Monday, March 21, 2005

Big Day

Monday, March 21, 2005

At Sea N W

This is the big event. We are at sea and heading for Charleston SC. Estimated time: 2.6 days. This is the day I was waiting for, perhaps procrastinating because of nervousness. Everything comes together now: the vessel, the captain, the crew, and the preparations, the training. A big unknown is how much we’ll tire ourselves out with 4 hours on watch 4 hours off, day and night.

It’s midnight and I just came off the 2000-0000 watch. We have a following wind and sea (not the most comfortable). The moon is out, two dolphins are doing flips and belly flops to keep us amused. Water temperature 71F air temperature about 60F. The boat and the wind vane steer themselves most of the time.

We also encountered our first lightning storm at sea. We saw very impressive up-close hits. Tarwathie is well grounded though. Libby saw sparks coming from a sheet winch.

This morning was eventful. I read the monitor wind vane manual last night and it told my how to fix my problem. We launched the dingy, I fixed the vane and we retrieved the dingy in 15 minutes.

Ran aground right away at the entrance to the canal. I was well inside the marked channel but that was no help. Launched the dingy again, kedged us off and retrieved the dingy. Time 25 minutes. We’re getting better at that.

The way out to the sea involves a barge canal, a drawbridge, a lock, and another bridge. Then you are in cruise ship territory, with lots of enormous ships around. Out a channel for a couple of more miles and we’re at sea!

The route out has a splendid view of the NASA rocket launch towers at the cape. Too bad there’s no rockets today.

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