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Sunday, June 17, 2007

Back in Durham

Intuition Log - 17 June

Thursday morning, 07 June, we were up to meet Pete Waterson at 0730 who stopped by to take our Raymarine autopilot head back for warranty service. It was good of him to stop by on short notice. After spending the day organizing and cleaning the boat and packing the Honda, we drove the 160 miles back to our house in Durham. Didn't recognize the truck at first since Pat Gaglione had cleaned, waxed and detailed it as a surprise welcome home gift -- thanks! Also thanks to Earl Quick who drove the truck to New Bern so it would be there when we docked.

Upon opening the front door and peering into the house, it seemed to have grown over the year away. Getting used to living in tight quarters makes our little 1900 square foot house seem huge. First things first, we unloaded the truck while Noah found his Lego collection. No problem dropping off to sleep, but Beth did wake up in the middle of the night wondering who was driving the boat. She made it to the hall before figuring out where we were. I woke up a couple of times, but fell back asleep as none of the homes in the neighborhood seemed to be dragging their anchors.

After a fast weekend of catching up with neighbors, it was back to work at Qualex on Monday morning after managing to locate both long pants and socks. I'll be working on a project to help determine the most cost efficient source of transactional accounting for our little Kodak subsidiary. Not quite the same as charting a course to new islands, but it comes with a paycheck. In all seriousness, I am very appreciative that the company granted me the opportunity to take a year's leave and pursue our dream. The photo is from Charleston, SC where this plaque was hanging over the gate to a boat tied up at Harborwalk.

The week flew by, catching up with old friends and going through a year's worth of mail. Beth and Noah are off to Michigan so they can visit with family while Noah is on break. I'll be in the office at Qualex.

We did get connected to high speed internet at home via Time Warner cable. After a year of not having TV, we elected to not bother with getting cable TV service. I put some rabbit ears on and we can get PBS and the local affiliates of the major stations. I'm hoping we remember that there are better things to be doing with our time than watching television.

This will be the last mass email of an Intuition Log. As time allows I'll work on a compendium of things that worked along with a list of things that proved more challenging than we expected. Thanks for taking the time to read these logs and special thanks to everyone that took the time to write us notes of encouragement along the way. It is great to hear from friends via email when you are hunkered down in a windy, rainy anchorage.

Wishing you all a chance to live your dreams!


Wednesday, June 13, 2007

School's Out

Intuition Log - 06 June

Noah worked hard Monday and Tuesday to finish his reviews and complete his final tests. Tuesday morning he completed the last exam! He built a fort in the salon out of sheets while we graded his exams. We're happy to report that he did very well on all his tests. The Calvert curriculum was very thorough and he received a complete third grade book education in addition to the unique experiences of exploring by boat. His parents developed a much greater respect for elementary school teachers! On the advice of Mark, a neighbor in the marina, we all stood on deck at 2115 and watched the sky for a fast moving "star." After a few false starts finding airplanes with blinking lights we tracked the space station, clearly visible and brighter than Venus. This was the first time we had spotted the station.

Wednesday we moved Intuition out of her slip and took a trip all the way to the gas dock where we topped off the diesel tanks and pumped out the waste tank. Made it back safely to our slip without even turning on the computer navigation system or the autopilot. In the afternoon we drove the car down to Oriental and met withe the crew of s/v Inceni who had made it there Tuesday afternoon. It was great to visit with Iain, Sue, Hannah and Fraser. They are going to haul the boat at Sailcraft and do some bottom work before heading north. Enjoyed catching up on events since we last saw each other in the Bahamas over a good dinner at M&M's Cafe.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Back at NW Creek

We awoke at Morehead City Yacht Basin to clearing skies and light winds. This was a contrast to the 30 kts of wind with 46 knot gusts that blew through last night. The only wind damage was to some of the stitching on the Bimini. Since we were out of cereal and we didn't play on moving we made pancakes for breakfast and enjoyed a leisurely start to the day. Noah woke up in a super polite mode and was ready to do his final review day for school.

Morehead City Yacht Basin
Free internet at the marina let us look at weather radar. By the time we were done with pancakes it looked like there was very little rain left in the area. The weather forecast called for south winds today, changing to west tomorrow. West would be on the nose all the way up the Neuse river. As we've learned, cruiser's plans are made in jello, so with light southerly winds we decided to head for New Bern and NW Creek.
Underway at 0950 the sky looked good and we came out of the channel into the ICW just north of the 70 bridge connecting Morehead City and Beaufort. Out in the sound the wind picked up to 15 and pushed us in the right direction at 7 kts. As we approached Adams Creek, the sky had changed to dark grey and we were soon wearing rain gear and watching the radar to find markers. It poured for about 45 minutes, but we didn't mind as we were catching a good tidal flow up Adams creek where our speed over the ground maxed at 8.8 kts.
Passing one of our favorite weekend anchorages at Cedar Creek we saw zero boats on a Sunday in June. I guess other folks pay more attention to the weather forecast than we do. Popping out into the Neuse river we could see Oriental across the way. This was a sure sign we were back in home waters. The Neuse, as always, provided a little surprise for us as the winds picked up to the mid-twenties with gusts to 35. This coupled with off and on rain showers didn't keep Oriental in view for long. We zoomed, well as much as a ten ton fat cruising boat can zoom, down the Neuse and were approaching NW Creek just before 1500.
Approaching New Bern and calling NW Creek on the radio, Bud's familiar voice welcomed us home. With the strong wind we considered anchoring in the creek, but once inside the channel there was enough protection that we took Intuition into the marina. Bud and Jesse helped us find our new slip and had us secured to the dock at 1500.

