Saturday, May 25, 2013

The Long Ditch

An early start to the morning with an egg and bacon breakfast, sailing by 7:30. Clear, blue and sunny skies with light South west winds. By the time we left the Pungo River and into the ditch we had enough of a downwind to sail between 3-5 mph. If it really slowed down, 1 mph, we'd run the motor, but only occasionally. There was lots of boat traffic on this ICW, lots of vey big boats.

At the halfway point, we were really moving 6-7 mph, but it started to get really squirrely, and the wind was picking up. Then wIth about 4 miles to go, and very threatening skies ahead, winds all over the place, we took down the sails and started motoring. This was the cold front moving in which would change the winds to NW (good for our return down the Pamlico, but also drop the temperature to 48 tonight.

At one point a motor boat heading north came up to us and warned "there are 40 mph winds out there". I assumed he meant the Albemarle. As we came closer to the end of the ditch, looking out at the Alligator River, Paul said "look at all those cars across the river, what road is that?" I looked up and saw 3-4 ft wind waves with white caps breaking, not cars. Paul checked the fuel tank in motor, empty, and quickly refueled.

At this point both of us were thinking "please little motor, don't fail us now". We estimated the winds at 30, with breaking waves. We'd already checked the map for a potential anchorage out of the wind, but we had to cross the Alligator River to get there. A bit exciting for me. Paul did an excellent job steering into the bigger waves, and the little motor (Honda 2hp 4stroke) motor didn't let us down.

Camped in shelter, the worst of the front passed,merlot and chili for dinner, and we are comfy cozy in our little boat.

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