Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Salt Air

It was a weird day.  It was a day of sometimes nerve wracking driving, (yes, driving because that is what we do with the boat on the ICW) which I was happy to let Tim do, because shooting an approach to minimums is what he does so well and with seemingly no effort. Seven hours of it, with the worst at the very end, though, was a bit much.

There was a time in the afternoon where a Crealock 45 named Bees Knees (absolutely love that one), who left the anchorage an hour before us, was heard on the radio summoning Tow Boat US. While firmly in the middle of the channel, her captain discovered an uncharted shoal and was grounded. We chatted a bit on the VHF and she told us which way the local fishermen told her she should have gone to miss the shoal. Had she not left the anchorage before us, that would have been our afternoon destiny instead of hers.

Then there was the series of three bridges whose timing only a perverted masochist would dream up. The first bridge only opened up on the hour at the hour. The second bridge, 18 miles later, opened up on the half hours, but the third bridge, 5 miles later, only opened on the hours. Make bridge #2 and you're doomed to progress to #3 at a crawl my grandson could beat. We ended up doing a pretty standard aviation holding pattern of about 1/2 mile to bleed off the time. The current was too strong up by the bridge to just go there and sit and wait. Well, I should qualify that with the statement that the current was too strong for those of us without mondo bow thrusters like the power boat that roared past us at 15 knots, nearly dumping my tea in the wakes that followed.

Full size giraffe

Surely all the homeowners along this stretch are aware of this quandry, because they've provided a bevy of the most baffling lawn ornaments I have ever seen to entertain.

10 ft. statue

At least we were escorted by our dolphin friends a good bit of the way, whose beauty is still unmatched to me by anything else we've seen so far.

After transiting #3 you're spit out into a maze of marinas and channels that lead to Wrightsville Beach, our destination for the evening. There are two ways, one of which is described by the cruising guides as best left to shallow draft boats. During my chat with the captain of Bees Knees it came up that she intended to go through there so we figured we may as well try, since the other choice involves 3 extra miles of narrow channel. It is some of the skinniest water we've navigated yet, and I believe that Tim more than earned the rum and coke that is residing in his grip at this very moment.

Where we are sitting is a very short dinghy ride and even shorter walk to the beach, and as I stand at the stove cooking I can smell the salt air. We might just have to stay put a day and take a stroll to see the ocean that we've worked so hard for so long to get to. When we were living in the condo, this picture hung on the wall in our room. My dad gave it to me, and he was one of the few that really understood its meaning. Enjoy.


Pat and Joan said...

Great picture and oh so true. Your trip looks like it is progressing and with the Dolphin escort all is good. We got our first sighting of a dolphin back in October. SO cool.
Pat and Joan

Latitude 43 said...

Those lawn "ornaments" are kind of creepy. We were laughing at those on the way down, just before we were swearing at the bridge tender.

I still don't know why everyone piles up next to the bridge before it opens. We hang back and watch the fun.