Baby It’s cold outside!
22 November 2022 | Fernandina
Paul and Laurie Jones | COLD
30 41.490 'N:81 28.41'W
We spent a couple more days anchored comfortably inside the Oriental harbour break-wall. We borrowed bikes from the Inland Waterway Provision Company to get ourselves around. The town is spread out so the bikes are helpful to get to the stores on the other end of town. I was able to get a couple of good walks in as well. They say you should walk with a purpose so I guess 2 miles to get 5 bananas would count for that! We enjoyed an afternoon coffee on the front porch of The Bean in the sunshine and out of the wind. It is a great place to sit and watch the harbour activity.
Our packages arrived right on schedule, sort of. One delivery went slightly astray and was being returned by the US postal service. We were able to intercept it by hopping on those borrowed bikes again and ripping up to the post office.
The night time temperatures were approaching freezing making it very cold inside the boat in the morning. We are thankful for our generator and heat pump! The boat heats up pretty quickly, however an early morning trip to the head reminds me of an outhouse in the fall!
On Nov 16 we finally departed Oriental for the short run to Beaufort, NC. We were anchored just inside the ocean inlet near the coast guard station by early afternoon. We got busy doing some canvas and zipper repairs, trip planning, weather checking, cooking and meal prep for offshore travel to Charleston. The very windy conditions were due to die off through the night so we made our plan to leave at sunrise. The weather gurus didn’t have that quite right so our departure was delayed a bit. By 10:00 Nov 17 we were hauling anchor, hoisting sail and heading out the Beaufort inlet. We sailed all day with a reefed main and a full headsail. The wind was blowing 10 to 17 knots on the quarter. Seas were about 2 to 3 feet. By sundown the winds were decreasing under 10 knots and the ride was getting pretty rolly with much bigger waves at times. Time to fire up the engine and do some motor-sailing to smooth things out. That was great until the engine started overheating. Back to slow rolly sailing while our mechanic got to work. An impeller change was required. Back to motor-sailing. Briefly, until the temperature gauge started creeping up again. Not fixed but we were able to get a workaround in place. The seawater intake was getting air so one of us would check it every hour or so and release the lid on the strainer to burp the air bubble out.
It was cold!! We had all the layers we have with us on for night time shifts. Long johns, ski socks, sweaters, puffy jackets, foul weather jackets and hats. By 01:00 on Nov 18 we had radio communication with SV UJamN, Jeff and Marsha. They were travelling with Endless Summer, Jos and Erica. They had come around Cape Hatteras and were about 10 miles behind us! Crazy to be on the ocean and find yourself meeting up with someone you know! Our plan was to head for Charleston, SC but plans change, and twenty-four hours into the trip we decided to keep going and head for the St. Mary’s Inlet at Fernandina Beach, FL. It should be warmer in Florida, right? More on that later.
We were visited several times throughout the trip by Dolphins. I love the way they come leaping through the waves. They swing in close to the boat around the cockpit to make eye contact with us humans. They seem to smile and say come on let’s play as they head for the bow of the boat to swim with us for awhile. Normally we would go up to the bow to watch them but it was too freezing cold outside the cockpit enclosure and the seas were pretty rolly.
We had a close encounter of the strange kind when our radar picked up a dangerous target directly in front of the boat. We tracked, whatever it was, doing 120 knots crossing our bow east to west. We couldn’t see it or hear any sound but something was out there. Hmmmm?
Nov 19 at 22:30 we arrived safely at Fernandina Beach, FL. A 60.5 hour straight, 375 nautical mile trip. One of our longer offshore passages. Time for a rum and a goodnight’s sleep!
Now, did I mention it was cold and should be warmer in Florida? It isn’t. We are still cold. It looks like we will continue to be. We will stay put in Fernandina for a few days as a cold-front passes through. We were hoping to see our friend Charlie, MV Osprey, while here, but he is feeling under the weather.
On Nov 20 we moved over to the anchorage just off the marina mooring field near old town Fernandina Beach. We bundled up in our layers again and were joined by Endless Summer as we jumped in the dinghies and headed to town for a walk. On our way across the harbour we stopped to say hello to Bright Ayes, Wayne and Betty. Bright Ayes was our buddy boat as we left the Bahamas, during covid in April 2020! This is the second time we’ve seen them this trip as we had a nice dinner together in Deltaville along with Greg & Glenda. The town had the feeling of getting prepared for a busy week as the USA gets ready to celebrate Thanksgiving this coming Thursday. We stopped in at the oldest bar in the oldest city for some beers. This is probably up for debate as there seems to be quite the competition between Fernandina Beach and St. Augustine for that title. We enjoyed a nice dinner onboard Endless Summer then bundled up again and headed back to 2 Outrageous to turn the heat on! That’s when yes, you guessed it, the generator would not start!
