06/16/2009, Cape Lookout, N.C.
June 13th and 14th... Charleston SC to Cape Lookout, NC
We left the slip at 7am bound for Cape Lookout N.C., which is directly east of Beaufort, NC and about 225 miles away from Charleston. There was a little swell from the south east which made for an uncomfortable roll as we worked our way out into the ocean for a couple of hours. When we turned for our waypoint at Frying Pan shoals the roll got a little better. There was a little wind and we had sails up, primarily for stabilization but we were getting a push of about a knot and a half.
We spent most of our time reading but did have to put the books down at one point to land a nice Mahi. It ended up being 45 inch female. The fore deck was moving too much to clean it up there so we moved the cushions and cleaned it in the cockpit, washing down with buckets of sea water when we finished.
I dipped some thick pork chops in egg and cracker crumbs and after searing, popped them in the oven with some potatoes that were baking. Kathy wilted some spinach with our new olive oil and we had a wonderful dinner .... still a little rolly for eating, but with one hand on the plate and the other on a fork, we prevailed.
I went below and rested until about 11pm and then took over for the night shift. There was a spectacular light show in the east for about 5 hours with lightening behind a cloud bank further out in the ocean. The storms all stayed out there and we motored on calm but still rolly seas. The night was uneventful. We rounded Frying Pan Shoals, and aimed for Cape Lookout which was about 80 miles away at that time. At about 4 a.m. there was a wind shift from the south to the west and it picked up enough to sail for a while. We were running on a reefed main (which is the procedure at night with storms in the area) and our staysail for a little balance. I added the Jib and put the engine in idle for about an hour before went to the north and the wind died out completely.
At 5:30 Kathy came took the watch and I went to bed and slept for about an hour and a half. When I got up I thought it must have been about noon, but no such luck, it was about 7 a.m. It's amazing what a couple of hours of good sound sleep will do... I felt fine.
Although we were about 40 miles off shore, there were fisherman in the area and so we put out a couple of lines. Within 20 minutes we had another Mahi in the boat, not quite as big as yesterdays but much more lively. It made a mess of the cockpit before Kathy could squirt some cheap vodka in its gills to slow it down some. It took quite a lot of vodka-it must have been a Russian Mahi.
After getting it cleaned and the cockpit scrubbed out again. I took the lines in .... we had no more room in the freezer for fish.
The day was spent reading on much smoother seas until we approached our destination. At about 3 p.m. thunderstorms developed over the land and moved east and south over the ocean. We were on a course of 40 degrees (NW) and were we far enough away that most of the storms would be south of us by the time we made enough westward progress. For the last 2 hours of our trip we watched thunderstorms slide south between us and land. We got a few sprinkles but nothing of consequence.
With our anchors down in 25 feet of water at 5 p.m., I took a shower and opened some pretzels and some dipping mustard. Steve and Kim came over later with some seared tuna and wasabi sauce. After an hour or so the sky darkened and the wind started signaling the end of our party. We had a good thunder storm with lots of rain and about 30 knots of wind but with the wind moving our boats around, we could see that we were too close to "Fine Lion." We got our rain gear out to move as the storm abated but when we looked up ... saw that Steve and Kim already had their anchor up.
They moved about 100 yards off our port and reanchored. I called to apologize as it was our job to move but Steve just passed it off good-naturedly as usual.
There were no more storms and I slept with out moving until daylight.
This is where the picture of Dave and Kristie should be- had we taken it!
06/16/2009, Charleston, S.C.
June 12th... Charleston, SC
06/16/2009, Charleston, S.C.
Dave and Kristi decided that they would start the trip for home this afternoon instead of trying to do it all on Saturday. We had bagels for breakfast and then went for a drive around the suburbs looking for a Napa Store and a Walmart. The Napa store was not problem but without a map... didn't find a Walmart which was probably a good thing.
We did stop for lunch and then returned to the boat to get their stuff and some of ours that was heading back to our storage unit in Crystal.
I had purchased and bronze fitting that connects the heat exchanger to a hose that discharges sea water to the exhaust system. Ours was leaking in Georgetown and I found parts to cobble it together, but it needed changing. Kathy got our dirty clothes ready for the laundry and headed out as I was showering after an hour on top of the engine.
After returning with clean clothes.... we put things away and then walked over to "Fine Lion" for drinks and snacks to discuss current weather forecasts for our trip to Cape Lookout tomorrow. Everything seemed fine... little wind but no raging gales. There is always the possibility of thunderstorms but we'll be so far from land most of the time that they pose little threat.
June 11th... Charleston, SC
In the morning we called the Marina for a slip and after coffee and breakfast, we weighed anchor and made our way in. Docking was without incident... which is not always the case with the currents here in the Ashley River.
After getting settled and checking in, we drove out to West Marine and finally picked up the part that we ordered last week.
It was really hot...mid 90's and so our walking tour of the Battery area became a car tour. We drove all over Charleston stopping once at a park to view Fort Sumter in the haze and yet another walk through the Market. Kristei wanted t-shirts for grand kids and Kathy was looking a some neat leather purses for the girls... unfortunately the ones she had seen yesterday were gone and those left were in weird colors.
We had a late lunch at the Noisy Oyster, Dave and Kristie both had fried oyster Po'Boys that turned out to be wonderful. My fried clams were great and Kathy had a seafood fettacinni that was tasty as well. Then we headed to Harris Teeters to buy some shrimp for dinner. We ordered 4 pounds and when they were handed over, we feared we had purchased too much.
