Listening to "Swallowed In The Sea" by Coldplay
A SAILBOAT! THAT SAILS!
|A most beautiful, and long awaited, sight|
Going back into the water made me breathless. There were honestly times while we were living on the hard that I felt there was no way we were EVER going to finish the list that allowed us to get back into the water, and that my sanity was going to be one of the casualties of this whole process. It was the combination of the million little inconveniences that made it unbearable. Perhaps if you have to deal with just one (no toilets, living in a work zone covered in fiberglass and toxic grot, twenty foot ladder, insane summer heat, etc) then it would be possible to tackle this task cheerfully, but with it all piled together I felt such despair of ever finishing.
Now, however, I can once again see that illusive light at the end of the tunnel. Drake and I spent a couple of days in a slip at the Sailcraft Boatyard while Mark the rigger installed our new staysail and we worked on stowing and cleaning the disaster that Paragon had become. It's amazing how much you accumulate if you remain the slightest bit sedentary, and accumulate we did. It took us almost three full days, and many trips to the local consignment store, to whip the boat back into sailing shape, or rather close to sailing shape. We were not ready for an offshore passage, but a four day sail around the Neuse River was just what the doctor ordered.
The morning of the day we left was spent gathering laundry, stowing the bikes, and a quick trip to the local Town & Country grocery store for some provisioning. Oh yes, and a jaunt up the mast.
Even though we still did not have the mainsail on, we needed to attach the topping lift which meant Drake was going to get a chance to test out those new mast steps as I belayed from below. Besides one step that is rather awkwardly placed (a shroud crosses in an inopportune place) everything held and, I heard, the view was spectacular from such a height. In hindsight I should have given him a camera to take to the top, eh?
It was early afternoon by the time we were finally ready to go, but a quick check of the tide table brought us back to a rather somber reality. We were on a rising tide just past low tide, and with all of the shoaling left over from Hurricane Irene it meant that getting out of the creek with our almost six foot draft could be tricky if not done at the optimal time.
We both sat down with disappointment and decided to get up early the next morning and take off with the high tide and calm early morning conditions. An hour went by, then two, when Drake suddenly jumped up and said we were leaving. Even if we ran aground we were on a rising tide and that could only work in our favour.
He turned on the engine (started on the first try!), friends helped with lines, and we were off. For the first time in almost two years Paragon was going out to sail and anchor. We actually did end up running aground (sorry my beautiful bottom paint), but Drake was motoring at such a slow pace that he quickly ungrounded us and we continued our journey.
|not so serious and glad to be out of the channel|
We ended up spending four beautiful days and three nights in a lovely anchorage called South River. We raised anchor the second day to go sailing, but returned to the same lovely spot that evening to enjoy the solitude.
|first time out at anchor in over two years|
|our first sunset could not have been more beautiful|
We knew that a storm was rolling in, and we could have cut our trip short by a day, but instead decided to stay in our anchorage and weather the rain for the third and fourth day. The time before the nor'easter hit was truly the calm before the storm, but winds quickly picked up to 20-25 knots with gusts up to thirty and remained through the night and next day.
|this storm blew across in no time at all|
I can't begin to explain how absolutely cozy this time was with the storm raging outside, but the two of us snuggled inside a warm cabin while munching on popcorn and watching movies. The anchor held, the rig held, and it made all of this work so, so worth it. It also gave me a renewed sense of purpose. This is what it is all about. The sweat, the frayed nerves, the worrying, and the work all fade as you get out on the water headed to the next anchorage. I cannot wait for the next voyage. I cannot wait...