Before we left Dallas, a friend of mine told me not to just write about the good stuff. She said she wanted to hear it all, good and bad. Well, I have plenty to tell about our first passage from Florida to Rhode Island. This was a 10-day passage instead of the 5-6 days we anticipated. A ‘passage’ is almost always offshore, meaning, no land in sight from point A to point B. We didn’t exactly go straight from point A to point B. It was more like A to B to C to D. Oh well, we’ll take the good with the bad. That’s part of the adventure (and learning curve) right?! Here are the highlights (and lowlights) of our passage:
· Dolphins, dolphins and more dolphins. This became quite the highlight for all of us. How fun it was to see these playful animals swim along side the boat as if cheering us on. We saw small spotted ones and big gray ones. The shout of excitement “dolphins” would get everyone out of their seat and on deck in a flash!
· A first for all of us, except maybe Dan, was the flying fish. Yep, fish that have wings and fly. They look a little like skipping rocks as they fly super fast and low across the water.
· Nothing is more serene than watching the sun set or rise over the open ocean with no other sole around. The different colors illuminating the sky are mesmerizing.
· Sailing at night is not as scary as I thought it would be. It is quiet while everyone else is sleeping. The stars are unreal on a dark, moonless night!
· We made it around Cape Hatteras in good, calm weather.
· Wesley Lake in Virginia Beach was a great spot to stop. It prevented us from having to spend time going to Norfolk (a long ways in and out from our heading).
· Our detour in Charleston, though a disappointment, was a nice place to stop. The marina we stayed at had nice showers and a shuttle to the store, west marine and downtown.
· We are out of the heat of Dallas! On the water, with a breeze is much cooler (mid 80’s) than the triple digits back home.
· I got my sea legs finally! It took nearly the whole trip, but I felt good by the end.
· Everyone felt woozy at some point or another. For some of us (Maggie, Olivia and I) felt woozy more often than not. We spent 99% of our time outside in the cockpit and dreaded having to go in to use the head. We sat all huddled together in the one spot that had a steady stream of fresh air. We even slept outside the first couple of nights.
· The outhaul snapping in half was a surprise and a maddening event. It happened in the middle of the night right after the autopilot died. Not good!
· Motor sailing is a necessary evil when you are trying to get somewhere in a timely fashion. We did our fair share of motor sailing! It isn’t sailing. It’s loud with the engines running (we have 2) and feels a bit like cheating.
· When I planned for this passage I planned for 6 days with 2 extra ‘just in case’ back up meals. We had to restock the pantry in Virginia Beach.
· The dinghy fuel was contaminated with water. Engines don’t like that. This caused the motor to quit when we were in Virginia Beach and we had to row! Not fun!
· No showers while sailing. We never did get the water maker to work, so we had limited water that could not be spared for showers. Ewwww, stinky! However, we did get showers in Charleston and V. Beach.
· The navigation light on the port bow (red) got kicked off when the kids were sitting up there as we left Charleston.
· Getting seasick (more than once). It is an ugly gut retching event that feels like someone’s pulling your insides out. Our transom has seen better days!
· The autopilot breaking a mere 10 hours after we left St. Augustine! Hand steering in nice weather is no biggie. Hand steering in 25 knots of wind is neither fun nor easy!
· Broken snaps on our cockpit enclosure was a casualty from the nasty thunderstorm in Virginia Beach. The winds were sustained at 34 knots (according to our wind vane at the top of the mast)
· Hitting something in 40 feet of water, out in the middle of nowhere! “What the….”. Craig reported seeing a splash and then a very loud thud that rocked the boat. We have concluded that we hit a sea turtle. No damage to the boat, hopefully the sea turtle is okay too.
· Unbeknownst to us, we sailed right through the navy task force.