Day 209, Year 10: Passage to Cape Cod, Day 5–FOG
Date: Thursday, May 7, 2015
Weather: Dense Fog; High Temp in the 60’s, Wind Variable to SW 5
Latitude: 40 13.119 N
Longitude: 072 35.614 W
Location: 35 Miles South of Moriches Inlet, Long Island, NY
We are sailing along the southern shore of Long Island and until just 10 minutes ago, we have been in dense fog since midnight. I guess 5 o’clock is good for something other than the start of Happy Hour. Evidently fog lifts at that time as well. It is now 5:10 pm and the fog is gone-just that quick. Somehow I think it will return tonight, but it is nice to at least start the evening being able to see. I really don’t like sailing the fog as it feels like sailing blind. We have been using the radar as our eyes and that is acceptable. But it means getting up and going downstairs to check the radar screen every 15 minutes. Oh well, I guess it’s a good exercise. Other than the fog, there has been little of note today. Mark’s shoulder is no better, but he does have more energy than he has for the past two weeks. This is good because he’ll need that energy with those three rowdy grandsons once we reach Cape Cod. We should be there sometime tomorrow afternoon. The NE winds on our nose clocked to the E and then on to the SW early this afternoon and we are once again making decent speed. The GPS tells me that at our current speed of 5.2 knots we should arrive in Quissett Harbor at 5:10 pm tomorrow afternoon. So 24 more hours and we are home!
Day 208, Year 10: Passage to Cape Cod, Day 4-Fighting Headwinds
Date: Wednesday, May 6, 2015
Weather: Sunny, but Cooler; High Temp in the Upper 60’s, Wind NE 10-15
Latitude: 38 49.800 N
Longitude: 074 22.439 W
Location: 15-20 Miles Offshore Between Cape Henlopen, DE and Cape May, NJ
Like much of this cruising season, we either have winds directly behind us or directly in front of us, both making sailing impossible. Today around noon the winds went instantly from behind to us in front of us and they will probably stay this way all night and possibly all day tomorrow. Sometime tomorrow or tomorrow night, they should go from the northeast back to the south or southwest. But in the meantime, we will be fighting headwinds and a strong counter current that comes and goes. We are currently motoring at 2600 RPM’s which is as high as we ever run and are only going about 4 knots. When the current turns, we will go back to 5 knots and when the winds are behind us again we can go anywhere from 5.5 to 6 knots. Yesterday when we were traveling between 5.5 and 6 knots, our arrival time in Quissett Harbor was late Friday afternoon. If we stay at the current 4 knots, we won’t be there until Saturday morning. So sometime in that period we should arrive at back at home base on Cape Cod. In the meantime, we’ll read our way north.
Day 207, Year 10: Passage to Cape Cod, Day 3—A Little Sailing
Date: Tuesday, May 5, 2015
Weather: Sunny and Warm (70’s F); Wind SW 15-20 Going S 20-25
Latitude: 37 09.458 N
Longitude: 075 44.111 W
Location: Off Cape Charles, Southern Tip of Delmarva Peninsula
This morning we actually got to do a little sailing, but by afternoon our course put the wind directly behind us once again and the engine came back on. We have had three days of lovely weather with calm seas, but as I write this log, I feel things starting to change. The sky is still blue with not a cloud, but the seas are starting to build making us rock and roll a bit. The weather forecast tells us we might have showers and thunderstorms tonight, but that seems hard to believe given how beautiful and clear it is right now. And the forecast is changing constantly. We expected to get NE winds against us tomorrow, and that might still happen. But different weather models don’t agree on what is going to happen. So as always, we shall see. But by the time we leave the New Jersey coast headed for Block Island and then home base in Buzzards Bay, we should have settled weather once again.
We are filling our time by reading books, taking naps to make up for the short hours of sleep during the night, and watching the weather. It is still hard for me to get used to having cell service and internet when we are out here allowing us to keep a closer eye on the weather. And I was able to talk to my sister Patsy and brother-in-law Joe again today. And hopefully I’ll still be connected and can post this log directly to the website. When I send the log via email it loses its formatting and is hard to read. Apologies for that, but at least it gets there. I still find that amazing!
