Aria Back Home After "Frostbite Cruise"
04 February 2013
With highs in the low 50s and lows in the 20s, what else could we call these last three days on the water but "The Frostbite Cruise?" The real superstar of the cruise was my Espar heater, which kept us TOO hot at times.
The cruise began Saturday morning, when Gary Callsen and I cast off from Little River for Southport, NC. Winds were light and on the nose, so we motored offshore, arriving just before dark. We met Ben Edkins for dinner and, later, enjoyed cigars aboard his boat, Winds of Freedom.
Strong westerlies were forecast for Sunday, so the plan was to depart early in Aria and sail around Frying Pan Shoals, through the 12-mile slue, to Wrightsville Beach, NC - 50nm of ocean sailing. Neptune, however, had other plans. Seas were 4-5 feet, winds were 25kts, and both would surely be worse on the shoals. So instead, we motored to Bald Head Island and rented a golf cart. We spent the day exploring land and came across a flock of Ibis feeding in a puddle (pictured). That evening, we watched the superbowl at Mojo's.
Monday morning, after breakfast aboard Aria and a walk on the beach, we cast off for our trip back to Little River. Winds were 6-8kts out of the south, and we sailed nicely on a beam reach for several hours before looming darkness forced us to start the engine and make haste for home. We dragged a line, trolling for that Blue Fin that I know is inhabiting Long Bay, but alas, this was not to be the day.
There was a moment, on the sail back, with the engine off, the water sliding nicely past the hull, I reflected that we had watched last year's Superbowl game outdoors in our shorts at Nipper's on Great Guana Cay in the Abacos. Nipper's was a mere four-day sail due south. The boat was provisioned and in great working order. Why not just keep sailing?
When we reached the Little River Sea Buoy I turned and headed for shore, but I love that we could have kept going.