Blogs > Miami to NYC part II
01 July 2005
Well Sandi was going to write about the misery part of the trip, but she never did. I guess some people have better things to do then waste their time writing stories. But if I didn't write stories you wouldn't read my emails.
Hopefully the final part will be before I get started on the next adventure. I'm hoping to sail to Massachusetts this weekend. Sadly there is only one person going this weekend. It's getting desperate, so anyone who can take off for two or three days come along. We're leaving Saturday morning. If you can only go for two days we can drop you off somewhere in a town along the way. We can discuss money stuff. If you can't afford to pay the full price anything is better than nothing. So call me and we can work something out.
I thought it was a fine part of the trip, but the crew wasn't particularly happy for this four-day stretch. A whole lot of sickness going on, wetness, windless, sleepless are some keywords.
After getting under way from the Savannah break, we got a short distance, stopped for water and fuel at a marina and watched the weather forecast on the marina's computer. It looked ugly and the winds were picking up to 20 knots. Thirty knots or more were expected, thunderstorms for the rest of the afternoon. So we went a bit further, sat on the anchor for the night and watched the storm pass, we had an anchor watch that night, woke up the next morning (So sleep wasn't the best.) and headed out. The weather was still rough, but calming down. The seas were a mess going out against a strong current and big waves from the storm the night before. Well, people were feeling bad. And it took hours to get out to sea. Pounding against the incoming waves and tide. We were moving about 2 miles an hour on average. Finally the bodine kicked in for Sandi and life calmed down a bit. The seas were a mess, only 6 ft. waves, which aren't big but they were coming from all directions. The wind was too weak to sail by the time we finally got out past the shallow water. We had to motor into a sloshy sea, then it started raining, not a quick passing rain, but a rainy day kind of rain. The seas eventually calmed down, we had no wind at all, but it was wet quite a bit of the time from Savannah to Beaufort, NC where we came in four days later. Between the wetness, seasickness and watches 24 hours a day the crew were wondering why they wanted to go on such a big sail. I'd told them it would be much more fun sailing the Bahamas, but they wanted to do something special, adventurous, something big. I'm sure that Sandi and Sarah were rethinking that idea
We did see someone out there this part of the trip. (We were a very long way from land, 50-100 miles I think.) And they said that they had gone through 6 fuel filters in the sloshy mess of the sea on this stretch. Within a day or two of their report my fuel filter starting clogging too. At first I thought it was my transmission slipping or something. The motor would speed up then slow down. I'd never changed the filters in the sea. I was a bit nervous about it. Changing filters on a 30-year-old diesel Westerbeke engine isn't quite the same as your car. You have to bleed the entire fuel system of even the tiniest air bubble. Seven different bleeding points in an exact sequence. I'd done it before and it took me hours to figure out how to do it. And I had a boat mechanic with me.
So we kind of slugged along for the next 80 miles or so into the Pamlico Sound at Cape Hatteras. Got there; the engine died just as we pulled into a free temporary slip in Moorhead City. I fixed the filter in under an hour, and off to a lunch, ice cream and the beginning of the third stage of the trip.
Nobody wanted to go back out to sea for some reason. I'd been talking about "The Cape" the whole trip. Known as "The Graveyard of Ships," the wildest sea of the US Atlantic Coast. Where the Gulf Stream meets the North Atlantic current head on. Sarah's brother warned her especially not to go there. So being the astute, sensitive person that I am, I didn't even joke about going back out. (The weather was calm and it wouldn't have been a problem, but not this trip.) If I had wanted to go, there would have been a mutiny, abandon ship, or some other unhappiness. Well we sailed the Pamlico Sound. It was a beautiful sail. Anchoring at night, getting a good night's rest. Except for when someone, (I'm not going to mention anyone's name) ran out of gas. But it was a blessing really.
