I had earlier seen the impressive tide range of this March 19th at Garris Landing, with a tiny shallow ditch between expanses of pluff mud creating a gauntlet for boaters to run toward the ramp. It was an stronger pull from this closer than normal orbit of the moon – perigee, and coinciding with the vernal equinox. The March full moon has different names in various cultures, i.e. crow moon. I wondered what the Seewees called it – would they have noticed this Super Moon?
Other atmospheric conditions contributed to the pull on me: clear skies, and a solid east wind that would only increase over the night as it shifted to northeast. The tide rolled in for a higher than normal level, and would flood until an hour after the moonrise. All these forces conspired to set the wheels turning – my contemplation of launching Kingfisher and sailing out to greet the rising moon. There was plenty of company at our landing that evening with the holding of a community function – a potluck. A small gathering of neighbors watched as I received the welcome cast-off from my friend Maurice Snook and sailed out into the dark, with friends Rod Means, and later Chris Crolley (with camera phone), taking pics.
(Credit Rod Means.)
The sun had set fifteen minutes before as I tacked up the waterway, and the sky continued to darken. The feel of the boat became important relative to the visual, and the wind speed made it lively but well in control.
(Credit Chris Crolley.)
A main anxiety was the potential for other boat traffic, and though I had a light (headlamp) that nicely lit up my sail, I was on the lookout for distracted or intoxicated boaters. Thankfully none appeared, but I still chose a course away from the Intracoastal Waterway, tacking into the narrow channel through the shell rake paralleling the Waterway and leading to Venning Creek.
In this little protected body of water, I awaited the rising. While the sky was mainly clear, there appeared some haze on the horizon in the direction I expected to see the moon – over the salt marsh toward Bulls Bay. It did not pop up, but faintly made its presence known behind the horizon haze, gradually burning through until it was an orange-red ball.
(Credit Chris Crolley.)
Despite the billing, the moon did not appear many times its usual size here due to landscape distortion (as in other locales [Athens; Boston]), but as a celestial event it did not disappoint. These were magnificent moments as I navigated between shoals and oyster reefs until passing through a narrow opening into Andersonville Creek.
(Credit triple super moon Rod Means.)
After I sailed around the Waterway a little longer, the moon headed into a cloud bank. I found my vision diminishing, and the probability of hitting something either above or below the surface of the water increasing. It was a short sail to windward of the landing for the dropping sail and coasting downwind to the dock’s end occupied by two people. My neighbor Chris Crolley grabbed my bow line, and described one of the camera phone photos as the ghost of Kingfisher.
I towed my craft home, with cleanup left for later.
The day after.
The “list” of Kingfisher on the trailer was pronounced. A trailer spring had earlier displayed deterioration, and now was definitely “sprung”. As usual, I washed the hull and raised sail, which pivoted in the strong northeast wind. I noticed a long crack through the middle of the rudder’s mahogany blade. It was last replaced in 2004 (Exploring Bull Island epilogue), and this current condition would not do. The last sobering reality hit when I took down the sail, and noticed the broken deck lead for the halyard. I later recalled what Billy Baldwin said after reading my descriptions of ongoing breakage in Exploring Bull Island – “Why don’t you get yourself a new boat?” I would again have to turn my attention to repairs prior to my next sail.