Co26 Chapter 3

Path

I don’t remember exactly how it happen, but I do remember that when I’ve untied from Bika for the night their anchor line got caught on my rudder.

We’ve tried several things to get it out without diving but darkness was upon us.

Nobody really like to go diving in the ocean while not being able to see your own feets. Actually, even in day light, I really feel unconfortable when in the water I will do it for 2 reasons: get food or repairs.

Henrik gave me a big spot light so I can see what’s going on, while in the same time we’ve heard his wife jumping over board, sacrificing herself to free us.

I will always remember, me with that big spot light in my hand discovering a beautiful Norwegian women swimming naked and freeing my rudder. It was priceless, specially the moment her husband seen it too and regreting that he gived me the light to help her see something and was asking it back…

We’ve listened the weather together in the next morning. I didn’t like it much because of a tropical storm that was going on our path. Bika said they just “exagerate” the thing, so we left together that day. The sailing was great, full sails up going at hull speed in a beautiful sunny day.

Several times I’ve had a gut feeling in my adventures, and this was one. While I was out of the reefs and ready for the crossing, I’ve decided to turn back and wait it out. As a matter of fact, the tropical storm grew stronger and went right where I was supose to be in 2 days. Talking with Bika after their crossing, they were right into it. Sometime you just have to trust your instinct as long you don’t mistook it with just plain fear.

Remote country are a pain to get parts, sometime it’s a complicated task just to find a screw or a bolt. At that time I was cruising with charts on computer only, and yes you have it my computer was dead. Before Bika left I’ve borrow them a cruising book and sketched a chart for this crossing, so I have at least something to plot a estimated position on and get some kind of bearing to follow.

So I’ve left with my compass, some dead reckoning ambition and my strange looking chart. The sailing started nicely and steady with a nice SW/SE wind of 10/15 knots the whole way. I think I was becalmed only 6 or 7 hours in the entire trip.

I remember doing some crazy speed while I was in my friend the Gulf Stream, it was also the only time that I’ve seen so many dolphins!

They were at least 30, swimming and surrounding Joshua from everywhere. One jumped so close and high I was sure to catch him on deck, they are nice animal and I love the way they look at you right in the eyes with as much curiosity that you have for them.

It is interesting to navigate with no way of telling really where you are. During that time I was seeing some planes going over me, which was confirming my dead reckoning and, between you and me, I had to hit land one day or the other even if I end up being in Nova Scotia or Greenland.

I knew approximately where the big international airport was, and I’ve started to see some planes going by at the same hour every day toward the same direction, It helped to know I was on the right path or where I was.

As the sailing was going well and I was at peace out there I’ve try to push forward for the Cap Hatteras in hoping to reach New York. Once at this point the wind just shifted North and grew stronger. I’ve tacked for about 20 hours without doing a single mile forward. The wind was just too strong and waves too steep (Wind against current). I’ve decided it was time to wait it out, turned downwind and started looking for the first inlet I could find along the coast.

It was the night and everything was calmer now (Going downwind), I was at a approximate 5 miles from the coast judging by the lights and it seemed a safe distance for me…

Do you ever heard of the “Cap lookout”?

Well it’s does have a good name for it, it’s a shallow bar stretching a bit over 5 miles offshore. When Joshua was on the top of the waves everything was alright, but when in the low of two, at my great surprise not having a clue what the coast look like, the boat hit the ground so badly, it throw me off my feet and across the boat.

Raising on the next wave, reaching a good speed, and hitting the bottom once again. I don’t have a clue how the boat survived this, but I was unable to turn back with the Genoa up going downwind. I didn’t have any charts or a clue to pin point a accurate position or a way to know where to head if I do change directions. I thought to myself, it shouldn’t be for too long so I just better hold to it and keep going straight(There was nothing I could do anyway).

On the fourth or fifth grounding it stopped, no water was coming in, my heart got older of at least 10 years with a few gray hair that appeared but it was done and over… Navigating in the dark, not knowing what the bottom look like (No deep sounder) or not having a clue where you really are is a experience hard to explain. But it does give you a taste of what Columbus and his ancestor was living while discovering the world.

In the first morning light, I’ve spotted the Beaufort Inlet, and followed the fisherman to get in and found a little bay where the hook was dropped and a nap was underway. Coast guard woke me up and after some chating they were speechless after I told them my last days adventure. They gave me a brand new chart of the area, helped with formalities and wished me welcome.

 

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