N 31 05 W 080 55
We left the anchorage in Fernandina around noon. We carefully worked our way out the inlet, worried because of the poor visibility and the amount of ship and submarine traffic in and out of St Mary's Inlet. Instead of the channel, we sailed out next to the stone jetty so as to avoid traffic.
By 1300 we cleared the jetty, and set full sails. Our next way point is Frying Pan Shoals buoy, 255 nautical miles (293 statue miles) at a heading of 054. Beaufort is about 100 miles past that. At first we were close hauled and the highest we could make was 035 degrees, but within a couple of hours the wind veered to the SE and we were exactly on course. So far so good with the wind. We've averaged better than 5 knots so far, and we're doing about 5 knots now. That's great. The forecast also
seems to be holding -- 4 to 5 more days of this weather.
The smoke seems to be staying mostly with the land. As soon as we got a few miles out, visibility increased to 4-5 miles. That's good because there will be a very clear, very dry sky tonight with a nearly full moon. It should be spectacular.
We saw very few vessels today. Mostly we have the whole ocean to ourselves.
Around 17:00 I noticed a very cute little yellow bird riding on the control line for the Monitor self steering vane. Libby got out her bird book and we identified it as a female gold finch. We therefore named her Wanda -- a finch called Wanda. We were hoping that Wanda would stay with us for the whole passage, but she left in an hour or so. Or rather I should say we lost track of her in an hour. She could still be aboard someplace. We really hope that if she left, Wanda knows the direction
to fly to get back to land.
By the way, I got an email from Jim Combs today. Jim had written last fall about crewing with us. I'm sorry to say that I forgot about him last month on my call for crew. He would have loved this passage. Our friend Pete would have loved it too, although I think he enjoyed the ICW just as much. It shows the difficulty of arranging for a friend to share such a passage with us. It is so weather dependent. We can't predict more than about 48 hours in advance if we'll commence an offshore passage.