A mechanic’s work is never done. Paul seems to be rolling from one mechanical failure to the next. Lately, he’s continually working on either the engine, transmission or the generator. This trip has been putting his ability to MacGyver solutions to the test!
There are lots of boats in the Fernandina anchorage. The strong current here makes anchoring interesting at the best of times. When there are lots of boats in current and windy conditions it can get pretty crazy. Boats pointing in different directions and sideways or backwards to the wind. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense when you are used to your bow pointing to the wind when at anchor. This morning we found ourselves swinging a little to close to the boat next to us so we had to haul up the anchor and move a little further up the Amelia River. Not much, just enough to give a little more room for the tidal current dance! This move was, of course, right in the middle of the generator repair which was inconvenient but you do what you gotta do! I’m happy to report that after a full shift of work the generator is generating again and we are warm. Mechanics note: -first generator failure was a fuel filter. Once that was addressed, the generator fired right up…..once. Next failure was the starter motor…likely the absolutely most difficult component to access on the boat. A fair amount of dismantling followed by spelunking to get at the starter. Luckily we had a spare….of the wrong type! However, managed to swap the failed part from one starter to the other, and we are off and running. There is a saying amongst cruisers that this lifestyle is just fixing your boat in foreign lands….with limited resources!
This morning we are, as far as we know, shipshape and ready to head to Saint Augustine……
A Badly Neglected Lady….
13 November 2022
Paul and Laurie Jones
35 01.384 'N:76 41.88'W, Oriental North Carolina
As I sit here writing this after finally quitting my procrastination, I feel like my last blog was only a week ago. It’s hard to describe. After arriving back in Canada in May of 2020 the first eighteen months or so of the pandemic felt like time stood still. An almost never-ending ground hog day. Things did happen during that time including settling into a new home but outside of that most days were simply a repeat of the previous day. Fast forward to the fall of 2021, all our boat gear was packed and ready to head south. A couple of days before we were to leave Paul received news of his prostate cancer diagnosis. We would need to stay home and tackle that crisis head on.
The winter was spent getting multiple medical tests scheduled and completed followed by the torture of waiting patiently for a surgery date. What to do when the waiting got too much? Well, first, fly out to Fernie, BC for a visit with Sarah and Chris then a week after that blast off to Italy with friends Mark & Maggie for a 21 day backroad tour of the country! Paul had his surgery in late May and after a couple of months of rest and recovery he got the all clear from the doctor! The summer flew by with camping trips, our favourite music festival, a road trip to BC for Sarah and Chris’s wedding Aug 12, quickly followed by Ben and Courtney’s wedding Oct 1.
After welcoming our two new family members we found ourselves packing and preparing to head for the boat.
After twenty-nine months away from 2 Outrageous, we finally arrived in Deltaville VA on Oct 10. To say we were overwhelmed by the amount of work facing us to bring her back to a live aboard state is an understatement. There is no way we could have done it without the help and support of dear friends Greg & Glenda. For our usual readers these are our friends from Ti Amo. They’ve recently switched from sailing to trawler life aboard Paradigm Shift. Greg and Glenda welcomed us into their home, fed us great food and provided encouragement when we needed it most! We loved the welcoming committee of Jaxon and Cooper greeting us at the door each evening. It is always good to get some dog time in!
We spent sixteen days doing twelve-hour shifts of fixing, scrubbing, buffing, waxing and then fixing and scrubbing some more! Some 320 or so man hours of hard labour! It was really amazing to us at how many things just disintegrated, seized or simply stopped functioning. Salt is an amazing thing! The fridge compressor had to be replaced which wasn’t really a total surprise but it was an expensive one!
Jost and Erica of Endless Summer (Coben, Ont) were doing much the same thing and feeling the same pain in the same boat yard. They had been away from their boat for about the same length of time, however they had about 3 weeks of work in on Endless Summer when we showed up so they were able to lend encouragement and good humour to the situation. I was calling Erica our ra-ra girl as she would stop by most afternoons to give us a pep talk and tell us how great 2 Outrageous was looking.
