Our annual 1,400 nautical mile trip from Deep River, CT to Fort Pierce, FL went fairly smoothly. One minor, but annoying issue can be, well … other boaters. Some years we’ve unfortunately been caught in heavy packs of boats (especially at opening bridges with our prior sailing catamaran). Tempers flare, people are rude on the VHF radio, boats yell at other boats who “cut in line”, give lectures on “proper seamanship”, sailboats yell at powerboats who (in their mind) didn’t give them a “slow pass” & then the Coast Guard yells to those boats that “Channel 16 is the calling & International Distress Frequency – move your idle & passing traffic to another channel as channel 16 is blah, blah, blah”. Not very relaxing…
This year started with a “oh, here we go again” moment between 2 trawlers while we were anchored at Atlantic Highland, NJ awaiting a window to head offshore down the NJ coast. While resting up we heard repeated, loud 5 short air horn blasts – the danger signal when collision is imminent or there is a serious concern for another boats intentions. Needless to say, we bolted up to see what maritime disaster was about to unfold. Oh, just one of the two trawlers traveling thru the anchorage at idle speed apparently didn’t like that the other was heading towards “his” spot to anchor!
Fortunately, this did not foretell our trip. In fact, it was the easiest & most peaceful trip south yet!! Due to us being a little early, we got ahead of the crowds, while bad weather behind us delayed others. There were many days of only a few passings making a much, much more enjoyable & stress free trip. Lots of time to enjoy the scenery!
But you can never relax too much – though I suppose the machine guns on the escort boats would have gotten our attention. Yes, we were that close as we realized a minute later when the sub’s monster wake reached us & a few things crashed about our cabin. I considered yelling at them on the VHF radio, as some sailboats do, for not giving us a “slow pass”, but I thought better of it…
To keep life interesting, every year there is a hurricane or tropical storm close enough to get our attention. This year it was Hurricane Michael passing inshore of our Moorehead City, NC location, so no serious concerns for us, but we did head to a very secure marina, Moorehead City Yacht Basin. At first I was a little perturbed that the dockmaster put us in an odd, far-in slip against the bulkhead. In the end, we were thankful, tucked in nice & comfy with the wind right off the bulkhead behind us. You can’t tell from the photo, but the wind further out in the marina was gusting up to 52 knots with occasional sheets of water flying across. Just to be on the safe side, we took all normal precautions, doubling up lines, taking down our canvas top, etc. which ended up being unnecessary, but we didn’t mind!
We arrived at the Fort Pierce City Marina a day early for our 2 month reservation. Originally we were planning on having new cushions & a full canvas enclosure made for our flybridge. We “chickened out” on the enclosure, but went ahead with the new cushions which are a huge improvement over our 12-year old original ones.
It was great that Benj could fly down for a few days!
It was bad that the Fort Pierce City Marina was performing major dredging during our time there – I’m not sure my hearing will ever be the same (the dredge spent days right next to us). Not very restful either – the dredging took a break for the holidays, but the construction equipment on the nearby spoil islands worked (& beeped) 7-days-a-week, including Christmas Day!
Lots of various maintenance projects & lots of stocking up for the Bahamas in January! Can’t wait to get the hell out of there!