We made quite the departure from Edisto Island and of course that makes for a more interesting blog entry. It was decided by Jack that I would drive the boat while he untied our lines. We were tied up in 3 places, bow, stern and a spring line in the middle. Jack hopped onto the sailboat we were tied up to and released the stern line without a hitch. He untied the bow and tried to hold it while untying the spring line. The wind and current were extremely strong and he couldn’t hold our 22 ton boat for long enough to hop on. So … he had to let go of the lines, with me and the kids aboard our boat, and hope I could maneuver to pick him up in the harsh conditions. Needless to say, I was a bit nervous. I had to abort my first try at turning around in the narrow channel because the wind caught me and I wasn’t sure I could do a sharp enough turn to get all the way around before I ran into the muck on the other side. I took a deep breath and tried again, giving the engine all the power it could muster, and I made the turn. Next on my “to do” list was maneuvering to pick Jack up on the sailboat where he was anxiously awaiting me. The kids behaved incredibly so I could concentrate and it went seamlessly. As I got close to where Jack was ready to hop on the Kitty Hawk, I called out “if you miss this pass, I’m sailing north without you”. With his guidance, I was able to get close enough where he could hop aboard and we were off. Whew! I have to give Jack lots of credit because he has been a wonderful teacher. I’ve had many chances to practice docking over the years with him right by my side and this helped me learn how the boat handles and what to do in different winds, currents and situations. Before living on a sailboat, my experience on the helm was limited to pulling water skiers around area lakes in our family ski boat (which was actually a great start in learning how boats handle in the water).
Jack picked a great weather window for our passage, the winds were favorable, the seas calm and not even a little squall to tell about. Marietta was a bit seasick the first day because we had a swell hitting us on the side of the boat so it was rolly polly for a few hours. She got better and enjoyed the rest of the voyage. Jack B had no problems.
Amazingly I felt fine the whole time as well, even when Marietta lost her breakfast all over me. Thinking back, I was pregnant probably 80% of my sailing life and was constantly seasick. It’s so nice to feel good and be able to enjoy the fishing and the sailing. Speaking of, sad as it is, we have no pictures of huge tuna to show off. Nada.
Everyone’s favorite part of the sail was using our new spinnaker. We found it on Craig’s List in Melbourne, FL for a fraction of what it costs new. It was the exact size we needed for our boat, in really good shape and had a nice color pattern. We were able to sail at half the wind speed with the wind behind us, which means in the 12mph wind our sailboat was moving at a screamin’ 6mph!
We arrived in Beaufort, NC on Saturday morning. It has a quaint downtown with lots of little shops and seaside restaurants. It’s a bit touristy for my tastes but a nice stop along the way where we could go for a walk.
Next was a motor through the Great Dismal Swamp and going through 2 locks and 3 opening bridges. It was a beautiful ride with trees lining both sides of the boat, a little too close for comfort sometimes as the canal is pretty narrow. We tied up to a trawler boat, Yintzer, in the Great Dismal Swamp while waiting for a bridge to open. The 2 brothers had a beer tap on board in a fridge box about the size of our washing machine. It was a group decision that bartering would benefit all and we would do their laundry for free beer. Hmmm, maybe we should put a sign up on our boat “Will launder for beer”.
We arrived in Norfolk, VA and spent the night downtown at the city boat basin. This is one of my favorite stops as we get to tie up for free right in the middle of the beautiful city. Marietta and I took a walk downtown at sunset and found some yummy ice cream. I’m not sure which she enjoyed more, running the whole way to the ice cream store or the ice cream itself.
Fast forward to present … we made it to Washington DC! We arrived Saturday afternoon, May 18, 2013 just as the Boat Parade for the Annual Blessing of the Fleet was starting. We ended up in the middle of the queue, made half a turn around the harbor in the parade then peeled off and dropped anchor in the center of the harbor while the parade continued around us. Anchoring a few blocks from the National Mall near the Jefferson Memorial, we have a great location to explore the city and of course spend lots of time with Tia Megan.