20 November 2021: Miscalculation
20 November 2021
Pungo Creek, NC, USA
Beaufort, NC, USA
Cumulative Mileage (NM)
Crew on Board
Skipper, first mate, chef, entertainment and more; I guess that is solo sailing for you!
GENERAL WEATHER OBSERVATIONS
12 knots, intermittently.
Light cloud cover.
Sunny and warm, unexpected!
Dry, thank goodness!
When I first entered the fresh water (brackish water?) Intracoastal Waterway upon leaving the lock at Great Bridge Lock, the tides became so minimal that I stopped thinking about them.
However, as Beaufort was a spot where you can jump back out to the open ocean – clearly, I was approaching salt water again. The only trouble was that I forgot that meant checking tides again.
I wanted to get from my spot at Pungo Creek all the way to Beaufort which would mean catching up to Ellen and Arjuna again and getting to stay put for a few more days. But it was 60 nautical miles away, a good chunk to tackle in a day sail.
I got started as early as I could but with slow early progress I was starting to worry that I would not make it before dark. It did not help that I was reviewing Bob423’s tracks into Beaufort and realising that I had mapped my route wrong, missing a sandbar, and instead I had to go around it. This added a little more time to the day as well (I had never been to Beaufort as my last time through this area I was anchored at Moorehead City).
But fate was on my side, I could not have planned it better if I had remembered to check the tides. As soon as I entered the last long canal, I realised the current was pushing me – fast – and at times I was hitting 7 or 8 knots.
Greedily, I also pulled out my jib whenever possible to up it more and more!
I passed a couple of other sailboats, radioing them as the channel was quite narrow. And managed to cruise on in to Beaufort as the sun was going down.
One of the boats I had passed was Java Jive and he pulled up shortly after me, anchoring next to IImpuls (too close according to Ellen). Before shutting off my instruments and settling in for the night, Java Jive called me on the radio. He introduced himself as Nick and like me he was not used to running into other people his age. Since it was nearly t-shirt weather today he suggested sundowners.
Him, Ellen (Arjuna was away for work) and Cooper from the boat behind me all came over to visit and have a drink. We all talked cruising plans. Nick was on his way to Nassau for New Years to meet a girl (it sounded like one of the ballsy moves from a movie in a RomCom, though admittedly we did not get a lot of details out of him). Cooper was sailing on the 1981 Ericson 38 behind me (Tala’s twin) and working online and sticking to the United States this year. And we realised that Cooper was behind me in the Great Bridge Lock and saw the whole ‘barge walking incident’. His Dad was on board at the time and him and I had a great laugh about my driving skills at the time. I also really enjoyed the fact that when Cooper glanced downstairs saw how well taken care of Tala’s interior was (thanks Mike) his reaction was “oh wow, yours is much newer than mine.” When I informed him that mine was also a 1981, he followed with “ah, then you are not allowed to come and see my boat.”
And, of course, I already knew Ellen and Arjuna’s plans to cruise the US and Bahamas this year.
It was so nice meeting so many other cruisers my age. And with the weather getting colder all the way down the coast, this was the first real excuse to socialise. The weather was not so cold (yet) down here at the bottom of North Carolina that you felt the need to hide out inside your vessel.
The drinks went on so long that all of us were starving, so we went out for some Mexican food in town. In retrospect, some of the best Mexican food that this little foodie had ever tasted! Highly recommended if you find yourself in Beaufort, North Carolina.
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.”
– Theodore Roosevelt