I don’t know how I can continue to be surprised that things are weird, but things are weird and it remains surprising. We sailed. Basically no one else did.
I mean, obviously, on some level, I get it. When I played Red Dead Redemption, I was terrible at remembering to put on my bandit mask when I was about to commit crimes, and now 1/3 of the people in Wawa are wearing bandit masks (the other 2/3 are doing a “casual surgeon chic” thing). And sure, time has lost all meaning and whatever news that makes it past my perimeter is the new dumbest thing I’ve ever heard, to the point where I’m expecting us to begin putting Brawndo on crops. Still, I didn’t expect boating to drop off completely after Labor Day. It’s pretty easy to remain isolated on a boat. But for the second week in a row, there was almost no one out there. Not that I’m complaining.
The weather may have had something to do with it. It was a little blustery early in the day. Fortunately for me, I consider the early worm to be for the birds. We got an especially late start because I had to detour to the marine supply store on the way. The boat has been without a working sink in the head since late August, and the service kit for my Whale Flipper Pump finally arrived. The options were to ship it to my house (for money), or have them ship it to their own store (for free), and I chose “free,” not realizing that the free option would be borne by a Pony Express of Jazzies, but it’s fine.
It didn’t seem that windy at the marina, and we departed without a reef in. That was quickly remedied in response to the whitecaps in the creek. I couldn’t make any sense of the sky—there was a wedge of distant cloud cover pockmarked with smaller, closer gray puffs of cloud that weren’t anywhere else. The photo doesn’t really capture it, but it was odd. I think there were five named storms in the Atlantic, so maybe the atmosphere was just (also) a mess.
There have been so many storms that the World Meteorological Organization is running out of names and will shortly have to switch to Greek letters. They don’t actually come up with names for all of the English letters though, so if we get past Omega, I hope that we can circle back and have Tropical Storms Queasy, Umpteen, Xeriously?, Yeesh, and Zoinks.
We initially sailed upwind. When we ran out of bay, instead of simply tacking around, I heaved-to. There was no one to run into us, and we kind of just sat for a while. I got out the chart tube (it’s a Chartube™ Brand chart tube, which I pronounce shar-toob, as in chartreuse) and showed Jenn some charts of places we’ve been and places we could go. Eventually, we pulled the jib over and continued on. The jib had been furled a bit, but I let it all go for the long downwind run down the bay.
Running directly downwind isn’t a particularly fast point of sail, but we were moving when I could keep the 135 drawing.
My intention was to sail all the way to Conklin Island, but the wind had shifted and was aligned with the bay from the north. I didn’t want to have to do an annoying tacking drill to beat out of the narrow sections down there, so we shortened the jib and tacked near BI and continued north with more room.
Jenn took a cool photo of our shadow on the water.
I missed it when I first flipped through her pictures, but noticed it when I saw a thumbnail of it:
It was great to have the bay to ourselves. There was some wind and it was cool, but it was manageable with the right sail plan and gear. I was certainly glad to have my fast pants—in the same way that Oceania was always at war with Eastasia in 1984, I feel like I’ve always worn short pants. The drop-off in boat traffic from high summer has been dramatic and surprising, but not unwelcome. I will endeavor to be less surprised and just enjoy it.