Thursday, October 20, 2016

day two - three rivers, two bridges and a beautiful anchorage

Overnight crystal clear skies, then I wake in the early morning hours to a thin overcast.  At dawn, low overcast clouds and an orange glow to the east.  Sails up at 7:00 with a light southeast wind.  Flatty Creek at 2 kts, geese walk along the narrow beach backed by a corn field.  I sail past a mansion the size of three mansions.  

Leaving the Tred Avon we make 5 kts, the wind filling in and I round up to tuck in a reef for the downwind sail.  We slip along the shoreline past Irish Creek then the wide mouth of Broad Creek with wind and waves, sometimes big waves, on the stern.  It is a quick but rough passage down the Choptank.  

Rounding up at the entrance to the Knapp Narrows channel the waves build in the shallows of Tilghman Island.  The main comes down easily but the foredeck pitches up and down as I climb out to bring down the jib.  Under power we enter the channel.  I radio to the Knapp Narrows bridge before the tender can see me.  "You near the number 6?" he asks and I tell him I'm just now passing the marker.  Soon I hear the the sirens on the bridge as he starts the lift.   Calmer in the narrows and we pass through by 10 a.m. 

Now in the lee of the land it is calm yet still breezy on the bay.  I raise the mizzen, reefed main and jib but soon drop the mizzen and shake out the reef with the stiff wind coming over the starboard quarter.  It's a fast ride along up past Tilghman Point and by 11:30 we are in Eastern Bay making over 5 kts.  Near Parsons Island an eagle circles overhead,  two crabbers are finishing up their morning's work and turning their deadrises back towards the docks.  

Past Parsons Island we sail wing and wing up Prospect Bay at 4 kts.  Under power at 1:30, headed for Kent Narrows hoping to making the 2 p.m. lift.  We reach the bridge with 10 minutes to spare, I radio the bridge tender then turn back under power to hold my position with the tide racing through the narrows.  We are the first boat to pass through the bridge, followed by a larger sailboat and a couple of power boats.

The rushing tide carries us quickly through the narrows and just as we pass the shoals I turn out of the channel to raise full sail.  We make between 5 and 6 kts on the Chester River sailing due east.  Never having been to Queenstown Creek I look at a satellite photo on my phone to see that homes line the shore on the southwest end of the creek, the northeast end is trees and farmland.

Approaching Queenstown Creek a bluff to the south blocks much of the wind.  We make four slow tacks into the creek, ignoring the channel markers as there seems to be plenty of water as least for a little yawl.  Once inside the water is calm and peaceful.  An eagle perches on a dock piling.   I try for a photograph but the eagle takes flight.   We turn northwest with a tree lined shore to starboard and trees fronting a cornfield to port.  I can hear a tractor rumbling on the far side of the field.  Anchor down at 4:00 on Queenstown Creek near the mouth of tiny Salthouse Cove.

A freeze dried meal for dinner, I set up the boom tent for possible rainstorms and then read my book before turning in.  The tractor in the corn field shuts down.  Quiet and peaceful on the creek.


eebe4 said...

Enjoying this read Steve. Thanks for posting.
Got any favorite freeze dried meals?

Shawn Stanley said...

I love going thru those bridges. You really need to come visit the Western shore (I know it is not as exciting..every time we go cruising for more than a weekend it is to the Eastern Shore as well), but if you ever venture near the Patuxent River, we'd come see you!

Solomons, MD

Steve said...

Yes, Shawn, the western shore is creeping up on my list, from Mobjack Bay to the Patuxent. We'll see. I've visited Solomons twice, but on bigger boats, would love to get Spartina there.