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Monday, 12/1/08                                                                                Day 303

Today was great.  We only traveled for half a day and enjoyed the rest of it.  We traveled 5 miles in the Dismal Swamp, through the South Mills lock, down the Pasquatank River and into Elizabeth City, NC.  I like Elizabeth City.  There is a free transient dock run by the city with people to help you get into a slip and catch your lines.  The city is fairly pretty.  We went to a fitness center for $3 showers, but it wasn't too good.  The showers were cold and they didn't have the hot tub, pool or sauna we had heard about.  But I just have a good feeling about the rest of the town.  What we've seen is nice.

We left the Visitor's Center after breakfast.  The sun was up and the sky was blue, but the thermometer was still checking in at 45° F.  We sailed and had a good time all day.  At 12:00 sharp, we were just docked at the Elizabeth City free dock.  We couldn't travel any further today because we would have to cross the Albemarle Sound and the winds were too strong, causing dangerous conditions on the Sound and closing a lift bridge we need to get past.

I've told the rest.  We played a bunch of rummy, did an hour of school, and I baked a loaf of olive bread. Now it's dinner time.  Just prayed.  6:50pm.  Bye!

Tuesday, 12/2/08
                                                                                Day 304

Today was spent 100% traveling, or close enough.  I woke at 6:30am as we were pulling away from the dock at Elizabeth City.  We spent the entire lighted day under way.  I did a lot of school.  We talked to Chris Parker, the weather guru we pay to help us, and he told us that we need to get offshore by tomorrow night to beat bad weather.  So we pushed an extra long day - 73 miles.  We would never have gone so far without great need.  This is considered "great need."

We pulled into Dowry Creek Marina in Belhaven, NC, after dark, at 6:00pm sharp.   It was really cold.  We fueled up, took on water, and hooked up to shore power.  We cranked up the space heaters.  We (or most of we) took long, hot showers.  Once again, Uncle Gary took a shower at the wrong time and got a cold shower.  It's kind of funny if you think about it.  The man helping us at the dock said it'll be 26° F by morning.  I wonder if it will snow!?!  That would be cool.

Dad made stir-fry for dinner and it's bedtime now.  It's so cold that I'm wearing sweatpants to bed.  Brrrr!!  Good night.

Wednesday, 12/3/08
                                                                        Day 305

Today was good.  The morning was triple great.  The first great was that we woke up to this frost/snow stuff covering the docks!  It was beautiful with the sunrise making it glitter and gleam.  We made snowballs!  It was awesome!!!

The second great was that dolphins came to throw a farewell party for us.  Not 10 minutes off the dock, we spotted a pod of about 6 Bottlenose dolphins.  They came right next to our boat for about 10 minutes.  Funny, just as Mom got her camera, they all swam away.  They were celebrating with us.  When we pushed off the dock at 8:00am, we had officially started our passage, which would mean leaving land for approx. 7 days and USA land for approx. 5 months.

The third great thing of the morning was that Josh made toast for everybody's breakfast.  Yummy!

The rest of the day was spent doing school, playing, and hanging out.  It's quite humorous (or so I think) that the first 2 ½ morning hours took up 2/3 of a page right here, whereas the next 8-9 hours take only one sentence!

This evening, we went offshore at Beaufort, NC, right at sunset.  At the moment, Dad is making supper while Mom and Uncle Gary are at the helm.  The time is 6:26pm.  I do not think I will stay up with Mom tonight.  There will be no "The Night of 12/3/08" today.

Tonight starts an approx. 7 day long passage to San Salvador, Bahamas, which will take us from the USA for approx. 5-6 months.  We will hopefully catch fish and see dolphins.  The water will warm up some 30 degrees, from 47°F to 70°F or so.  I will have a great time on passage.  WE SHALL PREVAIL!

Thursday, 12/4/08
                                                                                Day 306

Today was okay.  We are offshore in the Atlantic Ocean.  We are going through/exiting the Gulf Stream at this moment 6:26pm.  The weather has been okay all day.  The sky was cloudy.  The temperature of the air has risen considerably and the water temperature is already 75°+F.  About mid-day, the wind really picked up and we were sailing 6 kts against the Gulf Stream.  We've only been offshore for 24 hours. 

