I took ten days off after Christmas. The 27th and 29th were warm and foggy days and I spent them both on the water. A friend and I went out sailing on the 27th, in very light wind. We set at the marina porch for thirty minutes debating whether or not to go. A little after noon, the visibility wasn't much over a mile (it had been much less in the morning). The flags were barely fluttering. Had the winds picked up, the fog would have been blown away. As we watched, there appeared some ripples on the water. We then saw another boat host its sails and make their way up the river, so we decided we'd give it a try. The tide had just turned and was rising, so we sailed out on the Wilmington River, into Wassaw Sound, toward the north end of Wassaw Island. The wind picked to maybe a sustained 5 knots with a few puffs of maybe 8 knots, nothing exciting but enough to allow us to make decent headway against the tide. We talked and watched dolphins feed. After an hour or so, we turned around. Shortly thereafter enough of the fog was burned off or blown away that we saw the sun for a few minutes. Running with a spinnaker and being pushed by the tides, we quickly ran back toward the marina But about a 1/4 mile from the marina, the wind died. We let the tide pull is in and then used paddles to navigate through the break wall. We'd come back just in time!
|Paddling out as the fog lifts|
The next day, I took off in my kayak at 10 AM from the Delegal Creek marina on the south side of the island. As I launched, the visibility was maybe a quarter mile. I paddled out of Delegal Creek on the falling tide and headed out toward Ossabaw Sound. I hug as closely as possible to the shore as I didn't want to get lost, but I had to be careful to be out far enough that I wouldn't be caught on a mudflat with the falling tide. In the soupy fog, I thought I heard someone talking and wondered who would be out on the water with such fog, but it turned out to be gulls squawking on a sandbar. Later I would hear a motor as a boat made its way out of the river and into the sound. I couldn't see him for the longest time, but could hear it through the fog. Then he stopped for a few minutes, would run for maybe 30 seconds and then stop again. I thought maybe he was trying to find the channel, but later, as I approached the south end of Wassaw and the fog had lifted to where I could see a mile or two, I realized he was pulling crab traps.
|lunch on Wassaw|
The paddle out was one of the smoothest I've had on these waters (as was the paddle back). Bottle-nose dolphins were all around me, some of which appeared to dance on the the water as they played around, gracefully jumping as they fed on baitfish. I arrived on the island, ate lunch and took a nap on the sand, before walking around the island for maybe a hour. This was the first time I've been on the island since Hurricane Matthew. I was surprised that there were few down trees, but there were a number of pines that had died from salt water, but these were mostly in wash areas that would have been flooded for a long period during and after the storm. The trees growing on top of dunes appeared to have done well.
|Sand Dollar on the beach|
At 3:30, I decided I'd better be getting back. The tide was running in hard (low tide was a little after 1 PM) and it would be getting dark a little after 5. I made the five mile paddle back and had loaded my boat on the car as the sun set. It was another good day.
Below are a few more scenes from my trip.
|Bottle Nose Dolphin (taken from Wassaw Island)|