Nothing much more happened that day... it was too hot to move. Occasionally I turned the hose on myself to cool down a little. We peeled, marninated and than skewered the shrimp and as the sun lowered... put them on the grill for a few minutes.
For the last week or so there has been a small, not too nice, sailboat in the marina with 5 deaf college boys aboard. They have had some engine problems and the marina mechanics have been trying to get them fixed up and on their way. They spend most of their time reading books in the shade. Anyway, with way too many shrimp cooked, I rolled up the first five skewers off the grill in tin foil and wandered over to their boat around the corner and handed them to one of the boys and walked away.
After polishing off our shrimp and a caprese salad we poured a glass of wine and walked the mega-dock. As we passed the deaf boys, one of the mechanics who had been working with them stopped me to offer their thanks and to mention what a nice gesture we had made.
Back on the boat we watched a lightning storm approach the city....before retiring for the day.
June 10th... Charleston.SC
Dave and Kristie weren't scheduled to arrive until about 1pm so we took the 11 o:clock van to West Marine to pick up an order and to check out the new grocery store that was opening today next door. We ended not getting part, as it hadn't been unloaded yet, but we did pick up a few things before heading to the new Harris Teeters for more shopping.
We returned to the boat, put things away and then waited for Dave to call. We met them in the marina parking lot and wandered over to "Fine Lion" to see if they wanted to go into town. We wandered the market downtown and then made our way over to "Pearlz" for a late lunch and to show Dave and Kristie a real oyster bar.
As usual, we ate too much. There were oysters on the half shell, mussles steamed in white wine, butter and garlic, tuna tartare, and crab pizza. Late in the afternoon, we returned to the marina, bid good by to Steve and Kim, loaded Dave and Kristie's stuff into the dinghy and made our way out to "Sapphire."
After catching up on life in Michigan, I made a conch salad and much later, had it for dinner. We made them watch an episode of "Gary the Explorer" before going to bed.
June 9th.... Charleston,SC
The morning was clear and hot. We had coffee in the cockpit and worked some puzzles before starting on jobs for the day. I took garbage to shore along with jerry cans to top off our fuel. The marina, which is huge, doesn't sell gasoline which I found interesting.
But the girl who was helping me pump diesel offered to take me to the gas station on her golf cart.
I talked to Dave and expect them sometime around noon tomorrow. Since we now know when we are going to be in Michigan this summer, I spent quite a bit of time on the phone making appointments.
Kathy cleaned the boat and emptied the garage so the Dave and Kristi will have place to sleep. I stowed the jerry cans and moved our fishing stuff to there home below decks.
We also sorted our charts and have a nice pile that hopefully they can deliver to our storage unit. We also sending some movies that we don't really need on board as well as some of Kathy's baskets that don't have a use on the boat. I hope Dave hasn't done too much shopping at the Outlet Malls.
We made arrangements to meet Steve and Kim at 1:30 for a trip into town for lunch. The Marina Van runs roughly on the hour so we had plenty of time for the 2pm run. We stopped at the Post Office down town and then walked to a restaurant for lunch. Steve and Kim had been to a place called the Blind Tiger that was close by so we ended up there. Kathy had a nice salad but the rest of the group had mussels cooked in shallot cream with a little Guinness at the end.... they were delightful.
We wandered around down town all afternoon shopping and ended up eating dinner there as well.
It was just getting dark as we motored back out to the boat.... another nice day in Charleston.
June 8th.... Charleston, SC
At 8am I wandered up to the Marina office and checked out. The Tide was going to be slack at 9 so I had a little time to rinse things down while we still had water. Kathy scrubbed our cockpit seats while I finished up last minute boat things.
When 9am rolled around we walked "Sapphire" half way out of the slip, aimed her stern in the direction we wanted to go, and put her in reverse. We still never really know what's going to happen when we're in reverse for any distance, but this morning there were no serious surprises.
We motored about 200 yards out into the Ashley River and anchored. The tidal current rips through this section of the River but the mud offers good holding. The problem is that as slack tide approaches, boats don't swing the same direction so positioning is important.
Once we were settled, I began the task of tracking down the reason behind our overheating problem. When we were on the Ocean, about half way through our 50 hour passage I noticed that our temperature gauge was showing more engine heat than normal. The alarm never went off but the exhaust looked almost like a combination of steam and water. There appeared to be about the same volume of water in the exhaust as there normally is but I really couldn't be sure.
Anyway, I checked the system and found nothing that seemed to be out of place. I suppose it's possible that the 89 degree water temperature of the Gulf Stream was just enough higher than normal to cause the problem. When we lowered our RPM's to 1700 from 2000 the engine temperature moved down to normal so I don't think it's critical at this point if we just keep our eyes things.
Since I was in the engine compartment, I changed all the fuel filters and tightened up some hose clamps on fuel lines that seemed to be a loose.
Meanwhile, Kathy was online making airline reservations for a trip back to Michigan during the summer. We'll be in Michigan from July 16-August 11.
After cleaning up, I poached some shrimp for dinner and got them in refrigerator. When I went to make cocktail sauce though, I remembered that the catsup was one of the condiments to go during our recent refrigeration challenges. I jumped in the dinghy and headed into the marina to walk over to the convenience store. I tied up at "Fine Lion" and Kim saved the day with a half cup of catsup, saving me the hike.
The evening was uneventful. The shrimp were wonderful and we hadn't had any since Florida in December, which made them even better somehow.