Tuesday, October 31, 2017

day ten - fine dining, Russia house

Crystal clear, very chilly night.  Nothing is better than a cold night in a warm sleeping bag.

Wind whistles through the tops of the trees yet Queenstown Creek is as smooth as glass.  Hints of the rising sun come though the woods to the east.  

Sail off anchor before seven, receiving a text from Kantala that they'll be anchored in about 30 minutes out on the Chester River.  It is an outgoing tide, I raise the centerboard and rudder as we drift down the creek at 1 knot.  Three large sailboats are anchored on Queenstown Creek across from Salters Cove.  From the looks on their faces as they drink coffee on a cold morning they do not expect to see a small sailboat appear at the bend in the river.  We exchange greetings and sailing plans for the day as Spartina drifts by.  

We slide out of Queenstown Creek at 7:50, the entrance even narrower at low tide.  Wind falls but as I reach back to start the outboard the breeze comes back strong and steady.  Looking out I see Kantala rounding up to drop anchor.  

It's a wonderful morning with Michael and Sheila.  They had had problems with two of their steering systems on the ocean crossing and decided to go into Nova Scotia for repairs.  Once there it took a week to locate the metal shaft they needed, only to find that for some reason it could not be shipped out of the US.  So they gave up on England for the year, had the metal rod shipped to Maine, repaired the self-steering vane there and then began a leisurely sail along the coastal waters of New England.  And here they are just off Chesapeake Bay not too many miles from where we met a year ago.  

Hotcakes with syrup brought from Maine, fresh fruit salad and hot tea (the hot tea much welcomed on a cold morning), it is an enjoyable, unexpected morning and ends too soon.  They had many miles to make before dark.  We say goodbye, I cast off and raise sails only to hear Sheila shouting that I've left my foul weather gear behind (weather had warmed considerably during breakfast and I did not miss them when I climbed on Spartina).  I sail by Kantala's port side and they toss the jacket and pants on board.  

Tacking across the Chester River at 11:30 I lose sight of Kantala motoring to the north end of Kent Island.  Wind is good and it is a pretty day.  I tack to the western shore of the river where I hear the drag on the trolling line start to click.  It's a good sized striper and I work it in close to Spartina.  Seeing its size, maybe two and a half feet long, I lean back with the rod only to watch the line break, the fish escape.

A couple more tacks and we get a wind shift, and that plus the incoming tide let's us sail a steady course up the Chester River.  

The drag goes off again and this time I work the fishing in slowly, bringing in a 21" striper, perfect for dinner.  I had planned to go to a restaurant just off the Corsica River but now fresh seafood is on my menu.  

Early afternoon is great sailing, 4.4 with a steady breeze and 5.6 with the gusts.  Enter the Corsica River at 1:40, the large red mansion on the shore part of a Russian compound that had been forced to close last year because of election meddling.  There were spies among us on the river. 

A fleet of Comet class sailboats rounds the marks on the regatta, and afternoon regatta at the local sailing club.  One Comet with a light blue hull capsizes and is quickly righted.  I'm sailing on the edge of the course and as the blue boat sails by I see a man at the tiller and a woman, his wife or girlfriend, busy bailing out the boat bucket by bucket.  

I clean the striper while cooking a pouch of boiling bag rice, then saut√©e the the filets in olive oil with a little bit of Cajun Sunshine mixed in.  A great and tasty dinner.  I'll visit the Centreville restaurant on the next trip (as long as I don't catch another nice striper on the way there).  Sports on the radio all afternoon and evening, the Baltimore Orioles wrapping up a painful season and the Baltimore Ravens losing terribly to the Steelers. 

There are a couple other boats anchored nearby so I set up the boom tent for privacy.  It is quiet and peaceful and calm, and I reflect on what an interesting day it has been.  A quiet and cold creek to start the day, breakfast with friends on Kantala, fine sailing, some good fishing, a spy house and an excellent dinner.  What more could I have asked for?

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