Monday, November 26, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving Mile Marker 200

The view from the cockpit on the Nuse River

The Club House at River Dunes.
The home on the corner of Grace Harbor at River Dunes,
guest house on the right.

Our traveling companion, Black Night,
through our enclosure windows.
Like everyone else in America, Rick and I have much to be thankful for. We were in a safe marina, albeit with winds rocking us out of the north for a week, and the crowd, new and familiar, were all interesting sailors. We have kids who keep in touch with us and each other, and friends and family who follow us. We have a safe vessel, great prospects for adventure and memories. AND we are grateful for our enclosure this fall!

On Tuesday, November 20, we drove to Washington, DC, for dinner at Micah and Leslie's house. It gave us a great memory of family and a nice break off the boat (aka a city fix I need now and then.)  It was bittersweet to turn around and drive back to North Carolina but we left at dawn on Friday- no shopping for us. A bonus to this car trip were several sightings of whistling swans in farm ponds as we got closer to the coast through cotton and tobacco fields.. We provisioned along the way and prepared for an early departure in the morning.

Our trip included bumpy trip across the Nuse River off the Pamlico Sound and a one night stay in River Dunes at Oriental, NC. We made a leisurely trip back in the ICW to Beaufort, NC,  and were greeted by our first dolphin sighting as we approached town. It has been very cold so we were disappointed not to see the wild ponies across from the marina. Bird sightings were limited to Pelicans and Green Night Herons at the dock. It was another one night stay in Beaufort  Today we make a short run of 25 miles, minding two bridges for tides and current. Coupled with the inlet here in Beaufort, that's enough. We are officially on the Crystal Coast, testimony to the sparkle on the water, white sandy beaches and the beginning of the Palmetto tree parade.

Beaufort Town Docks
A cute town, a handful of restaurants,
and a chance to walk on land!

I know some of you wonder about our perseveration with the wind. After all, we are a sailboat, right? The issues are speed and direction. Winds on the nose slow us down considerably and if they are strong, make our ride unpleasant. Winds behind us are great, but not when they reach 30 knots and there are 2-5 foot following seas. You can enjoy a bump in speed, ride down some waves, but some waves will just hammer you, all requiring hand steerage by the helmsman. Wind off our quarters are great. Unfortunately, the last full month has been high winds over our sailing limit so our days with more than a stay sail (for stability) have been few. Fortunately, it is easy to run that sail in and out with our in-mast furling system, no going up on deck in a blow. The worst would be no wind, for then sailing is not an option and the days are really long. Rain is predicted Tuesday, maybe into Wednesday, but the winds seem to be far off shore so we are thinking we'll just keep moving on. We hope to make Charleston in a week if this good weather holds.

And yes, David, my air card helped me get this post out today while I sailed past Moorehead City. Thanks for always keeping track of me.

Give us this day our daily dolphins.
just past the Beaufort inlet, Bogue Sound, into the ICW.
I think they are enjoying the sunshine, too.