Fishing was okay - poor today.  I rose at 6:00am as the sun was coming up so I could deploy the fishing lines.  Within 5 minutes of the first line being out, before the second line was even run out, we got a hit.  We were using a pink/black cedar plug.  Unfortunately, it spit the hook.  Dang it!  We had almost no more action for the rest of the day.  We were fishing 2 poles and 2 handlines.  We had a later hit on a black/purple artificial squid, but it also got off.    We have started to see the big sargasum weed floats common to the Gulf Stream and the Bermuda Triangle/Sargasso Sea.  The seaweed has caught out lines multiple times already.

So, today was pretty much uneventful.  Lunch was virtually non-existent.  People just snacked.  Dinner (pre-cooked for passage) was good.  It was pasta and sauce.  We did some school.  Blah, blah, blah.  I'm bored.  Good bye.

Friday, 12/5/08
                                                                                Day 307

Today was okay.  It was just a normal passage day.  Conditions were pleasant.  It was kind of cool that we seemed to be going towards the only patch in the clouds.  Fishing was bad!  We caught nothing.  We did get 2 hits, but they got away.  I also accidentally messed up both handlines, putting them out of commission due to loss of line. 

We didn't do school.  Josh and I played some.  We also got in trouble some.  So I guess today was quite bad! L

Tonight we are staying up with Uncle Gary, keeping him awake.  The watch schedule has been as follows:

        7:30pm - Mom, Dad, & Bro go to sleep
        7:30 - 8:30pm - Unc & I stay up
        8:30 - 12:00am - Uncle Gary's watch
        12:00 - 4:00am - Dad's watch
        4:00 - 6:00am - Mom's watch
        6:00am - I wake up to put lines out.
        Others wake up later

Tonight we are going to clean our dirty bodies.  We last showered in Belhaven, NC at Dowry Creek Marina two nights ago.  Tonight we will only be using a washcloth.  Tomorrow we'll take real showers.  There is nothing else to tell tonight.

Saturday, 12/6/08
                                                                                Day 308

Today was slightly better.  Again, no fish
L, but conditions were clear, bright, and warm.  The 3 guys (Bro doesn't count) actually had shorts on.  We did school and worked on the website.  I'm already out of things to tell.  Golly Gee!

Sunday, 12/7/08
                                                                                Day 309

Today was BAD, UGLY, EVIL, close to Making-You-Pukish!  The waves were 5-8 feet, minimum. The wind blew over 20 kts.  The boat healed a ton!

The horribleness started in the middle of the night.  The way I found out  -  by experiencing almost-déjà vu.  What I was remembering - the wet passage from Key West, FL to West End on Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas.  Josh and I  woke up around 2:45am, wet (same as the other passage).  (Note that I got wet from the same place as the other time, but my mattress was not floating.  What caused that was a completely different leak.)  So I, once again, went up to Dad and he gave me a rag.  This time, the rag was enough.  I went back to sleep, as did Josh.  At 5:45 am, I woke again.  So did Bro.  We both had gotten wet again.  We had failed to remember to seal a vent in the forward hatch, a mistake that we have made before.  With both of our beds now wet, Bro and I participated in Mission Air Conditioning.  (That shortens to AC and then becomes Mission Abandon Cabin.  Smart, huh?!)  We camped out in the main salon successfully.

Now fast forward to the day.  Mom, Dad, and Unc stayed in the cockpit all day, but Uncle Gary did get an hour of rest.  Quite obviously, no fishing lines were deployed.  Josh and I stayed on Mom and Dad's bed - safe zone from UFOs (Unidentified Falling Objects).  We had books, one box of toys, a portable DVD player, and movies.  So we spent the day (most of it at least) exhausting those resources.  I finished my book.

We came out after watching our first movie.  It was mid-afternoon.  We had a light meal (the day's only).  We stayed above for the rest of the day.  Nobody barfed, but that was attributed to the fact that we were all took sea sickness pills. 
J  We will be in San Salvador, Bahamas in less than 36hrs.  Tomorrow things should calm down.  I have to sleep with Ma for the next 2 nights.  We'll work it out.  I think Dad and Unc will hot-bunk.  Here's a facial symbol for today:  (:-(