We have a lot of catching up to do, I’m afraid.
We left Morehead City on Wednesday the 6th. We traveled 101 miles!!!! that day, making into an anchorage in Alligator Creek. This is the place where we fouled our anchor last time, but we were prepared if it happened again. We completed the long day by starting out at 6am and anchoring around 730pm. Whew! We were tired, but felt so accomplished. Since we’ve been sitting in so many places, we felt we needed to get some distance under our belts. Up early the next morning, we easily pulled up anchor and headed out. The sky was full of dark clouds and we were a little nervous about heading out, but we didn’t want to get stuck somewhere again! We managed to get just through the bridge there in Alligator Creek when the sky threatened to open up. We decided to drop anchor and sit it out for a few minutes then head on again. Our anchor dragged though and we didn’t have time to pull it up and try again before the storm came. Dad managed to drive the boat around, while Mom and I hid below. In a break in the storm, we pulled the anchor up and circled around some more. By now the visibility was almost nonexistent. Once the rain finally let up, we took off again. We crossed the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers and even managed some sailing! 🙂 We got to Pungo Ferry that night. We planned on anchoring out, instead of risking the abandoned marina again. Unfortunately, we thought there would be more water to anchor in, but getting there we found it was all 7feet. Looking desperately for another place, we realized we were stuck in that area. The other anchorages were miles off either side and we would never make them before dark. I looked up and said, “Look Dad! There’s an anvil in the sky!” Haha
With the HUGE anvil shaped cloud coming on, we decided the only safe thing to do was to risk tying up to the dock again. The VHF was saying this coming storm was clocking 60 mph winds, hail, lightning, and flooding. We decided it was worth any risk tying up the dock. No sooner had we tied up to the dock, the sky opened. It was a magnificent storm.
The next day we wound our way through Norfolk and all the Naval ships. I was just as excited seeing them again as I was the first time around. We made it to a little anchorage just outside Rebel Marina, Terry’s brother’s place in Willoughby Bay. We were going to stay there for the night, then head out for the ride up the Bay the next day. We listened to the weather though and it was turning rough the next day, with gales and the wind direction was all wrong. We did not want to face all that again. The Bay can get very serious. We came to a decision to leave right then and there and spend all night crossing up the bay. We pulled out at 3 that afternoon and headed on.
Having done an overnighter in the ocean, the Bay was completely different. In the ocean, you don’t really have to worry about land on either side of you, shallowing waters, and confusing lights. On the ocean, if you see a light, it’s another vessel. In the Bay, it could be a vessel or lights on shore, and once it’s dark your depth perception goes to zero! We had quite a different experience this time around, but managed it quite well. As Dad said, not many cruisers have pulled overnighters on the Bay. We passed a small midnight regatta with several other sailboats out in the Bay. We saw several freighters and tugs. We even got into a little rain, but we were all too excited at the prospect of getting home.
On Saturday morning, we pulled into Herrington Harbour, just as the winds were beginning to pick up. We easily tied up to the dock, feeling like downright professionals and all hugged for our return. Almost 6 months have gone by since we’ve last been home. Mom and I couldn’t wait any longer. Dad rented a car from Enterprise, we hopped in, leaving the boat as is, and went to pick up the dogs and sleep in our own beds. We were home by the afternoon and all sleeping by 6pm, we were so tired.
It’s great being home again, even though we face the dirtiest, dustiest house ever! We also still have to wrap up the boat, collect the mail, and have a million chores to do. We’re happy for them though. We made the journey of a lifetime. We accomplished that which we had only dreamed about previously. As a family, we have overcome barriers and crossed mountains together and I’d have to say it’s brought us closer. Even though the entire trip wasn’t quite what was expected (weather, ahem) it was magnificent. Given the opportunity, I know each of us would jump for it again. This experience has been one of learning, relaxation, healing, and fun. I could not imagine having done anything more exciting.
Thank you everyone who read our blogs and wrote us emails. I am sad to see it come to a close. Thank you to everyone who helped us out with things at home; the Thornhills for taking care of our mail, The Wilsons for taking care of the house and pool (we’ll be opening shortly for your revenge), Elaina for taking care of Luigi, Heather for taking care of Jack, and Jeff Urbansky for taking care of the goons. Thank you Mike for allowing us to leave our cars with you. Thank you Jen for saving our gardens from those pesky deer. And thank you to everyone for all your support, love, and friendship. Without all of you, my family and I would never be able to heal and continue on and especially would have never been able to take this trip. With still a long way to go, I feel that we have come quite a way from just 6 months ago. I feel so blessed and so happy.
We are still getting settled back in to the house. We promise to call and to visit people once we’ve manged to get ourselves organized again.
Love you all! Thank you again! Without you, this would not be possible.
As always, we wish any and everyone Good weather and happy sailing!
The Hilscher Family