Friday, May 4, 2012

From Charleston to Beaufort,NC

We left Charleston, SC on April 25, 2012 at 4pm  We picked up Chris and Philbert, got them settled and were on our way.  We cleared the seawall and I got immediately sick.  I have only been seasick twice and both times it was predicated by fumes.  This time it was gasoline fumes from the tank we had stowed under the dingy.  We opened the hatch under the dingy and the cabin was filled with fumes.  We forgot to close the air vent on the top of the tank.  The fuel splashed out.  I immediately closed the vent and the hatch, in between hurls.  The NOAA weather channel predicted 3-5 ft swells, we had 7-10 ft swells.  That was fine, the wind was on the stern, we pulled out the headsail and were nicely making 8 knots with a push from the Gulf Stream.  Matt, Chris and Phil were having a great time sailing.  I kept them fed and hydrated.  They were wearing foul weather gear, harnesses and tethers. 

The night was uneventful.  Just good sailing with the guys on 4 hour watches.  I was still sick, but could function.

dolphins playing in the waves

Captain Matt enjoying the ride, headsail still flying.
The morning light brought a cloudy sky and bigger waves.  The seas were now above the arch.  The boat was handling the motion.  Matt was taking a break and Chris and Phil and I were watching the dolphins swimming around us.  Some of the dolphins were black, some were grey with spots, some looked like compact dolphins.  They would jump out of the waves and spin.  Some did somersaults, some twirled.  You would look through the wave above your head and see a dolphin swimming.  I was too mesmerized by the display to remember to be scared of the big seas.  I still was seasick, but paused long enough to watch the show.  Chris and Phil were taking videos.  For three hours were enjoyed the dolphins sharing their water world with us.  Then we arrived at Cape Fear and the thunderstorms were are the horizon.  We decided to reel in the head sail.  The sheet got tangled in the roller spool and the sail started to tangle and come apart.    We needed to get the sail untangled, cut the sheets off the roller and get the sail off the headstay.  Matt and Phil started working.  Chris and I tried to turn the boat into the wind and against the Gulf Stream.  We partly succeeded.  Good thing Chris is used to working out and is very strong.  It took 20 minutes to accomplish the headsail removal.  We stuffed the sail down the front hatch and pulled the wet sail into the salon of the boat.  Thank goodness I had the cushions covered by a water proof mattress cover.  I pulled the sail onto the floor and folded it up as much as possible.  I yanked the sheets off the vberth.  We had to walk on the sail, but everyone had a dry place to sleep.  I was still sea sick.

We debated if we should try to go into a closer inlet than Beaufort, NC.  We turned on the TV and were able to see the weather radar showing that the storms were staying south of us.  If we kept going to Beaufort, we might out race the thunderstorms.  We headed for Beaufort.  We saw a large ship on the radar.  Then it disappeared. We saw a warship approaching.  Great.  We tried to hail them on the radio, but no reply.  They passed within 3 miles of us.  It was quite surreal.

We could only see the red and green marks when we both were on the top of the wave.   We managed to get into the channel and find the seawall.  We anchored right off the coast guard station.  Everyone shucked off their wet gear, found a berth and got some much needed rest.

When we are traveling down the ICW our boat seemed a bit stout for the task.  In the ocean the boat performed beautifully.  We slid down the waves without getting water in the cockpit.  The stainless lifeline cage gave you many hand holds.  It was one of those moments in sailing when the awe of the oceans power was everywhere.  It was terrifying and amazingly beautiful at the same time.

I reminded Matt that I never wanted to be in seas that big again.  He laughed.
good morning in Beaufort,NC

1 comment:

  1. Wow, that was quite a ride. So glad you all got back safe and sound. Yes, it can get really rough and scary out there and at the same time the strength and beauty of Mother Nature can be mesmerizing ... it is easy to be awed by the majesty and power of the sea.
    Thanks again for your great reports. When reading them I thought I was out there with you all ... living vicariously through your adventures. You are an excellent writer.