Our first offshore, overnight passage!


Our land stop, after a few days of anchoring and motoring south on the ICW, was a small charming town in North Carolina - Beaufort. It seems to be the preferred rest-and-recuperate place for most boaters headed our way (and few head the opposite direction during this time of the year). 

We had reserved a marina, and once we plugged our boat into the electricity, the huge tent became a tiny apartment. It is amazing what a few light bulbs and a shower can do to someone’s mood. It is a bit sad, actually.

For the following three days, Joe traveled for work and we met up with three kids from another kid-boat, whom we had met in Annapolis earlier, while still on land. The kids got along well, but there is an unspoken understanding that living on a boat is sufficient interest in common. There is too little time for petty arguments, gossiping, or drama. Most families only stay at a place for a short amount of time, and even though we are all headed in the same direction, the pace is different for everyone.
Our friends from SV (sailing vessel) Schole

A few days later the weather promised mild winds, in the right direction (anything, besides directly in your face), and the majority of the boats headed out into the ocean, for an offshore passage from Beaufort, NC to a place further south. Our next stop would be Georgetown, South Carolina. 
Sunset out there...

That would be our first overnight sailing trip, for me anyway, as Joe had done similar ones with his grandparents years ago. I had mixed feelings, but knowing that our radio would reach the US Coast Guard even 30-40miles offshore (which we had to reach, in order to avoid shallow areas), and there were quite a few boats all around us, eased my anxiety a bit.

Approximately the route we took from Beaufort, NC to Georgetown, SC

My second anxiety trigger (there were close to 87, but I will share those two, for now) was the seasickness! We remembered the Chesapeake all too well! That time around, however, the trip was going to last 30-40 hours, which would be a bit too long for everyone to feel nauseous... Praise be to God, we did find the answer - acupressure bracelets, and a larger dose of vitamin C (recommended by another kid-boat mom). No one got sick, at all!

Our trip started, continued and finished with quite a few dolphins playing at the wake from our boat. The sight never becomes old. It successfully interrupts school as well as fights!

As is evident, these are frames from a video we took, we just need to find the time to put it all together...

Right before our trip I did my necessary nagging about spending money on unnecessary things, while Joe was buying supplies to catch "the big fish". One of Joe’s uncles had told him what he needed in order to catch tuna fish and Joe bought it all! Well, I was wrong to nag (that time only), because we caught three tunas! The first one was caught during my night shift, but we released it, because we did not want to clean it at the bow, in the dark. The kids and Joe caught tuna number two while I was resting, after my shift in the morning, so they had to let that one go as well. We were all awake and grateful to catch a third tuna, which Joe cleaned and I cooked - from wild to table! I would like to think the other two fish did not go to waste, because there were quite a few dolphins around us that entire time!
OK, it is not ahi tuna, but there was nothing small about that fish!

The filets fed us breakfast and we made salad with the leftovers!

It tasted a bit wild-caught like, but it made a wonderful breakfast!

Another highlight of our off-shore passage was approaching the Gulf Stream, around the time we had reached our furthest point of sail from shore. The temperature rose significantly and my expectations to be cold and miserable during the night were not fulfilled! On the flip side, being nicely warm and with not much wind to navigate, made it difficult to stay awake, so I did what any Bulgarian girl would do in that situation, I recited Psalm 50 and sang folk songs and danced "Rachenitsa". Rachenitsa is a Bulgarian dance to a complicated Bulgarian rhythm, which works great to keep up the cheerful spirit of a wedding; attract a husband at the village square; show off to foreign tourists, and keep someone awake while sailing at night! If you see a link here, please take a look.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xenjhHHBZkA

Joe and I took two-hour shifts during the night, which kind of worked for me, because Joe let me sleep, but not so well for him, because I would wake him up if I needed help. Eventually, we both did get some sleep and coffee fixed the rest. 
That was the view during the night, spectacular, so much water and so much night!

Another interesting detail about night sailing is tethering yourself to the boat. The best analogy to this is a dog chained in the back yard. You put on a harness and clip yourself to a loop on the boat. When there is one person during a night shift, at the helm, it adds safety to the trip. And just like wearing a seat-belt in a car, the harness goes on with or without calm weather. The kids are not allowed outside once night falls, or they can stay inside the cockpit with an adult, if the weather is calm. 


"So, children, what did you like the most about your first overnight sail into the big blue ocean?"
I am leaving their comments (the photo captions) without comment...
Boris: "Hm, watching a movie!"
Joey: "Sleeping in your bed!"
Sophie: "First of all, you are wrong, it's not blue it's teal..."

We arrived in Georgetown, SC after around 30 (around 170 miles) hours of sailing. The weather was a bit warmer and there were palm trees at the marina, as well as "Do not feed the alligators!" signs. We had moved south!

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December 16th, the publish date of this post, finds us in Vero Beach, FL. Keep checking to find how we got here! Our "subscribe" section should now be working, and we are able to publish responses to comments, so comment away!

Comments

  1. This sounds so wonderful to me! I grew up in Charleston, SC. We have talked about retiring there...someday... but Charleston is so big and busy now. I think Georgetown would be the prefect spot! Did you stay there long? Can't wait to hear more!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Dear Libby,

      So good to hear from you! We did not spend very much time in Georgetown, because our goal was to bring both cars to the boat and sail to Savannah during the first weather window, as well as Joe-not-flying window. We drove a bit through the town, mostly through the district with older factories. Unfortunately the kids tend to remember the strange things about a place, so their memories of Georgetown have been infused with the smell of the paper mill factory (not a pleasant one). Keep that in mind when you search for a house there :-) There were a few boats, which specifically aimed for Georgetown for a sail break, so I am sure the town ha smuch to offer, history, definitely!
      On a different note, the Psalter has been read out in the Atlantic; thank you for continuing to bring us all together, no matter where we may be!

      Delete
  2. Love this post and the pics--especially of the dolphins. How great that there is another world out there, with communities of fellow travelers! I can't imagine a better, more valuable experience for the kids and the whole family.

    Wait! What do you mean about taking shifts. You mean you can't just sleep through the night? I can see you are gradually (and maybe unwillingly) developing into quite a sailor Mina. Thanks so much for letting us share in your journey.

    ReplyDelete

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