Day 206, Year 10: Passage to Cape Cod, Day 2-Moonlight and Dolphins
Date: Monday, May 4, 2015
Weather: Sunny and Warm (upper 70’s F); Wind SW 5
Latitude: 34 56.900 N
Longitude: 075 40.537 W
Location: 18 Miles South of Cape Hatteras
One of the highlights of today came during last evening and overnight. We watched the full moon rise as the sun went down and then continued to enjoy the moonlight throughout the night. There was not a cloud in the sky, so the moonlight was bright. If we were sailing it would have been a perfect passage night, but we’ll take what we get and enjoy it. Today was another cloudless day and during the morning the sea was totally glassy. I spotted some dolphin fins in the distance and as they approached Windbird, I grabbed my camera. Usually dolphins play in the wake of the bow, but these guys just huddled up near the bow and rode along with us for a bit making for a great photo opportunity. Then one would break away and come back and the next would break away and come back. It was an impressive dolphin dance in a crystal clear, deep blue sea. The low point of the day was the sighting of a Mylar party balloon floating on the water. We don’t see a ton of them, but even one is one too many. The next time I’m tempted to buy one, I’m going to stop myself. They are festive, but they escape too easily, eventually end up in the ocean, and then cause problems for the sea life. There must be a better way to celebrate events. We have not had cell service, and therefore no internet service, for more than two or three minutes at a time since leaving the Cape Lookout area.
Somehow my sister Patsy got through with a phone call today. The call dropped three different times, but we were able call again and continue our conversation. She just wanted to make sure things were still going smoothly and they are. But “smoothly” on the ocean usually means no wind and that is certainly the case today. We had 1-2 knots all morning and now the 5-7 knots we have are coming from the SW which is directly behind us. So we continue to motor along. We will pass Cape Hatteras at about 9 pm and make a turn to the north. That will put what wind we have on the beam and we might be able to put out headsail to give us a bit of a boost. Right now we just have up the main and we are merrily motoring along.
Day 205, Year 10: Passage to Cape Cod, Day 1–Headed Home
Date: Sunday, May 3, 2015
Weather: Sunny and Warm (upper 70’s F); Wind ESE 10
Latitude: 33 39.992 N
Longitude: 077 52.606 W
Location: Just N of Frying Pan Shoals, Off Cape Fear, NC
We’re headed home, offshore, and what a beautiful day it has been . . . blue skies without a cloud in sight, bright sunshine, temperature in the upper 70’s, calm seas. And we are even going to have a full moon to travel by tonight. What more could a sailor ask for? Well, wind going in the right direction would be nice. Unfortunately the 10 knots of wind that we have has been right on our nose all day. That, combined with an adverse current this afternoon, have made for slow going. We could drive to Southport from Little River in an hour, but it has taken us 9 hours of motoring to get this far, traveling closer to 4 knots than 5 all day. But we are making progress, so we’ve tried to just relax into it and hope that we get some fair winds at some point. After passing Frying Pan Shoals, a very shallow area sticking out into the water from Southport, we were able to turn about 50 degrees to the northeast. That turn and the fact that the wind should go a little further south tonight should increase our speed a little overnight. Just remember I said ‘should’. There are no guarantees out here.
According to various weather sources, we should have settled weather all week. That means we will have very little wind a great deal of the time, but it should be calm. Mid-week we are expecting a day or so of adverse winds, so we will be motoring most of the way home. Our estimated arrival time is Saturday, so we’ll just keep motor sailing merrily along. Since I am having to do most of the sail work, it’s probably a good thing that it is going to be calm. It just about killed Mark to let me raise the mainsail this morning. I’m not very good at it because I have rarely done it, but I did it with just a little help from Mark. He can use his right arm, but not his left. That shoulder is still causing him a great deal of pain. Maybe a calm week on the water will help.