I had sailed the Chesapeake all my life, but there were still many sights to see. On weekends, we usually took the kids and went to many of the same places. When there was a vacation, we struck off hard and fast to cover as much mileage as possible. Also, all our boats had been long-legged ocean cruisers or racers, so there were plenty of spots we just couldn’t get into. The object here was to gunkhole any place and every place with 2 ½ ft. of water.
On 8 October Thistle was underway at 0900 from the marina. This gave me a chance to see how the dinghy towed. My eldest granddaughter reasoned that if the boat was named Thistle, the dinghy should be Thorn.
Even though I run the engine every couple weeks to a month, and I had serviced it, it had been a year since it had been in full service, so I decided to run it a bit before getting too far afield and having a problem, so I powered out of Indian Creek and up Southeast Creek. As soon as the creek narrowed down we came to a place on the south shore where someone had put up a bird roost. A telephone pole had been set with a long length of metal flashing secured around the pole to keep predators from climbing, and a nesting platform was set on top with a huge nest on it. A “T” had been erected above it as a roost, and perched right there was a beautiful bald eagle. Throttling back, I drifted by so as not to disturb it, and continued to the head of navigation before coming about.
Approaching the Chester River, I set sail. Not having been underway for a year, and with the rig freshly set up, there were a few bugs to work out in running lines and setting fairleads, but things fell in place pretty quickly as I set a single-reefed main and working jib and beat to weather. Thistle sailed down the river and rounded the first elbow in the river in front of Camp Pecometh, a Methodist summer camp, which is charted as Booker‘s Wharf. Further down we sailed up into White Cove. The silo marked there is actually two silos that have been joined and converted into a very nice five-story home. Decks surround most of it on the second and third floor, and on the fourth, ceiling-to-floor wrap-around windows give a panoramic view of the river.
Just as I beat in toward Comegy’s Bight, a gust blew my hat off. It had tie straps, but I carelessly had them stuffed into the top of the hat. After several passes with the boathook, it started sinking. The wind made it hard to see on the surface, and then it was gone. As you sail up Langford Creek, Cacaway Island sits strategically in the junction between the East and West Forks. I dropped sail and started the engine just as we entered the West Fork and continued northwest, turning into Shipyard creek. The anchor was set in 8-ft. in the bight just south of Shipyard Landing.
I dinghied over to the landing to stretch my legs with a bit of a walk. After dinner, I sat in the cockpit with a cup of tea as I watched a buck swim across the creek just east of me. I had seen deer swim before, but was surprised at his speed, which had to be at least 2 kts. Unfortunately, where he was to come out of the water was a high, steep bluff that rose directly from the water. I grabbed the binoculars to watch for fear he might injure himself trying the scale the cliff. He stood on the water’s edge for a while looking everything over. He walked a bit left, then right, and finally seemed to have decided on an approach. He climbed and slid, climbed and slid, but finally reached the top where he paused and shook himself before strolling into the woods.