And again, we bailed on it.
We pulled away from Cape Fear inlet with the intentions of heading south to Georgetown and making Charleston, SC the following day. We knew a front was heading our way and we'd be stuck somewhere for a week... so never having seen Charleston made it seem like a great place to be stuck.
Then, as we left the channel we were amazed, the seas were incredibly calm. So smooth in fact we had a change of heart. We were kinda surprised at ourselves because just the night before we'd both declared, "Never anymore overnighters with only the two of us aboard!".
I guess declarations are like plans.
We quickly did a little homework and saw the weather system would hold for another 24 hours across the portion of the east coast we wanted to travel down.
The same system that was forecast for the day before, the one that let us down, was finally becoming reality.
Cautiously, we set a waypoint for Charleston thinking if it got bad again we could jump off at either Georgetown or Charleston, throttled up to cruising speed, were delighted to see 9.7 knots of speed, and took off.
It remained unbelievably calm, the whole day and the whole night.
It was a very dark moonless night, but the stars gave off enough light that we could make out a vague horizon... unless we ran through a patch of fog... and we did find ourselves in many of those.
It was surreal. We ran for hours in total darkness without feeling the slightest bump, not even the roll of a swell.
Running through the night in these conditions seems like you're flying, though we were making less than 10 knots.
It's a very weird sensation... like you're falling. I think I've said this before, but it is and you have to have faith that if you can't see it, or it's not on radar... it's simply not there. Like you're flying blind.
I once read an article about a couple who'd traveled alone together with there little dog aboard a 46 Nordhavn. They were somewhere out to sea, thousands of miles away from anywhere, and they hit something. Struck it so hard their boat heeled over and water flooded into their cabin. They never knew what they hit, it was dark, but whatever it was didn't stop them. The next morning they found no damage. They shrugged it off and kept on going.
Of course, what else would you do?
During the night, I would walk out on the bridge to gaze at the stars and I'd hear and see the splashes of dolphin around the bow. It was so dark that the only perceptible sight of them was a dark shadow, underlit by the phosphorescence made from the spray of sea water they created while playing in our bow wake.
Shooting stars were numerous and the only sounds to be heard were Istaboa's bow plying through the soft seas, the quiet consistent hum of her engine, the occasional playful dolphin chuffing through it's blowhole, and a compilation CD of Bob Dylan tunes "Chimes of Freedom" covered by a very diverse collection of artists. (It's really a great grouping of about 75 songs and it lasts for hours.)
Oh yeah... our old friend, Sandy Carroll just released a new CD and we listened to her a couple of times. "Unnaturally Blonde"
It was one of those nights that makes you forgive the sea for those times like the one we had a couple of nights earlier.
Neptune must have felt sorry for us and decided to throw us a bone... just to keep us interested.
And the sunset —like the shot above and this one below— was equally extraordinary.
Still no Green Flash.
We kept pushing and made Fernandina Beach around noon; 28 hours all in all. It was a bit bumpy coming round St Simons and Cumberland Sounds, but the seas were on our stern and not bad at all.
Never a splash over the bow rail.
We also held that 9.7 knot average for the complete run. Guess that's what a freshly painted bottom and clean running gear will do for you.
Arrival—Perfect timing—Slack tide.
So here we are... tired, but happy we got a lot of miles done in a short time.
Grand kids, Silas and Maddie.
ps... Talked to our friends aboard 'Two Drifters' this morning, they made Vero Beach last evening at sunset, safe and sound.
Non-Stop—Like all tough sailors do
... as Dylan once sang.