Monday, August 19, 2013

Perfect 10

Sitting on the screen porch, watching the rain. Back home.

SeaClearly is in her slip, rinsed down, unloaded of foul smelling clothes and towels, sails covered, lines arranged. We spent two weeks plus one day on our trip. We went from Wanchese all the way south to Cape Lookout and back with stops along the way. We anchored out some places, spent time in marinas at other times and had a blast all of the time.

Our last stop was a return visit to the Silver Lake anchorage in Ocracoke. We stayed there two nights, evaluated the weather and decided to head out on Sunday morning. Early. The trip all the way home would be over seventy miles so it was going to be a long travel day.

We got up at 4:30 am to get organized, get Roux into the dinghy for his shore stop and have our coffee. The anchor and the sun came up at the same time. The anchor washing ritual took a while so we ended up following the 6:30 am ferry out of the harbor. We cleared the last marker on Bigfoot Slough and cruised into the Pamlico at just about 7:00. It was a gorgeous day. As soon as we made the turn north we had ideal sailing conditions and put out the full cutter rig. We were rolling along at 7 + knots without even trying.


Of course, anyone that sails knows that those conditions don't last. After a couple hours of that, the wind shifted a little and started dropping. So did our speed. Eventually, we decided to motor with the mainsail. We needed to keep a pretty good pace to get to Colington before dark.

As funny as it may seem, we were probably more nervous about getting back into Colington than any other part of our trip. Strange anchorages, new situations, ocean sailing, currents - all pale into comparison to the fear of running aground again in our home inlet. How absurd is that? We had spent hours mapping the inlet depths in our other boat and defined a twisting ditch with 6 feet of water that would get us safely back in - as long as we had average water level. We asked a couple of folks - friend Dennis, neighbors - to be ready for a call from us looking for water level updates when we got close.

We had a smooth trip up the Pamlico, back through Old House Channel and past Oregon Inlet. We met the entire Wanchese trawler fleet (which is down to about 7 boats these days) coming out. They typically leave out on Sunday and stay out until Wednesday or Thursday. We slid under the Pirates Cove bridge (I am sure that is not the official name), past Manteo, around the Roanoke Island channel and lined up on Colington.

The only line that will get us into Colington.

I can't possibly describe the tension and it might just seem ridiculous to some people. I will just say that when we cleared the inlet and slipped into Colington Harbour, there was an intense relief, an emotional release. We had nailed the landing. At times our depth was reading 0.0  feet but we didn't touch bottom. Our new paint is still intact. And so was the good memory of the whole trip. You know how a bad ending can ruin an otherwise good book.

So, we are home. Roux is happy to be back in the land of free flowing water. We wondered if he had the same left-over rolling motion that we do. And whether he is as stiff and sore from sitting through a 13 hour sail. He did great.

Tomorrow, we will clean up some more. SeaClearly performed perfectly for the entire trip and deserves a spa day. I think we do too.

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