We are so happy to announce the arrival of our latest crew member. To see more photos of Baby Hermit, you can go here.
Someone took my pen.
Why does it bother me so, I have this attachment to a generic little pen.
I know there is another one just like it in the supply closet, yet it is hard to fight the urge to yell “Give me back my pen”
It was my pen.
I’d grown attached to it over the last few days.
I should be excited about having a brand new pen, but I really really really want my pen.
And no, I don’t need to use it right now, in fact I’m currently using a pencil.
I will only feel better when I know that my pen is back in the place where it belongs, in my “pen cup” next to the rest of my pens….
So it’s a little late coming, but here’s the announcement: We’ve made it to Annapolis! After nearly 2,500 miles since March, some rough seas, some crazy storms, and a lot of beautiful sunsets, we’re finally at our new home. It still feels a little weird to think that we’re not moving again, but we’ve found a nice little marina in Eastport Annapolis (or for those in the know, the Maritime Republic of Eastport), and we’re really excited about the neighborhood and the town. It seems like we’ve finally found the small town feel we’ve grown accustomed to, but with the big city conveniences right at our fingertips. As far as cruising is concerned, Annapolis has it all. There’s vendors and services for everything boat related. There’s lots to do in walking distance, and it’s very dog friendly. There’s good food and almost all of the restaurants we’ve seen aren’t chains or franchises. We are only an hour away from our family, so that’s pretty nice too. We’re worried about our first winter in 3 years, but I’m sure we’ll toughen up in time. So that’s the scoop. Stop on by and we’ll show you the town and share a story or two.
We decided to take a detour from the ICW to spend a few days hanging out in New Bern and catching up with our friends Jim and Kendra. New Bern is the second oldest city in North Carolina and was named after the Swiss capital, Bern. We had a great time. Got to see where Pepsi was first created. To see more photos of New Bern, click here.
So far, Cape Fear has lived up to it’s name. The good ship Altair has been through many scary moments, some have left her crew quaking in their shoes, but none as scary as what was experienced this morning.
We safely arrived in North Carolina the morning of June 20, and had plans to make it all the way to Carolina Beach, but some nasty looking thunderstorms forced us to anchor early in a not so protected creek near the cape fear river. Early this morning we decided to pull up both anchors and head to Carolina Beach before the predicted afternoon thunderstorms. Mother nature however could not wait to way lay us and just as we turned into the Cape Fear River she came at us with full force. There were dark sinister clouds and lightning crashing all around us. We decided that we weren’t going to make Carolina Beach and fearing a lightning strike decided to anchor quickly in the lee of Battery Island.
Some would say Battery Island got it’s name for some military term but to us it will forever be the island that battered us. We very naively thought that our only worry would be the lightning, so we set down one anchor and waited for the storm to pass. We were inside starting to make breakfast when our anchor drag alarm started beeping and all of the sudden we were healing (leaning for non-sailors) 20 degrees to starboard and as we watched our speed on the gps pick up to 2 knots (remember at this point we shouldn’t be moving) we heard “thump, thump, thump”. We looked out the window and saw sand a couple of feet away. Nate quickly ran up to the deck to throw our second anchor (luckily still sitting up on deck from an hour earlier) to make sure that we didn’t become a permanent fixture of Battery Island. The wind kept pushing, the rain came down, the hail was the size of golf balls, and we kept on pushing further up the island. When we finally came to terms with our situation we were glad that we payed the $120 bucks for Tow-Boat U.S. Suddenly the wind changed direction 180 degrees and Altair was now healing 20 degrees to Port, we heard the blades of the wind generator shatter and as we tried to assess the situation we were suddenly afloat again.
The rain continued but the winds calmed down enough for us to start the engine, pick up both anchors, and move farther away from the rocks that we previously thought (hoped) were sand bags. The wind started to pick up, the current was strong, and the rain was cold. We circled around fighting the winds and the current to find a “safer” anchorage. This time we dropped two anchors one with 200 feet of chain and the other with 200 feet of rode. We were not going to end up on the island again!
When the worst of the storm finally passed we took a look at the damage. Our wind generator was broken (luckily we bought extra blades), our sun tarp was shredded, our dinghy had been flipped over and was floating mostly under water. But we were ok and our boat was afloat. From the traffic we heard on the radio, we were very lucky. There were boats that were capsized, tons of boats that were aground, and some even sank. The report was that a tornado vortex passed right over us. The winds were clocked at 60 knots, the hail was 3/4 inch, and who knows how much rain fell. You can see below we were in the middle of the pink triangle (tornado vortex) G2. We didn’t know it, but pink triangles are evil and should be avoided at all cost. And no, we didn’t purposefully go out into this storm, we really did think we had about 6 hours before it hit. Had we seen this radar image we would have enjoyed our breakfast and slept in a bit longer before the panic ensued. There was no getting away from it unless we were back in Rio Dulce.
As you might have seen from our photos, most of them are of beautiful days. That’s because we’re usually peeing our pants during the rough stuff and a camera is the last thing on our mind. Today was no different. We did however get some before shots and some after shots. Had we had the presence of mind to take photos during the worst, they would have been blurry, they would not show much since visibility was 10 inches, and well we’re not ready to show you our scared faces. For more photos of the storm click here.
Even though we regretted picking up the anchor earlier that morning, we heard traffic on the radio of several boats running aground right where we had been anchored. So we guess things actually worked out for the best. We back tracked a few miles to find a nice little hurricane hole, where we’ve thrown down both anchors and have planned to live out the rest of our days worry free. Or at least rest for a couple of days.