|Playing tag with this sailboat|
I push away from the muddy beach around 1:45 PM. Leaving the marina at Priest’s Landing at the same time is a large sailboat. He motors out ahead of me maybe 200 feet, cuts the engine and raises his sails. The tide is running out but against it an off-shore wind provides some resistance to my paddling and forces the sailboat to tack. I keep paddling straight. His first tack is right in front of me and by the second tack, he is behind me. I paddle the two and a quarter miles through the Wilmington River and into the Wassaw Sound well before the sailboat.
|Paddling toward Cape Charlotte|
Entering the sound, I am in big water (the sound is two plus miles wide). I set course for my destination, Wassaw Island, passing the wide mouth of Rommey Marsh Creek and some ominous sounding high ground known as “Dead Man’s Hammock.” A large bird flies across the sound. It’s not till the bird is almost above me that I notice it’s a bald eagle. I wish my camera is ready, but it flies over and is quickly in the sun. The sky is cloud free, but the unhindered sun isn’t able to warm the air much above 70° F. The wind picks up in the sound and the water becomes a little rough with the tide running against it. I keep paddling, passing several hundred yards from the mouths of Blue Bank Creek and Crooked Creek.
|Horseshoe Crab (RIP)|
As I walk toward the point, I come upon the ruins of Fort Morgan. A battery of guns were placed here during the Spanish American War to secure Savannah from an attack up the Wilmington River, a back channel into the Savannah River. After a year, the guns were removed and the only thing that remains are concrete ruins that are being slowly reclaimed by the tides. The concrete mix included a lot of oyster shells, showing the ingenuity of those building the fort who used what they had on hand.
|Wassaw Island, looking toward the point|
The north end of the island is slowly being eaten away and it appears that at high tide, the water would be up against the woods. Around the point, named Cape Charlotte on the charts, the remains of trees stick out of the sand, evidence of the southward erosion. These islands are always in flux and as the north end erodes, sand is being added to the south end creating wide sandy beaches.
|Pines on the Island|
I've been told these pines are related to those on the Bahamas
|Selfie taken on the island|
At four-thirty, the water is rising closer to my boat. The wind has died and the gnats are out. I pack up and begin the paddle back to Skidaway. Shortly afterwards, I see what I think is an osprey dive for a fish. The bird misses its target and as I takes back to flight and is over head, it does a funny dance, flicking up its tail feathers as it flutters its wing, obviously an effort to dry itself off. The big bird sails high and, once it’s over Mill Creek, makes another dive. This time, when it takes off, there is a fish in its talons. Dinner will be served in his nest this evening.
I had hoped that I would have had the wind to help push me, but my luck has run out. I still have the incoming tide, but when I reach the wide mouth of Rommey Marsh Creek, I find the tide now works against me for the water is pushing into the creek and I have to paddle harder for the next half mile or so. Once I’m back in the main channel of the Wilmington River, I can see the marina at Priest Landing in the distance. The sun is bright, but quickly dropping in the western sky. When I pull up on the beach at Priest Landing, named for a former Benedictine Monastery on the Island, sunset is only a few minutes away. It has been a nice afternoon.
|In open waters, paddling home|