October 27, 2011.
The highs and lows of the cruising lifestyle really manifested themselves this week.
We've been saying goodbye to our local friends as we've seen them during the last few weeks. Its nice to go south but it is a bit saddening to say goodbye to so many good people.
On top of that, today was my last day of work. While it's nice to be done with work for several months it really was bittersweet to walk out the door at the end of the day. The company I spent this season working for could not have been a better fit for me. The place was busy all year with a variety of work to be performed. From toilets to custom teak with every mechanical and electrical repair in between thrown in. The people there take pride in their work and it shows in their results. I gave a good effort, I learned a lot and Christy and I were accepted as family. They even put up with my unusual view on things. I really hope none of them freezes to death this winter.
A little bit after 1700 hours Christy and I dropped our lines and headed south. We left the dock with about 10 knots of breeze blowing out of the southwest. After about 400 yards the wind completely died. We drifted for close to an hour as we ate dinner before finally starting up the engine.
The wind was forecast to be 10 to 14 from the northwest on several weather sites. While NOAA was broadcasting small craft warnings and an actual gale warning. Turned out that NOAA was right. We went straight from zero wind to Auntie Em, Auntie Em!!
Christy was on the phone with the youngest girlchild when I saw the ominous clouds coming up behind us. I reefed the genoa and told Christy that we had to reef the mainsail. Before she could even hang up the phone the wind was on us. So while the wind was topping out at 35 knots we put in a double reef and turned south. We were doing over 7 knots with very little sail up and saw over 40 knots apparent several times. It was blowing a hoolie.
I was hoping the big winds would be short lived as the front overtook us. But after a few miles it didn't seem to be the case so we decided to tuck in and try again in the morning. But where? Herring Bay was a nice downwind run from our position but once in there if the wind came around to the northeast it would make for a miserable night. The nearest place was the Rhode River. On the plus side is that it would offer great protection. Another plus was that our friends Alibi II had believed NOAA and had tucked in there earlier today and could give us a few pointers on the entrance.
On the negative side was the fact that we were already due east of the entrance and we'd have to go close hauled through 2 miles of nasty 4 footers to get there. Another negative is the fact that we've never been there before. Is it full of crab traps? Are all the markers lit? Should we enter an unknown anchorage with the wind hovering between 30 and 40 knots, in the pitch dark with a smattering of rain flyin' about. We'll take 2 mile pitch dark close hauled hell ride for $600 Alex.
The seas laid down as we approached the shoreline and we slowly motored through the winding channel in complete darkness. We dropped the hook at 2000 hours and buttoned up for the night.
So as the day went, we got to stop working for a while but we're really gonna miss the people. We also got to do some sailing but I coulda swore it used to be more fun....