Brad, Dan and Scott's Sailing Adventure

"There she is boys! The SS More Powerful than Superman, Batman, Spiderman, and the Incredable Hulk combined." This space will be used to post updates of our odyssey.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Atlantic #2

new photos


Heading to the Atlantic again

We rose at 6 and motored in no wind to a marina that we arrived at around 10:30. We filled up with diesel and water in anticipation of heading outside at Cape Fear. Hal also picked up a few new lures. We said good bye to Ares and motored on. We hit Cape Fear at 3 pm. The plan was to rejoin the ICW at St. Simons 225nm South-West. The weather for Sunday and Monday was N or NW winds 5-10kts. On Monday night we are supposed to get a severe storm with winds to 35kts and waves 7-10ft. Thus we can’t plan on cutting it close on Monday and will probably head in earlier at St. Catherine’s Sound. More importantly, our fishing has yielded only an old birthday balloon. We have tried spoons, divers, jigs, you name it and nothing!

The night of the 18th the wind died and we ended up motoring through the night. Sleep came relatively easy on the stable boat as waves were only 2 feet high or so. On Sunday we found ourselves heading into SW winds of 5 knots even though the forecast was N winds of 5-10. We have found NOAA’s marine forecasts to be fairly unreliable. Monday passed quickly, two hour shifts among 4 people making it easier. Late evening the wind began to shift and intensify from the Northwest so we threw out our genoa and killed the engine. We were making high 6s and low 7s through the night. The seas also picked up to a nice little chop that made sleeping more difficult as we were close-hauled. Around midnight, with our new found speed, we decided that we could make it to St. Simons by midday in time avoid the incoming storm. Winds were predicted to be over 60 in some areas off of Georgia, and seas were peaking around 35 ft in the Gulf Stream—not something we wanted to be caught out in. The altering of course lead to a more comfortable ride since we fell off the wind on to a broad reach. Any nausea that was building in the crew subsided.

We made great time into Monday the 20th. It wasn’t until a few miles of St. Simon that we needed to drop the sails and motor on in. Along the way we saw numerous jellyfish, porpoises, and Hal even saw a sea turtle. With all this wildlife we still caught no fish! We decided that with the severe weather prediction it was probably best to stay at a marina. The possible anchorages in the area seemed to be surrounded by low lying marsh that would provide little protection from the wind. We tied up at Brunswick Landing Marina around 3, eager to take showers. 48 hours outside the ICW, 235 nautical miles by bird. The only downside to the trip was that Hal decided since he is already in GA he may as well step off here instead of flying back from the Bahamas. I guess it will save him some money but we sure will miss his company.

At night we hit a local pub which happened to be on the 4th floor, bizarre. Oh yeah, for all of you who told us there was going to be a meteor shower, thanks for the heads up but we saw nothing out of the ordinary. The sky was clear as can be, too.


Man overboard!

The heavy weather was short lived and sleep came easy. Waking up is always hard. It was particularly difficult because both of our anchors were out and dredged deeply after the 35kt gusts we had received. It was Brads turn at the 6 am shift and I was on standby. We asked Dan to wake up as well to help get the boat underway. The anchors came free after a couple tries with both Brad and I heaving on the rode. While we preceded breaking down the secondary and stowing the primary anchors Dan motored out of Spooner’s creek. Unfortunately because Dan wasn’t even on standby he didn’t put on his contacts. Staring at the gps screen and not at the blurry channel markers we veered too far to port and wound up aground. We were unable to free ourselves with the engine and had to resort to other methods. There was a pylon as part of the breakwater that we led our secondary anchor rode with a dock line extension to. We attempted to winch ourselves off using the starboard jib sheet winch. After a couple minutes struggling one of the other cruisers noticed that our mast wasn’t moving and he came out to help. It was a good thing he noticed because had he tried to leave his boat would have been snagged on the 200 ft trip line we had strung across the channel. Finally we freed ourselves. I returned to free the anchor rode in the dingy. When I returned to Kaleidoscope with the dingy we were in the middle of a very narrow channel with a strong crosswind. Hoisting the dingy via halyard was out of the question. I decided to wait until we reached the main channel to lift the dingy. I held on to Kaleidoscope from the dingy as we motored the 200 ft to the main channel where we would be able to position ourselves with plenty of room to lift the dingy. Seconds after Dan commented that I should tie the dingy on a wave pealed the bow of the dingy off Kaleidoscope. As I struggled with my feet trying to bring the dingy back to the boat Brad who was at the helm noticed my predicament and throttled back but it was too late. I had past the point of no return, the dingy was going with me or with out me. Choosing incorrectly I held firmly on to Kaleidoscope trying in vain to muscle the boat back alongside. I should have just dropped down into the dingy for at that moment the dingy slid out from under my feet and I was left with a new decision; either climb on to Kaleidoscope and watch the dingy float away into water too shallow for Kaleidoscope or fallow the dingy into the water and try to catch up with it and row it back out to the main channel. Underestimating both how much drag full foul weather gear produces while swimming and how fast the wind was taking the dingy, I let go of Kaleidoscope. It did not take long for me to realize how futile the chase was for the dingy was making twice my speed. I was now overboard, wet, cold and well out of reach of Kaleidoscope. It was soon apparent that I was foolish to be swimming as the water was no deeper than 4 feet. Realizing that if I turned around and got back to Kaleidoscope that we would have no way to get our dingy I trotted on hoping the dingy would make landfall soon. I was maybe 400yards from shore and the dingy looked as if it would make landfall in a mile or so down wind. Meanwhile the dry and warm Kaleidoscope had turned back into the creek to ask assistance from the same people who had come out to help us while we were aground moments earlier. Bon, the sixteen-year-old from the boat Ares who had assisted us earlier flew out in his 15 hp dingy and plucked me from the water. I returned to the boat with our dingy, my pride deflated and a nagging fear that I had destroyed my cell phone. Happily, my cell phone was not in my pocket as usual.

The day’s excitement leveled out as we saw the occasional pod of porpoises. Around 11:30 we had to stop and wait in line as there was a 4 mile stretch of the ICW that was closed because it was currently being used for target practice by the military. As we waited Ares caught up and we chatted about our plans. The residents of Ares are a family of five (Dave who’s around 50, his Thai wife Dang, eldest son Bon, 11 year old daughter, Angeline, and 9 year old son, Calvin) who have traveled for the past half year in their catamaran. They spent the hurricane season up north in the Chesapeake on up to New York. They are now on their way down to the Bahamas.

The delay forced us to anchor in the dark. While we were stopped at a bridge 3 miles from our destination Brad went ahead with Bon in their dingy to check out the anchorage in the daylight. We dropped hook around 6 at mile 264 of the ICW. We were invited to have dinner aboard Ares with another cat they were traveling with that had a boy the age of their youngest. The Thai food Dang cooked was fantastic and we hungrily ate all we could. After talking for another hour or so we returned to Kaleidoscope well past our bed time and still hadn’t downloaded the latest episode of the office. It was the most loaded day of our voyage yet: man overboard, running aground, dolphins, and Thai food aboard Ares.