Weather Window OPEN! and Crew Scheduled to Arrive

The time has arrived and we are totally ready to put on our sailing pants and GO! This time next week we’ll be sitting in the sunny Abacos, Bahamas with rum punches in hand, sand on our toes, and fresh fish for dinner. Don’t worry, I’ll send along plenty of photos to rub it in…um, I mean to share our experience at these new (for us) set of Bahamaian islands.

Our friend, BMac, has enthusiastically volunteered to join us for this offshore passage. We’re happy to welcome him aboard! BMac got acquainted with Rode Trip last year while during our visit in Annapolis, MD he took the helm without hesitation. This will be our first time with crew aboard for an extended, offshore trip and we’re looking forward to extra hours of sleep, flawless sail changes, and swabbed decks from this greenhorn. Ok, I don’t want BMac jumping overboard before we arrive! Brian and I have selected our weather with BMac in mind with hopes that we’ll have a smooth sail. We’ll review safety, use of VHF, use of radar (we’ll all be getting a crash course in the newly installed AIS), basic windvane and sail adjustment, charting and log book entries, and very important use of the composting head. Certainly it won’t be all business, but our goal will be for BMac to experience the ocean safely and to participate in whatever aspects of cruising he is comfortable. Wish us luck!

The Cape Fear River, NC

Rode Trip set sail from Oriental…well, we fired up the Perkins and motored from Oriental to Beaufort via the good ‘ol Intracoastal Waterway.  We had a light wind forecast with 5-10 knot northwest winds.  Right on schedule, at sunset, we exited the Beaufort Inlet and set our sails for an overnight trip approximately 60 nm south to the Masonboro Inlet.  It was a cloudy, rainy night.  It was however calm and the forecast held true with light winds.  We set all the sails; full main, jib, and stay sail kept us moving at an average of 4 knots through the night.  At dawn the next morning we approached the Masonboro Inlet.

IMG_6706On a Saturday morning, the inlet was bustling with fishermen buzzing about in skiffs and fishing from the shoreline.

IMG_6707Once again we hopped onto the Intracoastal Waterway and motored into the Cape Fear River.  We had traveled for 25 hours, 100nm before we finally dropped the hook in the Brunswick River, a tributary, just prior to passing through Wilmington, NC.  We made sure to be well rested because the following day would be very exciting…

Our friends, Ren, Ashley, and their beautiful newborn baby girl, Ani were to meet us in Wilmington to guide Rode Trip up the Northeast Cape Fear River to their home.  We’d met Ren and Ashley (s/v Nila Girl) in Long Island, Bahamas and sailed along with them to Jamaica.  We were looking forward to our reunion and to meeting baby Ani.  We enjoyed the sights along Wilmington’s Cape Fear River waterway along the way to our rendezvous location.

State Port

State Port

 

Tugs at the ready for big ships' arrivals

Tugs at the ready for big ships’ arrivals.

 

Cape Fear Memorial Bridge

Cape Fear Memorial Bridge

 

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Battleship North Carolina

Battleship North Carolina

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Market Street Landing City Docks

Market Street Landing City Docks

Isabelle Stellings Holmes Bridge

Isabelle Stellings Holmes Bridge

We were the only boat in waiting for the 1400 opening of the Holmes Bridge (seen above). Rode Trip caused quite a stir to this bridge-tender’s day; he was relaying messages to us via the VHF from Ren, directing us to our rendezvous site, asking when we’d be passing through again…it’s not often that sailboats venture past this bridge.  The Northeast Cape Fear River is uncharted.  Aside from minimal commercial traffic and local fishermen this part of the river doesn’t get much action.  Once through the bridge we welcomed aboard Ren, Ashley, and Ani.

IMG_6736When we weren’t chattering away, catching up on our respective adventures, we were admiring the beautiful scenery along the river.  And, of course, admiring Ani experiencing her very first boat ride!  She even took a turn at the tiller.

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Ren guided us along the winding river with his local knowledge and use of an Army Corps of Engineers chart of recorded shoaling.  The river was plenty deep for Rode Trip; 30 feet in most areas.  We traveled 22 miles through wilderness.  This route is s/v Nila Girl’s home stretch when returning from the sea.  We anchored Rode Trip right in Ren and Ashley’s backyard (or I should say back river) and settled into our peaceful new resting place.