16 November, 2015
November 3rd, 03h00. Boy, it was still blowing 15 knots, but had shifted to the northeast, and the rain had stopped. The conditions squared with the forecast, which called for decreasing sea states and winds as the day progressed. It was overcast and dark (I’m talkin’ DARK!). I headed to the Holy Place to check on the engine and our stillleaking get-home motor. We were cruising along at about six-and-a-half knots, when Bam! “Marty, we hit something! “ When I come up to the pilothouse, I check the chart plotter. Looks like we’re smack in the middle of the wide channel heading out to sea. Depth sounder says 6’, a little shallower than I would expect. When I walk out to the bow, I can’t see diddly ‘cause it’s so dark, but I hear waves breaking behind me-Uh oh. When we grab the flashlight, there’s beach under the bow-we’re about 8’ up on the beach, and the tide is falling. After about 5 minutes of wiggling and waggling with racing hearts and rising bile, the Admiral says “I think we’re moving!” I’m thinking that its unfound optimism, but by and by, the sound of the surf is slowly moving back towards the bow. Following the radar out, the chart plotter says that we’re on the opposite shore. No worries now, we’d be offshore for the next 10 hours on our way to the Masonboro Inlet, where we would rejoin the ICW en route to Bald Head Island, where we would rejoin our pals Jeff & Susie aboard “Idyll Time”. The seas did indeed subside over the course of our trip, and were down to 1’-3’ by the time we entered the inlet-75 yards ahead are Cindy & Randy, our friends aboard the Krogen Whaleback “Morningstar”, who had been heading south on the ICW since the Rendezvous. By 16h30, we were at Bald Head Island, where Jeff & Susie caught our lines in the pouring rain. Susie had fixed an enchilada casserole for our dinner, and we had a wonderful evening, catching up on our previous months’ experiences. (Jeff says that we’re brothers from a different mother-like those cousins that you see twice a year but fall right back in with in 5 minutes). They planned to start a 2 day offshore to Fernandina Beach, FL the next morning, so we broke it up earlier than we wanted. We got up at 06h00 to throw off their lines, knowing that we would rejoin them in Stuart, FL in December.
We always enjoy our time on Bald Head Island, so we spent the 4th walking and cruising around the island on Betty’s “Guest golf cart”, which she graciously left at the marina after her departure south on her 48’ Krogen “LiLi” (Live Life). The week before, Jeff & Susie had picked out 3 lots to build a home on, and wanted our two cents worth regarding their choices. In the afternoon, we met the Ewing’s, who had just pulled in next to us aboard their brand-new 44’ Krogen, “Maria”. We were off the dock at 06h00 in pea soup fog. Thank goodness for instruments. I don’t know how the early mariners did it without instruments or engines. The fog cleared a few hours later when we were well out to sea. The dolphins were back in full force, different pods running with us throughout the day. During the night, with our pilothouse doors open, you could hear them blowing and breathing as they jetted along a few feet off our beam. It seems like such a big ocean out there, but at around midnight, I found that the 187 mile course that we had laid out would have taken us right through an 800’ freighter anchored at the seabuoy for Charleston Harbor awaiting a pilot. Day was dawning as we passed the seabuoy for Port Royal Sound, which leads past Parris Island and into the town of Beaufort, SC. Twenty-eight hours after leaving Bald Head we were tied up on the Tee at Lady’s Island Marina, just in front of Bill & Lisa on “Changing Course”. Steve, the Harbormaster who lives aboard his boat here, informed us that we had arrived at the right time for “Steak Night” at “The Filling Station”, a “bar” down the street which claimed to be the A.B.A.T.E. headquarters for Lady’s Island. ($8 for steak, baked potato and a side). Of course we went-along with a hundred or so Marines and their dates from Parris Island, vowing to be back for “hamburger and hot dog night” later next week. The next 10 days were consumed by boatchores. We changed the oil, zincs and impellers. We sanded, filled with epoxy, and got a couple of coats of varnish on our teak caprails, sanding between each coat. Gelcoat repairs were a first for us, and I have to say, a pretty good first effort, thanks to Dave Cerrone’s tutelage at the Rendezvous. More mundane tasks included scrubbing the teak decks and cockpit table, chairs and ottomans (Which also got a couple of coats of oil). Cushions were scrubbed and waterproofed. It wasn’t all work, we got some good walks in, crossing the bridge to Beaufort for dinner a few nights, and socializing with our Krogen pals, Bill & Lisa “Changing Course”, and Ed & Cindy “Ka-dee Anna” (who we had met at a Rendezvous many years previously). Donna & Terry, whom we had met in Solomons this year, were also there on their newly-purchased 42’ Krogen, “Meridian”. Suzanne found time to cook for the gang one night, and a good time was had by all. Another evening brought our friends from East Lansing, MI, Chuck & Zoe in from their home on Hilton Head in to Beaufort to join us for dinner at “Breakwater Café”. The food was good, the conversation better, and, as usual, the evening too short.
The forecast of rain signaled the end of the varnishing program, so we reluctantly planned our departure for the next morning, the 17th, at 06h30.
-Talk to Ya