Sunday, May 6, 2012

Dolphins are always good

I was reading some blog site the other day and the question was posed "When are you too old to be sailing?" There were many opinions - 60's, 70's, several 80+ sailors responded.

But my favorite answer was:

"No matter what age, when you stop saying 'Wow! Dolphins! Cool!' quit sailing and move ashore"

We left Manteo Saturday morning in a dead calm. We were, basically, a trawler with a big stick. But it was still pleasant. Then, the dolphins showed up. Five, ten, a couple dozen. Playing in our bow wake, leaping out of the water beside us, cruising along behind seeing what we stirred up.

 It was cool.

Junie, of course, was calling the dolphins as she has for years - "Hey Babies! Hey Babies!". Roux is also fascinated by them and, despite the fact that he was recovering from a restless night sleeping out in the cockpit while we were in Manteo, he was running around the deck barking. Or maybe he is saying "Hey Babies!". Who knows.

Friday, May 4, 2012

Live from Manteo!

First Friday in downtown Manteo. We got up early and motored through the fog to Manteo. We have a prime spot on the Manteo waterfront for the First Friday event. We are supposed to have skydivers and all sorts of entertainment.

Roux found a comfortable spot on the gazebo.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Trying to get up-to-date

It has taken a couple of weeks to get this blog updated and tell the story of SeaClearly's homecoming trip. Now, I will try to stay a little more current. Filling in the past couple of weeks:
  • We took the kids (hardly kids, anymore - sorry guys) and kids-in-law out for a sail. I think they are questioning our sanity. So are we.
  • Started taking things apart, replacing things, maintenance schedules, lists.
    Spares behind batteries! Who knew!

  • Found yet another storage locker that we had never seen (small compartment, under the settee, behind the house batteries). Full of watermaker spares. Sweet!
  • Set sail on a 3 hour tour - and, yes, it turned out like it sounds.
We left the dock right after one of Junie's 5:30 conference calls. I was preped to go, Roux (105 lb Chocolate Lab) went with us, casted off the lines. We were having a great time playing with the sails, investigating reefing line issues, talking about procedures. We had the full cutter rig flying and making a respectable 4.2 knots in not much wind when I glanced down and saw our depth getting skinny. The words 'We are going to need to come about real soon or...' didn't quite make it out of my mouth before we came to a soft, gooey stop in the Albemarle mud. Now, mind you, we know better than to be this far north coming out of Colington. We were just distracted, having too much fun with the new toy.

The wind is from the north, we need to go south - seems easy. We should just blow off. We have the full rig out. Yeah, right. We tried several common tricks but stayed stuck. By now, it is starting to get late. Beautiful sunset but the wind is shifting to the northeast - not good for us. That is the wind that sucks all of the water out of our side of the sound. I finally overcome my embarassment and we breakdown and call our BoatUS buddies. Their recommendation is to avoid trying to tow us at night. If you are OK, just sit tight and we will see you in the morning.

So, we did. We called our neighbors to let them know we decided to anchor out (then we fessed up). It was really not bad. We had spare clothes, some food, fuel. So, we sat. Our only issue was Roux. He has not, will not, do his business on any boat. Never has. Despite our encouragement, he holds out. For 18 hours.

Morning comes, BoatUS comes. Overnight, most of the Albemarle Sound has gone to Edenton so it takes them almost an hour to drag us to clear water. So much for the new bottom paint. Captain Harry then follows us all the way to Colington and, indeed, has to pull us one more time over the bar into the Harbour.
We get back to the dock and Jack has a 'Welcome Home' sign scribbled on a piece of plywood. The water level has dropped almost 2 1/2 feet from when we left yesterday. Roux was very excited about getting off the boat. Checking out all of the strainers, systems doesn't uncover any serious issues from our episode. More live and learn.

That brings us up to today. The dock work barge is finally gone. We are planning to sail to Manteo for First Friday. Pioneers, they never say die.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012


April 13, 2012 - Friday the 13th. Absolutely nothing unlucky about this day for us. SeaClearly has come home. Our friends Dennis and Marsha were at the Colington Harbour Sound Park to welcome us home and get videos of us gliding in. Thanks for the welcoming committee!

After weeks of lying awake wondering what this would be like, we were making the last few canal turns to bring her to her new homeport.
Our next-door neighbors (and friends), Jack and MaryLou, are waiting for us with cameras and cheers. More welcoming committee! How cool is that?

The dock work (which, some of you know, has been in-process for a ridiculously long time) got done just in time. The work barge is still there but we have a pier and mooring poles. We have shore power, even lights.

Now, for the final challenge of the morning - docking the new boat in the new slip with the neighbors watching and filming. What are the odds of this going well?

But, we are blessed with favorable winds and a lucky Friday the 13th and we, collectively, nail it. Don't even rub a rubrail. We are in!

Within a short time, we have the entire family around, neighbors and friends, and a good old-fashioned cookout going on. Thanks to everyone for coming. It isn't long before there is a group of folks sitting around the cockpit talking about boats. This is perfect.

We have had a wonderful trip, learned a lot, got along OK because of what we know and inspite of what we don't. Now we start the real journey - really learning the boat, the systems, the processes, getting to know our sailing-selves better, putting things in their boxes and learning to think outside of them. Suddenly, the time we have allotted to come up to speed and head off on our sailing adventures doesn't seem very long. 


April 12-13, 2012 - Once we got past our engine trouble, we had a pleasant day sailing up the Pamilco towards Manteo. We actually had a 'Plan B' point where would have to divert to an anchorage if it looked like we couldn't make it all the way before dark. We were making good time when the decision point came so we kept moving.

The last stretch of the day is a very familiar route for us. We have, many times, gone from Colington down to Oregon Inlet, into the ocean and back. We never had to contend with a 5' 6 draft or a 56' mast clearance. So our concerns focused on hitting bottom and hitting top. We stayed to the channel and knew the turns so bottom was not a problem. When we got to the bridge near Pirate's Cove the evening was settling in - still, flat, getting dark. The recorded bridge clearance is 'around 60 feet' - not very comforting. We eased up to the bridge and got so nervous that we, literally, came to a complete stop and drifted under the bridge. Man, that looks close looking straight up!
It was dark as we made the turn(s) into Manteo but, once again, these are familiar waters. A little help from the charter got us into the anchorage right off the lighthouse without trouble. (Well, there was one bit of excitement when we almost took out an unlit sailboat).

Many times we have been to Manteo and have seen the boats anchored there and wondered who they were. This time, it was us.