Tuesday Day 4

Brice had since Monday muttered about Cape Hatteras (no.4 on the map). Every decision to raise sails, lower sails, start the engine, stop the engine, was followed by Brice uttering “As long as we reach Hatteras as soon as possible;  We really want to make it to Hatteras before any weather does it”. So Hatteras was the all important waypoint. So Tuesday we passed it, with good weather. It felt like a major accomplishment, but in reality we passed from lots-of-water-and-no-land-in-sight to lots-of-water-and-no-land-in-sight. Big deal? For all I know, we could have been in the same big bathtub all the time going nowhere, just an crosshair claimed we went somewhere on our GPS machinery.

I decided to check out my newly acquired sextant. This must be the perfect time. Well, perfect if you knew how to calculate your position. I had a book, but eh... It wasn’t that  easy to figure it out. And you had to correct for all sorts of stuff, especially when not taking your position at noon. So. I packed my sextant again.

I think it was Tuesday we were almost alone all day. No ships. No nothing. Paula would usually exclaim “We got neighbors”, but not today. So, at dinner time, we all went below deck to prepare dinner, and when we got up a giant cruise ship appeared 10 miles away.



Wednesday Day 5

After Hatteras, the weather gets markedly colder and the wind more powerful, like in Denmark. It’s like we pass from subtropical to temperate almost overnight. We decided to follow the Gulf Stream for another 100 miles or so, even though it goes further from land and ends up veering off east into the Atlantic, this we do to catch the last bit a ride to our destination. And it went along fine until late in the night. It got windier and windier. Hatteras was showing her wrath. The wind clocked around from South to from North, against the current and whipped up big rolling waves right into our course (no.5 on the map), the dreaded “Elephants riding on the horizon”. I lay in my berth and listened to the boat beat the waves. Bam! Hit a wave... fall down... dive... bam! Hit a new wave... and so forth. I tried not to think about the seacocks. So, Paula was in the forward berth and didn’t close the hatch. The entire bow dived into the sea, and she found herself and bed to be rather wet.

Text Box: The entire bow dived into the sea, and she found herself and bed to be rather wet...

I went above deck, “dancing” my way through the saloon. Brice was on watch sitting idle behind the wheel. Big rollers and wind came into our face. “Let’s veer off towards shore and get out of the current and out of these waves”, I suggested. Brice agreed and we steered 330 degrees instead of due north (no. 6 on the map). Brice mumbled with a deep voice: “That was much better!”.


Thursday Day 6

So in the morning I found Paula sleeping up against the table in the saloon. Obviously, her berth was wet, and sleeping on the settee was impossible, because with the waves the boat rolled drastically.

Paula using the table to sleep on.


With a bit of sails set, the rolling subsided a bit. However, our speed was now only 2.5-3 knots even with a full engine. And we used more than half the tank plus 4 containers. Say the tank was a little less than half full we would have maybe 70 gallons left or 58 hours or only 200 miles. A little worrying if we couldn’t make land.

The weather was turning really humid and cold. Sea smoke was appearing, kind of a fog, but not too dense.

Text Box: “This is U.S. naval vessel. Request permission to perform special operation.”...

In the evening, we found some wind, and made a good 8 knots. I guess we for a while travelled against the mighty Gulf Stream itself or a counter-eddy when we only did 2.5-3 knots.

I selected the 1am to 4am watch. I woke up and heard the VHF radio. “This is U.S. naval vessel. Request permission to perform special operation.” Repeat. I couldn’t hear the answer. I couldn’t see anything but darkness when I went on deck.  There was two vessels –two white lights- south of us, but from earlier we concluded it must have been fishing boats. I wondered if the navy used any lights when on exercise? There was nothing on the radar. When it was this dark, you felt like being in a little room limited by what the instrument lights and running lights revealed just around you, but going somewhere. It wasn’t possible to see anything in front of the boat. Even the 1 million candlelight flashlight didn’t prove of much use.

So I just concentrated on soaking in the experience, trying not to think of what logs or other things could be in the front of the boat. I looked to the southwest of port watching a few white caps, it seemed. Hey wait a minute; something was coming at the boat at an awesome speed from maybe 100 feet away. I could see water whipped white zooming towards the boat in the distance, like a propeller, except there were maybe 7 or 8 of these. As it came closer I could eye out grey tornado-formed shapes underwater in front of the white water. The shapes went right under the boat. Zoom!


Text Box: Something was coming at the boat at an awesome speed from maybe 100 feet away. I could see water whipped white zooming towards the boat in the distance, like a propeller..


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