We motor up the ICW to Wrightsville Beach, NC.
It’s the last place to re-provision before we hit the boondocks. We take a taxi to the grocery store and load up. We plan to get to Beaufort, NC the next day. It is our last opportunity to go out in the ocean on this leg of the trip. Matt says the weather looks good and that he wants to leave early. The next morning he nudges me and says it’s time to go. I groggily roll out of bed and get dressed, thinking that 5 am is damn early. I look at the clock … it’s only 3:15 am. We leave the dock at 3:45 am and head out the inlet. It is pitch black with only the lighted buoys and the chart plotter to guide us. I have new appreciation for how Matt does things. He insisted that we motor out to see the inlet on our way up the ICW yesterday. Coming in and going out to the ocean can be one of the most dangerous parts of sailing, beyond unexpected weather. This becomes obvious as we navigate in the dark. I think how foolhardy it is that some people will crew on anyone’s boat, without knowing what kind of person is captaining it. My trust in Matt in this area is 100%. In the late morning, we see three other sailboats far behind us. They are headed straight for Beaufort which indicates they are motor-sailing. Matt is a purist when it comes to this issue, “If you want to motor, why not just buy a trawler” he growls in irritation. There is not very much wind in the morning so we float along at 2 knots. It picks up in the afternoon, so much so that we decide to reef the mainsail and use the staysail instead of the jib. The ocean is lumpy for the last few hours. Everyone is either on deck or napping while we are underway as seasickness happens quickly down below. In between helping Matt tack or jibe, I entertain the boys by reading to them. At one point, Matt leaves me in charge so he can get a nap – I take this as a good sign, or maybe he’s just really, really tired. By the time we reach the channel, I’m more than ready to be done with the day. Thankfully, the marina we chose is the closest one to the channel. We get in about 16 hours after we set out, right on schedule. I compliment Matt on his ability to time our travels. We generally arrive at places within an hour, sometimes minutes, of his predictions. This is no easy feat given that dynamic variables such as the wind, tides, waves, bridges, etc. all play a part in this calculation. Matt looks at me and says, “I’m kind of like an idiot savant … except the savant part isn’t apparent most of the time.” [Below, the Captain on our mobile home].