Almost July

Hello everyone,

I know it is not quite July yet but, while Murray works on re-plumbing the head, I thought I would stay out of the way and bring you all up to date on ” travels with Windswept IV”.

In company with Shivaree ( John & Kristin ), we explored Charleston for a few days. The Around Alone boats were still at the marina, so we chatted to some skippers and spent some time examining gear on these vessels. Some were very high tech looking but at least two looked like old IOR boats and more resembled the boats that we were used to seeing. The tent, where souvenirs of the race were sold, was closing up soon and the bargains were flying. Even us cheap cruisers couldn’t resist! I bought a jacket for Murray and then returned the next day and bought three more- for myself, Jeremy and Steve.

We had hoped to sail outside to Beaufort, NC but the weather report for the next few days was not favourable with strong NE winds ( guess which way we wanted to go – NE ! ). So, we girded our loins and headed into the ICW and through our first opening bridge in 7 months. The weekend is not a good time on the ICW with many boats and waterskiers and personal watercraft and fisherman etc etc. So, we hid in a creek near McClellanville. On Sunday, we dighyed to town for lunch in a converted general store. What a quaint little town and a great lunch. There was a place nearby that cultivates butterflies and had some beautiful specimens on the walls. I became entranced and chatted away to the owner. When I finally caught up with the rest, we went looking for fresh shrimp. On Sunday, in the South. But we did find someone who sold us a few shrimp for our dinner.

Up early the next morning, we caught a favourable current and traveled 76 miles to Barefoot Landing, Myrtle Beach. I thought I caught a glimse of the rare Ivory-billed Woodpecker in the forests on the edge of the Waccamaw River. Murray didn’t see it in the binoculars, so it is not confirmed. But, the colour and size and everything was right, so I got very excited. Another early morning, and we made 80 miles to Wrightsville Beach the next day. Then, with a good wind, we sailed outside to Beaufort NC. Downwind, but better than motoring. In fact, the boats in the ICW were held up due to firing on the range in Camp Lejeune area. Murray tried his hand at fishing again and caught 2 Spanish mackerel – one 30 inches, one 36 inches! The freezer is jammed!

Beaufort was crowded as usual, but such a nice place to visit that we stayed 4 days. Shivaree had some major head problems there and spent all day buried in the bowels of the boat. The museum loaned us the car again and we re-stocked on the necessities of life – bread and beer! Murray kids me that a small shopping of bread and milk is a standard $150! Actually he is pretty close. When you get in a great grocery store, you just have to buy stuff because who knows when you will see it again!

Eventually, we moved on to make quick stops in Oriental and Bellhaven. Howard & B Goodwin, from Goodwinds, came down from their new home in Washington, NC to have a brief visit and drive us around Bellhaven. It was wonderful to see them again.

Shivaree convinced us that we had to visit Elizabeth City, NC even if we didn’t travel through the Dismal Swamp. So, that was our next stop. It was rainy and windy and cool. Sweatshirts were dug out and even sweatpants showed up briefly. Elizabeth City is lovely. There are free docks and a wine and cheese party if more than 5 boats arrive. Each woman is given a rose from the garden. And the town is very close and everyone extremely friendly.

Well, we did go through the Dismal Swamp and it is very lovely, but…. We hit submerged objects 3 times and once the object hit our prop. No damage done, but I think that was the first and last trip through. There was several free docks, the lock tenders were very friendly, and the scenery and bird-life were beautiful, so if you don’t draw 6 feet, it is a great trip. The canal itself was dug by hand in the 1700’s as a commercial shipping route. The development of the shorter Virginia Cut route and the single Lock at Great Bridge spelled the demise of the Dismal Swamp Canal. Since that time, the locks have been reduced to two only and it has become mostly a pleasure-boat canal.

Hampton, VA was as welcoming as usual and Shivaree left us here as they have many miles to travel back to Lake Huron. The two boats had traveled together since the end of March and had many adventures along the way. We will miss their company. We tried to console ourselves by visiting West Marine and spending $$$.

Now, we are anchored off at York River Yacht Haven and preparing for haul out next week. Depending on arrangements, we may leave the boat here and travel to Ontario. Meanwhile, we wash and wax and shine and paint. All the things that Ontario sailors do in the cold spring. But, it is so much easier to wax in the warm. But, not too warm, I hope!!

Hope everyone remains well and is enjoying the lovely summer weather. All the best to you.

