Kristen here - Today is Tuesday 8/4/09. It's Chris's birthday today! I woke up early and went for a run. The run from our marina to town is quite nice, and everyone on their trip down the driveway to the paperbox waves at me. Oriental, NC has been quite a nice place. The people at the marina were friendly as well. We left our spot tracker in the rental car yesterday, and our boat neighbor offered to go pick it up for us. That saved us a $50 taxi ride! Also Jan, another boat neighbor kept an eye on our boat the whole time we were gone. It was very reassuring to know someone was watching Pelican.
We left this morning with mixed feelings. It is a different cruise now. We're not going to the next town to explore, we're heading back to work. I wasn't sure what it would be like, but I was fairly certain it wouldn't be good. Maybe it was because it was Chris's birthday, or maybe it's just the way things are on the boat, but we had an awesome day. Everyone's spirits were high, and we were all just glad to be together. Knowing that we're going to have to spend some time apart has made us all the more appreciative of every second we have right now. When we told the kids about our plans to head home for a bit, their chief thoughts were not of seeing friends, school or where we would live. The first words out of our sons mouth were, "Does this mean we're not going to see you as much anymore?". It melted my heart. If I didn't know what this cruise meant to our children before, I sure do now. As a mother I want nothing more than to make my kids happy, and my sons words make me want to work all that much harder so we can continue to spend time with our kids. So look out world...Kristen Labatt-Simon, woman owner of D&D Consulting and mom with a mission is fired up and ready to go!
So today we left oriental with the plan of going as far as we could. On the way we saw a ton of shrimping boats. To our surprise, one of them was a boat we saw getting repaired and painted on the hard when our boat was getting painted in Jarrets Bay. We passed this particular shrimping boat, the Captain Potter many times while walking around the boat yard and had stopped to admire its beautiful lines. The workers were there day and night painting, adding zincs, and doing something to its massive propeller. I remember being quite surprised when we saw it being launched, even after the propeller was still missing the day before. These guys worked fast! So when it passed us today, everyone came topside to watch it pass. It was like seeing an old familiar friend. Happy shrimping to the Captain Potter!
As we passed a bunch of shrimping boats with their nets out behind them, we started seeing a ton of small dead fish. I'm not talking about a few here or there. This was about one fish every 5-10 square feet. We contemplated what the cause of their death was for a while. Did they get killed by the shrimp nets? Were they bait to attract the shrimp? Did someone dump something in this part of the water? After a while the trail of dead fish stopped. The other odd thing was that the seagulls weren't touching the fish. There were a bunch of gulls around, sitting in the water but they weren't eating the fish. I guessed that they were all just full! There was quite a smorgasbord laid out in front of them.
Once we got into open water, the wind picked up and we let out the genoa. It felt spectacular to have a sail out for a bit. The wind wasn't strong so we kept the motor on. Even so, it was still a great feeling. At one point in time we had to turn to stay on course. This put the wind directly behind us. Instead of furling the sail, I got out our boat hook, held it in the end of the genoa and became a manual whisker pole. For the non-yachties, the whisker pole holds the sail out to one side when the wind can't. I commented to Chris how funny it was that I, who once wanted nothing but to furl the sails and motor, was now doing everything in my power to keep our sail out.
We arrived at RiverForest Marina in Bellhaven, NC at about 6:00 pm. We had an uneventful docking thanks to Chris. While he went to shore to check us in, Casey, Kaitlin and I cleaned up the boat and started to hook up shore power. As soon as Casey flipped on the breaker for the power I heard a fairly loud electrical buzzing sound coming from the point where the shore power cable attaches to the boat. "Turn off the breaker!', I yelled to Casey. That was not a good noise. We tried disconnecting and reconnecting both ends of the cable. The same noise returned. We tried fiddling with switches below with the same result. I had a slight recollection of this happening before, and asked Casey if he remembered what it was the last time. He didn't remember, so I sat and thought about it for a while. Then..."Kaitlin, turn off the stereo!". "Casey, try it now." I yelled. That was it! The buzzing was the stereo speaker which sits right next to our shore power inlet. I really have to remember that for next time!
After all of that, we took Chris out to the restaurant here for a birthday dinner. After dinner we came back to the boat and had a "surprise" cake. Nothing is really a surprise on a boat because it's pretty obvious when a cake is baking in the oven on your birthday. But everyone plays along, and Chris had quite a laugh when we lit a yankee candle and carried it next to his unlit cake while singing "happy birthday".
Chris said it was one of the best birthdays ever because he got to spend it with his family. I must agree with him. It's awesome.