Day 2, Southbound Passage, Cape Fear to Miami

Another day on the ocean. We passed by Charleston first thing and enjoyed a warmer day. We’re still close hauled and dealt with variable winds from 2-17 knots, and had to motor through dead calm for a few hours.
Red Sunrise
Matt caught our first two fish! Very exciting! Sadly, they were bonita which are not good to eat, so they are free to swim another day.
Fish on! 
It was bigger than it looks, I swear!
Sunset, somewhere in the Atlantic
Our wake at 7 knots 
View from our emergency hatches - check out that clear blue water!
Today’s first night watch was the stuff dreams are made of. I’ve been so caught up in waiting for weather windows and worrying about staying awake on night watches that it never occurred to me to look forward to the actual passage. It’s just been a means of getting to Miami.

Sitting out, watching shooting stars blaze amongst a million other stars and the milky way - looking down to bioluminescent jelly fish flashing on and off - watching a dolphin swim through our bioluminescent wake- it’s pure magic. I enjoyed this show for an hour until the next phase of the night: the red super-moon rising. The fires in Georgia have meant that every celestial event has been red, red, red. The moon is so bright it blots out the stars and the bioluminescence, but it’s pretty handy to have the sky as bright as dawn throughout the night. I think it’s one of the reasons I haven’t felt exhausted or glued to watching a slow moving clock. 
Night watch 
Red moon rising
Hour by Hour Tedium- brace yourselves! 
8AM- Matt’s on watch. More dolphins! Heave to, let the dog go on deck, un-reef. I head to bed for an hour while Matt makes himself coffee and breakfast
9AM- Up for the day, and I don't feel tired or out of it at all. I feel good, I feel great, I feel wonderful! Baby stepping to Miami! What we need here, is a vacation from ourselves!
Matt makes me coffee. Speed is 1 knot - we turn on Portside Pete to get 5 knots. Message my dad on the iridium and receive a reply. Nice to have some contact and let my folks know everything is good. Last night I had thermals, two sweaters, scarf, hat, hoodie, and my big jacket on.  This morning just jeans and a long sleeve. No thermals, no layers, no hat, no scarf, no jacket! Is it because we are further south or just that today is a warmer day? We will take it!

Swell around 3 feet. Comfortable ride even though we are disappointed to have to motor. We can’t have it all!

By the way, Tango is still ahead of us; they did not turn to Charleston. Are they going to Savannah? Wouldn't it be funny to follow them to Florida? 

