At first light, I was up, excited about getting to my destination for the week, and seeing Grace. Everything was organized around Katie for a fast departure, and I was on the water on my way by 7:15 AM! I caught the outgoing tide down the Chester River, past Queenstown, as I headed towards the Kent Narrows, the piece of water that separates Kent Island from the mainland. This island is also used by the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. I approached the narrows with the tide behind me, and cruised over to one of the shellfish packing houses just before the bridge. I saw some old pile timbers, and decided to tie Katie up in some quiet water out of the way. As I got out, I was in 18 inches of water covering old oyster shells. As I walked along the water at the edge of the grass, I saw under water several crabs darting away from me. I decided to stop for some hot breakfast – I had not eaten anything in anticipation of a great breakfast cooked by someone other than me. However, as is often the case, one’s expectations are not met. All of the restaurants in the area, and there are some really good ones, only serve lunch and dinner, as some one explained to me, so that they can make their money selling beer. So here I was, at 10 AM, looking for breakfast and there was no place interested in serving me that breakfast. I went over to sit on some steps near the marina office, and a young man came out, named Brian. After I shared with him what I was doing, he got very excited. Brian has been up and down the ICW “50 times or more”, and has been all the way to Venezuela and back. He told me there was one place that I had to spend time, where the restaurant is famous, and where boatmen come from all around to share their yarns. He said, it is called Coinjock, in North Carolina, and I should spend at least a couple of days there. I was surprised at the location, as that is the site where I am sending my first parcel through the mail near the start of the ICW. He shared with me some additional great places of interest. He then said that there are remarkable things to see on the ICW, and that most people just try to fly though and thus miss what there is to see. He advised me that the key is not trying to move quickly through, and he thought going in a kayak was a perfect way to see all of it. He then told me to take full advantage of the tide and proceed south to St. Michael’s as quickly as I could, and I took his advice. I gave up the idea of waiting for lunch, but took advantage of the restrooms (with showers) before leaving, just to shave 4 days worth off, which felt just great. I went back to the backwater area where Katie was waiting for me, and we were soon off padding under the bridge and past the Wildfowl Trust of America. I crossed over the bay area to Hoghole and down a couple of southerly peninsulas. There was one time, when I rested, that when I got out of the kayak, I had difficulty standing up. Either my legs were stiff from not moving, or I was too used to the motion of the kayak, but I floundered around until I plopped into the water on my butt, laughing at the sight that no one else could see. The anticipation was building, so I called Grace to let her know that I should be there around 3:30 to 4:00 PM. I was hoping that this would be a conservative estimate, but with the tide changed and the wind now coming out of the SW, my progress slowed noticeably. I crossed the Miles River to Deepwater Point, paddling with a vigorous stroke through the increasing wind and wave action. At 3:45 I called Grace to tell her that I was standing on a small sandy beach outside of the harbor. Three minutes later, I came around the bend to see her waving excitedly at me. There are no words to express how great I felt, to have come so far to see someone so dear. I decided to rate this day a 5. The 22 miles paddled make the week’s total 92 miles, which is not very efficient, as the direct distance for boaters is 63 miles, but I had to follow the coves, and there was the unfortunate lesson in Day 3 that cost me 13 miles. But, I was happy and relieved, and so looking forward to a few days of true R&R with my sweetheart.
Venetta on Day 40 Thursday October 18… Kala on Day 38 Tuesday October 16 The… Teodoro on Day 45 Tuesday October 23… Tomiko on Day 38 Tuesday October 16 The… Jerry R. Jones on Day 45 Tuesday October 23…