Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Coming home?

Way back in May we were sitting at anchor in Green Turtle Cay and reading Chris Parker's emails. We were wondering when we could cross to the States. We had a wedding to attend and we needed to get the boat settled in Brunswick GA. We were looking to make it all the way to Fernandina Beach if the conditions were right. They were, sort of. Our window popped open and we took off. At some point in the night we reflected on a little note Mister Parker had in his email that said, "Even a light north wind will add several feet to the waves". You were very correct sir.

We enjoyed a nice sail over the banks in amazingly blue water. The wind would pick up a bit, then die off a bit, but we were moving along. Ahead of us, before Great Sale Cay there appeared what looked like a bright blue hole. A perfectly circular hole of bright light blue water in the middle of a darker blue. "Is that a shoal?" I asked. Our charts indicated there was nothing but relatively deep water all around us. We  pressed on. As we sailed into the blue hole we did not see the depth change. It was just a color change and it was most awesome. We still can't figure out why the round pool of bright blue water existed. My first thought was an alien ship was surfacing from under the sand. Maybe it was a wormhole into a parallel universe that we would pop into, where we were cool and popular people, sailing a new Hinckley in our tanned Hollywood bodies and spending gobs of cash from our bloated Swiss bank accounts. Nope. Still here. Still flabby. Still poor. It was just a blue circle of water.

We left the bank as night fell. I turned on the radar and got a look around. There were a few big boys out there. I counted at least four freighters. Deb looks behind us and said, "Can you see that guy?". I turn to barely make out a sailboat with no lights except some cheap ass garden solar lights hanging on his lifelines. If it weren't for the moonlight we would never have seen the jerk offs. What the hell! No radar signature either, but then most sailboats can't be seen. They were not very far behind us and were heading north along the bank. I wanted to call them on the radio and ask them if they were running drugs, because that would be the ONLY reason to be running dark! I refrained and let them go along their merrily moronic adventure in peace. I guess you would never ask a possible drug runner if they were running drugs. Might be unhealthy.

We encountered large ships throughout the night. Some cargo. Some cruise. Nothing too close. I was having fun with the radar, playing with settings and alarms when I noticed a large blob behind us. Whoa! What is that? Rain is what it was. A big old rain cloud that just squeaked by and we only got a few drops. Unfortunately there was no wind associated with it and we plodded along. This was very cool seeing rain on the radar while we were out there. That little white dome is becoming quite handy.

As the evening continued and we got further from the banks, the wind shifted to the north slightly and the waves picked up. Eventually the waves were hissing at us and we were surfing. I knew they were good sized and for now we were taking them in the butt, but I prayed that they didn't shift. My prayers never get answered. We started getting hit abeam a bit as the waves continued to grow. Ugh. Hate that rolling motion. We continued like this for the rest of the night. The rolling motion made it slightly uncomfortable and we made a bee line towards Ft Pierce instead of Fernandina. Life is too short to be pukey all night in big waves.

When daylight broke we were shocked at the size of the waves. Big ones! We sailed in this all night? Damn. You do not get a feel for the size of the waves at night. Had we known it was going to be like this we would have waited for better conditions. But hey, we were only about fifty miles out now and everything was cool.

Then the wind died.

C'mon man! Can't we catch a little break here? We fired up the motor and cut a groove through the surf. This seemed to take forever. Something about motoring at sea that just gets to your brain. The constant drone of the engine and the worry that tank sludge is going to choke your engine any minute might be part of my problem. I should think more positive thoughts.

When we got to the Fort pierce inlet we had to drop the sails but shit was it rough. I didn't feel like getting on the rolling and pitching deck and getting tossed into the sea so we kept the main up and entered the channel. We had the wind against the current and the channel was raging. Deb loves the rage. We motor sailed up the channel at about 1.5 knots. Eventually we gained enough ground to get out of the raging portion and were doing at least 3 knots. There were people having lunch on the shore watching us. At this speed they got bored with us and turned to watch birds eat french fries.

We dropped the sail in the turning basin and went for our anchorage behind a condo complex. Unfortunately we were at about low tide and it took two attempts to find deep enough water to get to the anchorage. Deb gets a tad frustrated when the water gets thin. It's amazing how relaxed you are when not at the wheel in these moments. I was like a cowboy out on the range, "Well, maybe we ought a mosey on over that way a bit and try her again." We backed out of the trouble spot and tried another approach. It worked and we were in deep water and the hook was down. Couple quick beers, some tidying up and boom, down we go. Sleepville.

We hung out for a bit and relaxed. We had a week of motoring up the ICW that we were not looking forward to but hey, it's Florida. The ICW is pretty much a non issue in this state. We took off for Georgia and a fantastic wedding with friends and family. More on that later.

Approaching the US coast should have brought on feelings of coming home to the land of plenty. The home of the brave. The land of the free. When we got to Fort Pierce I didn't get that feeling of coming home. When we got to Fernandina, a very familiar place, I did not get it either. Brunswick was totally new so no feeling of a homecoming there as well. Strange. We were sitting in the cockpit at Brunswick landing Marina waiting for our daughter Nicole and family to arrive. We heard the car door and ran up the ramp to greet them. When we saw Nicole, Jon and Aiden all standing there with smiles and waiting for hugs, the feeling of coming home washed over us. Now we were home. When we got to the wedding and saw Kelly, Eric and Mason we got that feeling again. Home. All of our friends being greeted in front of the hotel in Providence - home.

It's true. Home is where your heart is.


I'm playing catch up with this blog. I'm never really in sync with our travels and every post is kind of independent I guess. Debra is the time and logbook keeper. She has a blog at Boathippies.tumblr.com. It is a fairly detailed account with dates and mileage and stupid things I did. All that stuff I really don't care about. I pretty much just drift through life with occasional bouts of high anxiety that I write about. 

Microsoft can suck it!