Sunday, November 1, 2015

day nine - north

I wake in the comfortable bed to the sound of gusts outside the hotel room.  From the balcony I can see the trees swaying in the wind.   Checking the weather forecasts I see that the weather should settle mid-morning.  I take my time packing the gear bags and carrying them down to Spartina.  A self serve breakfast of cereal and fruit is a nice way to start the day.

We cast off just after 9:00, backing out of the slip under power and motoring through the marina to Knapp Narrows then west towards the bay.  Mizzen, jib and double reef main go up once past the channel markers, then soon I shake out the reefs and sail north to Poplar Island Narrows.  The grey overcast shows signs of breaking up as we make 2.5 to 3 kts in the narrows.  Two old Chesapeake Bay buyboats pass by on their way north, one out of Rolph's Wharf on the Chester River, the other I don't recognize.  The wind comes and goes.  It's a football Sunday, seemingly endless talk of players and games drones on the radio.

By 11:00 at the north end of Poplar Island the gusts and swells begin to build, by noon the wind is swinging to the east as we sail north on the chop.  Soon we are struggling with the gusts and rough water.  

We point up to sail inside of Kent Island, the waters of Eastern Bay rough and the wind increasing.  Spartina makes 4.3 knots, then soon 5.0 with the waves rolling across the bay on our beam.  

Slipping behind Turkey Point into Cox Creek the water calms but the wind is still there.  Across the smooth water we make 5.8 knots in the gusts and chase feeding birds up the creek, casting for stripers that we don't find.

The sailing is perfect.  Spartina heels solidly in the gusts and we pass by the entrance to our anchorage to explore more of Cox Creek as it narrows to the north.  The beam wind disappears as we pass stands of tall pines, then comes back as we slip out of the shadow of the trees.  A pair of eagles rest on a duck blind, one small patch of blue opens in the grey sky.

Coming about we sail south on the creek, turning west in shallow Warehouse Creek.  We follow the curve of the marsh, round up behind the marsh and a small stand of trees, dropping anchor just before 4:00.

Later that night, after dinner and with a football game on the radio, I mark down 24 nm in the notebook.

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