We had a sporty run to Portsmouth from Deltaville. 20+ knots of wind plus the occasional gust, rain, cold, confused water. Yeah, not fun for someone like me that is a novice and “fair weather” sailor. Jeff has a smile on his face the whole time - I just want to cry. I kept thinking about all the nuggets of wisdom my father would dole out at times like this when all I want to do is quit. Sayings like "stay with the one who brung you to the dance", "once you’re on the horse you can’t jump off", and of course "suck it buttercup." I keep thinking: "Lib, this is of your own making" and some choice sayings in Spanish that don’t translate very well - but you get the gist. (El que por su gusto muere, hasta la muerte le sabe rico.)
I take some time on the helm and a little while later Jeff informs me that we have an issue with our solar panels or electrical systems as they’re not charging. We had planned to anchor out in Portsmouth for the night prior to continuing on but now he’s thinking we are going to be in a marina where we can assess the situation and get repairs. We had stayed at Ocean Yacht Marina before and found it nice and convenient, plus they have technicians and can handle repairs - so we made reservations. We figured we would self assess on Sunday and get it fixed early Monday - hope to head out on Tuesday. Well……you know the saying about telling God your plans - yeah, we didn’t leave on Tuesday. Turns out we had a battery situation and needed to replace a battery - well we replaced all of the batteries on the boat but since these are Marine grade AGM batteries they weigh 150 lb. and they had to be ordered. We did not get these until Wednesday. Then Jeff surprised me with a new electric toilet in our aft head! Santa came early this year. Merry Christmas to me!! That was not in stock and arrived Thursday and it was installed on Friday. So guess what - we didn’t leave until Saturday, a week from when we left Deltaville. We spent a whole week in Portsmouth - this is test your patience kinda stuff.
11/11/17 - Portsmouth to Coinjock.
We left early Saturday morning in some wicked windy weather. Getting out of the slip was fun - but we learned to do it alone. I always have butterflies in my stomach when we don't have dock help - but early in the morning there is usually no one around the docks to help so we have to learn to handle this on our own. Lucky for me, Jeff's great with wind, currents and line handling. I'm just good at taking direction. We started using our headsets to talk to each other and it makes such a difference because he can hear me even when I'm up at the bow and I can hear him - no yelling. We get through the bridges easy because there's not much Saturday morning traffic and we get through the one lock (which gave me a chance to add our stickers to the lock fenders :-) We froze all the way to Coinjock - holy mole was it cold! I get it why folks leave right after the Annapolis Boat show in early October- the weather changes to cold quickly in Virginia this time of year. We arrived in Coinjock at 3:30 PM and tied up at the Coinjock Marina and Restaurant - best Prime Rib ever. (More about that in the Foodie Blog). We were met in Coinjock by our friends Ann and Jack. They drove in from Hampton to join us for dinner. Our cold run to Coinjock was a distant memory as we sat at the warm bar to enjoy a boat drink or two.
11/12/17 Coinjock to Alligator River
The next day, we left Coinjock around 8 AM and it was a beautiful morning. Warmer and sunny. Yes, it got chilly on the Albamarle sound but we got to the Alligator River Marina at 2 PM in plenty of time for their famous Fried Chicken. Ms. Wanda no longer owns the place but Nanette and Jill are doing a fine job of continuing the tradition and the food is good southern comfort cooking with love. (Turns out - these are NOT my friends Nan and Jill from Stafford but what are the odds of finding the same names here. Do you think it made me miss the girls?) We had information that the Alligator River Bridge was closing for two weeks starting on Monday at 7:00 AM so I get in touch with DOT and not only confirm this but find out that we can request a bridge opening at 6:30 AM at the latest - so guess what, the word gets passed around the marina and we all get ready to leave at 6:00 AM to be waiting for the bridge no later than 6:30. It worked out and we all got out for the last opening. This made me realize we need to be better at checking status of bridges on our way south as many of them take advantage of the slower season for repairs. So add that to the list of to do's.
11/13/17 Alligator River to Bellhaven
Bellhaven NC is a slice of Americana. Super small town but has a great hardware store, restaurant and a marina with golf carts, great laundry facility and awesome showers. We start looking at the weather for the next few days and the wind is starting to kick up again - do we stay? Should we go? The issue is the sounds get a bit sporty when there is 20 knots of wind as they're not very deep. Plus you have to be on the look out for crab pots which sometimes end up on the channel.
11/14/17 Bellhaven to Oriental - Great run - cold but nice. Adam's cut was nice, crossing the Neuce river was quick & easy...
11/15/17 Oriental to Beaufort - Easy day! Pulling into Homer Smith's Dockage in Beaufort was fun in the wind, took 3 tries but we got her tied up...
11/16/17 Beaufort to Wrightsville Beach - We have been checking weather and know that today is a good day to sail on the outside and bypass a lot of shoaling - not to mention save about two days of slow ICW navigation. (What I mean by that is not on the ICW but on the Atlantic Ocean).We decided to get up early and leave per the posted schedule of 6;30 AM bridge opening. Turns out, the bridge operator decided not to open at 6:30 and made us wait until 8:30. Guess what that did to our schedule, not to mention to my captain. Once we got out - We had 11-15 knots of wind, 1-2 ft. swells, beautiful sunny weather. Perfect tack and we were moving at 7 knots most of the day. Okay, I get it why this is so cool.....right up until 5:06 PM when the sunset. We still had an hour and half to get to our anchor spot, we know we're doing this in the dark now. The only reason we even attempted this is because we had already navigated the Masonboro Inlet in the dark on our way North from Southport in 2016 and we knew this was a nice, wide, well marked channel where we could anchor for the night prior to moving on to Southport. Well, that's all great right up until you have to actually navigate in the dark and look for other boats and channel markers. Lots of adrenaline and more butterflies. We got to our anchor spot and it was calm like a lake - so nice. We drop the anchor in 15 feet of water, have dinner and then the water stops in the middle of my shower. I think it's that we need to switch water tanks - nope, it's an electrical issue. Fun! Finish my cold bottled water shower. All the other electronics work....we're exhausted and ready for bed. Well, the wind kicks up and the current starts to rip and by 5:00 AM we're racing to get to the top of the stairwell because we hear a loud bang. Our anchor was solid and set (love the Rocna!) but I didn't have a snubber on the chain and with the rolling it made an unfamiliar sound that scared us out of bed. That was it - no more sleep. Now it was get up and get ready so we can head out at first light. So imagine, you have not had coffee yet and you're trying to get dressed as everything is rocking and rolling. Fun times! We made coffee and had our oatmeal and got ready to bring up the anchor and head to Southport. Jeff called our friends at Zimmerman Marine to see about getting the Freshwater electrical system repaired and sure enough - they said come on in and we will fix you up. We had to use our iNavX for navigation because we turned on the night vision on our chart plotter and now I could not see how to turn it back to daylight and it was blacked out. Adapt and overcome - that's what we do. It was great to be able to test the back up chart plotter. We get to Southport and we find an electrician at the dock waiting for us and within an hour - we are all set. Fused and wiring corrected. I have water again! We decide we've been keeping a steady pace and have not had much rest or sleep - so we're going to slow it down for a few days and Southport is a great place to do this. You don't realize how much of a workout it is day in and day out. We are sore - muscles ache.
So I'm sitting in the cockpit, watching boaters come in and out of the marina and updating the blog. Enjoying the sun and my current office. There are days that are not fun, but then there's days like today, when the sun is out and Jeff is playing merengue music for me and we're sitting together enjoying being together in the cockpit - getting some much needed rest.