Saturday, June 30, 2007

Atlantic City, NJ

Internet access has been non-existent for several days. Our Verizon phones work, but won’t let us get online for some reason, possibly out of the service area. Anyway, we’re in Atlantic City, NJ next to all the high-rise casinos in a small bay off of the inlet with a few other boats. Kathy and I had a 40 mile day sail from Cape May, NJ without Rachel who is visiting her friend McKenna in Parsippany, NJ.

The last you heard from us was from Beaufort, SC. We’ve since covered a few states with a couple of overnighters and several days in the ICW. But first I want to back up to our excellent tour of Charleston, SC with Cindy Stancil and her kids Jack and Hayley. We drove around town and rubbernecked at all the old buildings and cool street markets on the waterfront. Then we walked a couple of miles getting a close-up view. After that we took our dinghy out to Stardust for grilled burgers and hotdogs. The water was very busy on Saturday, June 16 but we made it through the boats to and from Stardust. We want to thank Cindy very much for such a wonderful day! (We met the Stencils’ in St. Augustine, and now Jason is headed for Africa as captain on a Mearsk ship.)

The overnight passage from Charleston to Beaufort, NC started with a broad reach in south 10-15kt winds which made for a very comfortable cruise. Kathy and I swapped 3 hour watches during the night, and in the midst of one watch change we were awed by the sight of glowing dolphins riding our wake and jumping out the water. The bioluminescence was fantastic. Even the flying fish glowed and dripped sparks as they flew away from the dolphins. It was a spectacular half hour, one we’ll always remember. But the winds clocked more from the SW, and dropped in velocity so we ran the next day under motor in the weak downwind conditions. We arrived in Beaufort at 11pm, our first landfall in a strange place in the dark. The gps chart plotter was invaluable, and kept us out of trouble when the navaid lights didn’t seem to make sense. We anchored in the first available spot inside the harbor next to a couple of other sailboats, and Jupiter’s Smile arrived an hour later from their journey up the coast. We had covered 221nm in 38 hours for an average of 5.8kts.

We moved to the town anchorage the next day, and spent a couple of days there continuing the quest to find the air leak in the generator fuel line. I’ve replaced practically everything, and it still plagues us to this date. We had a great dinner on board Jupiter’s Smile with Jay and Barb, and our friends Richard and Pam from Tisha Baby were there too. I helped Richard with his engines, and he helped me trouble shoot an electrical problem with the Yanmar earlier in the day, so celebrations were in order.

On June 22, we motor/sailed the ICW to Oriental, NC, which we promptly fell in love with. A quiet little historical town with friendly people, and the so called sailing capital of North Carolina very much suited our tastes. We joined Jupiter’s Smile in the small anchorage, and then ran into more friends from the Bahamas, John and Jan from Stella Maris. They took Rachel for a speed boat ride over to some sailing races, and then helped us with some mail issues. They own a beautiful physical therapy facility in Oriental, and dock their boat in their backyard.

On the 24th, we blasted up the ICW to Durant Island to cover 75 miles in 10 hours. The 25th saw us make it to Great Bridge, just south of Norfolk, VA for 72 miles in 10 hours. We passed through Norfolk at 1pm the next day, and the weather was good for another offshore passage so we kept going into the ocean arriving at Cape May the next day at 3pm. We covered 181 miles in 28 hours for a 6.5kt average speed.

We found a perfect little anchorage in Sunset Lake except for the jet skis. Kathy and Rachel rented a car to drive to northern NJ to meet up with McKenna on her birthday, which was the point of all the mileage we had been logging.

Kathy and I (and Whitefoot) will leave here tomorrow morning bound for Sandy Point, NJ at the entrance to New York City. It’s about 70 miles away so it will take all day. Winds will be from the north, so we’ll probably have to motor most of the way.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Hilton Head to Beaufort, SC

Our anchorage tonight is Beaufort, SC. It’s pronounced “Beoofurt”. That’s different from Beaufort, NC which is pronounced “Bofurt”. The wind is pushing us one way and the current is pulling us the other way. When this happens, the boat points into the current, but is pushed from behind by the wind. There are boats here on moorings, transient sailors on one anchor, and others on two anchors. Consequently, each boat travels in a different arc. We had to anchor 3 times to finally stay out of the way of boats careening every which way. There are some large storm cells about, but it looks like we’re currently in the clear. Tomorrow morning we’ll head north about 50 miles or so in the ICW. The strong NE winds wouldn’t be conducive to a pleasant sail in the ocean, since we want to travel NE.

Rachel celebrated her 13th birthday on June 6. We can’t believe our sweet daughter is a teenager already! School ended on the 5th, so Rachel was doubly excited. Kathy cooked her favorite dinner, spaghetti, and we had a chocolate cake for desert. Happy birthday Rachel!

Jay and Barb on Jupiter’s Smile arrived in HH for a couple of days from their journey northward from the Bahamas to Florida, Georgia, and South Carolina. We rode bikes together on the great bike paths and shared a dinner together on Stardust. They left for Wilmington NC where Jay’s meteorologist brother lives. We’re sure to cross paths again.

Mom, Dad, and Aunt Nindy visited us in Hilton Head for a few days. We spent one day motorsailing in the Calibogue Sound and the next day relaxing in the pool at their hotel. It was a nice visit with three wonderful dinners to boot. We were very happy that Nindy made the trip since it had been so long since we saw her. Mom and Dad also brought 2 boxes of mail, which took a week to sort through. More cards and gifts kept Rachel’s birthday going a few extra days too!

We keep looking at the weather in the Bahamas and thinking about our friends Pat and Jim on Shamrock who are waiting for the next window to cross to the States.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Second Wave before crossing