Friday, May 1, 2009

Day two.

Didn't get a lot of sleep on night one. Mostly I was concerned about the anchor. After the problems we had getting it set, I just wasn't 100% convinced that it was going to hold. The wind had really picked up after it got dark and we were blowing around every time it changed direction. I know I was up every hour checking on it. The other issue that I had was the noise. Man, that boat makes a lot of creaks and groans. I had no idea. I am a light sleeper by nature and I can tell when my neighbor down the street flushes his toilet at 3 am. Being surrounded by new and strange noises all night was going to take some getting used to. Kim of course was dead to the world. I wish I could sleep like she does.

But, as it says in Psalms, "Joy cometh in the morning." Sunrises on the water are spectacular. It is so quiet and peaceful. The only noises you could hear were a few birds looking for an early breakfast, a fish or two jumping out of the water and that guy parked next to us flushing his commode.

We wanted to get underway a little early that day as we were going to cross a big open body of water. The Ablemare Sound is notorious for rough water and high winds. It is a stretch of about 25 miles where you are at the mercy of mother nature. In our boat that equates to about 3 hours of travel. We wanted to get going before it got rough. Additionally, we wanted to get the anchor up before the current started moving again. I am sure the boaters parked next to us were eager for another performance, but it was not to be. We pulled the anchor right out of the mud and hauled it onto the deck. Even though we had a wash down hose that got most of the mud off the chain and anchor, recovery is a very dirty process. But hey, we were loose and underway like we were pros.

Once again the weather was cooperating. The skies were crystal clear and the winds were dead calm. Our trek across the Ablemare was like skating on glass. It was a little unnerving at first being completely out of sight of land however there were lots of other boats transversing the Sound and we felt more and more comfortable as we went along. Navigation is not a problem as there are many buoys and day markers along the route. I think you could get away with using only a good pair of binoculars and a chart if you had to. Our boat has two very sophisticated Garmin GPS systems tied into 27 satellites orbiting the planet. We knew where we were to within a foot +/-. It is that good. On top of that, we have three radios and two compasses. Getting lost would have been difficult.

But we made it across and once again were in sight of terra firma. This stretch of the ICW connects rivers and streams with larger bodies of water (like the Ablemare Sound) with occasional man made cuts and canals along the way. It winds its way through the wilderness of eastern North Carolina and is very scenic. We didn't pass any homes or marinas the entire day. On top of that, we were out of cell phone and Internet range as well. We didn't know it then, but we would be without our techno-cellular lifeline for three more days.

As we became more and more relaxed, our routine took on a more normal complexion. Kim and I took turns driving the boat. We made each other food to eat and listened to the radio that was piped into the flybridge. It was starting to be fun. What could be better than NPR and a cup of coffee while you are zipping down a small river in the middle of nowhere at 8 miles per hour?

Three o'clock came and went. We were very near to where we had planned to anchor for the night. As we pulled off the ICW and into the small bay where we would be laying up, we were relieved to find no one there yet. Determined to build on our experience from the previous attempts at dropping the hook the day before, we slowly and methodically positioned ourselves for the 'drop'. Kim got the boat into the wind and gave us just enough power on the engines to keep us from floating backwards. "Anchors' away" I exclaimed to no one in particular as the iron beast splashed gingerly into the deep.

I gave Kim the signal.....okay, we really didn't have a signal worked out yet, but I let her know it was time to slowly back up. I had plenty of rode out (extra chain) and the chain gradually got taught. I gave her the stop signal, and we waited. It held. Amazing. Really amazing.

That was easy.

Okay so we were set up for the night. We were going to be grilling out steaks off the back deck and boy were they going to be good. The view was breathtaking, just what you hoped for when you planned out the trip. We had planned to catch up on emails and phone calls that afternoon but were unable to pick up any signals. We were out in the middle of nowhere. Just us and our boat. It is what we signed up for.

Turns out we were the only ones anchored in that area for the night. What a deal.

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