Florida to Norfolk

Home Wharram World Peace Four Florida to Norfolk
By Anne Clement

We left Bill Tait's house heading north and were grateful for Bill's assistance undocking. He just bought a Solaris Sunstar Catamaran and we were rafted on the inside of it. Nev and I have always preferred moorings and anchors for this and all former boats, so Bill had to contend with our ignorance of docks and docking in general, and I am pleased to say that he kept his patience very well under the circumstances.

He seems contented with his boat which he handles well and we hope to see him at all the future Wharram Catamaran PCA meets in Florida and elsewhere. He has been a great friend of the Polynesian Catamaran Association for years and we all like him and Lara and their good dog Beaufort.

Then we motored along the ICW to St Augustine thinking we would go offshore there, but decided the breakers coming in the entrance were rather unattractive, so we decided to continue northbound in the Intra Coastal Waterway a little farther. There were lots of fancy flying displays by all the hawks and plenty of waterfowl to see.

April 11

A few days ago there was a severe thunderstorm with tornado activity right across north central Florida including one small twister that made a direct hit at Bill's house while we were there. It damaged his house, scattered flower pots around, and lifted his rowing shell up on top of our boat (no damage to either boat), dropped 4 inches of rain in an hour, and then continued raining hard after that. So rivers locally rose to well above flood stages and we were happy to finaly get offshore the next afternoon at the St John's river which has an all weather entrance.

With all plain sail set, we still needed an extra push from the motors in light north east air. The forecast was for east and then south east winds picking up to 10 to 15 knots which sure sounded nice, but it did not happen. We continued motorsailing all morning in mostly warm and pleasant conditions with Peace just eating up the miles.

Sparkling afternoon sunshine, gentle winds, and bright blue sky seemed the right conditions for us to comply with what we just recently learned were Neville's Mum's last wishes. We scattered her ashes into the clear blue ocean waters and immediately a school of dolphins arrived and a pair of pelicans flew overhead in graceful and effortless manner as if to welcome her spirit. So much is beyond our understanding, but the scene was peaceful and inspiring in its simplicity.

April 12

There was a flutter of activity in mid morning when we suddenly got 10 to 15 knots of south east wind and I adjusted the sails while Nev lifted both engines and we did 9 knots for half an hour under full sail before it all went away. We then readjusted sails, restarted one engine, and just made Charleston by dark. On the way in through the Charleston Harbor breakwater, Nev fixed the depth sounder just in time and we settled for the sunset by historic Fort Sumter where there is a small patch of shallow water providing good holding in sand and out of most of the current. It is quiet and roomy unlike the designated anchorage nearer the marinas now all choked up with mooring balls.

Years ago, in my old boat, I remember anchoring here and putting several small, living conch shells inside a circle of rope in shallow water and some dear cruising friends joined me in the gentle sport of conch "racing" to see which of these giant snails got out of the circle first. It is a contemplative sport at best... and it took hours before we had a winner.

April 13

The north wind still looks determined and there is no way we want to sail offshore in these conditions, so Nev wants to motor up the ICW and I agree. We refueled and were off with the tide.

April 16

We have been hard pressed by the bitterly cold north wind and are still searching for all the warm clothing that got stuffed into remote lockers over the Bahamas winter. Where did we put our thermals! Finally today the wind was near gale force so we just went back to bed after morning tea and had a good rest all day long here in Calabash Creek at the North Carolina - South Carolina border. There is no sailing wind in the forecast, but the scenery is nice and wild life entertaining. Looks like we will be motoring all the way to Beaufort, North Carolina.

There are already folks getting excited about the August and October Wharram Catamaran meets. The Polynesian Catamaran Association is the independent organization of owners and builders and we are members. Ron Hall is in the Chesapeake and plans to co host the 2005 meet with us in October on the week end of the 21, 22, 23. Andy Solywoda will assist and the location is to be announced. Ron is just now finishing his Tiki 38 which we hope to have at the meet and Andy has a Narai he will bring.

There is no place more appropriate than the Chessapeake for a Wharram. It is ALL shallow with thousands of anchorages. We hope for several other Wharrams at the meet.

We will again host the August meet in East Greenwich, Rhode Island at our mooring in August 5, 6, 7. Several boats are expected.

April 23

From Beaufort the trip on the inside of Cape Hatteras up to Norfolk has been fairly standard cruising aside from one X rated emergency. I was at the helm and Nev was "sitting comfortably" down in the heads while Peace made her way through a rather narrow part of the canal. There was a bit of wind, some opposing current, boats ahead and astern going our way and one coming towards us as well. Then a dump truck alongside the canal emptied a load of sand just when the wind gusted and the grit was blown right into my face and eyes. I was in great pain and unable to see. I just screamed and screamed because I was afraid there would be a collision. Finally I shouted, "Don't flush and don't wipe, just get OUT here!" So Nev scrambled up the companionway ladder while hitching his pants up, climbed over the cockpit coaming and grabbed the wheel just in time and there was a bit of language in varying colors of blue about not bothering a man while he is in the bathroom! Ah for the elegance of the Yachting Life...

The remaining leg of the trip to Norfolk, Virginia has been uneventful. However, this afternoon's lightning and thunder storm will be long remembered. Willoughby Bay's anchorage has good holding and our two complete revolutions around the hook prove it!

All the best, Ann and Nev

Peace Four

© Anne and Neville Clement, 2005