Monday, October 21, 2013

Offshore!

Big milestone. Our first offshore, overnight passage! We left Lookout Bight at about 2:00pm on Saturday. Actually, right after another milestone. Roux started acting jumpy at about 1:00 so we thought we would get ready to take him to shore for his pre-trip business. But he insisted on going out on the deck and, immediately, ran to the bow and took a dump. First time ever on the boat. We praised him extensively for crapping on our beautiful boat, cleaned up the mess and thought "Well, time to go!"

Junie the Sailor Girl. Just after leaving Lookout Bight.
We pulled the anchor and motored out into a perfect ocean. Calm rolling seas, clear. We ran through a pod of dolphins after just about two miles. Dozens of them. So we were all happy and excited. It was nice to leave in the afternoon to get some travel time in before dark. We weren't sure how this was going to play out.

As it started to get twilight, it became obvious that we were not going to get perfectly clear skies all night. We did have a full moon through broken clouds for a while. Junie wanted to take the 9:00pm to midnight watch. So, I got Roux down into the cabin and tried to settle him down for some sleep. But, we were, after all, in the ocean. And the boat goes up and down. And the people on the boat go up and down. And the dog on the boat goes "WTF man! What are we doing out here!" We had given him one of the anti-anxiety pills the vet supplied but I can't say that it helped too much.

Try to picture me, in the aft cabin, comforting a large brown dog. The boat is rolling. I'm not sleeping. Time is passing. I probably slept 20 minutes. Somewhere in the middle of this I go up to check on Junie. This is her first watch at night by herself and I am concerned that she is nervous. I slide open the hatch and there she is. Earbuds in, singing along with the tunes on the iPad, dancing around at the wheel, full moon shining through cockpit, smiling like crazy. She shouts over the noise in her head "I love this!" I'm thinking, I can't wait to get on watch.

We switched on and off watch through the night, kept up our log entries, plotted our position on the paper chart to back up our two electronic charting options - Raymarine and iNavx on the iPad. Nobody got much sleep. We will have to figure out what might make Roux happier. In the cabin, in the cockpit, who knows.

We ended up motoring all night because, as predicted, the wind was right on our nose all night. We were actually making too much progress. We ended up getting to Masonboro Inlet at 5:00am. Due to the cloud cover and time of year, it didn't start to get light until nearly 7:00. We drifted around in circles a couple of miles off shore until we could start to make out the features and then headed through the inlet. And, just like that, we had completed our first overnight, offshore passage.

ICW just inside Masonboro Inlet
Our original intention had been to stop pretty soon after clearing the inlet and turning into the ICW - either at the Wrightsville Beach anchorage or south a bit further to make the Carolina Beach mooring field. As it turned out, we had gotten a second wind and decided to just keep going the additional 3 hours south down the ICW and the Cape Fear River to make it to Bald Head Island Marina. That meant that we wouldn't have to take the dinghy down to get Roux to shore. And, we would be positioned to jump directly back out into the ocean having bypassed Frying Pan Shoals. We arrived at noon. It was a good call and made for an easy stop.

SeaClearly next to a more typical
Bald Head Marina watercraft
Then, we found out that Bald Head Island is a cool place. It is terminally cute. Only golf carts are allowed on the island. In fact, we stayed awake, cleaned up the boat a little and even got lunch. At a restaurant. With ice and everything. And ice cream from a little shop. Did I say this place is cute? Then, we went back to the boat, covered all the hatches and ports, cranked the AC down to cold and crawled into bed at 3:00 pm. We (all of us) slept until almost 8:00 am this morning. Making up for lost sleep.



Today, we really got to learn about Bald Head Island. It has immense natural areas of marsh and maritime forest and beautiful homes. It has an old lighthouse, an adorable chapel and even a pricey grocery store. It has spectacular views of Cape Fear and Frying Pan Shoals - a scary view even on a nice day. None of which we would have seen had we not met some more new friends. Joe and Sonja stopped to admire our boat and we ended up talking for a while. We mentioned that we needed to rent a golf cart to get to the store and they, immediately, offered to take us. Joe came back a few minutes later, gave us a tour of the island (they have been here several times) and took us to the grocery. Then, he and Sonja came aboard and joined us for Nachos and wine. We had a great time and having every intention of taking them up on their offer to come visit them.

 




Roux - waiting for his Blankie to come
out of the laundry.
We are meeting a lot of nice folks along the way. We met Robert and Joy (sv Arwen) back in River Dunes and hope to catch up with them along the way again. Maybe in the Bahamas! We passed a boat on the ICW that we have anchored near twice at Ocracoke. He sailed on out into the ocean as we turned into the marina. So, we may see him again when we make our next hop.

And, our next hop? We are thinking Charleston. We originally had an interim trip to Winyah Bay to make shorter hops. But, we believe that we can make Charleston in about 24 hours. We intend to leave here at around high tide tomorrow - about 11:00 am - and hope to make the 132 nautical mile trip to arrive there at noon on Wednesday. We plan to hang out there for a week. If it feels right.

Holly, check it out! Our plant lives and thrives!



We miss friends and family. Thanks for keeping track of us and calling to check on us. We did get to Facetime with granddaughter Reagan  - oh and her parents. Seriously, thanks, Dusty and Holly, for keeping us in touch! And Jeffrey and Emily for the regular calls. And Emily for the worry and free medical advice. And Tyler, thanks for re-introducing us to our French Press. What a better way to make coffee - especially on a boat.
I will try to keep the postings up but don't expect one until after we wake up in Charleston!

4 comments:

  1. Bald Head Island looks adorable, I loved the pictures! I hope ya'll are having a safe trip to Charleston, I wish we could meet ya'll down there! I just loved the story of Mom jamming out to music when you were worried about her being nervous....haha glad she was at ease! I love ya'll and cant wait to hear how your trip to Charleston went!

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    1. You would love Bald Head Island. Hope you can make it there some time. We miss you.

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  2. Hi Duane and Junie! Randy here (from "work"). Just caught up on the last week of the blog. What fun (especially the boarding :-)! I know ziltch about sailing so I'm learning a lot, too. Smooth sailing to you both, and Roux. I'll be keeping up right here.

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    1. Thanks Randy. We are having a blast and laughing at ourselves as we go. If you can't laugh at yourself you are missing out on some wonderful entertainment.
      Duane

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