Thursday, October 29, 2015

Tilghman Island - a weather day

Soon after tying up at Knapp Narrows Marina I call home to the Pilgrim to voice my frustration over the weather.  Don't worry about it, she says, just enjoy whatever happens, go with the flow.  Good advice, it seems.

I walk through the hotel's office and notice a flier on the wall for Tilghman Island Country Store.  The flier mentions a wine tasting Friday night, and what-do-you-know it's Friday night.  So over the drawbridge and down the road I go for maybe a little less than a mile.  I'm barely inside the door of the red shingled store before a woman is calling me to join a handful of people around a counter, three bottles of wine set out for the evening.  A white and two reds, and I find myself walking back down the road with a bottle of the second red to tuck away for later in the evening.

Dinner is at the outside bar at Marker 5, just a great dinner where I sit and catch up on the news and some baseball games.  Rain hovers at the edge of the island but all we get are a few sprinkles.  I check the forecast that night, high winds and rain, then go to sleep in a bed that doesn't rock.

Up early in the morning I think I've made a mistake by coming into the island.  There's a steady wind, but no gusts, and the rain slipped away to the west.  Maybe I should be sailing.  But the morning forecast hints of strong gusts midday so I set about doing chores: laundry, cleaning Spartina, emptying out the holding tank and refilling the water bottles.  

By noon I'm walking over the bridge again and down the road to the country store, this time for lunch at their fine deli counter.  I'm outside at a picnic table with a sandwich, fries and an iced tea when the gusts come in.  I have to hold my tray of food down to the table.  The wind is strong and hot, the skies clear with the sun beating down.

I spend the afternoon cleaning and packing gear, looking over the chart for tomorrow's sail, fishing off the dock with a running tide (a handful of small stripers caught and released) and sitting at the outdoors bar where they bring me a steady supply of iced tea on the house.  I watch a couple pull up at the marina in an old mustang, hop on a 10 or 15 year old 30' sailboat, cast off lines and motor out onto the bay.  The wind is howling.  They must know something I don't.

Enjoying dinner that evening at the Marker 5 I look out the window to see the flashing lights of a Boat US towboat towing the couple's sailboat up the channel.  I suspect they got out on the bay and realized it was too windy to sail, then realized the wind was so strong they couldn't even motor back to the marina.  The towboat maneuvers the sailboat up to the dock and in the evening light I watch the couple spend the next 45 minutes filling out paperwork.  Expensive afternoon on the water, I suspect.

Back at the hotel I pack up my gear and check the day's weather report.  It shows the early afternoon gusts reached 45 miles an hour.  Tomorrow should be better. 


Lorenzo said...

Nice grey skies providing a natural light filter to your beautiful photos. Just one question though : do you trust Walking away from the boat with the jib not stowed away? Wouldn't It risk getting caiught by the wind?

Steve said...

Hi, Lorenzo, no I don't worry about the jib. It's held on the forestay with five or six bronze jib hanks and also tied to the bow sprit. It's not going anywhere. Mainsail is tied tightly to the boom, mizzen is just dropped in the lazy jacks, where it seems very comfortable. best wishes steve