We were supposed to travel back to Ocracoke for the holiday weekend. I was feeling ambivalent since we had already spent three days there last weekend, but what the heck, I do love Ocracoke. So when Bryce said that we were going to sail back there again on Friday morning, it was fine and I was psyched.
It is always hard to get dockage on a holiday weekend and our generator decided to die, which meant that if we didn’t want to roast and be conservative with power while sitting on anchor in Silver Lake, we better leave very, very early in the morning. So yesterday morning we got up at 3:15 and left our dock a half hour later. We noticed that the wind was blowing much harder than the weather forecast had predicted, but heck, we are a blue water boat and should be fine.
When we got out in the middle of the river and put the boat on autopilot, the chart-plotter kept trying to send us back to Oriental. Bryce had to keep re-programming it, probably about three times. Then it started to get choppy and the boat was taking lots of blue water over the bow. We had the windshield wipers going so we could see where we were heading, I was holding the dog in my lap so she would not fall and get hurt with the motion of the boat as she slammed down on waves, we were taking in some water on the galley floor from water being shipped into the dorades, and our power cord that we had coiled up on the bow was perilously shifting around and in danger of falling overboard and fouling the prop. In addition, the motion of the boat made it difficult to fix breakfast, so Bryce and I nibbled on granola bars. But as we looked at the radar and listened to the VHF radio conversations from other boats also on their way to Ocracoke, we realized that we were going to be at the head of the pack (of sailboats, anyway) and would most assuredly get dockage. The boat was flying at 7.5 knots in spite of beating into the wind on engine alone.
Then as we left the river and got into the Pamlico Sound, the boat’s motion got worse and although we knew that we could make it, we asked ourselves if we were having fun—definitely not! I admit, I am a fair weather sailor—I don’t like putting my body into a washing machine on the spin cycle. So we turned the boat around and headed back up river (I think our autopilot and chart plotter were right when they tried to do this earlier!).
So here we are in beautiful Beaufort, tied up to the town docks and loving every minute of it! Sometimes Plan B is the better plan.