Saturday, October 31, 2009

Wrightsville Beach

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Cousins of Wilmington

Ryan has cousins from both sides of the family in the Wilmington area so we had a blast. A planned 1 night stay turned into 3 nights. Caught up with Brent in Surf City. Then, hung with Tim, Nick, Catherine, Ashly and finally got to see H1N1 Ian when it was decided that he may not contaminate us or our boat.

When not with the hospitable cousins, walked historic district and downtown Wilmington. A great artsy feel with beautiful homes. With the borrowed car, headed to Wrightsville Beach twice where we collected shells, dreamed about becoming great surfers, and ran like wild with the dogs.

Memorable meals - best falafel sandwich from Black Sea Grill on Front St. and Tim/Ashly whipped us up a delicious vegan meal complete with portabello/eggplant burger sandwiches with roasted potatoes and salad on our last night.

Dog status - Sarah is still sweet and calm as ever just chillin’. Poor Dillon is becoming frustrated and we’re worried about his happiness. Brought him to Tim and Ashlys’ place to play with Daisy but it just wasn’t enough to satisfy him. He needs more walking and running time. Plan is to stay in a few towns like Charleston and Savannah longer and when we hit Florida stay long-term on monthly moorings. He’s just so full of life. Sarah is our snuggler. Dillon is our runner! Hopefully, we don’t all go insane before we reach Florida :-)

Rain, Rain - Go Away

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Pelicans, Turtles, Goats, and Deer - Oh, MY!

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

SNOW Cut Exit - Should’ve known with a name like snow!

Approach to and through Snow Cut from Wrightsville Beach area thornier than a porcupine with currents pushing Prudence 90 degrees off course even at full throttle. Luckily, several boats earlier in the day ran aground and alerted us to extensive shoaling encroaching past markers into the channel. So, at least, we knew to try and avoid those sandbars while surfing Prudence through currents like a swimmer in a riptide.

Entered Snow Cut with currents pushing Prudence from port to starboard right beneath the bridge. Exited Snow Cut without any issues and feeling pretty darn confident about my “captainshipabilities” (Mandy). No worries even as we approach Cape Fear. Fearlessly, I approach the channel from the northwest as indicated in our guidebook, depths start decreasing 10, 6, 5, oh - s---. We draw 4’ 11” seeing 5’ just ain’t no good.

Port. Starboard. No depth anywhere! 3.8’ problem solved. Stopped dead and tipped slightly to port. SOP (standard operating procedure) initialized immediately. Throttle ALL the way down. Neutral. Reverse. Throttle all the way up. BUMP. BUMP. BUMP with wake and current. 3.8’ still. Called Tow Boat U.S. What will we be thankful for this Thanksgiving? Buying the unlimited tow package.

In the meantime, huge wakes came by thanks to the rude people driving powerboats that just seem to lack common sense when it comes to being considerate of other boaters around them. Despite alerting approaching boats about our situation and requesting little to no wake, these motorboats kept creating wake and making our boat slam further into the sand bar floor.

This behavior just confirms my dislike of people who drive motorboats like they’re in a racecar. I put a hex on them as of today. May they all run out of gas and have to stay put while all their onboard accoutrements begin to fail due to lack of power and all their frozen foods melt especially their meat - may it go rotten! As we sail by on free power!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Galley Cook

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Oriental Region

Anchored last night in South River outside a creepy cemetary that apparently is still in use but grave stones indicate it's been around since the 1700s. We did our last dinghy ashore with dogs in daylight because we were so afraid. Felt like we were in a Stephen King movie.

Other than being spooked, pleasant and windy night. Best part, galley wench had the evening off. Ryan put together a nice spread of pasta with bread and red wine. It was delicious!

In Deaton Marina tonight. They let us borrow a truck so we reprovisioned food and spare parts. All set for tomorrow's departure. Deaton owners (husband, wife team) extremely helpful! Oriental town is just wonderful. Too bad we leave in the a.m. At least, we'll leave if R's first oil and filter change are successful. I'm sure they will be :-)

Sea Life

Bubba Gump


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On route to mile marker 135

Firsts for US

  • Swarmed by mosquitoes - more than ever seen before (hid down below)
  • Dillon (always hot) shivering it’s so cold - had to make him stay down below to warm up
  • Passed by motorboat (we throttle down and so do they when they reach our stern for less wake)
  • Boats on ICW mimic a slow parade
  • VHF used TOO much
  • Sighted Bald Eagle in tree
  • Stars and Bars everywhere (not just one)
  • Southern accent thick
  • Pod of dolphins surfed our stern waves
  • Pitch black night in Belhaven Harbor dinghying ashore with dogs - R hit stump? and chipped our outboard propeller. An appropriate wife response per Ryan, (A) “We’re o.k.” - (B) “Are you o.k.?” - (C) “The boats o.k.” I went with (D) “Oh, F---!”


24 ounce man

Sarah at the helm

Dillon on watch
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Take That!

Sun Dance Step 1

Sun Dance Step 2

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Dead Body, Artillery Firing Squad and Beer

Goodbye Elizabeth City
Hello Alligator River (didn’t see any though)

On our way to the Alligator River Marina, we heard over the VHF the NC Coast Guard being hailed to report a dead body on our route with an anchor wrapped around it! Suspicious - huh? The Coast Guard instructed the sailing vessel to remain with the body and if possible bring the body on board without damaging the body.

Ryan and I decided that if we find a dead body, we’ll bring it on board using our life sling and a halyard. We’d place the body on the bow until officials arrived. We have planned for all the typical cruising mishaps but this one we never even considered. Glad we now have a plan. But, we still haven’t figured out how to keep the dogs away from the dead body.

We’re not sure if the cruisers were successful in extracting the body from the water but we have our own idea about what happened. Someone(s) not familiar with the shallow local waters (possibly the mob?) dumped the body not taking into account tides, currents, and depth. The perpetrator(s) is most likely far gone from this area which is good because we have 3 anchors on board.

Bam! Is what we heard but not like from the Flintstones or Emeril. A BAM that vibrated through our bodies, echoed in our ears and chests like a concussion or percussion instrument, and immediately put us on guard. Turns out the military practices artillery firing in an area somewhat nearby to where we were sailing. Regardless that we were well out of the restricted area, we still felt it strong! As for others, we heard boats being hailed left and right to get the hell out of the restricted area! Don’t people read charts??? Is the military liable for injury if a person disregards charts and announcements informing them of firing???

Upon arriving at the marina for the evening, ice and beer were in order to celebrate the fact that we were still alive and having quite a fabulous life! Ryan came back though with 24 ounce cans of beer. Is he nuts? I can barely drink the normal size. Actually, I prefer the minis. His reasoning…

1 beer = tired
2 beers = just right
Hence, purchase four 24 ounce Coors Light cans (our beer of preference while cruising) for a $1.49 thus only 75 cents per beer less than the 6-pack charge for Budweiser. Mispriced.