Monday, April 20, 2015

Okay then …

(Ed note: Sorry for the lack of interesting pictures but it's been raining too hard to get the camera out. I guess I need a waterproof camera if we're going to do the ICW...)
This is the ICW we know and remember. Rain, chilly, (hate to say “cold” after the winter the Midwest endured) with the weekend power boater antics just a joy to behold. Though, to be honest, the worst offender was a power cruiser who waked Kintala hard enough to put her aft cleat underwater, the wave breaking just short of being in the cockpit. It was a very hard hit that we could do nothing to avoid. He came up from behind and passed close by the starboard side, though we were in a bay at the time with miles of open water to work with.

For my grandsons - one of the many tugs and barges and work boats on the ICW. This one is the Army Corps of Engineers.

For the next hour or so the VHF shared a constant stream of bitter comments directed at this clown as he bullied his way northward through the parade of boats. I have no rationale for saying this, but I think he is the kind of person who was enjoying himself; getting a sort of twisted satisfaction offending people who could do nothing in response. Getting distance from such people is one of the joys of living on a boat, though clearly they can be found anywhere. At least we are not stuck living near such a wasted excuse for human DNA, or in his district or State. (Yes, I suspect this particular personality quirk is common among political, religious, and corporate leaders. At least here in the US.)

The staysail gives us at least 1/2 knot help
He was the worst offender, though later some little sport fisher apparently got a kick out of playing chicken. He slalomed around the boat ahead of us and pointed his bow directly at ours. Just as I was reaching for the horn he cut hard around our starboard side. We didn't wave at each other. The last was a bit laughable. A kid on a fishing skiff waited until we were next to him to firewall his engine and take off in a burst of boiling water, which was just enough to have the 23,000 pound Kintala barely nodding her head. He gave it a good try though and his intent was noted.

But hey, we are nearly two-thirds of the way to our destination. Had the ICW not been an option we would still be in Charleston waiting on a weather window. So in six days of motoring (and nursing what help we could out of the staysail – love having it on a furler) we touched down in Oriental. Here we will take a couple of days to do some needed projects and visit with friends. Getting in just before dark yesterday was a bit of a ride. As we passed the first marker for the channel a 30 knot gust front knocked us sideways, then dumped buckets of rain on our already soaking wet bodies. No chance of docking in that kind of weather. Pointing the bow back out into the Neuse and waiting for it to pass was the only safe option. An hour or so later we were approaching the pier. As the storm blew itself out the last of the winds ended up being directly on the bow as we entered the slip. That – for a change - made docking exceptionally easy. It was a nice parting gift since Deb was handling the lines alone while I drove the boat.

These folks going south on the ICW got a lot of help from their sail.

The free dock here is nice but has a pronounced lip, which had us concerned about catching the fenders on the rising tide. We tied off the best we could and I set the alarm for an 0130, check the mid-tide, wake up call. Stepping out into the rain I was completely confused to find that the boat had not moved at all and all lines and fenders were just fine. Being the intelligent person that I am, at 0500, at what I thought was going to be low tide based on the nearest Garmin reporting point, I went out in the rain to check again. Maybe the tide was running late or the moon was behind schedule? But the water level was the same. It turns out there is no tide here, something about it being a bay and a river or some such. It is a detail that I had completely forgotten in the time that has passed since we were here last. Time where tides and currents became an integral part of every day's living and decision making. So I plead being sleep deprived, wet, cold, and sore, for wondering what could possibly have happened in the cosmos to make the tides stop working at 0130 in the morning. It is a good thing that sailboats go slow since for clearly, some times, I have trouble keeping up.

One of the many boat yards and marinas that line the ICW.

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