I sleep in a little bit on the cool, clear morning. Very chilly night but the sleeping bag and merino wool socks served me well. I wake with no specific plans. Maybe sail across the river to explore Langford Creek or Grays Inn Creek. Or maybe both. I take my time stowing the sleeping gear, no rush to go anywhere, when I check my phone to see an unexpected text. Kristen, long-time friend and president of the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum tells me she is not too far away on Queenstown Creek. She says she'll probably be there all day. How nice.
Sail off anchor at 7:30 with a steady northwest wind. I round the little marsh at the mouth of Reed Creek and enter the Chester River at 7:50, making 2.7 with wind on the stern.
It's an easy downwind sail to Queenstown Creek, slipping through the narrow entrance at 9:00. Usually a handful of boats anchored out on the creek but this morning only one, Kristen's Cape Dory MAGDALENA. I hand up a line to Kristen. She invites me on board and we spend the morning chatting - or as Kristen, a New Zealand native, says "gassing" - and having tea and biscuits. It is a wonderful time and I laugh when Kristen says we're having our own little Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival, the boat gathering at the museum that we would have both been attending today if not for the pandemic.
A little after 10:00 Kristen hops aboard SPARTINA and we motor to a little dock to visit my friends on the farm, touring some of the old buildings and walking through the fields and pastures. Back on MAGDALENA at noon, more biscuits and tea.....and gassing. Kristen notices how much I enjoy the biscuits and as I leave she makes sure I take a pack with me. I thank her for the visit, tell her I look forward to seeing her in a couple of days in St. Michaels.
Cast off from MAGDALENA 1:45, out of Queenstown Creek at 2:00. Slow sailing against the wind and tide. I motorsail the last half hour into Hail Creek, following the creek through the marsh to where it curves to the right and opens into a hidden pool of water. Anchor down 3:10.
Most likely my favorite anchorage on the bay, the pool of water is just a few feet deep completely surrounded by marsh with stands of tall pine trees to the west and south. Looking east over the marsh I can see the tops of sails sliding by as boats head up and down Chester River. The water is like glass.
Beef stroganoff and mixed tropical fruit for dinner, I enjoy my meal on the glassy calm creek.
10.85 NM for the day.
Waking in the darkness I think I hear a dripping sound. Maybe I forgot to close the fuel vent on the outboard. I check that and it is closed. But I can still hear this drip, drip, drip. I lean outside the boom tent and the noise is gone. So it must be coming from somewhere in the boat. I sit there in the stillness listening to the sound, realizing it is not a drip, drip, drip but instead a tick, tick, tick. It is the second hand of the little watch I hang in the stern to keep track of time. It is so still and quiet on the creek I can hear that second hand on a watch that I have sailed with for years and never heard before.
Mystery solved I get ready to climb back into the sleeping bag only to look out the back of the boom tent and see the moon slowly creep up from behind the marsh.