We have not had a moment to catch our breath since we left! After a decent flight across the country (I highly recommend Economy Plus, for the extra $20!) we arrived in Annapolis with a long punch list of things we needed to do before our October 11th departure, and managed to get a fair amount accomplished: Unpacking, provisioning & cleaning were completed with a minimum of fuss. We were disappointed to find that most of the vendors at the Boat Show did not stock many of the items we planned to purchase, so we had to order (or postpone) them. Still, things were looking to be in good order :)
We hired a Captain for trip, as we felt a bit more experience would be welcome....we are still familiarizing ourselves with the boat and decided we'd rather be safe than sorry! The Captain brought along one crew member to assist with watches on the voyage, as he estimated the trip would take somewhere in the neighborhood of 56 hours. We left Annapolis as planned on the 11th, and had a nice sail down the Chesapeake in brisk winds and choppy seas.
|Leaving Annapolis (for the final time!)|
Our anchorage that evening was a familiar one; we were back in scenic (and smelly) Reedsville. After an uneventful night, we were off to Norfolk, where we docked close to downtown, on the river. All the Naval shipyards were in full swing, with lots on coming & going.
|View from our "back porch" in Norfolk|
|Our berth in Norfolk|
We had a most interesting run from Norfolk, out around Cape Hatteras & Cape Fear, into Southport, NC. After checking weather in the morning, our Captain decided that the weather window was favorable, so we headed out. Let the record show that Laurie did not feel the same way, after checking her favorite weather sites...but depart we did!
Bill & I had been calling it our "shake down" cruise, and that is exactly what it turned out to be: by the time we limped into Southport (low fuel & engine trouble) some 50 hours later, the whole boat looked like it had been dipped in Margarita Salt-a result of the sheer amounts of sea water washing over the boat...
|Water over the bow...|
|Before the weather really hit...|
she, and we, came through just fine, with a few minor (mostly) repairs to be made: Bill had to switch out the head pumps while underway in 6-8ft seas, the starboard fuel tank had an issue, leaving us with only the port & spare tanks, and the starboard navigation light was taken off by a wave at some point during our voyage. We also had part of the aft rail rip loose because the dinghy spent so much time slamming into it-our Captain did not want Bill to go back & secure it better, as he felt it was not safe to do so. We navigated through winds ranging from 20-30 knots (mostly 25k) and seas from 6-8 for some hours, 8-10 for about 20+ hours, and the occasional 10-12, with random 14 to 16 footers tossed in every once in awhile just keep it exciting ☺ Despite the weather, we thoroughly enjoyed the journey! I rigged a strap for the coffee maker, so we could have hot coffee any time & it worked perfectly *patting self again*.
|Aren't I clever???|
We survived our watches, although at one point poor Bill almost had a heart attack when he found me sprawled out on our bunk, feet hanging off & arms spread out iron cross style-he apparently thought I had expired & shook me awake....really, all I was trying to do was keep myself on the bed-hence the arms straight out positioning! The weather, while wild, compensated by being balmy & we had a beautiful full moon to keep things lit up nicely. We were most happy to arrive in Southport, and after bidding adieu to our Captain & crew, we went out & celebrated our success!
We sat in Southport for a day, then looked at the weather and realized we had to leave immediately, or be stuck there for close to a week due to weather, so we hauled in the dock lines & off we went. We were able sail for about 6-8 hours or so, before we realized that on that tack, we would just about double our distance and time, making a 20 hour trip for just the 2 us into something we really did not want to do-so we fired up the engine, motored through the night, and arrived in Charleston, SC in the early morning. Bill did an amazing job of docking in 1.5 knot current that was ripping through the marina. Since we got here, we have been cleaning, repairing, and attempting to catch up on lost sleep. The weather, lovely upon our arrival, has turned quite chilly and howling wind keeps us rocking!
|Sailing along @ 8.7 knots in 10.9 knots (true) of wind! What a beauty!|
Now, we get to hopefully start the fun part! We have already been a aboard a "Mega Yacht" (invited by crew, not the rich folks who owned it, lol) and enjoyed an Oyster Roast on Saturday here at the Marina.
|At the Oyster Roast|
And, of course (Bill & Laurie here, don't forget..) we have managed to find a couple of great bars, one of which is the perfect dive, complete with pool tables....
To top it all off, our grill was delivered yesterday, so we can even throw on a steak to celebrate!