"Warship 41 this is Sailing Vessel Sanderling"
01 November 2014
After we left New Bern, North Carolina, we had a couple of very nice days in Beaufort, NC (pronounced bow-fort and not to be confused with Beaufort, SCand pronounced "bu-fort") and a beautiful day in Cape Lookout, the southernmost tip of the Outerbanks. Some may say this is " the closest you will get to the Bahamas" with the beautiful blue water, the turtles and dolphins swimming in the bight, and beautiful sandy beaches with no one around.
Not sure who came up with the brilliant idea to miss 80 miles of the ICW and go offshore but we should have done this a long time ago. Today we missed some of the shallowest sections of the ICW and some with the worst bridge timings. In exchange for all of that we almost got ourselves blown up or run over by multiple Navy warships.
Our encounters began when we left Cape Lookout at 8 am. There was a rather impressive Navy vessel - not sure what type - but plenty big and stealthy looking leaving Beaufort harbor. I decided that it would be prudent to give them a quick call, let them know that we see them and ask them if they would like us to move. They get rather anxious if you get too close.
Getting no response after hailing them twice, I said "fine - if that's the way you want to be about it - I'm crossing your bow."
Ten minutes later when they are significantly closer:
Warship 41: Sailing vessel off my starboard bow this is Warship 41.
Sanderling: Warship 41 - this is Sanderling.
Warship 41: You are restricting our maneuverability.
Sanderling: I tried to hail you twice and got no response.
Warship 41: Request that you move to port.
Sanderling: I already have.
Turns out that we must have chosen to come out into the Atlantic on the day that everyone decided to play their war games. We had three Osprey helicopter/planes flying in circles over us for 45 minutes. We had at least three hover crafts being launched and retrieved from other warships. We had a fly over from some very fast jet. I think that the firing range at Camp Lejune was active, and we were "down range." And there were at least three other warships doing random figure eights in the middle of our rhumb line to Wrightsville Beach. Didn't they realize that we were trying to get to Wrightsville before sundown?
Fortunately, the dolphins didn't get freaked out by all of the commotion and paid us a couple of sweet visits along the way. I have to say that it made for a pretty entertaining day.
And Casey? Well, he pretty much slept through it all except for the Osprey flyover.....