Out in the ocean
11/10/2007, Charleston, SC
Carolina Beach to Charleston - November 8 & 9
We made a leisurely departure at around 9am today to insure that we had the current with us for our slide down the Cape Fear River. It was cold , 43 degrees, and our trip through Snow's Cut to the River reminded me that our weather has been fabulous. As soon as we left the Great Lakes the number of cloudy days was cut in half.
The Cut was a little tough with a 3kt current on the nose ... it was probably closer to 4 knots at the bridge where things channeled together. Once we made the River though, we immediately had the current with us and it built during the 2 hours that it took us to get out to the ocean. Hitting 9 knots a few times at 1500 rpms.
We were in the Atlantic at 10:45 and found north winds of about 12 knots. The sails were up and the engine off in a blink. We had a very nice sail with the wind just abaft of beam. At about 4:00 the winds slacked off and we needed the engine to push is up the back side of the swells. The sails were still helping, but the engine kept our momentum. It was dark before 6 and we had a nice meal about 9... . I tried to nap before midnight but was up checking Kathy with every new noise. (I'll work on this.) I popped some popcorn for a snack at about 11pm and we looked at stars....lots of stars. At about 2 am the wind freshened , off went the engine and we sailed the remainder of the night on main, mizzen and staysail. (No headsail because we needed to slow down to enter Charleston in daylight.)
Along the way I took lots of photos of where porpoises had just jumped ....and way too many of a wonderful sunset. Neither of us got much sleep. It was a following sea so were rolling a little and the engine is situated 6 inches from our berth. Kathy was a little nervous about ships at sea... in the dark and I was falling asleep on watch form time to time. But we were well prepared for a night at sea and had no problems. (Carl you were right of course; it would be best to avoid Snow's Cut and Cape Fear altogether.)
For those of you who may follow, the only thing we would do differently is to pack good long underwear, warm gloves, and a scarf. It wasn't really that cold but the wind is damp and after a few hours, seemed to seep in...
Mike and Kathy
11/07/2007, Carolina Beach, NC
Carolina Beach - November 7
It was 42 degrees this morning at daylight, far too cold. After checking weather and sea conditions on the computer, I went to shore and hiked about a mile to a store and bought stocking hats and gloves. Now I know that a few of you so called friends will be pleased to hear of our suffering... but in truth, temps did climb about 70 in the pm so we didn't really suffer for too long. We said good bye to Carl and left Wrightsville Beach at about noon. After topping off our fuel tank and taking on some water we drove down to Carolina Beach about 12 miles to the south. We are staging here to head down the Cape Fear River with the tide and then outside to Charleston which is about a 24 hour sail. The weather looks perfect.
We had some excitement today with shallow water and folks on the radio giving constant advice as to which markers to get close to and which ones to keep at a distance. We disregarded them all and kept between the navigational beacons to the best of our ability. (We were heading directly into the sun and the glare was tough). There were a few times that we had less than a foot of water under our keel, but it seemed to be enough.
Tonight Mike fried some fresh grouper for dinner. He got things a little hot and we had a serious fog bank going down below. He wants to open all the hatches and I say it's too cold out, keep the warm air inside! We compromised and opened a few until the fog cleared. The grouper was excellent - with fried potatoes and a tossed salad.
11/07/2007, Wrightsville Beach, NC
Wrightsville Beach again. November 6
I know that there are those of you who want new scenery every day along with a new dot on the map ... but it is just not happening today. We have decided (and all decisions are revocable at any time for any reason) that we are going to sail from here to Charleston and forsake the ICW for as long as possible. It does mean an overnighter, but I think we're ready for it...
There is a good weather window starting Thursday morning and we are not sure yet if we are going to go down to the Cape Fear River to stage or to leave from here and deal with the Frying Pan Shoals off the Cape. That decision will be made tomorrow before noon.
Today we didn't do too much. I tried, in vain, to rewire our auto helm to accept input from one GPS to another but I couldn't make it work... .
We got together on "Restless" with Steve, Carol and Carl for a while this afternoon to chat and drink beer.... and then came back for some reading and supper.
The low-light of the day was when Kathy looked over and our dinghy was full of water... the plug had come out and the weight of the motor had forced water in until the lift of the air in the tubes brought things to and equilibrium.
I got it bailed out and then decided that it was time for a good cleaning ...
Ps.... Dan, I've learned from my good Catholic brother-in-law that envy is not such a bad thing, it's just such a waste of time that old folks like us rarely go in for it much....