Home > Wharram World > Letters from Peace IV > 2004 > Inside Hatteras

Inside Hatteras

By Anne Clement

After our arrival in Beaufort North Carolina in the wee hours, Nev, our friend Piero (Peter) Biancani, and I got only a few hours sleep before the usual parade of curious visitors arrived. First was the captain of a Sea Tow boat named John who told us all about his own boat building project. He was kind enough to collect our expected visitors Clifton and Laura Thompson who were at the oddly named but famous (among cruisers) Sanitary Restaurant which maintains a free dock for hungry transient boats traveling along the IntraCoastal Waterway. Our guests arrived to find us in total disarray with Nev still quite ill, the boat damp from the heavy rain and spray that got in after our heavy weather at Frying Pan Shoal passing Point Lookout, and all three of us grubby, smelly, and bleary eyed. Somehow during the morning the Thompsons got the impression that the important things they were looking for in a boat were present and they decided to buy building plans almost as soon as they stepped aboard.

We sat down and I took them page by page through our two photo albums of boat building pictures explaining every step of the process. They intend to get the project underway this autumn.

Meanwhile, the curious captain of the Boat US towboat came by and had a look around. Capt. John turns out to be friend of a friend of ours and a thoroughly generous soul. He took the Thompsons ashore that afternoon and next day loaned us his truck so Peter and I could go shopping.

Now Peter had been dieting with me on the South Beach diet (and he did lose 4 pounds in 11 days) but while we were out and about on land doing grocery shopping and stopping at the West Marine store, we passed the Beau Jangles fast food restaurant and made a decision to fall into dietary sin and to do it properly. Carbohydrates entered our systems in one glorious procession ending with pastry drizzled in warm frosting all well lubricated with earlier helpings of greasy fried chicken in a crispy batter and buttery biscuits fresh from the oven. We even licked the frosting off the plates! It was grand!

Next morning we headed up the Waterway passing osprey nests all day long and seeing red wing blackbirds nesting in the marshes only one boat length away in beautifully warm sunshine. The boat began to dry out and Nev got his head out now and again seeking company. Then he started making us tea, and finally we had a proper Neville Breakfast which is a true speciality of the boat. Eggs, mushrooms, tomatoes, toast, bacon, and lots of tea or coffee. Life was starting to get back to normal.

Peter set up his computer charts on the lap top and we cruised up rivers, through canals, and transited Lagoons and Sounds stopping for the night anchored out in the moonlight. The habit of evening semi sweet chocolate cubes after supper was well established and legal on our diet and we enjoyed a glass of wine or two at sunset. It was civilized sailing indeed. Just as we crossed Albemarle Sound a collection of non biting bugs landed on the boat including several large dragon flies all iridescent with their double wings looking too fragile for words. Some were blue and others were gold with swivel heads.

One of our engines started to leak or use oil at a fantastic rate and Nev is still too ill to get down and find out or fix the problem but he can keep checking it and adding more oil, so we proceed with care and luckily we have two engines so we can go quite well most of the time on one if not needing to maneuver.

In Norfolk, Virginia Peter was called back home by his good family and Nev was feeling better so we decided to continue north after two more days resting. Nev put the spare auto pilot on because the standby button was not working on the old one. Nev now works for an hour or so and then naps. As the sailing will all be down wind if the forecast is correct, I will mostly single hand along the coast using the roller furling jib with a quartering wind and Nev giving me an hour or two of sleep from time to time. The coast along here is fairly straight with no offlying dangers and the harbors are quite familiar to me. The next one is Cape May which is one day away, then Atlantic City, then New York where we will likely turn in at Sandy Hook if we have not stopped already at the other places. We have a good friend in Atlantic City in the little lagoon just before the bridge. Jim is another kind man with a truck to go shopping. This afternoon I will refill our petrol cans and tomorrow we will head out. There are no showers in the forecast, slight or otherwise.

Love, Ann and Nev

Peace Four

© Anne and Neville Clement, 2004