Another Windy Week
14 April 2023
Both Canadian and American governments have been working to streamline their customs clearance and cruising permit reports by introducing online apps for boaters to use. As is often the case with new technology there are growing pains so we were curious to see how things would work out this time. When I logged on to the website it still had not processed our report from Lake Worth back in December, so obviously I was prepared for the worse. How wrong I was, all our info including Larry's was already stored in the app allowing me to quickly file our report and before I could even put away all our documents an approval message flashed on the screen. Boy was I surprised, I had even put on a clean shirt and brushed my hair in anticipation of a possible video interview which they conduct from time to time. I quickly doused the quarantine flag and raised our US courtesy flag before settling in for a quiet evening and much needed sleep.
The cold front that we had been pushing hard to avoid hadn't arrived yet so we relaxed over breakfast before moving 10 miles up to the mooring field in Carolina Beach. We have ridden out bad weather on previous trips in this well protected anchorage and I decided we would hook onto one of the towns new heavy duty moorings balls for a couple of days. A check of the weather indicated the front would arrive around supper time so we took advantage of a beautiful afternoon to do groceries in a fully stocked store where "fresh produce" really is fresh. Once our chores were completed we headed off for a stroll on the beach and a cold beer to toast our successful crossing.
We could see the approaching clouds signalling the arrival of the inclement weather and in no time the wind went from 5 knots to 25 and the dropping temperatures brought the end to bare feet and shorts, for some. When Larry joined us in Marsh Harbour he planned to stay with us for 10 days or so until we got to Norfolk. However, while we were offshore a nasty ice storm hit a large area at home knocking out power to over a million people and melting snow was quickly flooding basements. It was obvious we would be sitting for at least 3 days so reluctantly we bid him goodbye on Saturday morning as he wisely headed home. The forecasters certainly got this one right. It blew 25 knots sustained, gusting to 40+ for two days with heavy heavy rain, before diminishing to 20 gusting 30 for another day and a half. Cabin fever was setting in by Monday when we braved a dinghy ride ashore to go for a walk; with the temperature hovering around 12 Celsius we wisely avoided the beach and just poked around town. The generator proved its worth throughout the weekend keeping batteries charged and running our electric heater. Finally after 4 days the sun came out and the wind dropped to 15 knots and plans were made to get moving again.
As a footnote to the harbour conditions the anchorage was relatively smooth, full of whitecaps but the waves were usually only a foot or so. However, we swung a lot on the mooring as the wind continually buffeted us. Bev always re zeros the trip meter when she fills in the log at the end of the day. However when we got to Wrightsville beach it showed we had covered 22 miles, of course I thought she had forgotten to re zero after the short run from Southport. Wrong, the chartplotter gets it's info from GPS which means over 4 days we as we swung back and forth we covered 10 miles.
After going over our options we elected to move 12 miles north to Wrightsville beach where we could stage for an offshore trip Wednesday to Beaufort NC. The 70 mile trip is easily done in daylight hours and allows us to skip yet another miserable section of the ICW. From Beaufort we would only have 200 miles of the ICW to transit before reaching the Chesapeake. As the seasonal temperatures slowly returned we took advantage Tuesday afternoon to tour Wrightsville beach, one of the many old time beachfront towns on this historic shore. Wednesday morning dawned bright, sunny and slightly warmer so we off the hook by 6:30 for a pleasant day trip to Beaufort.
Today's picture is of Dagny's crew enjoying a well deserved beer to celebrate our arrival in the US.