The 3-4 weeks of actual work on Andante stretched over two full months to accommodate the holidays. It was great to be home and see everyone and eat way too much. But now its January, its cold, and we need to get south. As fast as this moderately slow boat can go.
We left Bock Marine on January 4 for a short trip to Beaufort. It was good to get underway again and test out the new steering and engine controls for the first time. Everything worked smoothly and we anchored for the night in Taylor Creek on the Beaufort downtown waterfront. I assembled dinghy and motored the 100 yards to shore for a nice dinner with Bill and Anne. From the anchorage I could see some of the wild horses on Carrot Island frolicking on the beach. Never mind that all I have to share are still pictures of seemingly relaxed horses. There was indeed frolicking.
The next day we stuck our head out into the Atlantic and sailed south for an hour before deciding the conditions were not at all what was forecast. It was very windy and rough with frequent heavy rain squalls. Not fun, so we turned around and headed back in the inlet.
Its easy to second-guess a decision like that. But after deciding to return to port not only was I immediately more comfortable, I was reassured by two significant good omens: A big pod of dolphins began following the boat and leaping alongside as soon as I turned around. And upon entering the inlet we were greeted with a full rainbow.
We anchored for the night near the Coast Guard base in Morehead City. It wasn’t a particularly quiet anchorage but was convenient to the ICW and allowed us to get an early start the next morning. With the very short periods of fair weather between frontal systems its looking like we’ll continue south along the ICW rather than offshore – at least for now.