Hastings slept in bed all night with the off watch person and is napping in the cockpit, he seems fine. He doesn't like rough weather and will get seasick so these conditions are good. 
10:30AM. I’m sitting in the cockpit reading with Hastings. A weird noise catches my attention. This is a noise I have never heard before so it takes a while to register: FISH ON! Matt also takes a moment to register my words, but snaps into action, hauling and hauling and hauling. I slow down the boat. Matt says it doesn't have much fight, maybe it’s just an old boot? It’s a fish! Looks little; is it even legal size? Is it a tuna? Can we eat it? It’s a bonita tuna, and we know that’s not good eating. Shame - would have made a good sashimi! He goes back into the water. We’re both so unused to this that we didn't get a good picture. It’s the first fish we’ve ever caught on Independence! The line is back in the water and we’re now waiting for an edible tuna or mahi. 
11:15AM Another fish! Another bonita. Matt retires his fishing pole as fishing is too exhausting.
12 Noon. Motor is off and we are sailing at 5 knots, close hauled, tacking away from our course. It’s been smoky on the horizon today due to fires on land. 
12:15PM. Lunch: Bread, cheese, chips, garlic dip, hummus, carrots, cucumber. 
2PM: Matt on watch. Lucy sits down to read. How is this different from being on watch?
3:05PM. Spotted dolphins Hank, Phil and Seymore rode the bow wave. Cowabunga.
3:13PM. High tea with Lady Lucy, Baronette of Lagoon Manor.
4PM: Lucy on watch. 
5:11PM: Sunset, glowing red due to the smoke
5:30PM: Lentil chili and bread dinner. Really glad we cooked ahead - makes meals and dishes so much easier and ensures we eat well instead of solely subsisting on granola bars and chocolate. 
6PM: Lucy on watch. We have 2 AIS boats behind us - but going at 9 knots they are sure to overtake us! They are headed to Miami and Ft Lauderdale. Good idea!
The winds are slacking and we are crawling at 4 knots in 8 knots of wind - still a close haul. 
6:30PM - It’s only 6:30, yet its incredibly dark - so many stars - and one shooting star. Now we are barely making headway at 2 knots. Matt said the wind would fill in right away from the north, so I’ll wait until 7, but I’ll turn on the engines then if there’s no improvement. 
I’d been so wrapped up in weather planning, and meal planning, and worries over hitting things at night and being bored and sick and tired and hating night watches I’d forgotten how beautiful passages can be, and how lucky I am to have such an amazing experience. 
6:46PM - Bioluminescent flashing jellies!! Love it!
7:20PM - Amazing night. Next up: bioluminescent dolphin. Yeah, baby, yeah! Then the supermoon rose and blotted out the bioluminescence and the stars - but hey, this moon is like the sun. It’s red due to the ash/smoke/fires, and so bright! It’s mesmerizing, and really helps to stay awake. Of course, I have some whacko who has the whole ocean but insists on being within 1/2 mile of me. It’s cause we’re so attractive here. 
8:30PM Chips and garlic dip snack. I should save some for Matt, but I don’t. Selfish. Winds so light and variable - driving me crazy. 4 knots, giving us 2 knots of speed. 11 knots! 6 knots of speed! Nothing. 0. Sails flailing. I’ll turn on the engines, you bastard! Oh wait, here’s 13 knots. 
11:00PM Matt on. Woke Starboard Stan for his night watch. Wind calm.
11:45PM Night watch. Three podcasts down: Alton Brown cooking biscuits and gravy for William Shatner, Neil Degrass Tyson interviewing George Takei and the 59-North podcast interview of the Pardeys. Dolphins don’t seem to like underwater lights. Peanuts, granola bars and Reese’s Cups. Lots of cargo ships around.
1AM: Back to Lucy. “Time for your watch” I’m told as the light is thrown on. That’s more like the hard passage I was expecting. I wake Matt up nicely, asking how he is, etc. Not Matt. "Get up!" I was asleep too. 
1:20AM. You know what? Matt gave me 4 hours! I guess I shouldn’t complain!
2AM. Wind has filled in, I pull out the jib and turn off the engine, which wakes Matt up to check on me. (We can make all sail changes, including reefing, without leaving the helm). 11 knots true/17 apparent, giving us 7 knots, close hauled.
4AM. 3 ginger snaps.
4:40AM. Granola bar. Better wind angle, but quite slammy.
5:05AM. Went to get Matt for his watch. Turned on the light. Hastings opened his eyes and looked at me. I leaned over Matt. Nothing. Nada. Zip.
5:10AM. Is it possible that he is dead? It’s really quite slammy. That light in the bedroom is pretty dim though- one of the cheap LEDs we got. (When I went to bed, I realized the problem; the bright moon was shining directly through our overhead hatch and it already seemed like day, and was definitely brighter than the hall light I was relying on to wake Matt up!) 
5:20AM He’s finally up and has taken over the live blogging.
5:45AM. Wind has finally begun to shift as forecast. Now on a beam reach. 5 ginger snaps.
6:40AM. Sunrise. A pod of very small dolphin raced to the boat, leaping out of the water and gathered in the bow wave. They seemed overjoyed at the new day!
6:46AM. Banana stocks reduced to nil. Halfway through a Ms. Marple audiobook. Who are these people?
7:04AM. CG securite message about Right Whales being active here. Don’t go near them, report sightings. Lies, all lies.

7:22AM. VHF radio studies indicate that the ICW Rat Race has begun for the day. 

Are you a night person or do you prefer to get up early?  

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  1. What a great night read here in my warm and toasty bed @4:00a.m.
    And Welcome to Miaammii!

  2. Loved this part - "High tea with Lady Lucy, Baronette of Lagoon Manor." I can just picture you with a one of those layered trays with cucumber sandwiches and tiny scones piled on it while you sip tea out of an antique china cup.

    1. Haha! Just a tea bag, chocolate biscuits and ceramic mugs. Don't think Matt's Star Trek Wars mug would impress the queen!

  3. Good you had some fishing practice for when the big bites come! Fishing is exhausting and you will see... you'll catch one in the midst of a necessary sail swap or during a squall. We took the line in often when we didn't feel like dealing with it. What a wonderful night for a sail! I'm happy Hastings did well, too!

    1. It's a good workout and sure breaks up the day- but yes, can be a pain too... rather like everything else in life!


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