Chris here. We're still heading south, of course, but we're going a bit further than we originally planned, will have one extra crew and we're leaving on Wednesday instead of tomorrow.
The forecast for tomorrow is for snow. Apparently, it's only snowed in Charleston like twice - ever. Of course it's going to snow while we're here. We picked a great year to head south - everyone keeps telling us it's been the coldest, stormiest season they ever remember. Thanks! That helps! You know what though? It's been incredible, stormy or not, and I'd do the same thing over again in a heartbeat. Anyway, as a result of the forecast, our plan is to leave on Wednesday. I'm not too interested in having to wear ski goggles to navigate (funny fact - I actually did pack my ski goggles, but they were supposed to be for use in high wind or heavy rain, not actually skiing).
So I was talking to Kristen yesterday and suggested that we head farther south than St. Augustine. "It's only an extra day or two, " I said. "Absolutely not!" was her response. Apparently, she's not excited to do a longer passage after passage number two being 30kt+ winds and 10ft+ seas, and passage number three being in the dense fog (passage number one being our trip down the Chesapeake, which was cold but uneventful). What gives? Seriously, though, I can understand. After my trip from CT to Annapolis, I was hesitant to do another passage, but I know they are a necessity of our trip. What's going to happen when we have to do 5 day, 7 day or even 12-14 day passages? Do you ever get used to them? I've been told that the shorter passages are tougher since you never settle into a rhythm, and that your brain knows you're only out for a short time. I'm hoping that's the case. I'm still really looking forward to being out on a dark night, away from all light pollution, the water reflecting a million fireflies from the stars burning holes in the black sky, the milky way readily apparent to my eye.
Let's see, where was I? Oh yes - "Absolutely not!". "Well, hon, the forecast for Tuesday is for snow and rain, and it's going to stay cold for a few more days after that," I responded. She ruminated on this for about a half day, and then came back, "Maybe we should head a bit farther south so we can get to the Bahamas sooner." "Good idea!" I told her. I'm glad she thought of it.
I also suggested to her that we consider taking a third adult crewmember on board during passages. This would allow us to get a bit more sleep at night and share the responsibility. Kristen wasn't immediately for the idea, and then realized there was no reason NOT to do it, so we called Poppi up (Kristen's Dad) and he's flying down tomorrow to help us bring the boat south.
So where are we going next? Well, we're skipping St. Augustine. Instead, we're going to head to Ft. Pierce inlet and Vero Beach. It's a 320nm - 370nm trip (depending on inshore vs. offshore) vs. a 210nm trip, but we're bringing an extra person so I don't see it being an issue. Once at Vero Beach, and once rested, we'll probably take a few days to go visit Disney and elsewhere. Also, Kristen's Mom should be flying down to visit too! We're really excited to see her parents and have visitors.
Speaking of visitors and other people, it seems as if a lot of people here are waiting until Wednesday to head south. We'll be in the company (hopefully) of Evolution, Provence (a boat we met here in Charleston with two 9 year old boys) and a couple of other cruisers. The nice thing is that Provence sails and motors at pretty much the same speed we do, so we'll be able to stay within VHF communications range of each other for a good portion of the trip. Provence will be joining us in Vero Beach, and we're hoping that Evolution will too.
The weather is looking pretty good, although a bit lighter than we had hoped. It looks like we'll be able to take a direct route from Charleston to Ft. Pierce. It may be a little bumpy at the start, but it will clear up along the way.
Just a side story. We met George and Kim from s/v/ Indecent, a Super Maramu, while here at the Megadock. They are heading to the Keys and then to the Bahamas, and were planning on leaving this morning. As a matter of fact, I went over to their slip this morning to wish them well, and they were just about to leave. This afternoon I saw that they were still in their slip, so I wandered by to see why they didn't leave. Like us, they've been here in Charleston for over two weeks, and while they love it they are also ready to head south. They were especially interested in leaving before the snow tomorrow. I was very curious as to why they were still here.
They weren't on their boat, but their neighbor was out and shared with me that, as they were untying their docklines, Kim was having problems seeing and that one of her eyes was far more dilated than the other. She also felt a bit strange - off balance I believe. Worried, they called their physician who told them to go immediately to the Emergency Room. Upon arriving at the Emergency Room, Kim suffered through a series of tests before they told her that they had no idea what was going on. Since everything seemed to be related to her eyes, they had her see an opthamologist. The opthamologist spoke with her for a couple of minutes, and then asked her if she had used scopolamine at all. Scopolamine is a prescription drug that is used to minimize motion sickness and is commonly used by sailors to ward off seasickness. It is usually provided in a "patch" form which is stuck behind your ear and lasts for three days. Kim had just put on a patch that morning. One of the side effects of Scopolamine is that it will dilate your pupils. Kim must have touched the patch with her fingers and then rubbed her eyes, causing stroke-like symptoms and initiating panicked-husband syndrome. Anyway, she's doing fine now and they also plan to head out on Wednesday. True story!
We'll do a blog entry before we leave to let you know our definite plans.