"A Passage to Oriental"
| Crew Member: ||Jason|
| Location:||Fort Lauderdale, Florida to Oriental, North Carolina|
| Photo Album:||The Carolinas|
Fishing the Atlantic
Typical Swing Bridge On The ICW
Dredging the Channel
No Caption Required
|We completed the passage from the Ft. Lauderdale to Oriental, North Carolina in 2 legs: a 5 day offshore jump to Wrightsville Beach followed by 3 days of motoring the ICW to Oriental.
The offshore section of the passage from Florida to the Carolinas was mostly uneventful. After our trek across the gulf, a mere 5 days offshore seemed a breeze. On the 3rd day out we did have another encounter with equipment failure. The gooseneck broke free. The gooseneck is a swivel that connects the boom to the mast. (If you don’t know what a boom or a mast is, there's no hope you’ll ever grasp this stuff, it's probably best to abandon this entry and look at the pictures)The boom fastens to the gooseneck with a single, large bolt. On Day 3 we appeared to be missing this bolt. The end result was our mainsail was fully raised up the mast, but the boom was swinging around drunkenly, completely unhinged. The repair proved far less dramatic than we expected. I frantically unpacked everything in our starboard side storage locker (the tool chest was at the bottom of course) hopped up on deck, and quickly rammed a new carriage bolt through the hinge. I doubled up the repair with two locking nuts, and voila!, problem solved. If only every repair were so seamless.
On Day 5 the weather forecast forced us to alter our plans. It’s a good thing we left all schedules and itineraries behind us in Texas. The latest news from our digital weatherman Perfect Paul was that a “Tropical Wave" would be moving up the East Coast from the Bahamas; it would last 3 days. I haven’t a clue what a tropical “wave” is, but just sort of figured it must be a distant relative of the Tropical Storm and should be approached with caution. We abandoned the plan to sail to Cape Hatteras and instead make land at Wrightsville Beach near the Southern border of North Carolina. In truth, we’re not most sturdy, offshore passagemakers. It takes little more than the thought of hot showers and cold drinks for us to alter course.
We had several restful days sailing and anchoring behind a slew of lovely vacation homes along Wrightsville Beach. Many ICW anchorages are quiet and pristine, but can also leave you with the feeling that you’re camping in someone’s backyard. After a few days popping from one anchorage to the next we thought we ought to make haste for Oriental. We furled and covered the sails and fired up the motor for the remainder of our journey.
The ICW can be quite narrow at points, so while you’re protected from weather, it’s not always optimal for sailing. It might also be helpful to note, for those of you wondering just where the blazes this ICW starts and stops, that the Itracoastal Waterway is an interlinking series of manmade canals, natural rivers, and bays. It runs from Norfolk, VA to Brownsville, TX. Winding your way through the confines of the ICW often feels similar to driving down old rural farm roads. You see everything from large estates to abandoned relics of industries long dead. It’s also ideal terrain for fishing and hunting. At one point, we even passed through a firing range, set up across the river. We’re not sure what genius thought it a good idea to lob shells over the heads of recreational water traffic, but as one of the photos to the left illustrates, we were clearly warned.
We finally made Oriental by the end of the week and quickly made arrangements to leave the Lotus docked for one month. We were urgently missing the feel of land under our feet and thought it time to load up the packs and head for the nearby Appalachian hills.
Next on Life on the Lotus, Christine & Jason hike the Smoky Mountains. Tune in for a full account and accompanying photos.