October 14 – 16, 2012
Waking up in Cape Lookout gave us a coming home type feel. The land that surrounded us was nothing but low sand dunes, and the air was warm and humid. There was almost a tropical feeling which gave us a glimpse of future cruising days to come. After being so cold over the past few days, it felt great to open hatches and put on a pair of shorts.
The warmer climate seemed to energize us into getting some work done around the boat. We felt the need to tidy up, as well as do a thorough cleaning both inside and out. It was also in the plan to swim on the port keel and rudder to check for damage from our bump with the whale. Checking to see if the water maker worked was also on the agenda.
When Wil inspected the keel and rudder, the only visible damage was some missing bottom paint at the front bottom corner of the rudder. In fact, the bottom paint was taken off all the way to the barrier coat! He could also shake the rudder quite easily.
As for the water maker, we discovered that the membrane housing is cracked. In addition to a new housing, we will need several other new parts before we will have a functional water maker. We’re looking at a couple of boat bucks to make this happen.
We kidded around that since we know people who come to Cape Lookout on weekends, there might be a person or two who would come knocking on the hull. Sure enough, by 11 o’clock that morning, Colin and I were on deck when we recognized a familiar power boat heading in our direction. It was our good friend Mike from Durham! He just happened to be passing through and saw our boat from the distance. Such a small world! It was great to see him, and we spent the next couple of hours catching up.
Cape Lookout has one of the healthiest marine habitats we’ve seen in a long time. The moment we dropped anchor in the middle of the night, and turned off the engines, we heard a constant sound of water slapping. When we shone a flashlight on the water, it was swarming with thousands of small fish. If a person were to place a hand in the water, at least a half dozen fish would have been touched by one swish of the hand. During the daytime hours, there was a continuous smorgasbord of fish schools, including mullet and menhaden. One afternoon, I caught a glimpse of a sea turtle coming up for a breath. When Colin and Justine cast the fishing lines, they caught speckled trout, croaker, pinfish, cigar fish, and blue fish.
Early one morning, at about 4:30 a.m., we woke to the noise of something hitting the hull. After a few moments of listening, we both felt like we were hearing the shell of a sea turtle bumping the boat. Wil tip-toed up on deck and shone a flashlight towards the source of the noise. To his surprise, there was not a sea turtle, but hundreds of ribbon fish (Atlantic Cutlassfish) darting through schools of smaller fish and snatching them in their mouths. He called me on deck to have a look, as well. As this feeding frenzy occurred, fish were literally swimming straight into the sides of our hulls. These voracious attacks died down by the time the sun came up, and the waters were quiet again. The only evidence remaining was three dead fish with bite marks (a mullet, a ballyhoo, and a glass minnow) found on our transoms.