The sail from Bunker Cove to Mud Hole was short and uneventful. It was our first time since setting out that we were sailing upwind, but we only had to tack once. You can see on our track that we went quite a ways out to sea before making the corner of Stage Harbor Island and heading into Eastern Bay.
For the non-sailors out there, tacking is how a sailboat can sail into the wind. The boat can’t travel directly in the direction that the wind is coming from, but can sail about 55 degrees off the wind on either side. The process of sailing first in one direction and then the other to work your way upwind is called tacking. If the wind is very light it can be quite slow. If the wind is very heavy then heading upwind can be very wet. During the process of sailing upwind a sailboat is “heeled over”, meaning that the boat is tipped partway over by the force of the wind on the sails. The weight in the keel counteracts the tipping motion and the boat will stay tipped up on one side like this.
Things started to get interesting about the time that we entered Eastern Bay. We turned in and headed downwind for a nice broad reach to the entrance to Mud Hole. The wind really picked up and we were screaming along. Moving fast on a broad reach is a great feeling. Moving fast on a broad reach through an unfamiliar bay with lots of rocks on both sides of the channel is a less great feeling… We quickly and successfully reached the entrance to Mud Hole and used the motor to stay in place while we wrestled the sailed down.
The guidebook had a lot to say about entering Mud Hole. First stay clear of the point, then stay close to the south shore until you pass the two rocks that show at low tide. You can’t try to enter when the rocks are visible though because at low tide the channel only has 2 feet of water in it. After creeping very slowly past where we expected the rocks to be and finding the shallow area (14 feet at high tide) the water became deeper and we found a secluded anchorage to ourselves. We just have to be sure that we don’t want to leave at low tide…
Looking out of the entrance to the Mudhole at High Tide
Looking out of the entrance to the Mudhole at Low Tide