Saturday, November 7, 2015

day eleven - the coming storm

A glassy morning, Spartina covered in a layer of heavy dew.  Not a hint of wind.  We motor off anchor, away from the shelter of the trees there is a hint of a breeze.  A small snake raises its head in ruffled water, then disappears.  Tiny silver baitfish skitter across the surface ahead of the bow.  At the mouth of the creek, a pleasant breeze.  Dew rains down as I raise full sail.

Morning overcast gives way to sun and heat.  I spread my sleeping gear out to dry.  Weather forecasts are becoming more ominous.  The low that has been hanging off the Carolinas will be sending heavy winds and rain, Hurricane Joaquin could track into Chesapeake Bay.  An email from a friend says "Everything ok?"  I can take a hint: I should be heading in.

A warm, humid southeast wind carries us down the Chester River towards Kent Narrows, an outgoing tide helping along the way.  Sails come down at the entrance channel to the narrows, perfect timing for lunch and we tie up at Harris Crab House, a spring line and running tide holding Spartina off the pilings.  I enjoy a crab cake sandwich and several glasses of iced tea.  At a nearby table an adult woman has her elderly father, a retired waterman, out for lunch.  They order crabs by the dozen, the man methodically picking each hard crab to pieces, leaving a nice pile of back fin and lump crab meat on his plate.  They work through the trays of steamed crabs, the waitress bringing more buckets to fill with discarded shell.

I make the 1 p.m. bridge opening, motor down the channel to where it widens and then round up to raise sails.  I hear a should from a large sloop.  It's Pete Peters, a friend of a friend, who invites me to join them for lunch.  I say thanks but I need to get to Warehouse Creek before the afternoon's storms.

Rain showers sweep easter to west on Eastern Bay.  The wind comes and goes.  We motor some, sail some.  I cut behind Parson's Island and make less than two knots across the mouth of Crab Alley Bay, grey all around.  The wind fails and we motor to Turkey Point, up Cox Creek and into Warehouse Creek.

The night forecast calls for light rain all night, wind out of the north until late then swinging around to south by early morning.  I mark down 20 nm in my notebook.

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