Wednesday, October 25, 2017

day six - four rivers

I look around to see not a soul is stirring on the larger boats moored near SPARTINA.  To the west there are two sloops and I wonder which one was the source of the friendly conversation last night.  I'll never know.
A late start, we sail off the mooring just after 7:00 with a NW wind and doing 4.0 leaving the Susquehanna.  The low overcast quickly clears.  Downwind on the channel around the flats we sail at 4.8 wing and wing past the small islands.  A sluggish tiller so I round up to clear the grass from the cb and rudder.  

Nice breeze and we reach Turkey Point with her 1833 lighthouse making 4.9 knots, slipping into the wind shadow of the cliffs and slipping back out again to find the breeze.  Past the point we are on the Elk River and the water is calm, the wind good.

A series of tacks the width of the Elk, constantly looking up river and down for barge and ship traffic.  There is none and I wonder why it is so quiet. 

 The wind builds as we make 5.5 knots off Cabin John Creek, entering the Bohemia River before noon.  The river is much wider than I had expected from the charts.  Gently rolling farm fields slope down to the water to the north and south.  The wind falls off and what is left of it is on the nose.  Maybe it the wide river, maybe it was because I wasn't sure of anchorage on the Big and Little Bohemia Creeks, or maybe it was the heat and finding myself tired of wind on the nose for five days - I push the tiller over and catch the following wind back to the Elk. 

We stay in the middle of the river on the edge of the shipping channel, moving off to the side as two barges pass by.  Slow sailing but pleasant and there is plenty of time to make the Sassafras.  

We sail by the red clay cliffs of the Sassafras at 4:00, 2.4 knots, then 4.5 as we turn east and catch the wind on the beam.  Blue skies and white clouds with heavy grey bottoms, the weather broadcast telling me the clouds are from the outer bands of Hurricane Maria.  A few drops of rain followed by the faintest of rainbows.

Approaching a small wooded peninsula the wind drops then comes back.  We come about and turn towards Money Creek, well protected from winds that are forecast to arrive overnight.

Anchor down I listen to a raft of ducks swimming near the lily pads close to shore.  The north wind should be perfect for sailing up the Sassafras tomorrow.

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