11/14/2010, Off the Coast of the Carolinas
I was up early and under way by 0700. I got the main up as I entered the channel and proceeded out onto the Atlantic. It was a beautiful morning with a light northerly wind which put it on my starboard quarter. I noticed a sailboat a mile or so in front of me who seemed to be going in the same direction.
I hailed them on the radio and found that "Dream Catcher" was also headed to Charleston and also eventually to Key West. (Small world...) Even though we lost sight of each other as the day progressed, it was good to know that someone else was out there.
Once I was on the open ocean and had the auto pilot set, I was free to read, wander around the boat, make lunch, etc. It was a far cry from travelling down the ICW.
About 1:15, I was reading in the cockpit when I heard a splash and a spraying sound just outside the cockpit. This turned out to be the first of several large schools of dolphin to visit me today. This school stayed with me for about twenty minutes and they were jumping and playing all around the boat.
Two of them kept taking turns swimming directly beneath my bowsprit keeping perfect pace with the boat. I managed to walk up and get their picture. Since I was able to get so many cool pictures, I decided to break this post up into segments. Here are my buddies!
11/13/2010, Bald Head Island, NC
Well, it was time to say goodbye to my friends from Sea Path Yach Club in Wrightsville Beach and head south. I made some really good friends there and its a great marina. I plan to return there in the spring.
I got underway at 10:30 after the swimming portion of the Beach to Battle Triathlon ended and I was able to get out of my marina. I headed south on the ICW and through Snows cut and into the Cape Fear River.
At the mouth of the Cape Fear River, where it opens into the Atlantic Ocean, is Bald Head Island Marina. I chose this as my destination because my plan is to head off-shore and do a 24 hour off-shore sail to Charleston. Not only is it supposed to be a beautiful day for a sail but it will also put me 182 miles closer to Key West in one (long) day.
Here's a picture of the Bald Head Island light house.
11/09/2010, Wrightsville Beach, NC
WOW... quite a difference eh? And something else I'll tell ya, those barnacles are sharp! I have cuts on my hands and both shins from getting the dinghy out of the water and cleaned. But, its done.
Now, I'm basically down to provisioning (buying groceries) and picking the right weather and tide window to leave.
11/09/2010, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Well, today I got started making preparations for getting under way. I pulled my dinghy, (talk about things that sound dirty but aren't!) cleaned the growth off the bottom and secured it on the foredeck. I also had a diver come out to clean the bottom of the boat and replace my zincs.
Here you see the incredible amount of sea-life that has attached itself to my dinghy in the few months that I have been here.
11/08/2010, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Yes, yes... I know I just got back from there, by plane of course. But I once heard the saying "Always do sober what you said you'd do when you were drunk." No, I haven't been drinking but I sometimes use a variation on that theory, that goes something like this...
I figure if I tell you guys that I'm going to do something, its harder for me to back out. Therefore I'm telling you that I've decided to sail down to Key West to spend the winter. I realize that its going to be expensive to live there but I'm counting on there being ample opportunities for me to play music and to find part-time employment. (Where did I leave that book on making hats out of palm fronds?)
I've got a local "friend of a friend" who's going to start searching out a slip for me. I'm going to give it a shot, I figure Key West might be a pretty good spot to spend the winter months..... Besides, Wilson has been bugging me to take him there ever since we watched the movie Running Scared.
So, now its time to start preparing Norma to get under way again and head south!
10/21/2010, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Well friends, since I last posted, a lot has happened to me personally, professionally and nauticaly. I won't bore you with all the details but here's a thumbnail sketch.
I had another surgery, recorded a solo-CD and moved my boat from New Bern to Wrightsville Beach. When I moved to Wrightsville it was with an eye toward staying here indefiintitely but that plan has now changed. To once again quote Al Sweringen from Deadwood, "Announcing your intentions is a great way to hear God laugh!" You guessed it, those plans involved a woman and that went "blooey!"
The good news is, I plan to resume my travels in a few weeks. Right now my plan is to prepare for departure after returning from Key West around the second week of November. The basic plan is to head back to Florida and to perhaps cross to the Bahamas for at least part of the winter.
I will need to stay stateside for a good portion of the winter in order to play shows to promote my new CD. Anyway, as my travels resume, so will my blog postings. I apologize for the long absence and I will endeavor to keep you up to date in a more timely fashion from now on.
Here's a pic from my trip from New Bern to Wrightsville. A house I have admired everytime I've passed it over the last few years.