Awake at 5:15. A breezy night, SPARTINA swaying in the gusts. Dark overcast morning, hint of light to the east. Winds seem to calm while raising anchor at 6:00.
Tiny orange glow in the clouds on the horizon, rounding up the sun makes a brief appearance above the water then disappears into the clouds.
Downwind to Sound Point, mint chocolate bar for breakfast. Little Porpoise Pount at 6:25 in a light rain. Big Porpoise Point at 6:35, making 4.7 to reach Middle Point at 7:15.
We begin a series of tacks on the water between the poles that mark the edge of the bombing range and Goose Island to the west. Wind and waves on the bow, lots of spray and heeling to the wind.
We round up in Middle Bay to sponge out the water. A series of short tacks carries us around Sow Island Point and into Jones Bay. The wind is building, round up to tuck in a reef at 8:45, making 5.6 under single reefed main, mizzen and jib. Extremely strong gusts on the wide bay, SPARTINA heeling a taking some water over the coaming.
We anchor along the south shore of the bay just inside of Gibbs Point to clean out the water and check the weather. Looking at the gps, charts and wind, I consider going down the Bay River with a straight shot across the mouth of the Neuse and into West Bay. But the weather station is warning of severe afternoon thunderstorms. The clouds to the west are getting darker. Under power at 10:00 we head down the ICW, rounding up to check the weather one more time just inside of Gale Point. More reports of approaching storm cells. I decide to seek shelter. Bear Creek is just around the corner past Gale Point, a perfect place to tuck away. Under power we round Gale Point to find wind on the nose and very steep waves pounding on the bow. Bear Creek is only a few hundred yards away but I don't think we can make it.
We turn back and motor up the icw, turning into narrow Gale Creek where it leaves the canal. Peaceful and calm, we motor up the creek and tuck into a little cove.
Anchor down 11:30, I rush to set up the boom tent, rain beginning to fall just as I haul on the halyards to tension the tent in place.
Two series of storms pass over, the first in the early afternoon and the second about 4:00. The boat cleaned from the morning rough sail, I nap, read my book and make notes in the log. An early dinner of New Zealand Back Country Roast Chicken with veggies and mashed potatoes, a cup of mixed tropical fruit for dessert.
Running total of 43.22 NM, and just shy of 12 hours sailing.