16 November 2021: Carolina On My Mind


16 November 2021

Departure point

Great Bridge Bridge, VA, USA

arrival point

North River, NC, USA

distance (NM)

43 NM

Cumulative Mileage (NM)

709 NM

Crew on Board


Skipper, first mate, chef, entertainment and more; I guess that is solo sailing for you!



15 knots off the port forward quarter


Sun, glorious sun!


Balmy for this time of year


Dry, thank goodness!


After spending a few days at Great Bridge Bridge while some windy weather passed, it was time to keep moving.   

I had gotten to spend a few days with Michael and Amber and family.   And it was so relaxing to be tied to a dock and get to step off the boat any time you wanted.   We also had SV Windy, with Jay and Jialin, tie up behind me so it was a really social couple of days.   A big change for me who normally stayed confined on the boat and could not justify time for many fun activities while the mere sight of my to do list overwhelmed me.  

I pushed off the dock ten minutes before the scheduled bridge opening and radioed the operator to let him know.   The reviews on Active Captain made it clear that they would not open for boats ‘queuing’ while tied to the dock.   It was very easy to hold position while I waited as a light current opposed me, so idling just barely in gear help me nearly perfectly in place while I put away lines and fenders.

Both me and SV Islay were headed for the North River anchorage.  

I hoped it would be another uneventful engine day as this was a much further distance to check our fuel lift pump fix.  And much to my pleasant surprise, I had no dramas.  What could have been a huge stressor and long-term fix staying in one place, ordering parts, finding out they were wrong or that you had no correctly diagnosed the problem, and trying again – instead, was a swift fix with my incredible team.    I was so lucky to have Mike, the old owner, who knew this boat inside and out.   And while normally I listen to other cruisers opinions with a grain of salt (there are a lot who just talk to talk and do not actually have any expertise in the topic), with Michael getting the Jamie seal of approval, I was happy to place my trust in his opinion.    And I certainly benefited from trusting the right source.   Not to mention, he did not just fix my engine but made sure I was a part of it.   He taught me a few other things too as he poked through the boat while I worked on the engine.   I was unendingly grateful!

As I neared the anchorage, I got a text message from old owner – Mike – sending me a link to a song called ‘Carolina On My Mind‘.   He must have been looking at the AIS, but I explained that I was not yet crossing the border, maybe tomorrow.   And he confirmed that the anchorage I was headed to was in fact in North Carolina.   I guess I’d be knocking off my 7th state very shortly!  Some passage planning, my Garmin and OpenCPN maps sure do not emphasize state lines.  I sure did love though how Mike got to be a part of the adventure and I put the song he sent me on blast on the Bluetooth speakers. 

A perfect soundtrack as I pulled up next to SV Islay to drop the anchor and spend the night before departing the next morning!    

“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.  The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

 – Albert Einstein

3 Responses

  1. I was and am still blessed to have had the previous owner of my baot stay in touch with me, even after I lost it in the marina fire (we just spoke the other day and he is inquiring as to the progress of me acquiring my next sailboat). I hope you and Mike remIn friends for many years to come as boats never truly leave us, even when we part ways, much like some people.

    1. Oh wow that is amazing! I am still in touch with the owner of the last boat (and the owner before him who I never met). I am sure Mike and I will remain in touch. Even though Tala feels like mine for sure, I also feel like I have been charged with taking Mike’s boat on an adventure. As he is from New Zealand and I am headed back down under, I feel like he will fly down to greet her at New Zealand/Australia to celebrate!

      1. How cool would that be! I hope you are right! The boat is only ever a small part of the bigger story of all the lives they have touched.
        When I refit my last boat, I replaced the old hatch boards but kept them even though there is not much good wood left. There is a square piece of teak that was used as a Handle on the top board to install/remove them. The original owners of Sirena were the parents of the man I bought her from. They bought it brand new from the factory and sailed her for over 20 years. When they passed, their son Kieth travelled to Ontario to trailer her out to BC but he never sailed her. Kieth told me many stories and gave me many photos of his parents on Sirena and ran his hands over the “Handle” of the upper wash board and commented about how many times his parents had held that handle. He sold her to me to make way for a Air B&B he was adding to his home and he had no other place to store her. He decorated the accommodations with a “Sailing Theme”. One day, on one of my impromptu visits as I drive through his city , I will present him with a wall hanging of sailboat hatch and boards, made with the wash boards that I saved (although it will be much smaller, lol) and when the wash boards are removed using that same handle his parents held so many times, there will be a picture of his parents sailing her (one of the ones he provided to me). The only other thing that survived the fire (albeit a slight bit charred), was the rudder that I rebuilt from the broken bits that came with her, that shall remain on my wall, and a part of my story 😉
        Sorry for the rambling!

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