Sunday, July 19, 2009

Our First Overnighter!

Well, we did it! We went out in the Atlantic, out of view of land and all other signs of civilization for over 25 hours! We made a jump from Fernandina Beach, Florida all the way to Charleston, South Carolina. That meant that we saved about 5 or 6 days of travel, and got to skip Georgia altogether!

Our trip had an interesting start. As we were heading out through the channel from Fernandina Beach we were approached by the Coast Guard in an armed boat! They advised us that they were on security detail for a nuclear submarine and we were to leave the channel and keep 1000 foot clearance. We followed their direction of course, but were still able to see the submarine and take pictures on the way by! Too cool!!

It was a beautiful day at sea, with very little wind, and 2-4 foot seas. We motor sailed quite comfortably. Once we got out far enough that we could hardly see land we were out of cell phone range. That's when it starts to feel very real for me. Bye, bye civilization, we're real sailors now!

The afternoon was lovely. I had a teeny bit of sea sickness, but as long as I stayed on deck and Andy tended to things below I felt pretty good. We had a pod of dolphins come alongside mid afternoon. That was like nothing I'd ever experienced before! Seven dolphins were playing all around our boat! They jumped and dived around the bow for a couple of hours!! It was incredible! Over the course of the trip two more pods of dolphins followed us, but not for quite as long as the first. Buddy and Charlie were fascinated! Charlie barked so much at them at one point that we feared he might jump right in after them! It was quite a sight!

Our trouble began when teething Henry was difficult to put to bed. I'm afraid I've started a bad trend with rocking and soothing Henry to sleep much too often. Now he is having trouble going to bed without it. This night was particularily bad, so I spent about 40 minutes in front of the V-berth trying to coax him to sleep and got extremely sea sick as a result. While I was in the cabin the wind and seas picked up quite a lot, and so I ended up bringing a still fussing Henry outside with me because I had begun to fear that he'd be thrown from one side of the v-berth to the other. At that point sea sickness got the better of me, and our poor cooler caught my lunch. Yuck!

Andy is such a sweetheart. Our plan had been to do shifts at the helm through the night of three hours on and three hours of sleep. Seeing the state that I was in he fed me Dramamine and sent me, Henry, Buddy and Charlie off to sleep in the aft cabin while he helmed the boat for the entire night. I felt much better after the Dramamine and slept off and on until morning. He set the alarm to wake him every 1/2 hour and slept in the cockpit.

Come morning I felt so much better. I was able to come back on deck and enjoy the rest of the journey. The seas were still rough, but not unbearable. We enjoyed some more marine life, as a huge sea turtle surfaced, then dove back into the depths. I had never seen a sea turtle in the wild. He was about 3 feet in diameter, and was only about 15 feet from the boat. It was amazing! We also saw schools of flying fish. They are quite magical to see.

After 25 hours at sea we pulled into Charleston at around 11:00am. We anchored in the anchorage across from their enormous marina, and enjoyed some much needed napping! Andy slept from 2:00pm until 7:00pm and felt like a new man.

All in all I think our first long voyage could be deemed a great success! My sea sickness is an ongoing battle, but I keep soldiering on and am sure it will get easier and easier. The time saved is immense, so I'm sure we will do a few more overnight trips before we get home. Time out at sea is also much more enjoyable than the ICW because it's easier to relax and leave the helm to live your life while you're out there. Being in the ICW feels more like driving a car. Someone has to be alert and at the helm at all times. There is so much traffic, and so many curves in the road! On this trip we had 20 hours between waypoints and no boats in sight! Talk about relaxing!

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