Sail off anchor 7:05 with a single reef tucked in the main. Comfortable, cool night. Crisp NE wind this morning, clear skies and a little chilly. A downwind run out of Pompco Creek.
7:30 off the beach at the north end of Parkers Island. Entrance to Onancock Creek in sight at 7:50, sailing just off the shore. Turn into the Onancock Creek 8:00, round up to shake out the reef and begin tacking up the channel. Steady tacking, shallows particularly on the red side of the channel, large dark clouds moving in from the NE. In the narrower part of the creek at 9:00, tall trees on shore blocking the wind. Under power.
Turn up the north branch of the creek past the deadrises to see if friends John and Maria are out in the yard of the waterfront home. They are not. Turn back to the main creek, docked 9:45 at Onancock Wharf.
So I'm putting the bowline on a cleat when I hear someone say "Hello." I glance up to see a man standing a few feet away.
"Are you the dockmaster?" I ask. "Yes," he says, then "Do you have a phone?" Odd question, I think as I say "Yes, I do." "I kinda like to know when somebody is coming" the dockmaster says with a not too friendly look on his face. So that's what this is all about.
His next question is "When did you decide to come here?" I tell him "I don't really know, maybe yesterday, maybe last evening, maybe this morning when I woke to the nice breeze. I just kind of sail and go where the wind takes me."
The dock master looks to his left and right, up and down the dozen slips on the wharf. There's one local boat in the slip at the east end of the dock, one sailboat at the west end and SPARTINA in the slip marked "8." All the other slips are empty. "I mean," the dockmaster says, "it's not like I don't have room."
"So I'm ok here?" I ask. He pauses, glances at the slip number, says "Yeah, ok." "Good, I'll be up at the office soon to pay." The dockmaster walks away.
It's a busy day in the nice little town. I refuel, charge batteries, top off the water bottles and then grab some lunch at Mallards on the Wharf, an excellent Salmon BLT on flatbread with wasabi/lemon aoli. In the afternoon I walk a few blocks to resupply my snacks at the North Street Market. And I drop by to see friends John and Maria, then relax and drink a soda in the shake on the liar's bench.
Evening I'm back at Mallards for an enjoyable dinner with Bruce and Nancy, the couple on the chartered sailboat at the end of the dock. A crab cake and an unusual but excellent key lime Smith Island seven layer cake. I tell Bruce and Nancy about my conversation this morning with the dockmaster. They laugh and tell me they had a nearly identical experience themselves. We list off different things a dockmaster could say to arriving sailors. "How you doing?," "Welcome to Onancock," "Can I help with the lines?". Somehow "Do you have a phone?" did not make the list. The evening with the couple was a special treat.