Before we knew it is was nearing the end of October. Time to get our giddy up on! We launched 2 Outrageous on Oct 27. We spent 2 nights on the dock at Deltaville Yachting Center then departed for a nice sail north to Urbanna VA. Even with the mainsail jamming we were feeling grateful for the break from all the work and just enjoyed the ride! Greg arranged a sweet dock for us at their marina where we could continue to work on the boat and bring provisions on board while we still had access to our truck. After a couple of trips to Walmart, Food Lion and Aldi and with 2 Outrageous sitting much lower in the water, we were feeling much closer to a departure plan.
In Deltaville we ran into our friends Jim and Sass Hinton from our home port in Bath ON. They were grateful to use our truck for some provisioning as they are headed south on their little ship MV Bucket List.
We cast off the dock on Nov 2 and pointed south. A short time into our sail we had some dolphins frolicking in the bow wake! The waves on Chesapeake Bay gradually increased throughout the afternoon but we found a nice calm anchorage in Mobjack Bay shortly before sunset.
Nov 3, we headed for Norfolk and into the ICW (Intra Costal Waterway) where we experienced lots of boat traffic. This was exasperated by a tug and barge at the Great Bridge lock. Commercial traffic trumps recreational boat traffic so we had to jockey around in the current with lots of other boats for a couple of hours while the tug and barge locked through ahead of us. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we exited the lock to find there was a spot just big enough for us along the free dock, wahoo, we’ll take it! We had a feast of Chinese food at Great Bridge, delivered to a nearby intersection!
The next morning was sunny and warm as we headed along the Virginia Cut. The boat traffic was very heavy and the first couple of bridges were kind of stressful. We slowed down to distance ourselves from the pack a bit and things became much more enjoyable. What’s the rush anyway? We found a nice anchorage near Duck Creek in the North River which put us in a good position to make the Albemarle Sound crossing the next day. The Albemarle can be a cranky body of water at times but this time we had a lovely sail across to the Alligator River Swing Bridge. The bridge operator was very chatty and we found out there had at that point, been 1200 southbound boats through that bridge this fall migration. That explains why we were thinking the boat traffic was heavy! We anchored at Scranton Creek just in time for sunset.
On Nov 6, aided by the time change, we got underway just after daylight. The weather was sunny, hot & calm as we motored to Oriental, NC. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we arrived to see twelve boats anchored outside the break wall. It was very cozy inside the break wall but we found a spot to drop the hook. Matt and Joyce s/v Gavia were anchored beside us! Alan and Bev s/v Dagny came by in the dinghy for a visit! It was great to catch up with our cruising buddies and commiserate about the tropical storm (soon to be named Nicole) that was about to cause us all some trouble.
Nov 7, tropical storm Nicole was on her way and we were on our way up Broad Creek to our cruising friends, Gerry and Donna Luh, dock to hide out and wait for Nicole to get things out of her system! Gerry and Donna’s boat, s/v Blue Jacket, was prepped and ready to get started south but they had decided to wait for Nicole to pass. Chris and Gosha s/v Solaris were also tied up to the Luh’s dock to ride out the weather. Gerry and Donna were very kind to drive us to get groceries, fuel, do some laundry, visit the Bean coffee shop and enjoy a cruisers pizza night at the Silos. The six of us enjoyed a couple of happy hours, dinners and even a card night!
Paul got to work changing our engine damper plate which was a big job that involved moving the engine a few inches to get the transmission out and change the plate then put everything back and in alignment! A good job to do at the dock and went quite smoothly. A missing bolt caused some consternation for the better part of a day but after much searching with a flashlight and magnet the lost was found! Whew!
Friday Nov 11 was hot, humid, windy and unsettled with threats of tornados in the forecast. Luckily, we didn’t see any of those! Alan and Bev, s/v Dagny, took us on a road trip to New Bern NC where we did some more provisioning and dragged our loot back to the boat.
The worst of Nicole passed by us on Friday night with very high winds. We woke up to settled weather on Saturday morning. Time to move! We moved back to Oriental harbour. Alan and Bev joined us on Saturday evening for a fun outing to check out the brewery followed by dinner at Bracca’s. We will hang on the hook here for a couple more days while we wait on some packages to arrive. Hopefully we can get a decent weather window to get some miles in as the forecast is for some very chilly weather moving in!