After a few weeks of drama in Oriental, we pulled away from the dock this morning to continue our adventure. Because the run I had planned for today to Morehead City was only about 25 miles, I set my alarm for 7am. Usually on travel days we are up before the sun but I wanted to get some extra sleep and there really was no rush. I planned to wake up at 7, jump into some clothes and walk up to the Piggly Wiggly to grab a few last minute provisions before pulling off the dock around 9am. Although my alarm was set for 7, at 6:30 our phones all started BLARING that horrifying alarm tone that says a tornado is coming, a nuclear event has happened, or Donald Trump wanted to test the presidential alert system. That alarm tone gets my blood pressure up every time and I guess the resulting adrenaline rush is to be expected but when I opened my phone to see an amber alert for a missing or abducted child named Destiny, I couldn’t help but be a little grumpy. I’m not heartless. I truly hope that Destiny is okay and I wish her and her family the very best… But I don’t want to be awakened that way ever again unless our personal safety is on the line. (I’m kidding of course. If there was anything I could do to help I would.)
Anyway, after waking up I found myself full of energy and had coffee, was dressed and out the door to go the the market by 7. We were expecting a very cold overnight with lows close to freezing. In reality I don’t think we got anywhere near that cold but the lower 40s was cold enough. We have a single, small space heater on board and it kept us comfortable but as I opened the cabin door the cold, fresh air reminded me once again that we need to keep moving south. North Carolina’s winters are mild but not mild enough.
I ran to the market and back and upon my return to the boat found our friend Henry on the dock near the boat. His home is very close to the marina and I suppose he wanted to see us off. Again, we are meeting such nice people on this trip.
We didn’t want to leave without saying goodbye to Steve and Claudia from S/V Brynlee who were our neighbors while we were at Sailcraft and as I walked toward their boat Claudia came running over with a huge smile and hugs. She seemed as excited for us as we were! Steve popped out of his boat and Claudia, Steve and Henry all helped us with our lines as I STARTED OUR ENGINE 🙂 🙂 :).
The winds were a bit tricky this morning with periods of calm and puffs and gusts of 18 knots. The canal we were on off Whittaker Creek is a bit narrow and I had to concentrate on getting out without smashing anything. Cindy went to the bow of the boat to help fend us off and make sure we got clear of Brynlee and as we slowly motored away from the dock I found myself singing to myself “On the Road Again…” I also found myself missing Oriental already. Surely, I thought, we would return again soon.
And then, I heard Steve’s friendly voice say “Frank. I think you forgot something.” And I looked back to see Willow sitting comfortably by his side. Ah, Crap! I guess with all the moving around of the lines she hopped off at some point before blast-off and nobody noticed.
As I put the boat into reverse to rescue our pup who was now looking a bit concerned to be left behind, a strong puff of wind moved our bow out into the middle of the canal. ARGH! It was going to be such a graceful exit… After some more maneuvering and lots of help from our friends, Willow was back on board and we were on our way again.
As we exited Whittaker Creek into the Neuse River I moved the throttle forward and enjoyed the feeling of Mavis’ new engine purring away in her compartment. The winds were perfect for sailing at about 20 knots right on the beam but it would only be a few miles to cross the Neuse and I had an engine to break in. I needed to take careful note of Mavis’ performance at various engine RPM settings and having a sail up would throw those numbers off. I was instructed by Stanley at Beta Marine to vary our RPMs every so often during the first 10 hours or so and I ran the boat at varying speeds all the way to Morehead City. It was a bit cold and mostly cloudy. The winds were about 15 to 20 but I was comfortable in the cockpit. Mavis’ cockpit can be fully enclosed by Isinglass which makes a little greenhouse out back. It’s our Florida room. So I put on some tunes and motored down the intracoastal while Cindy danced on the bow and took pictures of everything passing by.
It’s nice to be seeing more and more palm trees. We’ve even spotted some Spanish Moss. I guess we are finally really getting into “the south.” As we passed some of the homes I found myself wondering about the people who lived in them. What does this person do for a living? What do they look like? Does Destiny live in that house?
Approaching the marina in Morehead City we saw a pod of dolphins swimming along. This was pretty cool to see and I understand that from here on south there are stretches of the ICW where we may see more dolphin than people!
I don’t mean to make light of a serious situation with Destiny. I’m pleased to report that after her abduction, she has been found and is safe with her mother. Her abductor has been arrested. But now I feel kind of guilty for not getting out of bed this morning to look for her. I just pictured myself wandering around the marina calling “DEEESTINNNNY….” No. Being on board Mavis for 6 weeks has not changed me. I’m still an asshole.
But, this asshole is going to the Bahamas! Very slowly. Presently, we are at the Morehead City Yacht Basin where we will stay two and possibly (but hopefully not) three nights waiting for some crappy weather to move through. We are being overly cautious because we aren’t in a hurry and would rather not be uncomfortable.
Speaking of crappy weather that can make you uncomfortable… Every day I check with the National Hurricane Center to see if there’s anything brewing out in the Atlantic. Although peak hurricane season just ended, it’s still fairly common to get hurricanes into November. There’s a tropical depression out there that has about a 70% chance of becoming a tropical cyclone in the next 5 days and I don’t like the predicted path. We’ll keep an eye on it.
We are in good spirits and anxious to continue south. Being able to overcome our challenges and continue on has made us stronger and even more determined to manifest our dreams.
Thanks for coming along for the ride.