Thursday, December 17, 2009

Edenton by last

Tuesday dawn came socked in with fog, it was much cooler, around 54 degrees and I started the day by taking Spook over to the little park on the Manteo waterfront for her morning walk. We walked about downtown, and then headed back out to Arden to get ready to get underway.

I have to back up a bit, I think I had reported earlier that there had been a few problems with my little Cruise and Carry outboard - yes that is the brand name - and it was not working right. Monday was plenty sunny and pretty warm, so I sat out in the cockpit and tore down the little outboard while I waited for my friend Ali to get off of work. Turns out my fear of a destroyed lower unit were unfounded, there was a bushing that was worn and had allowed one of the gears to slip, but by shimming out the bushing I was able to get it all back together and working. The outboard is pretty simple, Cruise and Carry uses a Tohatsu (ok I am sure I spelled that wrong) weed eater motor for the power plant, and a very simple gear set up for the lower unit. Problem is, they are no longer making these outboards, so if the actual engine goes I could probably put any weed eater engine on it, but I don't know where I would get parts for the lower unit. (gearing that drives the propeller)

Ali came down to see me off, and I weighed anchor and set out in the cool foggy morning. Once I got out of the channel in Shallowbag Bay, I raised sail and began my journey across the sound to Edenton. It was very quiet in the fog that morning, just me, the pelicans, and the water. A very different day and a very odd feeling, being out there and not being able to see a single thing. As the day wore on the fog burned off, and by noon it was fairly clear. I was followed by a lone pelican for a while, he startled me at first, gliding in and splashing down right beside the boat. Out there sailing most of your attention is focused forward and on your sails, you expect to hear anything approaching from the rear, so visual scans to the rear are not near as often as to the sides and front. So here comes this pelican, out of no where, splashing down beside me and scaring the bejesus out of me. I sailed on away from him, and when I was about 100 yards or so away, he got airborne, and flew up beside me, and splashed down again. This went on for about 30 minutes, I would move forward, he would catch up, and then I would leave him again. Kind of like a game of leap frog.

The wind on Tuesday was about as contrary as can be, I needed to go west across the length of the sound, and wouldn't you know it, the wind was out of the west. I made very little headway, tacking back and forth, as usual I sailed way more than the ground I made in the direction I wanted. I think I did just about 40 miles in a bit over 8 hours. Not bad speed, just not where I wanted to be. I anchored in the mouth of the Little River on the northern edge of the sound, maybe 5 miles southwest of the Pasquotank River, and about 20 miles west of Manteo. I was really protected there, and I suppose I anchored right around 6pm. Dinner Tuesday was a version of Potato Soup, minus the cheese, so it was good and warm, but a bit plain. However, it was simple to fix, so I didn't have to wait too long to eat.

I was awakened on Wednesday morning by a halyard slapping the mast at around 0430. It was cool on the boat, around 40 degrees, but the sleeping bag was mighty warm. However, as hard as I tried I could not get back to bed after taking care of the line, so I fixed breakfast (hot tea and a bagel) and brewed a thermos full of tea for the day's sail. I had about 28 miles to go, but the weather radio said I was looking at winds from the north/northwest, the right direction finally, and it was going to blow around 15-25. Perfect wind for a quick trip to Edenton! I motored off anchor, as I needed to charge the batteries, and as I raised sail, the sunrise was phenomenal. One of the best I have seen so far.

Out on the sound I raised sail and motorsailed for a bit, and by the GPS I was doing well over 6 knots over ground. Once I shut down the engine I still held a solid 5.5 to 6 knots, and I made the 28 miles in just about 5 1/2 hours. If only all sailing was like that, the direction you want to go in, at a decent clip. I was sailing under the sound bridge at 11:00, and by 12:00 I was slipping into Edenton Bay. Gary and Alice were at the waterfront as I pulled in, and I tied up to the quay wall as they were walking up. I love the little town of Edenton, and they have a very protected small harbor. The cool thing is that 2 nights on the quay wall or a slip are free, and you can opt to pay for electricity, and there is a nice little shower facility there as well. As I was filling out the paperwork for the dock master, he asked my home port, and I kind of hesitated a moment, before I thought, "well, right here, Edenton, NC." Arden has never been in the water here in Edenton, even though this was where I got her, where Gary and Alice had her for many years in the back yard, on the hard. So in ways, this was a homecoming for my boat, and that is why I had to come here.

As usual, Gary and Alice are great hosts, and we went directly to lunch as soon as Spook did her thing at the waterfront. We went over to Mamacita's, a Mexican place right here in town, where we have eaten so many times before, after days spent working on Arden before she went into the water. It has been a nice visit, and a bit of a stroll down memory lane. Tomorrow is forecast to be plenty cold, somewhere in the low forties is the high, so my sail back down the sound is going to be a bit brisk to say the least. From Edenton I am going down the Albemarle Sound, into the Roanoke Sound - which separates Roanoke Island from the mainland, and then into the Pamlico Sound, which will take me to the Neuse River. From the Neuse I take Adams Creek Canal down into the Newport River, which will lead me to Beaufort and then out to the Atlantic. I suppose in a week or so I will be there, Christmas will be in Beaufort, or just off the Carolina coast, weather permitting.

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