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w.o.w. is WOW! (part one)

Posted by on July 21, 2012

Wow! Our word of the week (w.o.w.) is WOW!

I don’t even know where to begin. The experiences on this trip were WOW! I fully expected this trip to be “old hat”. We’ve sailed the east coast quite a few times, so we are familiar with the many sights and sounds in this part of the North Atlantic. At the same time, we knew that all of it would be new to the kids, and we would get to experience the trip through their eyes. Little did we know, we’d experience a few firsts ourselves.

The first couple of days were a very gentle introduction to offshore sailing for the kids. The winds were light (5-10 knots) and the seas were relatively flat (1-2 feet). In fact (although Colin would beg to differ), the whole trip couldn’t have been more perfect for the kids. We were also thankful for the gentle conditions while we became reaquainted with the boat again.

As we sailed out the inlet, our excitement couldn’t be contained. Wow! We were thrilled to be sailing again. Almost immediately, dolphins came to swim in our bow wake. The kids identified some of them as Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, but we also saw a few other types. I can’t count how many times we called out that dolphins were coming. If the kids were inside, they’d grab their life jackets and head for the bow. They never tired of the many wildlife sightings, and there were some good ones (as you’ll see in part two of this post). We also caught a false albacore tuna that first afternoon, but we tossed it back because they are a little too fishy for our taste buds.

Justine learning the helm

dolphin watching










watching for dolphin

dolphin in our bow wake








Before we departed Beaufort, I had thought about how cool it would be if Wil’s mom and step-dad could fly over us and take a picture of us from above. We never had a chance to talk to them about it, so it was quite exciting when we were suddenly being buzzed from the air by a familiar plane. And now we have an awesome photograph! They circled us a few times before heading back to the mainland.

feeling a little green

Later on that first day, Colin had been in his hot cabin just a tad too long. He suddenly appeared in the cockpit looking a little green. We had him go forward to the trampolines, so he could get plenty of fresh air. As we were sailing between Beaufort and Cape Lookout, we had the wind on our nose, so the motion was a bit unsettling for all of us. It’s been 3 years since we’d felt the boat move! Once we rounded Cape Lookout, and had a better angle to the wind, the ride was a lot more comfortable. Even so, both kids slept on the floor of the cockpit for the first night. Neither one wanted to chance staying inside for too long.

During our first night out, my nerves started to get the best of me. I knew we were getting ready to round Cape Hatteras, something we usually try to avoid. Cape Hatteras is known for having its own weather pattern, and many times the conditions can be rough or currents strong. To our surprise, this time it was dead calm and we had to motor the entire way past the Cape. A huge sigh of relief!

The second day was pretty much like the first day. Light winds, calm seas, and more dolphin sightings, along with some flying fish. However, Wil and I were already starting to drag from our first night on watch. We kept our 4-hour watch cycle. Wil 4 – 8 p.m., Jenny 8 p.m. – 12 a.m., Wil 12 – 4 a.m., Jenny 4 – 8 a.m., and so on. Unfortunately, our autopilot is still not functioning, so we had to keep hands on the helm for the entire 4 days. Since the seas were calm, we even attempted a re-calibration by doing a few circles, but that didn’t seem to be the problem. We didn’t have the proper manual onboard, so we were going to have to wait until we had internet access for further investigation.

keeping the feet cool

sunrise on Jenny's watch

By the second night, all tummies were starting to feel better. However, Colin still preferred to sleep on the cockpit floor. We were amazed at how he was able to sleep. The wind was actually starting to strengthen that night, so we were having to do a few sail changes in the middle of the night. With all of our running around and sails flapping, the boy continued to sleep. At one point, I wondered if he was still breathing!

The following morning everything started to happen at once. The wind was blowing about 20 knots out of the southwest, but the swells were still out of the east. The wave height had gradually increased to 4-6 feet, and the seas were bumpy and confused. We finally had the wind we wanted, but the ride was a bit uncomfortable. Although not big waves, they were the biggest that the kids had seen, and the motion was really tough for them.

Colin wasn’t awake for very long, when he was suddenly green again. A small squall was approaching and Colin began vomiting. He had just finished one round with the trash can, when a mahi-mahi grabbed the hook. Between bouts of seasickness, Colin managed to reel in the big fish. Quite impressive!

Meanwhile, Justine who can’t stand for anyone to be sick, was in a state of panic and begging for her harness. She wanted to go forward to the trampolines. Never mind that we’d just caught a fish! Justine stayed on the foredeck for the entire day, and refused to come back. Even though I brought sunscreen to her, she was a tad sunburned by the end of the day. Fortunately, the seas gradually grew calmer and the wind subsided.

pulling in his first mahi-mahi

our catch for the week


to be continued . . . .

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