May 26, 2009.
Hey look!, guess who’s still not in Beaufort. The day after our marathon trip from Vero Beach up to Charleston we were up and underway for Beaufort, NC.
0500 came way too quickly but we had to be underway in order to arrive during daylight hours. The forecast for today was calling for light winds from the east that would veer to the southeast and build to 10 to 15 knots. As usual, no, not even close.
Our course would have us on a heading of 68 degrees for the first 110 miles. I figured that we would have to motor sail into the light east winds so the morning went pretty much according to plan. The wind was starting to veer but instead of coming more from the south it started to veer out of the north. We were now faced with the prospect of having to drop sail and motor directly into the wind all the way to Beaufort.
At least the seas were calm until NOAA came on the radio and revised the forecast. The new forecast had winds in the 15 to 25 knot range with violent thunderstorms coming straight out of the northeast. The prospect of pounding into big winds and building seas for close to 200 miles was less than attractive.
We could divert to the Cape Fear River but our arrival would be somewhere around 0200. Heading into someplace called Cape Fear in the middle of a moonless night was not going to be an option. So we decided to alter the plans even further and stop in Georgetown.
While I’m bitching about the weather, how’s this for irony. The other night we were in the middle of the Gulf Stream, 60 miles offshore surrounded by the most intense display of lightning I’ve ever seen. We were literally the tallest metal thing for 60 miles in any direction and sailed away unscathed. That same series of storm cells happened upon the Florida neighborhood of weather guru Chris Parker. His antenna was struck by lightning resulting in the destruction of all of his communication, computers and forecasting equipment. I found it ironic. Maybe even divine retribution, kinda like God looking down and saying “didn’t see this coming did ya, prediction boy” At least nobody was hurt…lightning on the water just scares the crap outta me.
Another thing that happened during our trip north the other night was some sort of miracle. A boat called the Coast Guard and reported finding an unoccupied small boat bobbing about 20 miles east of Miami. Rough seas, violent thunderstorms and an empty boat. Seems like somebody fell out of his boat and was adrift in horrible conditions. Two hours later several miles away, a small freighter on its way back from the Bahamas came across a guy treading water out in the middle of the freaking ocean. They weren’t out looking for him, they just tripped across him. He was rescued and didn’t need medical attention. Lucky guy.
Anyway, back to today. Once we made landfall we were inundated with the scourge of the Carolinas, The Green Head fly. The biggest reason to go offshore in Georgia and South Carolina is the shallow water and the damn Green Head flies. We killed thousands of them in the time it took us to travel the 7 miles from the inlet until we dropped our hook. I’m not sure why but they only show up while you're underway. As soon as you drop the hook they all disappear. Their vicious, disgusting and its pure pleasure killing as many of the little rat bastards as possible. In fact, I hope it hurts when they die. I hope they realize what’s happening as the swatter is just about to make contact. I even hope their families realize that they’re gone and are broken hearted. Yeah, I hate the Green Heads.