Awake at 5:30 to a cool morning, the sky glows orange over the marsh of Maw Point to the east. It had not been a buggy night, but I'm surprised to find mosquitos all about Spartina: on the dew of the foredeck, on the stern and tucked in the folds of the sails. I smell of sun block and bug spray as we drift off anchor with all sails up. At a half mile per hour we ghost past the point, a breakfast of a cup of mango and a granola bar once we are on Pamlico Sound.
Under power at 6:30, the water is like glass. The sun rises ahead and I dodge the glare by sitting in the shade of the sails. A little wind ruffles the water, then no wind. We motor east across the sound at 5 mph. Twelve miles from Maw Point the outboard sputters. Out of fuel. I stand to refuel the tank and looking to the south I see Cedar Island closer than I had expected.
Ruffles on the water at 9:00, but nothing more. Powering east I can see the markers on Royal Shoal through the binoculars. At 10:35 I refuel the outboard's small tank once again and bring in the main and jib. The deck is hot under my bare feet.
We pass by the shoal marker by 11:00, the sky is blue with thin clouds and the water is still glassy. I would rather be sailing, but it is pleasant to be out on the peaceful water. The water tower on Ocracoke slips up over the horizon and Spartina rocks from the gentle wakes of distant power boats. I can see Bluff Point to the NW, Portsmouth Island to the SE, dark lines of trees separating the water from the sky. A small ray swims inches below the surface in the clear green water.
We cut through a patch of crab pots on a shoal approaching the entrance channel, ferries from Cedar Island and Swan Quarter going into the channel ahead of us. Once in the channel the wind, finally the wind, makes an appearance, but dead on the noise. It's early afternoon and I'm hungry. I run into Silver Lake under power and tie up at my friend Philip's slip. Off to lunch at Dajio, a nice angus burger, and then a few errands and stopping to say hello and thanks for the slip to Phillip, then dropping by Rob's house for a visit. He invites me out for an evening sail aboard his schooner Windfall II. I thank him for the invitation, but say I will see him on the water during my own evening sail.
We anchor out on Silver Lake for a light dinner, then raise sail in the wonderful evening breeze. Windfall II raises sail and heads out to the channel, we stay in Silver Lake tacking back and forth with nothing to do but enjoy the evening. I visit with people sitting in the cockpits of the cruising sailboats and enjoy watching couples relaxing on the porches of the waterfront inns.
With the setting sun we drop anchor and I set up the boom tent, more for the sake of privacy than the weather, the rich orange light making the harbor glow as I slip into the sleeping bag for the night.
35.2 miles crossing the sound, 4.6 more miles on the evening sail