May 26, 2022
Home Free is on her way North, and I have crew which is making me very lazy.
Paul joined me in Fort Pierce and we departed on May 20th, in the afternoon at slack water. With good weather forecasted and a boat full of food and water, we headed straight out to sea and expected to run overnight.
When I checked the weather, I checked the wind and the wave forecast, not the rain forecast. We were barely out of sight from Fort Pierce inlet, when the clouds enveloped us. The first set let loose some rain and lightning, but we stopped the boat to let the system pass. (Ted and Mary on Sea Star had spent the last week regaling me with their stories of the rebuild of their electrical systems from a lightning strike. The final tally for those repairs had six figures in it.)
The second system decided to follow us. It looked less appealing, but there was no way to avoid this one.
An interesting aspect to these two storms is that there was almost no wind, and only a light sprinkle of rain. At least where we were. Luckily we also avoided the worst of the lightning.
Our trip to Saint Augustine was mostly boring and devoid of significant events with an excellent sea state and good company and it all worked out well. The point of going there was to pick up our third crew member, Chris. Paul and Chris were room mates in Trueman House at Mount Allison, and somewhere along the way during first year they adopted me as a friend. As we have all progressed through our lives we haven’t had much time or opportunity to meet up. Paul and I have now been catching up for a couple of years, but this was the first time Chris and I have seen each other in 34 years, so there is a lot to talk about.
On arrival, we whisked Chris to Harry’s for some seafood, and then a good night’s rest for an early departure, heading for the Chesapeake bay.
As we planned this trip/reunion, the schedule has continued to be constricted by travel and work schedules along with an election in the province of Ontario, so by the time we pulled off of the dock we became a little bit constrained on time. No problem though because the weather was forecasted to be pretty good. The first night (May 23-24) this was certainly the case. We opted to stay close to shore instead of heading for the Gulf Stream so that we had more navigation options, and the winds were really appealing. Our boat speed was around 6.5-7.0 knots and the wind speeds were staying low at around 5-7 knots. Very comfortable.
At some point Paul suggested we try to put the drone up and I was happy to oblige. While we didn’t get footage of the boat underway, the treat that surprised us was beyond awesome. Up to this point we had not seen any dolphins despite bragging to Chris how he was going to be astounded. Then we saw the dolphins. Just hanging out. My theory was that they were birthing, but there were a dozen or more dolphins just hanging out and we have some footage!
After this encounter, we were still joined later by more dolphins looking for a bow wake to play in. Paul’s post on Facebook has a few more photos worth looking at (click here for his post … I hope that works).
By early morning yesterday (May 25th), the weather perked up a bit and we were bombarded by 18-25 knot winds from the North and North East (essentially head on) which inspired a lot of random fish feedings by Chris and Don. [For those that don’t read often, that is . . . we got seasick].
In the end we decided to enter the ICW near Georgetown and get a good nights rest, cook a meal and look at things again in the morning.
After showers and a relaxing meal cooked by Paul and Chris it was time to recover from 36 hours at sea.
The boat has performed marvelously, as usual and I appreciate the effort and participation of my old friends. We have many more days to go as we head North, and I will try to post more as we progress along the way.
Given how lazy I can be now, with crew, I should have more time for posting!