Newport, RI to Beaufort, NC
12 December 2010 | Beaufort, NC
We left Newport Shipyard on the 8th of Dec. at 8am. Loren Palmer came to the dock to see us off and then drove to Fort Adams, Castle Hill and finally Brenton Point to take photos and a video of us sailing out of Narragansett Bay. (He put the video on You Tube if you're interested to see EQUUS under sail.) Just about the time we were passing Castle Hill my phone rang. It was Loren DeVeau and she was crossing the Newport Bridge and could see us! These two Friends, the Lorens, are our emergency contact people so how fitting that both of them saw us off.
The Weather forecast was favorable for the next 3 days allowing us time to get as far as Beaufort, NC and out of the "deep freeze". We headed for Block Island as our course was to take us to the East of the Island and then begin the long sail South/ Southwest.
A pod of dolphin romped in our bow waves just off Block Island. A portent of good luck? That was at 2pm. By 3pm I was really seasick. Within the next couple of hours Hayden too was struck by the malady and Brian was not far behind. For the next 24 hours we all did our best to keep a bit of water down which was no mean feat. The Scopace sea sickness medicine we had just wasn't quite up to the job. The ocean was very lumpy and the winds were gusting up to 32 knots. Our only comfort was that "EQUUS" seemed to love the treatment and sailed along at an average of 8 knots. Unfortunately our auto pilot didn't like it so much and kept tripping out. It was, we believe, a bit over powered by the rough seas. That meant that Brian and Hayden had to take the helm the entire time and it was COLD out. It even snowed a bit that first night. I felt terrible not being able to do my share of the watches but there was no way I was going to steer in that ocean!
The following morning the winds were much the same but it was forecast to move around to a more westerly breeze which it finally did by late in the afternoon making the sailing a little less lumpy. By mid-day I made up my mind that I'd had enough of feeling ill and determined to get down and keep down a bit of sustenance. I managed a bite of banana and then a bit later, 2 spoonfuls of yogurt. I urged Brian and Hayden to do the same and by the evening we were all feeling markedly better. The second night passed without event and the following morning was beautiful and WARM! Well, warmer.
Brian spotted a couple of Pilot Whales about mid day. At about 4pm another pod of dolphin accompanied us for about 30 minutes. Hayden took some photos but they are so quick it is hard to get a good one. They were so wonderful to watch. Talk about pure joy! They speed through the water like missiles and then leap clear out. They were so close we could see them under the water and we tapped the sides of our boat to encourage them. More dolphin came from different directions and joined in the fun. How did they communicate that there was a dolphin carnival ride going on? Perhaps they heard our knocks on the boat and responded out of curiosity? Whatever brought them to us, what a beautiful way to end the day!
By this time we were offshore about 60 miles adjacent to Norfolk, VA. Later that evening as we neared Hatteras we heard a radio warning dispatched by a Naval Warship alerting anyone in the vicinity that they were doing exercises and firing live ammunition. They were very near our position. The request was to stay at least 3 miles away and we were pretty close to that. Brian radioed the Naval ship to give them our position. Of course knew exactly where we were and said if we maintained course we would be fine. Just a bit of excitement!
The clouds gathered over night and the Coast Guard began issuing a severe weather warning. Fortunately by early morning we were already on our last waypoint heading into Beaufort.
Pelicans followed us in and two dolphins greeted us as we dropped anchor. Phew! We made it!
The only real mishap was the nasty bang and cut Brian got right between the eyes when one of the bifold doors to the aft cabin came off it's hinge and whacked him. Nurse Rachel applied a couple of butterfly bandages and hopefully he won't need any stitches. He's rather excited about having a scar!
This was a very long and wordy installment and I will try to keep them shorter after this.
These are Loren's pics on facebook and video "Equus departs" on you tube. Check them out!