Crisfield is in sight just a few miles away.  

A southwest wind arrives late afternoon and we tack along the little guts in the cord grass of Cedar Island.  The chart shows just a foot or two of water but we've got the board down and don't touch bottom.  A final tack into a pond inside of Great Point and we drop the anchor, surprised to find six or more feet of water.

A peaceful, final evening, I stand on the foredeck and look out over the marsh to Tangier Sound.


Kiel Bath said...

I recently discovered John Welsford's Navigator, and shortly thereafter I discovered Spartina. She's beautiful.

I've had my mind set on building a Navigator, until yesterday. Yesterday, I noticed Spartina is a Pathfinder.

What have you done!

I might need to build a shed if I want to build a Pathfinder. I don't know think it will fit, with enough room to spare, in my garage.

Love your blog.

Steve said...

Thanks, Kiel. The Pathfinder is a great boat, as is the Navigator.

Talk to John W., I remember him telling me there ways to make the bow sprit removable to shorten the hull for storage.