No Fear in Cape Fear

          Tuesday, November 15.

          According to our insurance company, it's the end of hurricane season. In practice, all that means is that now if we sustain wind damage, they'll pay for it. It's time to head south despite Wilmington's continued lovely weather.

          In truth, we wouldn't have been ready before now.

          Here's how we spent the past two weeks:
          Sorting and cataloguing (and often puzzling over) spare parts, charts and pilots.
          Putting them all away again.
          Five trips to West Marine (in a borrowed BMW convertible), where we have achieved patron status. Our next goal is to have a store named after us.
          Figuring out how to register a dinghy and doing it.
          Figuring out what the US Coast Guard requires, like life vests, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers, and complying.
          Walking into town to use library internet and enjoy Wilmington's diversity and southern warmth. They're filming a Colin Firth movie and a tv show, One Tree Hill. (Anyone heard of it?)
          Fixing the electric roller furler and mounting the giant headsail.

          So, really, preparations to leave aren't much different than going on vacation -- pack your stuff, pay your bills, return books and movies to the library and go. Right?  

          Well, a couple of extra chores. First we had to get out of our slip in a north-facing corner of a south-flowing river with a big tide and strange currents. It had to be done at slack water -- a neutral period during which the water is allegedly quiet. That didn't arrive as scheduled, so we waited around watching the current until it dropped enough to maneuver, then swung Hanalei out into the river. This would have been a lot easier had I known Stephan had taken the boat out of gear, but it was doubly impressive that we made it out without hitting any power boats or drifting into the nearby bridge.
          When we were about ready to leave, there was the tide to consider. We wanted to leave at high tide to take advantage of the ebb current, but still needed to make our next port before dark.

          Then there was the Cape Fear Memorial bridge. It's an elevator bridge that slides up for ships to pass, but the operators need three hours notice to raise it.


          Here it is on its way back down as seen from our cockpit. You're looking at it over the mizzen boom, top of (now-legal) dinghy and a hint of the dinghy motor mounted on a side rail.

          From 1 pm to 4, we had a pretty nice drive downriver making 8 knots with the current. We even put up the genoa for a few minutes so we could pretend we were sailing. 

          Oh, when you hear a horn blast behind you, it's best to look around. The vehicle that wants to pass is not a Nash Rambler.


          About a half-hour before we were to arrive at the beach town of Southport, we started hearing chatter on the radio between freighter and tanker captains about the pea-soup fog offshore, stuff like, "Hope there ain't no spot fisherman out heah, cuz I shore wunt see'm."  

          Fog rolled in like in San Francisco at 4 pm. It was time to ditch the river and duck into Southport marina for the night, just before the rain began.


Hi Christine. Nice post -looks like you are in for a wonderful journey. I didn't know you had to register a dinghy! Charlotte Morganti - sorry, can't figure out how to tell the blog that I'm not anonymous....

Whoa! Those freighters are massive. I really hope you don't have any repeats of the Gibraltar (?) incident described in your book. So glad you are on Hanalei and having an adventure. What did you name the dinghy? Or is that a family Thanksgiving dinner conversation? Love you!!

 We're all agreed. The dinghy has to be Bali Hai.

Hi, Christine,

Even getting away from the dock sounds like an adventure, but your love of sailing shines through the entire post. Enjoy and Happy Thanksgiving. Judy

What a gorgeous boat. I've never been sailing, but just imagining life on Hanalei stirs that more youthful part of me into learning how. Great report, Christine, and I can't wait to read the continuing saga!

Nice freighter shot, mom.

What's up with that? At least maybe it's warm rain. Weather forecast says we might get snow in Bellingham on Saturday. I hope that's WRONG. Thanks for the mini-adventure! --Pam

I have no idea what you are talking about but it sounds like fun. I wish I knew how to sail and talk sailing stuff. While you're in Savannah try Aligator Soul for dinner (Pink House is also good) and Mellow Mushroom for pizza. Also read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil if you haven't done that already, and you'll feel like a native. Mike

 Thanks! Southport is full of retired hoarders (aka antique shops) and I found a copy of Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil. Pretty sure it will keep me awake during my watches -- or anything else.

Feels like Whidbey days hearing about your latest cruising' adventures. XXOO Stay safe.

Christine, You just confirmed for me that being on your sailboat is like being in a foreign country: I do not belong in a sailboat on the water...on land in dry dock, yes..water, no! I do not understand 'sailing terminology' I'd be on hyper-alert the whole time sailing How long did it take you to relax enough to enjoy your trips? I always had this romantic idea that sailing would be pleasant, carefree and kicking back. Your posting reads like a lot of work! I think I'd be the kind of person who would want to hire a captain, crew and cook! Safe journey! Donna Perugini

       You know, any completely new perspective takes a lot of processing. I appreciate that you are reading despite an allergic reaction to water. Sailing is often pleasant, so check back in later to see when it does. By the way, I wouldn't mind having a cook, either. Meanwhile, Southport restaurants do awesome cheese grits.

Thank you for including us in your journey, Christine. Be safe and write, write and write some more! Michael

How exciting! I'm looking forward to following your adventure. --Kelly

Hi Christine. You capture the details and excitement of your journeys so well. Can't wait to read more. -Joe P. (Can't figure out the anonymous thing either)

Love your spirit - this is a perfect match - to strike out on an expedition in high gear. You can notice bridges under construction and chatter about fog, and see slight turns in an adventure. Would you be willing to run for President?

Keep safe. Guard yourself well. This world needs your courage.

The photos are great, but of course I love your descriptions and humor also. Heck, I can hear your voice as I read this. I'm doing Nano this year -- I'm remembering you at this time LAST year. Maybe next November I'll be on a boat! -- see you when you return (that is happening, right?) -- Mattie

Hey, it sounds as if you are off on a grand adventure. Can't wait to read more about it.