I awoke around 7:15 after a great night of sleep of almost 12 hours. This is what happens when you generally go to sleep in the tent when it gets dark, and get up when the sun is up at this time of the year. The sun reflected off the mist coming up off the river – it was a beautiful sight. Next to Katie, there was a large hole in the sand with the obvious footprints – a masked bandit had been looking for turtle eggs while I was asleep. I packed up the kayak, having the last of the cereal, and was on my way at 8:30. The trip down the river was straightforward – about 6 miles following the coves of the larger bays. As I approached the mouth entering the Bay, the wind picked up, out of the east. I was hoping for a west wind, but that was not to be. I headed south towards Dameron Marsh, which juts out into the Bay by a mile. That was a slog through some larger surf, and then headed south along its front, where it felt more like paddling in the ocean, with the surf crashing against the marsh. Once around it became completely calm, out of the wind, with only the gentle swells coming through. However, further south, the east wind came back into play. I continued to see Bald Eagles, as I have ever since Day 3 – they are always exciting to see.
I found myself pushing hard to deal with the waves that rocked the kayak. Due to the surf, I played it very safe, and followed all of the cove contours, watching closely the depth of the water. My ability to read that depth based on the water color improved. The water has also been more clear. At Dividing Creek, I went almost fully around the cove. This approach requires a lot more “miles” traveled, but it is the only way that I feel comfortable in unstable water. Later that afternoon, I passed Bluff Pointe, that starts a series of 4 small creeks. I called John O. to see if it would be ok to come a day earlier, as I had made such good time, but due to a social engagement that he and his wife Nancy had to attend, we agreed I would arrive the following morning. I found a small sand bar tucked in a small cove between two very fancy houses, and behind the bar, a thicket of woods. As I was uncertain what camping spots might open up as I paddled around Indian Creek, I decided to grab this opportunity. Mosquitoes welcomed me to the sand bar, but it did not matter, this was my camp. I set it up as quickly as possible, and stood on the sand bar, where the bugs were not so numerous. I put on a long sleeve shirt and long pants which helped, but decided not to bother cooking, but instead eat a Cliff bar in the tent. As the sky darkened, I watched the clouds through the tree tops go from light pink, to darker pink, to purple, and before I knew it, I was asleep. It had been a good day of kayaking, with lots of variety in landscape and paddling conditions. I rate the day overall a 3.
The landscape in Virginia is definitely different from the northern part of the Bay. There are more pine trees than before, and generally larger stretches of inhabited land that offer many primitive camping locations. It feels good to be heading towards the lower Bay.