Tuesday, October 29, 2013

She's a brick house . . . boat

Our boat is literally filled with concrete in the keels and overbuilt in general. So she is heavy and sturdy but not necessarily speedy. However, it's one thing to know that your boat is not built for speed. It is another to be constantly reminded of it over two days.

That's what we got when we went from Hampton, Virginia to Cape Lookout, around the dreaded Cape Hatteras. Our friends on Pendragon and Good Trade both have faster light air boats and before long left us in the dust, especially with the middling winds we experienced on day one of the passage. The winds were so flaky that we had to motor-sail most of the first day to ensure that we didn't dawdle and get caught rounding Hatteras with unfavorable winds. However, the seas were relatively calm and the lighter-than-forecasted winds were better than the alternative of too-heavy winds.

As we approached the Cape, which is notorious for making its own bad weather due to the mix of warm water and cool air,  we heard the Coast Guard broadcasting over the VHF radio about the rescue efforts of a boat that was taking on water at the Hatteras inlet. We were curious about whether or not their troubles were weather-related. "Hey Coast Guard, could you take a break from your rescue efforts to broadcast the conditions at Hatteras for the listening audience?" Yeah, I didn't think so.

As it turned out, the Cape was a non-event and the seas stayed mostly calm.  Day two was more exciting and the wind and waves picked up considerably. Matt put in another reef as the winds repeatedly topped 30 knots. The boat saw a top speed of 15.5 knots down some of the waves and everyone felt a bit queasy.

Taken by Joe (Pendragon)

We finally reached Cape Lookout in the early afternoon. We noticed that the path we had taken previously into the anchorage and shown to be a clear water path was now covered with a wide sand bar. It's a good thing we didn't come in at night, which was one of the options we had discussed. After getting safely anchored, we were all happy to be done with this leg of our voyage south.

The highlight of the overnight passage for me was seeing bioluminescence in the toilet as I flushed with seawater in the dark. It was even better than chomping Wint-o-Green lifesavers in the dark because it's "natural." Yes, I'm actually an adult.

Following the passage, we spent a few lovely days at Cape Lookout just hanging out with our friends on Pendragon and Good Trade. It was much less crowded than the July 4 weekend and the fishing was much better. Clams and grey trout headlined the menu on one night.  The next day, after discussing how much everyone liked sushi, Matt and Ross from Good Trade got the harebrained idea to set off in the dinghy for the "local" fish market--11 miles away past Moorehead City and across 6 miles of the ocean.  Boondoggle though it was, they did dutifully return a few hours later with some beautiful fish that was turned into a sushi feast. The next day we had a fun pumpkin-carving party.

Joe working on shell boats of his own design with the boys.
Who knew he was so creative?

We said good-bye to our friends as they continued to make their way south, while we headed over to Beaufort for our haul-out, scheduled for Wednesday. We hope to keep it down to a week but the to do list keeps growing.

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