After getting Sophia settled we dropped off our luggage at the boat, started the air conditioner and turned on the newly installed refrigerator. We just had a cold plate installed in the ice box and now we no longer need to buy bags of ice every weekend. It actually gets cold enough to keep frozen items frozen, if they’re right next to the cold plate…Brrrrr.
Once our baggage was secure we left for Walmart to get provisions for the weekend. A working stove and ice cold fridge allow us a lot more options for staying and eating onboard and we were going to make the most of it.
Friday we woke an hour before sunrise to get a head start on the crowd heading to Cape Lookout. With it being a long weekend we knew it was going to get crowded. We showered, ate breakfast and started the engine to pull out into the Inter Coastal Waterway (ICW). The trip down the ICW was a smooth ride passing under a couple 65’ bridges and a raised railroad bridge before making it to the Atlantic to sail over to Cape Lookout.
When we pulled into Cape Lookout we anchored on the North side of the bay in 8’ of water. We dropped anchor and backed down to ensure it was set since we were planning on staying all night. I grabbed the snorkel and jumped in to check the anchor, look for shells and start getting some of the barnacles off the bottom of the boat. Lisa grabbed a kayak, her treasure wand (metal detector) and headed for the beach. She found three cans buried in the beach. It wasn’t quite the treasure she was wanting but she did find something.
When she paddled back to the boat Harry and Alisha were pulled up and tied to our stern. They stopped by to say hi and see what we were up to for the weekend. About 30 minutes into their visit Harry let me know that the depth finder in his dingy was reading 3.5’. This was about the time we also noticed the boat was no longer really swinging with the current. That’s right we were stuck in the mud. Luckily for us sailboats are built pretty well. The water eventually went out another foot before the tide turned and started coming back in. We ended up listing almost 20 degrees at low tide. After waking that morning at 5:30 we were now tiredly waiting for the tide to return. I think we broke free around 2230. So Lisa and I are now free and moving around Cape Lookout in the middle of the night trying to drop anchor again. This is made a little more difficult by our chart plotter. Apparently the designers at Standard Horizon didn’t think to put a dim switch on their chartplotter. Lisa was struggling to see me up at the bow while looking past the blinding light of the plotter. We did get set securely on the second pass to drop the anchor. Once we were set again, this time in 15’ of water, we cleaned up the boat and crashed for the night.
The next day we woke again at 0600 so we could head back to Morehead city and pick up Debbie and Dale, one of Lisa’s co-workers. We pulled into the Morehead Gulf Docks to grab a couple gallons of fuel and pick up our friends. Oh, but not so fast. First while transiting the narrow channel Lisa was making a 180 turn back to the dock and took her eyes off the depth finder for a minute while trying to avoid a hobbie cat and ran us aground. Yep, two times in one trip. This time though we stopped the boat immediately. Well, the boat stopped anyway. Lisa put in just a bit of reverse and I ran to the bow to try and rock the boat. We were also helped by a couple speed boats that came at the right time with the right wake and we rocked the bow down, Lisa felt the boat break free and gave it some gas in reverse. We were free again. We were only stuck for about 3 minutes this time around. It was becoming a rough weekend.
We picked up Debbie and Dale and all the desserts Debbie’s mother made for us. After getting topped off on fuel again we set sail back for Cape Lookout. It ended up being a great morning sail. The sun was peeking out making it not too hot and a nice 10-15 knot wind. We had the main and jib out up to the entrance of the channel. While we were furling in the jib the jib furling line tore. Luckily it didn’t break completely. The outer cover split leaving the core still intact. I went forward to coax it through the blocks so Dale and I could get the sail furled.
After fixing the latest issue we motored back into Cape Lookout and anchored back near our midnight anchor spot. We set the anchor again and we all got into the water for a little while. The wind was a bit stronger though and it wasn’t really kayak weather so we hung out on the boat ate, drank and splashed around the water. I double checked the keel bolts and dove under to look at the keel and rudder. There was no damage, but I’m glad I checked. Sinking due to damage to the hull is generally frowned upon while sailing. It was great having guests for the weekend but as most weekends go it ended too soon. We woke early, but not early enough. With the refrigerator running I wanted to get up at 0530 to start the engine and recharge the batteries. Unfortunately I didn’t hear the alarm and woke up around 0700. This was apparently too long for the batteries. We couldn’t get the diesel to turn over. We called TowboatUS for a jump and after waiting an hour they arrived, jumped us and we were on our way again. We dropped off our friends back in Morehead City and motored back home to Oriental.
We cleaned up the boat slept through the night and picked up Sophia on the way back home. It was a great end to the summer sailing season. Even though we had a few issues we got to know the boat and build some confidence with problem solving while on the boat. The grounding was stressful at first but there really was no danger of damage or injury. We just waited for the tide or backed off the sandbar. I will have to replace yet another line but so goes sailing.