A Greyscale Day on the ICW

Capt. Dennis (aka 'Andy's Dad') at the helm in the morning mist a few days back.

Capt. Dennis (aka 'Andy's Dad') at the helm in the morning mist a few days back.

s/v Meri is underway today after a 24-hour pause in Beaufort. Time goes slowly when you have nothing you have to do. 

I went for a run in the afternoon, rain be damned. I couldn’t stand being cooped up in the boat any longer, and exercise is always a cure for the restless mind. I ran east along the waterfront road in Beaufort, keeping a jogging pace on the way out and admiring the fishing boats and white egrets along the way. One big pickup truck didn’t move an inch out of his lane, forcing me to jump the curb and run across the grass. The road eventually ran out at a small park, turning hard left and out towards the bigger highway 70. I stopped at the park and did some strength exercises. I did a ‘negative split’ on the way back, challenging myself to beat my time ‘out’ by a certain margin. That’s always a more satisfying way of running an ‘out and back’ course when I’m in new territory and don’t know may way around. Back at the boat I jumped in the ocean and showered on the transom. While I’m sure the water and the air was too chilly for the locals, it felt downright balmy for me, having gotten used to the cold of Scotland & Sweden over the summer. I LOVE me a cold swim & shower.

I feel much better about our plan now, having bought some supplies at West Marine. We got 40’ of dyneema and some basic splicing tools so I can make some strops and stuff for the boat. I bought two Harken air blocks for the outboard genoa tracks, to get a better sheeting angle off the wind on the headsail. And to use on the bow for the mainsail preventer. I bought two rolls of sail repair tape and a ‘handy stitcher’. And a pair of ‘Seal Skinz’ gloves - temps are forecast to be in the mid-30s for the next few mornings, and offshore that air will feel even colder sitting in the cockpit.

We’re motoring down the ICW now towards the Cape Fear inlet, another 100 miles on past Beaufort, where we’ll go offshore tomorrow. Motoring on the ‘inside’ for two days will only save us about 12 hours in the big picture (as opposed to just waiting in Beaufort until Saturday morning). But it gives us something to do, a purpose. I made hard-boiled eggs for breakfast that we ate in the cockpit. Soft enough on the inside to be nice to eat, but not runny. 

The weather is still grey and misty - that stalled cold front is still stubbornly sitting just off the coast. Visibility is limited through the mist, and the world around us is colored in a muted greyscale. The red & green ICW channel markers brightly stand out on the otherwise nondescript horizon. We passed a dockyard just south of Beaufort where a large ship was loading (or maybe unloading) stacks of enormous wind turbine blades, each packed in a specialty rack to maximize the carrying capacity on deck. Dozens more lined the bulkhead ashore. Big steel cranes stood watch in the background.

I think the rain is over, and as the temperature continues to drop inside the boat, I’ll bet that by lunchtime today the sun will be out and the wind will be up.

Tonight we’ll anchor somewhere (or maybe swing into a dock), have dinner onboard, then start switching (finally) into ocean sailing mode, at least mentally. By midday Saturday we’ll be at the inlet. We won’t stop - we’ll sail offshore and point the bow towards Florida.

Hopefully then I can really and truly relax into the rhythm of life at sea.