We’re recovering from a rough ride today, gratefully anchored in calm waters (though a cold wind is whipping) in Upper Dowry Creek of North Carolina, about 50 miles from the Albermarle Sound crossing. Today was good training for that crossing, which is known to get rough. But then, we started this journey in Lake Superior. We know “rough.” Doesn’t mean we like it. Boo-the-Cat dove under the couch more than once. Stuff flew off the counters before I could get it onto the floor. I had trouble staying upright on my little stool, which is a necessary tool for me to see over the dash. And I did have to see over it, even when not driving, to help look for crab pots among the waves…made harder by the salt-spatter on the windows.
We passed our intended destination in Belhaven because 1. I never got a call back about a reservation, and 2. The 35-mph gusts from the west would have made docking there precarious. So we went a few miles farther to an anchorage, but it felt like a lot longer than that with three-foot waves at the stern, pushing us side-to-side while Jeff steered through each like it was a bucking bronco. When we made the sharp turn into a narrow channel to enter this small creek, we held our breath for a bit to see how the boat would react with big waves on the beam. Wobble, wobble! Past a small headland, and … relax. Ah-h-h.
We left Beaufort (BOW-fert), North Carolina, before 0730 to see how far we could get before the winds stopped us because we are trying to pass through the riskiest waters on the best days. It’s a calculated bet when anchorages and marinas are few-and-far-between and winds keep returning to the forecasts. Very few boats got under way today, which was an indicator of our … which is it, gumption or fool-hardiness? We don’t think the winds were the only reason, though. Few boats have a diesel-powered heater on board, like we do. The next few nights will be frigid, and that keeps lots of boats tied to shore power and electric heat.
One disturbing incident happened today, and one funny one. The disturbing one first. A large and fast powerboat overtook us while I was at the helm, passing so close that its wake was bound to disrupt us. I quickly handed the helm to Jeff and dove for the items on the galley counter to put them in the sink–but not fast enough to keep a huge thermos-full of liquid from spilling all over the floor. A woman on the boat called us to apologize. “Our battery died,” she said. We can’t figure out why that was an excuse to wake us like that when they had plenty of space to maneuver. My guess is that a testosterone-fueled man was at the helm and she was trying to get him to slow down and be polite. I imagine an argument between them. Is that a gender stereotype? Possibly. But it’s informed by months of observation. Now the funny incident. Salt-spatter is a problem on days like this; Jeff cleaned the front windshield while I was driving, and I cleaned the glass doors at the stern while he was. I got those doors so clean that I walked right into them. Thunk! Jeff: “What was that??” Me: “I walked into the door!” Jeff: “We need to put a sticker on it. I’ve done it, too.” Under-way problems! 😄
We got under way from Hontoon Island one month ago today, for “Phase 2” of The Great Loop. We’ve traveled 750+ miles in a month. We are 132 miles from “Mile Marker 0” in Norfolk, marking the start of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. After that? We’ll see.
Photos and captions below.