Kristen and me had a magical sail that night. We had turned the motor on to get going. We all had been looking at the stars after a nice dinner on a beautiful night. We hadn't wanted to use the motor because it was so beautiful that night. But finally after dinner and star gazing, people were tired, the winds were too weak to get anywhere, so I turned the motor on and was going to go for a while looking for a nice anchorage. That's when we ran out of gas. Well everyone gave me a strange look. Me, their Fearless Captain. We had filled up in the marina outside of Savannah and had only used 15 gallons from Miami to Savannah. About 400 miles. The second part of the trip had been about 400 miles too. Just because we had motored the entire 400 miles it was still the same distance. I didn't think that I even had to check the gas. Well someone was wrong. Again I'm not going to mention any names. I was feeling a bit guilty. So I told everyone to go to bed and I'd sail us through the night to a gas station, (only there wasn't any wind.) Kristen said that she would stay up with me and help. As soon as they went to bed, the wind kicked up in a sky so full of stars that if you didn't be careful you would bump your head on them. A monkey could have used them for monkey bars. Every constellation known to man and about 6 more. Well before you could say, "weapons of mass destruction" we had about a 12 knot wind right off our beam and we were sailing along at 5-6 knots. It just felt like magic. Perfectly calm water, the stars scraping the mast, dry and warm in the Pamlico Sound. Heaven. Not another sign of a human forever. We sailed like that for a few hours, came to a little bay near a fishing village, with the last of the wind we turned Krasna around into the wind dropped the main in to the lazyjacks pretty as a Kodak moment, dropped the anchor with her bow still pointing into the wind and Voila, the wind died, the night was over. Heaven.
The next morning we were totally fogged in. We could hear boats going out. As the fog started to lift I saw a crab boat, waved to him, he came over and I bummed two gallons of diesel. He wouldn't accept any money for it and took off, smiling and waving. By now I'm an expert at bleeding the lines on this boat. 15 minutes later the engine started up and into town. That's where we met Frank and Edna. They'd been married about a million years. They ran a tiny marina with some motorboats, a little diner and a fuel dock in Engelhard, NC. The river was littered with old boats in different shades of decay. Frank was telling me that the town still hasn't recovered from the last hurricane. Lots of houses missing their shingles, some without a roof. Well when we pulled up to the fuel dock my boat was too big and the hose wouldn't reach my gas tank. Frank said that he'd been meaning to get a longer hose. Had one on order over at the Napa store. He asked if I was in a hurry. And I guess I wasn't in too much of a hurry. I asked to go along, I had used up all my spare fuel filters already, and possibly the Napa auto store would have fuel filters for a 30-year-old Westerbeke engine and a couple of racor filters as well. Neither of which is usually used on a car, as far as I know. So off we went in Frank's pick-up truck. He was impressed that I had four beautiful women traveling with me. I didn't mention that they aren't really interested in men. Just that I was sleeping with a cello and some suitcases. We got to the Napa store, and the fuel pump hose was there, it cost him $180 for the hose. He got a little excited about that and asked to make sure there wasn't a mistake. I got my fuel filter!!! Well one of the filters, the other they would have to order. Frank decided to make another stop at the town's gas station. He got to talking with the owner and the next thing you know he had a brand new gas pump hose for $30. They continued talking about gas pumps; a single sided pump isn't half the price of a double-sided pump, the owner explained to Frank. But before you could say, "George Bush is a moron," we were on our way back to the boat. We got there and Sandi was in the quadruple eggplant position of Yogi Hiawatha. Her legs were behind her ears, walking on her hands and taking deep breaths. Frank was impressed. Kind of looked at me. I told him she sings real nice too.
Well I gave Frank a hand taking off the old hose, we put on the new one, and before you could say, "Abu Garaib prison," we were ready to be on our way again. I had to tear the other women away from Edna. They'd been discussing life and talking the whole time while I was off with Frank. I don't know what they could have ordered, them being mostly vegetarians and Edna's kitchen not really catering to the vegetarian crowd. Edna made me promise to take good care of the girls. So Krasna was moving again.
Well the person navigating the boat and in charge of where we were going did make a big mistake. Afore mentioned person was trying to do a sail with as little motoring involved as possible and the quickest time. And since we had lost almost two days in Savannah, a day in Miami, a half-day visiting Frank and Edna, we were running way behind schedule. Poor Sarah had a plane to catch and it wasn't looking like we were going to make it. So the last little mistake by the navigator was mortifying to me. I hadn't realized that the last bridge of the Pamlico Sound was 45'. My mast is about 55'. A physics problem that I couldn't get around. I had to turn around go back 13 miles and go a different way to get around that bridge. Another half day and it pretty much destroyed Sarah's chance of getting to make it into NYC on time. I felt horrible about that one. I don't know if Sarah would have made it in any case, but that sure didn't help. But we were one day away from Norfolk Virginia, back on the intercoastal waterway. We spent the night at a marina for the first time of the whole trip. It was nice to take showers, walk on the ground, charge batteries, eat at a restaurant, but the mosquitoes were horrible. Next day we made Norfolk, Virginia.
I'll try to finish part III before this weekend. Come Sailing.