November 6, 2012 by Last Star blog
Long night….longer day…
OK, so while piddling around all day prior I got into the Garmin and decided to use the “anchor drag” alarm. This feature takes your current point and then you add your comfort level on when the alarm should go off if your anchor drags and you move. I knew the anchor was set for 25 kt winds out of the southwest but knew in the night the tides and wind would swing us and I didn’t want to come loose and start spinning around in the giant tidy-bowl that is Cape Lookout–or at least if we were going down the shitter I didn’t want to sleep through it. I put 200′ in the alarm. Well it worked great–all afternoon. We held fast and it didn’t go off. Different story at night. We held fast but with the changing winds and all the scope I had out it kept waking me every hour. I don’t fault the Garmin or the figure I set, it was just a weird night. Most of you stopped watching the weather when Sandy passed but a small Low followed Sandy up the coast (the reason for our strong winds) and that Low passed directly over us that night–no kidding directly. At one point when it was overhead the wind died entirely (we drifted towards shore–no worries still 14′ but greater than 200′ from last point–beep,beep,beep,beep) and I looked outside to a mirror with the full moon, the lighted shrimpers and the lighthouse blinking every 10 seconds–very cool and very eerie. Such a dramatic change from when we went to bed. I still am amazed at what mother nature can spin out every day or night. Well I silenced the alarm (sets new point for the 200′ drift) and went back to bed, the Low continued to move and of course the wind returned and alarm worked again–damn this thing!! I got up to check the boat way too many times that night before 5:30 AM .
When we finally got up (note not “woke up” that would require sleeping) it was time to get going to Masonboro Inlet. It is 70 nautical miles and the boat will do 7 knots so we were looking at a 10 hour day at best and I wanted to be there before dark. This trip is easier in May when folks return and have 14 hours of daylight. We made some coffee, locked the cats in the V-berth, fired up the engine, retrieved about 150′ of anchor rode and set out. Night navigation is not a big deal to me. I flew IMC TF at night in the F-111; just trust your systems. As we rounded the cape and hit the ocean again the wind was out of the WNW and the sea was a bit lumpy but NOT the mess from 2 days prior when we arrived. The sun would be up in 90 minutes so we plowed ahead. Now the sea was still lumpy enough (and confused-swells in one direction, chop in another) that everyone started getting green around the gills. Cooper threw up as scheduled and Mini hunkered down. With the low light and shifting seas it was very confusing to the eye. We still had breakfast after first light and settled in for a long day.
After breakfast we got the sails out and were making 7-ish knots so that was good. Noisy diesel came off. Boat was doing her thing and doing it well. The Solarium was approaching bread baking temperature and Patricia was still green-ish or some other unnatural color. I told her to hydrate. Well after about 2 hours the winds shifted so we were no longer hitting the 7 knot mark so we fired up the noise maker; later in the day we had to abandon the sails all together or we would arrive after dark.
One odd thing that happened was about 1000 AM while sailing all four of us are in the solarium when in strolls in a little brown and yellow bird, just strolls into the cockpit and sits there on the cowling. Now I see lots of bad things happening. Cat/bird fight (well not much of a fight really) with the cockpit becoming some sort of whirling dirvish/blender of fur and feathers as all three race around manically with the green warmish lizard trying to calm all parties. This scenario ends in one of three ways; the cats get the bird and I have a bloody and feathery mess to clean up, the cats follow the bird outside if he finds an opening in his panic where both bird and cats take flight–bird much more successful as the cats it would be flight followed by swimming and well you know the rest…. or the swimming requires me to drop both sails, turn around and find small cat(s) in heaving ocean for hours while lizard wails, or finally the bird exits gracefully from where he came in and no one is the wiser. It was the latter, don’t know if the cats even saw the bird or were so sick they didn’t care. The little bird hopped around the boat for about 10 minutes. He was resting I guess and then departed gracefully–we were about 12 miles off shore so don’t know where he came from or his destination, hope he made it.
Well we arrived at Wrightsville Beach Harbor about 4:30 PM and had a very quiet and still night–though no WiFi? We were early enough for drinks and appetizers on the “lido deck” and then a nice dinner salad and some much needed sleep; yes in bed by 8:30 PM. Today will be short 25 NMs down the Intercoastal Water (ICW) Way where we will wait at the opening to the Cape Fear river to see if we have favorable winds for our next stop or if we must motor in the ICW.