The Storm: Belhaven, NC to 5 miles north of Belhaven

The Yamaha dealer was not able to look at the engine, but Matt fiddled with it some more, cleaned the carb (again) and got it running. It’s still sad and pathetic, but it runs, and we’re pretty glad the dude couldn’t see it: we’d have either spent maintenance money or several thousand dollars on a new engine, so now we can put that money towards things like a sat phone or a life raft. Matt transitioned from throwing the motor overboard to “not letting the bastards win”. (And, of course, if the only problem we have is a temperamental dinghy, we’re getting off incredibly light!) 

We left the dock and headed up river towards the Alligator River Pungo River Canal.

It’s cloudy, but that doesn’t mean it will rain. I wish it would! I’ve never been so hot in my life. The sun is beating down mercilessly, and there is not an iota of wind. Nothing. I feel like I’m suffocating. People die of heat, you know. Maybe my brain is cooking! The Alligator-Pungo canal is 20 miles long with no anchorages, so we need 4 hours of no thunderstorms to make it. I turn on the weather radio. Thunderstorms likely. Active Captain (which, despite calling it Grumpy Captain and giggling about it, we love) had a few anchorages round the bend listed, one with a sandy beach for the dog. Sold. We anchored.

I tried to cool down with the transom shower. I turned on the fans. Matt made me an ice tea with ice. It better storm like Iron Mike said it would, hopefully before my brain bakes anymore. The air somehow gets even stiller. There’s not a ripple on the water, but slightly further across the river, gusts are dancing across the water. The world turns completely still and silent. It’s magical, like being frozen in time. Then the gust front hits. Behind it, the rain, coming in torrents. Our mill pond turns to a raging washing machine as the waves build. Our anchorage mate disappears. The land disappears. We can just see the rain slamming into the river. Watching rain hit water is absolutely mesmerizing.

Rain cloud over the ICW, North Carolina
Rain Cloud over ICW Anchorage, NC
Rain from a sailboat, ICW, North Carolina
North Carolina storms are incredible. Florida storms build throughout the day and then rage a little and then dissipate quickly. These NC storms roll through at breakneck speed, seemingly out of nowhere, with incredible shelf clouds and amazing power. We’re lucky we’ve always been at anchor for them - I would hate to meet one out on the open bay. The wind dies down from 30 knots to 10. The rain slows to a patter. And then its over. The river is flat. The air is still. Yeah, it’s a little scary thinking about being struck by lightning. Having a huge lightning rod sticking up. But these storms - they are so beautiful; I can’t help but be entranced. 
ICW dog walk beach, North Carolina
Every day a new spot to walk Hastings - this beach was only 10 ft wide.
Lagoon 380 sail catamaran at anchor, ICW, North Carolina
This is a new behavior!
We had to work on the engine, got boiled alive, replaced our water pressure pump, only made 5 miles of progress and got rained on - but it was a perfect day. We’re living the adventure we dreamed of, and couldn’t be happier.

Do you like a good rainstorm? Do you like to sit around on your dining table? 

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  1. I grew up in Kansas, so I know what you mean about thunderstorms (though I HATE them on a boat)-- the energy and the earthy smell get me every time.

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

  2. I loved watching rain storms, while safely at anchor. And, I love watching lightning storms, ideally, while safely in a house. :-) We experienced the most amazing lightning storms in Panama, where we were very lucky not to get hit. Many boats do get hit there... An advantage of having a small cat with a short-ish mast, maybe? Another great thing about these showers is the ability to collect rainwater! I loved doing that as well, or running around naked on deck for a free shower (when there were no neighbors)...

    1. I do love lightning watching, but it does make me a little anxious on the boat. I figure if it's going to happen, it's going to happen.


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