Passage Making

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When we’re planning to travel days and nights from one place to the next, we prepare to make a passage.  After a two week stay in Charleston, it was time to move on.  With summer upon us and lots of things planned, we started to prepare for a passage north to Beaufort, North Carolina.  Rob used the dinghy to go to the docks to fill water jugs to pour into our tanks.

We got an extra jug of diesel to strap to the deck and filled the gas container for the dinghy outboard motor.  I prepped some food to make meals easier while underway.  We removed sun shades from the deck and the cockpit; strapped the dinghy and outboard to the deck; readied life jackets, tethers, binoculars, and charts.

And the next morning, we started up the diesel, turned on the depth sounder, gps and radio, and started bringing up the anchor.  The chain was full of slim and growth.  Rob was on the bow and I at the helm.  When finally an anchor came up with our chain, it wasn’t ours, but a lost Danforth

Rob freed the old anchor from the chain, but, we still had difficulty freeing ours from the bottom.  We were both weighing the alternatives:  go for a dive to try to free it, or, cut away our new Bruce anchor.  Neither being attractive options, we tried to be smarter in our efforts.  We turned the rudder, worked the new yanmar in forward and reverse, and alas, it broke loose and we were able to be on our way.

It looked like we would get a short weather window that wouldn’t get us to Beaufort, but at least to Cape Fear inlet.

We sailed until the wind died and we couldn’t keep the sails filled, then we motor sailed.  We had a quarter moon that night and a nice sunrise as we approached the Cape Fear.

We putted up to Carolina Beach, a good place to spend the rest of the afternoon and evening.  The next morning we went out the Masonboro inlet.  We sailed through the night again.

There aren’t many things to photograph when on a passage: each other, parts of the boat, sunrise, sunset, and sunrise and sunset.  We don’t see much more than that and water, but, we have lots of time to BE STILL.  As the stillness strikes me, I often think of Psalm 46:10  “Be still and know that I am God ….” and I am thankful and at peace.

Really neat how similar the next morning’s sunrise looked to the sunset the evening before.   Being able to fully appreciate the opening and closing of each day is a treasure.  Sunrise found us on a course heading into the sun with the Beaufort Inlet marker before it.

We were at anchor in Adams Creek, NC later that morning and I was watching another sunset when when a Canadian boat anchored nearby; perfectly timed for a photo.

This left us just a short morning hop to New Bern where we slipped the boat, rented a car and headed home to Raleigh.

I know some people wonder what we do with ourselves all day for days, weeks, months.  I have written about this previously, during our years living aboard full-time, when the cruising life was new to us and everything was fresh.  But to skip beyond those years to now, I can say that we still have lots to keep us busy with the boat.

As you know, or can imagine, there is always something more you can do when it comes to boat ownership.  Just as with a home on land, there is always fixing, cleaning, and replacing.  A cruising boat is not only a home (whether full-time or part-time) but also transportation.  Careful maintenance is crucial to safety.  There is never a shortage of things for to maintain, and Rob is our “maintainer” of all things crucial and most things that make life more comfortable.  We just completed a great deal of work on Providence over the last year, some of this exposed on Facebook.  During this trip, we did only the work necessary.

Rob installed a new water pump in the galley, as well as in the head; a new, more energy efficient tri-light on the mast;

and he installed a new auto pilot.

But, as a matter of course, there is a plethora of items to check , maintain and monitor.  Rob monitors our batteries (our power for all things), our diesel, and our water, and the functioning of solar panels and wind generator.  He checks the engine and the packing gland, the bilge, the rigging and changes the oil.  For each passage, he tracks the weather patterns and plots the course, checks tides and currents for leaving and entering ports.

And, graciously, he carries extra camera equipment and patiently waits for me while I do what I do.