Ocean passage

Cactus-spine-removal break, hiking in the Rachel Carson Reserve

Cactus-spine-removal break, hiking in the Rachel Carson Reserve

After our unexpected delay in Beaufort, we were anxious to get south. We’d been hearing not-great things about obstacles in the Intracoastal, so we decided to head offshore and make a quick jump straight to Charleston, South Carolina.

Maintaining a respectful (legal) distance from the horse

Maintaining a respectful (legal) distance from the horse

Before we left, we  spent a day exploring the Rachel Carson Reserve across the creek from the city of Beaufort. The quick dinghy ride over led us to wear sandals, but boots would have been more appropriate; we spent at least half our hike pulling burrs out of our feet. We did get to see one of the wild horses on the island, though!dscf0745

Low tide would have been a better choice for this trail.

Low tide would have been a better choice for this trail.

So many things about our passage were amazing. The weather was great—warm temperatures, sunny skies, and enough wind for sailing until our second night. We had five or six pods of dolphins visit us, swimming right up close to our boat, and occasionally ducking underneath it—both Atlantic Spotted and Common Bottlenose, one group bringing along with it a very small shark. We passed through schools of flying fish, hundreds of them moving above the water together, glinting silver (and one of whom landed on our deck in the middle of the night. Sorry, buddy!). The stars were dense, the shooting stars many. We trailed phosphorescence in our wake. And Michu and T caught a real fish! A Little Tunny, maybe 10 pounds of deliciousness. We hit all the marks, all the cliches of an excellent ocean passage.dscf0782

Of course, not all was perfect. We had largish, sloppy waves coming at us from the east, and that led to all kinds of trouble: a smashed handle to my casserole dish (my fault for not latching the oven door); bumps and bruises for everyone; and seasickness, once again, all around. We were better prepared for the possibility of not being able to hang out down below—I’d done a whole bunch of food prep in advance, so things could just be heated up quickly or even eaten cold. We had the downstairs better stowed and prepped for sleeping under less-than-ideal conditions. But there was still plenty of misery, and I’m not sure why our family has been so resistant to dipping into the seasickness medication. We carry Bonine, which is meclizine, and is supposed to be effective even if you don’t take it before you get moving…but somehow we all keep telling ourselves we’re fine, we’ll acclimate…and then we don’t.

The kids try to get their toes in the water

The kids try to get their toes in the water

The other downside of the passage was the lack of sleep. Not only were we doing two nights instead of one, but I could not fall asleep to save my life. I think I got maybe two hours, tops, over 48 hours on the water. The noise, the motion, and random anxiety conspired to keep me up. I’ve done Mac races and deliveries where I didn’t have this problem, but something’s keeping my brain and my body too alert on these passages.

Dolphins on the bow!

Dolphins on the bow!

After we landed in Charleston, we ran into friends from a marina north of Beaufort. They have a similar draft to us, so we’ve enjoyed leaning on their experience traveling the East Coast. They’re planning their next hop, and they said they wouldn’t be leaving for a bit because the weather looks horrible. This was news to me; all I see in the forecast is sunny skies and light winds, not a storm in sight…but they were referring to the waves. Apparently, it’s not just us: the waves we experienced from the east were wicked, and expected to continue for the next week. One more layer to incorporate into the passage planning, along with storms, wind direction, wind strength, and tides.

In the meantime, I’m glad that our current plans don’t have us crossing any oceans.

4 Comments on “Ocean passage

  1. That photo with T gives a glimpse of his grown-up version! Fishing in Alaska, it wasn’t until someone threw up over the side that we caught the first fish…maybe there’s a happy jinx in the seasickness?!

  2. Great reporting. Love the stories. Best of thoughts for your good health and safe sailing.
    Papi

  3. Sounds challenging and awesome. Your kids are getting to see and do so much. Stay safe.

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