Thursday, October 12, 2006

Welcome Back To Virginia

Onancock Creek, N 37 43.547 W 75 49.468

Today started out on an embarrassing note. I got up early and started to prepare for departure.
I started the engine and began hauling up the anchor. Libby came up on deck and said, "Where's
the dinghy?" I pivoted around and sure enough, no dinghy in sight. I must have failed to secure
it properly last night. Oh well, I recall saying a long time ago, "If you only make every mistake
in the book three times or less, you're doing very well." That was the second time I let a dinghy
get away from me, so I have one to go.

We waited around until other people began to move. Eventually Chris came by in his dinghy and I
asked him to take me for a ride to find ours. We searched two deep bights in the creek, both downwind
of Tarwathie. Sure enough, down at the far end of the second bight, more than a click away from
Tarwathie, sat the dinghy. We towed it back and I thanked Chris profusely.

We chose to leave today because of the weather forecast. Two days ago they said that there would be
a gale from the North today. Yesterday they changed that forecast to NW 15-20. Last night they
changed it to SW 15. This morning they changed it again to W 20. The reality, when we got out in
the bay was zero knots. At least that was true for the morning, and we had to motor the whole time.
Eventually, about 1300 the West wind did appear. By supper time it had picked up to nearly 20 knots
and we were flying southwards at nearly 7 knots under full sail.

Our delay in leaving this morning though caused us to arrive at Onancock Creek long after dark.
The channel leading into the creek is narrow and winds left and right. Only two of the channel
markers are lit. We felt our way in carefully on minimum throttle and with the wind at our backs.
We navigated with GPS and with a spotlight to find the daymarkers. It was a bit tense but we did
OK. That is a piece of navigation that would be very risky without a GPS. Without the GPS, we would
have been forced to navigate by depth and with the wind behind us, if we turned wrong we would likely
run aground before we could stop.

Yesterday in the late afternoon we put the sailing rig on the dinghy and sailed around the harbor.
DJ, a young boy on Dream Catcher anchored near us, asked for a ride and I let him sail it himself.
He and other children I see onboard these boats impress me. Those kids learn so much about boating
and learn to be so independent and adventurous at a young age. I hope they appreciate how lucky they
are. That's the kind of childhood that every child should have the chance to live.

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