So…this Spring has been fun and challenging so far! Our Easter trip to Beaufort got put off due to Gale Force winds. Luckily New Bern has tons to do on a long holiday non boating weekend! And it was a great opportunity to refinish the brightwork while stuck in the marina!
Mid April was the Oriental Annual Boat Show! We cruised down river to check out the vendors and meet up with friends. We had a calm smooth 3 hour cruise down river. As soon as we get tied up the winds kick up to 15-20 knots!! This weekend had us learning how to tie up tight to pilings. No dock cleats in Oriental. We put out double stern lines just to be safe!
Early May is the annual airshow at Cherry Point Marine Airstation. The Blue Angels come every two years. We planned a weekend at anchor with our cruising buddies from Northwest Creek Marina. Friday night we stayed in New Bern hanging around the marina with new and old friends. On Saturday we all gathered around noon at our “secret” anchorage. We had Skinny Dippin’, Stella Del Mar, Andante II, Idle Time, Charbonneau, Hot Chocolate, Bubbles and Temptation! After appetizers and cocktails, Stella, Temptation and Bubbles made their way back to their home slips.
The rest of us gathered on Idle Time, a 40 foot Tiara. We planned a potluck dinner and had grilled chicken and scallops, green bean- tomato – mozzarella salad, tomato & watermelon salad and deviled eggs. As dinner was wrapping up, a line of storms showed up on the radar. It was just one line, so we all headed back to our own boats to wait it out. We even planned on reconvening after an hour for sundowners. This was about 7 or 8pm. Reconvening was not going to happen!
As the storm got closer, it also blew up to be the size of the whole eastern half of the state. We let out more anchor chain and hunkered in. We have a 35lb plow type anchor with 180 ft of 3/8’ chain. Charbonneau, Hot Chocolate and AndanteII have all been through good blows. Skinny Dippin’ and Idle Time were experiencing storms at anchor for the first time. We felt somewhat comforted that we had some more experienced sailors here with us that were hunkering in too.
The rain was heavy and the winds strong. As the storm passed we circled our anchor twice, in full swings. The storm took 4 hours to pass. We took anchor watches. I did the first two hours and Tom the second. You really have to be ready to haul anchor and reset if need be in a storm. Luckily we didn’t have to do this. The visibility was very very low. It would have been very difficult to reset in the darkness and the winds.
After the storm passed, the winds turned out of the North, which had us unprotected. The winds felt like they were still around 20-30kts the way Skinny Dippin’ was hobby horse bouncing at anchor. Again, we kept watch because we didn’t want her wiggling her way loose. In reality the winds were only 10-15kts, but still unnerving! As the stern would slam back into the water, water would swoosh up the exhaust pipe, and then swoosh back out. Water was gurgling in the output thru hull for the head sink. All noises were amplified so much!! Sleep was still allusive as the minutes slowly ticked by.
At first light, we hauled anchor and got out of dodge. We were exhausted from no sleep and wanted to get securely tied up at our home slip.
Take aways for us from our first storm are, 1. We can trust our ground tackle. 2.We need to do a better job setting our anchor alarm. 3. Sleeping at anchor in a chop is not possible. 4. Anchoring without the genset sucks.
So, we had a fabulous day at anchor sharing good times with good friends. At one point I was floating in the river on a floatie while dolphin swam close by. And oh yeah, the Blue Angels were flying overhead!
Here are some pictures for you! Stay tuned! Summer is right around the corner. We haven’t decided yet on a big cruise for this summer. We may just stay local and get better at anchoring out in our local creeks and rivers. All winter projects are complete. We have a new invertor and charger and the genset is running again. We have mosquito screens and window shades. The brightwork is refinished. All we need to do this summer is enjoy boating. Looking forward to that!