OK, I’ve been remiss. I promised myself that I’d write something each night. And each night, I was so dog-tired, I couldn’t bring myself to do it.
Tonight is barely better, but I’m going to write a synopsis of the last two days, to be filled in with all the details in a day or so.
Sunday was our first day, and we got a really late start from Portsmouth because of some unresolved mechanical issues. Some of the things I paid to have fixed weren’t, and getting them done early on a Sunday morning was no small feat. After a little gentle urging, the marina sent a mechanic down to the boat to take care of things.
Once underway, we were following a catamaran sailboat by about 200 yards and got to see him hit a vertical lift bridge that was in the middle of its rise. Broke the mast off about two thirds of the way up (I have pictures, and will post them soon), almost capsized the boat, and caused a real ruckus with the Portsmouth police boat, Coast Guard, Navy patrol boat, and who knows who else rushing out to investigate. The catamaran dropped anchor in the middle of the channel, and with all the commotion, the bridge was closed to boat traffic for about 30 minutes, and that made us late for the opening of the next bridge, so we had to do donuts in a narrow channel with the wind howling and trying to push us out of the channel for an hour.
The rest of the day was a similar series of snafus, and we were really glad to get to our destination, Coinjock, NC.
It was at that point that it dawned on me that the pastime of boating is a totally irrational pastime.
If you want to go from one point to a point 50 miles away, a rational person would get in a car, and be there in one hour.
A boater will hop in his boat, and consider it a success if he can cover that same 50 miles in one day.
We left Coinjock around 7:00 which was 30 minutes or so later than we’d hoped. That was because we wanted to be one of the first in the conga line. Instead, several blow-boats got ahead of us, and we were forced to try to pass them, one by one. Sounds simple, but in the narrow channel that was the first 15 or so miles of today’s route, it’s a slow process.
We were heading for Oriental, NC, and took a route that went through Albemarle Sound, Croatan Sound and Pamlico Sound. The wind was on our beam for a good part of the trip, and on our nose for a lot of it, both of which made for a very rolly, sloppy ride. I discovered that neither fuel guage works, so even though I’d pumped 225 gallons in last night, we didn’t have any idea how much we had left. There are parts of Pamlico Sound where I literally could not see land, in any direction, nor did I see any boats. Being that isolated, and not knowing if you might run out of fuel caused what I’m pretty sure is a semi-permanent pucker for both of us.
The wind was blowing so hard on our nose on one stretch, that we were getting wet from spray up on the flybridge and had to move below to drive from the lower helm. I have a video clip of the spray drenching the windows, and will try to figure out how to post it.
We made it to Oriental just as it got dark, and of course when we were about three miles away, (in the dark) that’s when the battery in the handheld GPS that Steve had saved our route on died. A little tightening of the pucker.
So, that, in a nutshell, is the first two days.
Tomorrow, we plan to leave Oriental, and go offshore out of the inlet at Beaufort, NC, and run south to Masonboro Inlet near Wrightsville Beach, NC. Should be about 90 miles (today was about 120) and it will be across an area off Camp LeJeune that the Leathernecks use for live-fire exercises. I’m told that they close the area when they are actually playing cops and robbers, and I certainly hope the do so in a very conspicuous manner, so we know to give the area a wide berth.
We’re getting closer to Florida, and tonight I don’t even have my space heater on. Yea!
OK, that’s all for now. Gotta crash. Morning is gonna come early.