Voyage 2009-2010: Chapter 5

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01 Apr 2010, From Vero to Carolina Beach, 27 39.456 N/ 080 22.254 W

    Our last day in Vero was rather lazy as we were ready and had a 3-4 day weather window for a direct passage to the Cape Fear. We had an enjoyable last visit with Bela, a final Vero restaurant, and the beach. Our plan is to leave tomorrow, catch the Stream, and head for the Cape Fear. We know that we will probably have to traverse the river, Snow's Cut, and Carolina Beach harbor at night. Not looking forward to that. --

03 Apr 2010, Vero to Carolina Beach, non stop, 31 06.15 N/ 079 03.396 W

    At 0730 day before yesterday, we broke from Sirius Endeavor and headed south(?) heading for the Cape Fear. We headed for the closest inlet, which was Fort Pierce. Sadly, the current was against us and it took a long while to pass through the inlet. Within four hours, we were feeling the effects of the Stream and northbound we were headed with speeds up to 10 kts. Yep, we were motor sailing again 'cause we had a rather tight weather window. Along the way a little bird, named Chirpy, boarded Jule. We were about 100 miles offshore and we were concerned the Chirpy would either get eaten by Sammy or die of exposure. We took a chance and opened up the cabin. Chirpy hopped on Sammy but Sammy did not strike back. Adventure on the high seas. (We did not find Chirpy so we assume he flew away during the night)

    Lots to think about while making the passage. The weather was generally good but the wind was light and heading for the stern. Seas were rolly but manageable. Poor motor has been used most of this trip. This leg will not be different as the forecast has winds 10 kts or less aft of the beam. Still it is a remarkable (motor)sail.

    The night receives the moon around 2345 and it is a bright one. Truly a beautiful night with fair (albeit light) winds and calm seas. Yesterday, the water was a deep blue, sky was blue with just the hint of low level clouds; and a swell from the NE. What is causing that? The swell was mesmerizing but the clouds continued to deepen. The swells reached 7-8 feet and the period became shorter. The 'toy' was showing winds out of the NE. Within a half hour, the wind picked up; out of the NE. Seas continued to steepen. We headed NW to leave the Stream and get back to the easterlies. Within 4 hours we were settled again but largely out of the Stream.

    We re-caclulated our ETA to the Cape Fear inlet and were not happy that our first estimate of a night landfall was not far off. Surely, we would drive most of the way to Carolina Beach in the dark. The night was calm and the seas had laid down to 2-3 ft. We have not seen any boat traffic on the radar or AIS for nearly 24 hours. Kinda lonely here.

04 Apr 2010, Vero to Carolina Beach, non stop, 34 02.50 N/ 077 53.40 W

    Today is busy. We prepped the boat and ourselves for the landfall and the night crossing of the Cape Fear. We viewed our landfall around 1700 and passed the anchored MSC Charleston around 1715. We saw the pilot boat heading his way around 1800. Wonder if he will be a problem? Passed Southport at 1930 and it was pretty much dark. Requested and received passage from the dredge Dodge Island at 2100. At 2101, MSC Charleston requested that we stand off while he passes us and the Dodge Island. We chose to cross the channel and tuck away passed the eastern side of the channel. No problem. We were a little nervous heading for and transiting Snow's Cut. Entering Carolina Beach harbor was 'a piece of cake' and we had the Mona Black crew (Paul, Maureen, and Gene) waiting for our lines at 2345. Not bad! Not bad!


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