Sunday, May 6, 2012

Back on Course

During our brief break we managed to achieve our objectives back home in Panama. Briefly, our new neighbour upstairs has been remodelling his apartment and careless workers had caused some flooding over the past few months..............the end result being that we needed to re-tile part of our kitchen and a bathroom - at our neighbour's expense. What a pain, but once again our friend Jacinto (with faithful Pedro at his side ) has completed the repairs. I will try to impress upon the excitable Spaniard upstairs that water is subject to gravitational force, duh.

While we were watching the effect of gravity on our wall tiles Last Mango was being attended to by James Knight, his business being NordhavnOnly/Yacht Tech. There were something like 25 Nordhavns at Old Port Cove, and James is the reason they are there. In no time at all Last Mango was hauled and carefully inspected by James and his team; a pro-active maintenance work list was produced to deal thoroughly with some important but often overlooked items. Apart from all below-the-waterline maintenance, we now have improved sea-chest fittings; new stabilizer seals; new pumps and hoses; and last but not least, a new anchor, "Rocky".

Rocky replaces the standard CQR which Nordhavns are usually supplied with. Whereas the CQR is 170 lbs, this Rocna weighs 254 lbs and quite a number of the 55's have them; they set extremely well and hold better, so we welcome Rocky to the team. We tested him outside OPC and he was indeed most reluctant to be shifted from the mud. While at OPC we have once again made more Nordy friends: Bradley and Kathy on "Sheer Madness" ( all boats probably should have that name) and Bill and Rosie on Nexus.
Looking ahead to the year's schedule and the cruising plans we started factoring in all the ingredients........... the most important factor in East Coast cruise strategy is that just offshore one has one's own personal boat travelator - the Gulf Stream. Once in it, you get a 3 knot boost to anywhere, so the sensible thing to do is to hurry North offshore but to meander South inshore on the ICW. So after waiting a couple of days for weather to pass, we embarked OPC, Florida and plotted a course for Beaufort, North Carolina, a distance of 530 miles. It was a good journey completed in 55 hours, weather was choppy at the beginning but for most of the way we had calm conditions - good timing because here in Beaufort we have had a couple of storms through.

Beaufort was founded in the early 1700's and is careful to preserve
its heritage. It reminded me of somewhere like Tenterden, Kent; wide streets of white clapboard houses. The town is small and mainly around the waterfront; quiet, 25 mph speed limit - no-one is in a hurry - no dog mess, rubbish, parking meters; no Macdonalds, KFC, Subway. Plenty of history here, since the town is just inside Beaufort Inlet - the first place of safety you get to from Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Atlantic. The wreck of Blackbeard's ship, Queen Anne's Revenge, lies just offshore. The Union forces ran the blockade of the South from here. We got the bikes out and did the trail around the town; plenty of quiet streets and historic property. And the Beaufort Grocery Company is a great place for brunch.........

Looking at the schedule ahead, the current plan is to head inland from here on the ICW and get to the Chesapeake Bay area. The alternative to the ICW is to head back outside and round Cape Hatteras, but with the current weather that is not an option. We have looked at the cruising guide for the Chesapeake and we

estimate that we could easily cruise there for the next two or three weeks. After that, our plan is to get to Newport, RI and leave Last Mango for a few weeks while we head off to England for family visits. Beyond that we will cruise more of the Atlantic coast.
Tomorrow the weather looks ok so we will leave early and head inland, keeping a careful eye on the depth sounder and checking off those channel markers.

1 comment:

  1. Good to have you back on the water. Thanks for sharing your adventures with we dirt dwellers!