Back at NW Creek Marina in New Bern, NC
It is hard to believe that the voyage is over. In retrospect, the year flew by. Now it is time to work on the transition back to being "dirt dwellers". Noah won't have much of a problem, he already made a new friend on the dock last night and they were playing magnetics until after cruiser's midnight.

Hampstead to Morehead City, NC

Harbour Village, here in Hampstead, had very nice facilities and understood that cruiser's want to get up and go. The dockmaster came back last night after hours to let us and another boat pay for the night so we could get going early on Saturday.
Casting off at 0628 we were only a few minutes behind Kattanah, the Hinckley that nervously helped us squeeze beside them into the face dock last night. After computing the time to get to the Surf City Bridge, we pushed the throttle to the max against a knot of unfavorable current and just made the 0700 opening.

The waterway was calm with the exception of ocassional passes by large sportfishing boats that didn't practice common courtesy or look backwards to see what their wakes did to the boats in the waterway and at people's docks. Between boat passes we drained the last 15 gallons from our cruising stash of diesel fuel into the main tank. At 0926 Mile Hammock Bay was off to starboard and we happily bypassed this anchorage where we spent a sleepless night on the way south.
Arriving at the Onslow Beach bridge in time for the 1000 opening we were ahead of Kattanah who was motor sailing as fast as she could to make the opening. The overcast day didn't have many people heading over to the beach, so the bridge tender kindly held the opening until 1009 so Kattanah wouldn't have to wait another twenty minutes.
The next stretch of the waterway passes through Camp Lejune where today, there were no live firing excercises so we were not delayed. I guess they were busy with the aircraft carrier out in Onslow Bay. We could hear them discussing Harrier landings and helicopter tenders on the radio. Noah came up on deck to look for military hardware as we passed through the base. The few tanks and missle launchers we found had been used for target practice.
Clearing out of the firing area at 1045, the next thing along this stretch of the waterway is the big Hatteras yacht manufacturing plant. All closed up on Sunday we passed them at 1100 and were turning the corner at Swansboro by 1132.

Entering the Cape Fear river we passed a sign of home as one of the NC State Ferries was sporting Duke logos. Shortly thereafter, a sailing ship popped up on AIS. We were surprised to see the size of this British ship when it rounded the corner heading out to sea. Their next destination was Williamsburg, VA.

Still pushing against an unfavorable current we reached the south bridge to Emerald Isle at noon. Motorsailing up the waterway we passed only the second sailboat of the day s/v Wreckless Abandon. By 1400 Spooner's Creek was abeam with two large condo buildings erected that had only been in the foundation stage when we stopped there last fall. We were joined by dolphins for a little bit of the journey. They seem to be interested in looking at Noah and swam close to the boat rolling on their sides looking up at us.

Curious Visitor

Noah Stands Dolphin Watch

By 1429 we passed under the Emerald Isle north bridge and were soon in Morehead City waters. A helicopter carrier was docked at the state pier, so we gave it a wide berth.
Right at 1500 we were tied up on a very nice floating dock at Morehead City Yacht Basin. Fifty six miles in just under nine hours passing two of our southbound anchorages made us feel like we'd made good progress for a day.
We had been pushing because the weather was forecasted to sour overnight at the remnants of tropical storm Barry were moving into our area. We secured the boat and took the liferaft down below as we were done with ocean legs. Beth untied the life raft and started to pass it to me when she quickly pushed it back into position. The inflation line was still tied to the handrail. A few more inches of tugging and we would have had a life raft inflating in the cockpit!
After hot showers in the very nice dockhouse, we asked for a recommendation of a dinner place within walking distance. We donned raincoats and set out for "Floyd's 1921." We arrived just in time to get the last unreserved table. The food was excellent as was the service. Beth had ribs and I enjoyed a spinach salad with feta cheese and mango topped with lightly fried oysters. We'll be coming back there again.
Back at the marina we visited the upstairs boaters lounge. Noah was fascinated by the big brass telescope. Unfortunately the skies were rain filled so there wasn't too much to see. We took advantage of the book exchange and avoided looking at the television. Reboarding the boat we checked the fenders and lines before heading below to finish "Around the World in 80 days" and turning out the lights.

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