Wednesday, June 28, 2006

On the WATER at last

We finally left Bock Marine's yard near Beaufort NC around noon on the 22nd of June. Got a nice send-off from the previous owner and 2 of his employees. They run the motel we stayed at while cleaning and loading Etude. Motored up the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) to Oriental, where we sweltered for a couple of days and amused the "captain's club" (regulars at a coffee shop right next to the harbor) by wrapping a dock line around the prop. (For you non-sailers, this is a classic, maybe THE classic, stupid boating trick!) They were great, actually. Ran over, moved the boat to the town dock, then helped us fix it. After which, we did the final sorting o' the STUFF and repacking o' the truck and parked it in a secure location.

Left Oriental Saturday afternoon and actually PUT UP A SAIL! Had strong winds so we flew just the jib. Anchored in Broad Creek and that was fantastic. Quiet, cooler, and lots of stars. Saw a rainbow while sailing, and two shooting stars while kicking back after dinner. Good omens, methinks.

The next day, we sailed again and with both sails! Again, plenty of wind and waves. Etude handles nicely and seemed to appreciate being sailed again. Neill spent a lot of time messing about his dinghy, which is a small, de-masted daysailer. The self-bailers always seem to be open when they should be closed, and vice-versa. But it tows well and he loves to row it.

A tropical depression moved thru dumping tons of rain, and we had to sit still for a few days anyway because we've sold the condo and it closes tomorrow. Came to Belhaven so the title company could send us papers. Got here and found that our cell phones don't work because US Cellular has a monopoly here. Just a small area, but we found it. Note to Alltel--GET IN HERE!!!! Other than that, Belhaven rocks. Small, friendly, good library and the marina (River Forest Marina) lets boaters use golf carts to get around town.

A nasty windstorm blew through yesterday evening. We were in the marina, talking to some other cruisers. Suddenly, the wind blew up to like 50 mph. Neill & Cliff ran out and joined the other men in yellow slickers who were working the docklines, trying to keep the boats safe. The docks were full, and boats were bucking like rodeo broncs. There were a few rubbings, and one large motorboat pulled a piling right out like a loose tooth. A couple who were waiting it out in the channel watched it on radar and said it had an eye. Does that make it a hurricane? It lasted only about an hour so probably not. But I was impressed. No damage to Etude--just some unsecured miscellanea tossed to the floor.

It's beginning to feel like home!


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