At sea


Beginning Tuesday afternoon, a very favorable weather window presented an opportunity to cover some miles. We checked with friends Chris & Joyce on Tuesday afternoon, and originally planned to leave Wed. AM early to head for Cape Fear. A later forecast called for north winds and seas in the 3-5 range on Wed. AM, so we scrubbed the departure in favor of a late afternoon one. The weather promised to moderate so we watched the conditions through the day and decided around noon that we’d leave unless things changed for the worse. Our weather window was projected to last into the weekend and perhaps beyond. A benefit of our delayed departure was that we were able to have a close look at the Pinta and Nina replica ships that arrived at Brunswick Landing Marina about 2 PM.


We shoved off at 1600 and headed for the inlet. We were met with winds still out of the north, but seas were as predicted at 2 ft. or less with a long period. Destination: Cape Fear, some 200 miles to the north. Darkness came and the winds died a bit, the skies cleared, and the moon came up. Conditions developed to be about as good as it gets for our cruising. We traded watches of about 4 hours, a routine that seems to work well for us, although I am able to tolerate irregular sleep cycles much better than the Admiral who needs a full nights’ rest!

Our most intense part of the run came at Tybee Roads, the approach to the Savannah River. Savannah is one of the busiest ports on the east coast, with ships moving in both directions continuously, and some at anchor. The radar and MARPA are invaluable tools, plotting the real-time position and course of each ship on the electronic chart. Celebrate is also equipped with AIS that displays the ship data on their chartplotter screen. Very helpful when trying to keep track of a dozen ships that are hundreds of times our displacement and move at 2-3 times the speed we do! It is a challenge at night to pick out a 600 ft. behemoth at 5 miles from all the rest of the background lights!! AIS has the advantage that it locates every ship without having to do anything other than turn it on. MARPA must be directed to track a target the operator finds on the radar, so careful attention to the screen is critical. An unexpected encounter with a large ship could quickly ruin your night!



The rest of our run was uneventful, and actually very pleasant. A small bird flitted around the boat for a while before taking a breather on the bow rail and hitch hiked for a couple of miles! Sammy, usually the reluctant canine cruiser spent much of his time on the foredeck watching for dolphins. He actually alerted me to their presence with his bark a number of times, once at 1 AM during my watch! At 11 years, his eyesight is pretty sharp to be able to pick dolphins out a foot or so below the surface in the light of a half moon!! The rest of the time he spent sprawled on the walkway just outside the open door of the pilothouse. He began his life as an outside dog, and he’s content spending time outside, especially when it’s cool!

So our double overnight began Wed 21 Apr at 1600 hrs. and extended some 44 hours until our arrival at Wrightsville Beach shortly before noon. We covered 283 miles, and burned about 5-1/2 inches of fuel (around 84 gal.) from one of our freshly-filled tanks for a fuel consumption of 1.9 gal/hr and close to 3.4 nm/gal. A very efficient run thanks to a following sea and favorable currents! The same trip done “inside” would have taken about 5 days since we only travel about 50 miles per day! Granted, there’s not a whole lot of scenery at sea, but in the right conditions (no puking), it is a delightful cruise and a great way to cover miles! We spent an enjoyable day at Wrightsville beach, a few long walks, Molly enjoyed some water time jumping from the swim platform, and we took a dinghy ride to the fish market where we picked up some fresh shrimp, snapper fillets, and a swordfish steak to do on the grille! A consult with chef Joyce yielded some very tasty results!

At this juncture, we’ll likely keep traveling every day to make the most of our time at home. We want to get headed north by the beginning of June, and we know the time between now and then will vaporize quickly! Planning and scheduling, things we avoid like the plague, are suddenly coming back into our life as a matter of necessity! If we don’t, we’ll never get back out of Dodge and headed north!!

One Response to “At sea”

  1. Jeff on 24 Apr 2010 at 10:03 AM #

    Ya gotta love it when the seas are flat like that. Nice going on a double!