Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Another night at the Bight

Monday morning, very early, we roused ourselves at Portside Marina and started prepping for a short, but significant, trip. We were headed for Cape Lookout Bight. If you go out of Beaufort Inlet and hang a left, you only have to go about 10 miles to find, what has been referred to as, the closest thing to the Bahamas that North Carolina has to offer. Clear water, nice beaches, barely a tree. And Cape Lookout lighthouse. The one with the diamonds.

This short trip is significant for us because, finally, we will get SeaClearly back into her element - ocean.

Pictures never capture waves well.
The weather was just about perfect for us. As the sky lightened, we had a 10 knot southwest breeze and clear skies. The marina is, technically, closed on Mondays so we didn't have any company. Of course, at 5:30 am, we wouldn't on any day. We cast off the lines and made our way out to the inlet - big, wide, deep, no traffic. How nice!

Even though the trip would be short, you have to remember that you are going into the ocean. We were catching the beginning of the incoming tide. It was being pushed by several days of southwest winds. So we had some steep waves coming at us. We dipped our nose a few times and brought green water down the sides. I swear I heard SeaClearly giggle.

We were a bit more nervous than she was. And a bit cautious. This is the ocean, after all. We were all lifejacketed and tethered. And it felt like we should be. We actually went out into the ocean a little further than our planned course just to get a better ride for our shot over to the Bight. When we finally made our turn at about 4 1/2 miles out of Beaufort Inlet, we set up for a downhill ride with following seas of about 6 - 7 ft pushing us along. We chose to motorsail with the staysail out for some stability. It was awesome. The waves would roll under us, SeaClearly would point a bit to starboard and then correct to port as they slid past. We settled into the rhythm for the next 10 miles and slid into the Bight a mere 3 hours after our departure. What a cool destination for the folks from Morehead City and Beaufort. There is also a back-channel route for shallow-draft boats that gets the day-trippers there easily. For us, it was ocean.

SeaClearly at the Bight. Lighthouse behind.
Fishing. No catching.
So, we made it! This has been on the list for a while and it is a very nice spot. We got ourselves anchored in about 20 ft of beautiful water and settled in. We went to shore in the dinghy to let Roux relieve his ocean-voyage anxiety and walk around.

Roux ramps.
In case you may wonder how we get an old, big Chocolate Lab off the boat, into the dinghy, down into the cabin - well, it isn't always easy. It can be comical, on occasion. We are very slow and cautious to avoid anyone of us being hurt in the process. It involves ramps, training, desperation and timing. I have included a few pictures from inside the cabin showing the ramp structure we build to get Roux up in the morning and down at night. No pictures from getting in the dinghy because it takes all hands. I am sure you think we are crazy.

But, I'm telling you, Roux loves the boat. He loves to sail. He loves hanging out on docks. He is probably happier and more cooperative doing this than hanging around home.

There were a few other people around and one of them was nice enough to take a picture of us - all looking our best, of course.

The weather has turned into a blow, of sorts. We have had 20+ knots winds all day and expected to be higher tonight. So, we are staying put. Maybe tomorrow, if the expected wind switch shows up, we will move again. Or maybe not.

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