December 15. Awesome teamwork ruled the day today. We were up and on our way by 0530 (Christy never complained; I’m wearing her down) It was dark as hell with a bonus of heavy fog. We made our way out of the marina and back into the ICW. It was so dark and foggy that I couldn’t see anything from inside the enclosure so I stood out on the side deck with the auto pilot control in one hand and our 2,000,000 candle power spotlight in the other. Christy sat at the helm and applied the throttle and monitored the radar for other traffic and the chartplotter giving me directions as to where things were supposed to be.
We crept along at 5 knots until we got to the bridge we were worrying about making before 0700. After the bridge it became much brighter but the fog in Charleston Harbor was as thick as any we’ve seen. We sort of saw Fort Sumter through the fog. We also saw a bald eagle later in the day and dolphins are becoming common.
The next bridge we had to deal with was closed from 0630 until 0900 and we were there by 0800 so we dropped anchor and had breakfast rather than circle for an hour waiting for the next opening. After going through at 0900 we started to hear VHF exchanges between the bridges ahead of us and a boat named Non Linear. Non Linear is owned by John and Marsha, friends of Pat and Eddie, the cruisers we met who had blown their engine in Swansboro. When we were in Swansboro with our damper plate ordeal Non Linear was leaving New Bern, NC on their way south.
Pat and Eddie were supposed to buddy boat south with Non Linear but because of the bad engine Non Linear was now alone and looking for company. As it happens, we’re excellent company. We figured that Non Linear was 15 miles ahead of us but we were moving faster. By afternoon we were getting a lot closer so we decided to make contact and arrange to spend the night at the same stop.
We got to the Lady’s Island Marina in Beaufort NC (pronounced noidea,NC) at 1730 hours. Non Linear had arrived 15 minutes earlier and after showers and dinner they came over for introductory cocktails, they drink so we like em’. They’ve done this trip several times and are more than willing to shower us with the benefits of their experience. Thems good folk. We’ve agreed to get started tomorrow at 0700.
Now for something new, Things Bill Doesn’t Understand.
In both North and South Carolina there’s a town named Beaufort. The hitch is that their both pronounced differently. One is pronounced Bowfert while the other is called Bewfert. I’ve been to both and still don’t know which one is which, probably never will.
Something else new, Boat Name of the Day. Today’s winner was a sailboat named Willie Tipper. Made me laugh.
We’re glad today is over as it turned into a 69 nautical mile marathon. It was worth it though as we’ve caught Non Linear and are a lot further south.