Motoring out of Solomon’s Island
Mike jumped ship in Portsmouth, though I could tell he wanted to keep going. We picked up George Doby at the airport on our way back to the boat. George has sailed with Paul several times, and was glad to get a spot on board for the long trip back. He has family near the coast in New Jersey, and planned to stay on for a visit when we got there.
We made ready and motored out of Solomon’s in vivid twilight as lights in the town flickered on. It’s a strange feeling to leave a place at sundown. Everyone else is returning, going the other way. You wave back, knowing you have a long night ahead, while they are going home for hot supper and bed. We don’t talk much, don’t need to.
Once clear of the headland, the sails were raised and we veered north. The south wind, blowing hard for days, had not given up yet, but it’s anger was spent. We would go with it now, much easier, though the seas still staggered and rolled from the long thrashing. By midnight both the wind and the waves were over it.
The excitement wasn’t over yet, though. This night and the next day would be the most pleasant of the trip – an easy sail up the Bay, and by morning riding the tide in sunshine through the C&D Canal – but the following night in Delaware Bay would bring sudden and unexpected hazards, and an unscheduled detour.
That would come later. In the meantime, we had a beautiful evening, one of those perfectly clear autumn nights. We all sat up late for it, watching barges and commercial ships move past in the darkness. A huge cruise ship lit up like a carnival passed us heading south, looking strangely out of place, like a circus tent far out in the desert.
Here’s a short but pleasant video of leaving Solomon’s: