Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks

Cielo and her crew have been in Beaufort NC since Sunday night. We arrived exhausted, but thrilled to be 300 miles further south than we had been just 72 hours earlier. Though the mornings and evenings here have been chilly (and getting out of bed has never been less tempting), the days have been sunny and relatively mild, with temperatures ranging from 50-60 degrees. Given that the high temperatures in Havre de Grace the days before we left never got out of the 30s, we are thankful to be warmer. Given the mishaps we encountered before we left, we’re also feeling incredibly thankful that we have finally been able to start our move south.

!$%#@*! Murphy!!!!!!

Now I understand that things sometimes go wrong, but the string of mishaps the befell us in the days prior to Cielo's departure seemed a little extreme. At first, we thought we'd be able to depart on Friday, November 14th, then it was Tuesday November 18th, then the 19th and finally, it was the 20th or bust…and it was almost bust.

The weather in Havre de Grace was the first factor that caused delay. The unseasonably cold temperatures the week before we departed made it impossible to work outside at a quick pace and required lots of trips below decks to warm up. No chance of leaving the 14th. Then on Sunday the 16th, there was the need to drive 130 miles round-trip to Annapolis to purchase a new zipper for our canvas that we'd ordered, but hadn’t arrived. Next, on Monday, Kevin was working to re-install the hot water heater when a piece of it snapped off in his hands. So Tuesday was out.

On Tuesday, my mom and I were replacing the zippers on Cielo’s cockpit canvas using our ancient sewing machine that kept working more and more slowly until it finally announced its death with an outpouring of smoke. We spent the rest of the day cranking the machine by hand. Hmmm, guess we won't be ready Wednesday. Though Murphy continued his stay on the boat (lost or broken tools, predictions of snow, etc), we finally managed to cast off our dock lines and head out of Tidewater marina at 11:24 a.m. on Thursday morning. Our goal was to get 180 miles, down the entire Chesapeake Bay, to Hampton, Virginia by the following afternoon.

Freezing down the Bay

There is little positive to write about an overnight trip down the Chesapeake Bay in late November. For a similar experience, try driving a convertible through an obstacle course… in the dark… in Vermont… in January. That's what it felt like anyway. It is an understatement to say that we were thankful to arrive safely and un-frost bitten in Hampton on Friday morning.

We're Getting Warmer

We departed for Beaufort on Saturday morning after spending less than 24 hours in Hampton. We were anxious to reach warmer temperatures, but also to take advantage of the 2 day weather window that would permit us to get out and around Cape Hatteras and into Beaufort. The trip was cold, but largely uneventful until we arrived at the channel leading to Beaufort's Town Creek at about 7:30 on Sunday evening. We've been in and out of Beaufort twice within the last year and Kevin spent his high school years in Eastern North Carolina, so we weren't worried about navigating into Beaufort after dark. In addition, we recently purchased a new GPS that interfaces with our electronic charts and allowes us to view our position at all times on our laptop.

Kevin was at the helm as we entered the channel.

"Check the GPS and tell me if we're heading the right way" he said.

I happily ducked below, escaping the cold air and stiff breeze to take a look at the computer.

"Ummm, it shows we're headed right for land"

"That's impossible"

"OK, but that's what it says"

Turns out our GPS is about a tenth of a mile off--not a big deal when you're using it in your car, but sort of a problem in a narrow channel that quickly shoals on either side. Did I also mention that the majority of the channel markers aren't lit and our newly purchased spotlight wasn't holding a charge?

After a stressful hour of very slow going, we eased Cielo into a slip at the town docks. We then proceeded to blast the heater below, pour several stiff drinks and sleep soundly until 8 the next morning, all the while, feeling, you guessed it, very, very thankful.


Blogger Hayden said...

You guys are great Island Packet sailors who press on no matter what. We all love following, please keep up the fun posts.
in cold PA, land locked

November 28, 2008 at 11:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you had taken me along you wouldn't need all those scarves. Great fashion sense, though...

November 28, 2008 at 2:19 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

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January 18, 2010 at 12:47 AM  

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