"When I think of all the fools I've been it's a wonder that I've sailed this many miles." -Guy Clark

Thursday, November 16, 2023

day five - north winds and an invitation

Sail of anchor 7:40.   Low grey overcast, misty and cool.  Sstrong north wind.  Double-reefed main and drysuit, it's getting to be a habit.  Making 3.8 across the Honga River to the bridge, a patch of blue sky above, brief and without promise.  Looks like slack high tide at the bridge, we sail through at 8:20.  Making 4.5 futon the Bay.

Barren Island off starboard bow.  8:40 doing 3.3 in less wind, sailing through a field of crab pot markers.  9:15 3.4 into steep waves.  9:25 tack at the red marker on the eastern side of the shipping channel.  

9:35 tack back to make room for a tug and a barge.  Misty and hazy, want to keep well clear of all the tugs and barges working off Barren Island.  

Go past the edge of the shipping channel, work my way north around a shoal just outside of the channel.  10:00 tack back towards the Eastern Shore.  10:10 tack back out.  Rain.  10:20 shake out second reef, struggling in the waves. 10:30 tack back to the northeast.  11:00 tack.  11:30 tack.  Steep waves are slowing us down.  They come in batches of three.  The first wave picks up the bow, the second wave slows us down, the third brings the boat to a halt.  SPARTINA can handle the wind, the waves are another story.  I look at the charts to see if I can make the Little Choptank, quickly concluding it would probably be dark by the time I get there.  

11:40 fall off towards the Patuxent River.  With a single reef in the main too much sail for the wind on the beam.  Bring down the main and try to sail under mizzen and jib, not enough speed to push through the rough water.  Tie in a second reef, raise the main at noon.  Just the right combination to plow through the chop.  Making 5.6 with wind on the starboard beam.

1:00 two eagles feeding at Drum Point as we enter the Patuxent River.  1:25 steady rain as we enter Solomons Island.  I motor beneath a tiny little island and find a handful of boats in the anchorage.  I circle around trying to find the best spot to anchor between a couple of boats.  Anchor down 1:45.

Getting settled in at the anchorage and sorting out wet gear, a man motors by in a dinghy with his dog.  It is Scott, off the cruising boat élan, with his dog Roo.  He asks if everything is ok.  I tell him I'm fine, just anchoring to get out of the weather.  "Anchoring for a couple of hours?" he asks.  I tell him no, overnight, maybe longer.  So he invites me over to his boat for a beer.

Scott, his adult daughter Keira and the dog Roo are on an extended sailing trip, headed from their homeport of Toronto to the Caribbean.  Scott's wife and son will join them along the way.

They are good people and we spend the afternoon talking about our trips.  Scott brings out a beer, then another and then tells me - doesn't ask - that I'm staying for dinner.  How nice.

So it's a fun dinner with some great spaghetti, nice to be out of the weather and on a nice big boat.  After a couple of hours Scott runs me back to SPARTINA and I settle in for the evening.

 23.71 NM

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