Tuesday, October 17, 2017

day one - down the Choptank

Sails up at 9:25 just off the ramp in Cambridge, making 3 knots but struggling through the chop.  Light overcast with a steady N wind.  Calmer and making 3.6 away from the shoreline.  A starboard tack carries us toward the old brick marker at Hambrooks Bar, the curving shoal that reaches out from the southern shore of the river.  We round the light at 10:00 making a pleasant 5 knots.

Wind falls off and down 2.2 knots off Howard Point, three deadrises rigged for clamming coming up the river.  We struggle in the light wind and rolling wakes of the deadrises.

With Castle Point ahead I hear a rumbling sound across the river.  Five buy boats, classic and finely restored Chesapeake Bay boats, head up the river towards Cambridge.  Still under 3 knots off of Oxford, I think of heading into Island Creek to see some friends and anchor for the night.  But it is still too early in the day.  Schools of menhaden ruffle the surface.  Sailing is slow and steady, comfortable with temperatures in the mid-70s.  

More wind off the Tred Avon, making 4.2 knots with a skipjack off the bow heading to Cambridge.  Must be something going on there this weekend.  At 2:00 the wind falls off, we make wide tacks on the Choptank hoping for Steve's Cove on the for side of Broad Creek or maybe even Tilghman Island for the night.  

The chop builds and the wind dies off.  We sail in closer to shore to find calm water, making a steady series of tacks along the shoreline towards Irish Creek.  Mid-afternoon and I see the first eagle of the trip.  Lucy Point in sight by 3:45, rounding the point at just after 4:00.  

Anchor down on Irish Creek inside of Howell Point close to 5:00.

Evening.  The wind picks up and then calms.  The skies begin to clear.  Deadrises are tied to a dock along shore.  A great blue heron flying across creek makes a guttural cry.  Then the sound of a flock of geese in flight, unseen beyond the tree line.  

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