Heather & Murray Rand
aboard Windswept IV
Ham Radio VE3 ZUA

June Position Report

Hello everyone,

Well, we enjoyed some lovely times in the Abaco Islands – catching up with old friends, making new ones, walking the beaches and finding lovely shells, swimming and even some shopping. John & Kristen ( aboard Shivaree ) sailed with us and each adventure was more fun as we could share it with friends.

Karen & Kelly Hansen , from Sarnia and friends of Brian & Kathy on Tundra, had rented a lovely little spot on one of the Parrot Cays near Hope Town. As part of their luggage, they brought down Murray’s motor mounts to replace the one that was broken. It was great to see them, both the Hansen’s and the motor mounts.

Murray spent many hours huddled over the engine and buried in the starboard locker, muttering to himself and me, as we attempted to replace the mounts. We were at anchor in Marsh Harbour and used the boom again to raise the engine so that the mounts could be accessed. But, the wake of passing boats made life difficult and fingers in grave danger. It took most of the day, but the mounts were finally installed. Next, to align the prop shaft. He had trouble getting that as perfect as he wanted and we still had some vibration under power.

After a quick visit to Man-of-War to pick up our repaired jib sail ( ouch, $$$$ ), we anchored in Crossing Bay, Great Abaco. I had bought some steaks and romaine to celebrate our 32nd anniversary with a special dinner. But, on the way, we caught the largest mutton snapper that we ever seen! It weighed 12 lbs! The biggest we had caught before was an eight pounder. So, I stuck the steaks back in the freezer, invited John and Kristen for a fish dinner. It was a lovely evening with only three boats in our anchorage.

Just a couple of days prior to our anniversary was the second anniversary of our move aboard. So, we re-evaluated our decision and decided that we were still ” having fun” and would like to continue this lifestyle.

The next couple of days were spend looking for shells on and in the water near Spoils Island. Murray is sure that the boat will sink from the weight of the shells aboard ! But, I cannot resist. He is just as bad as I am, in fact. He had found some of the most beautiful ones, especially while snorkeling.

As the anchorage was becoming rolly, we passed through the Whale Cut and headed for Green Turtle on May 21st. On the radio, we managed to contact friends on Jazzbrek ( Larry & Phyllis ). They were dog sitting at a house in White Sound and invited us to use a mooring there. With the winds predicted to hit 35+ knots, we took the mooring. Of course, the wind didn’t come, but we got to visit with Phyllis and Larry and to hear of their adventures in Cuba. Sounds like a good place to visit – maybe next year.???

We left White Sound on May 24th and anchored off of the town on New Plymouth. A little time spent snorkeling and the bottom of Windswept was clean again. When the stores opened in the morning, we made a quick dash ashore to top up the food aboard. Then we hauled anchor and sailed to Moraine Cay in preparation for an early exit out over the reef. But, the weather report was not favourable, so plans changed again. The anchorage was becoming much too rolly, so we sailed off again to Great Sale Cay and started to think of heading towards Florida instead of further north.

In the morning, the weather reports changed again and we had favourable conditions! So, the anchor was hauled and we sailed ( tacked ) towards Walkers Cay, 22 miles away. Dodging sand bars, we finally made the open ocean by 2:30 pm. Now, we are really underway – am I ready for this?? I did manage to make some meals ahead, but not as much as I had intended as things kept changing and we were heeling too much to go below and bake.

We sailed until dusk when the wind died a little. In fact that happened each night of the three that we sailed north. In the morning as the sun rose, so did the wind. Murray and I took turns sleeping. The moon was full during our passage and there was very little traffic in the area of the ocean that we passed through, so, although we could see almost as well as daytime, there was little to see. We had two visitation with dolphins. One group of about 50+ spent some time. But the spotted ones that came on the last day, stayed for 30 minutes or more. They played on the bow wave and rolled on their sides to look at these strange creatures watching them.

We ate very simple meals as I couldn’t spend long times below. But, we did eat and sleep. And enjoyed the passage very much.

Due to wind etc, we decided to head for Charleston, SC . Shivaree followed us and we entered in the dark at midnight on the third day. We had come 380 miles, only 156 with motor assistance.

Now we will enjoy the sights of Charleston and, if the weather co-operates, sail outside to Beaufort, NC ( approx 200 miles away ).

That all of the news to date. Keep well everyone.

Heather & Murray

Heather & Murray Rand
aboard Windswept IV
Ham Radio VE3 ZUA