Thursday, October 28, 2010

CARA MIA: Population 2

Beaufort, NC  34°42.911N | 76°39.815W

Living aboard reminds me a lot of living in Manhattan.

I know, that's 8,008,276 more people than we have onboard, but, wait, I can explain.

When you step outside your door in the city, you have to be prepared to react to whatever comes your way. No two days are the same; no two days require the same skill set.

On any particular day you might stumble into a parade, a crime scene, an outdoor concert, Lady Gaga, anything. Once when I was walking from my apartment on 7th & Chelsea to my office uptown, I passed a block where all the street signs were printed backwards. They were filming a movie and I suppose they wanted to flip the orientation. It really flipped mine.

Living on a boat, I find myself wondering what the day will bring. Even though we stayed in Beaufort again today, waiting out "FALL'S FURY," we faced an arsenal of new challenges and hopefully added a few new skills to the quiver.

Today's assignment: anchoring.

We practiced using the windlass (electronic winch that feeds out and pulls in the anchor) yesterday by running out all the chain onto the dock -- all 200 feet of it -- and marked every 50 feet with zip ties, so we'll know how much chain we have out.

There's a lot of science and finesse to anchoring. I was feeling neither. Isabella, our last boat, didn't have an electric windlass, so typically I had the helm and Chip was up front manning the anchor. In this case we switched positions. Before leaving the dock, we worked out some hand signals, huddled up, high fived and headed out.

We trolled up and down the crowded anchorage in front of Beaufort Docks trying to find the perfect spot to squeeze in. It's a little like trying to park in a full parking lot that doesn't have lines. Everyone's parked all willy nilly.

Our first attempt was an epic fail. The lock kept flipping over onto the anchor chain stopping it every five feet or so. I needed to loosen the clutch a little bit. Lesson learned, but not before drifting into the channel with a big-ass motor yacht coming in.

We trolled some more and some more and finally chose a sketchy spot near our friends on Zero to Cruising. This time the feed went smoother. The anchor locked in at only 50 feet, and we let out another 50 for the night.

This little creek has a running current that will be shifting 180 degrees during the night plus the wind is predicted to shift from south to north and kick up about 3 a.m. Add to that some thunderstorms coming our way, and we're settling in for a long, restless night.

So maybe we don't ride the subway or hail a cab. We don't take the Staten Island Ferry or wear sleek Italian leather shoes, but every day's a new day. Am I making new neuron paths in my brain? I sure hope so.

And just in case you think our bad TV movie is flagging, we woke this morning to a rainbow. Not a standard issue rainbow but a full horizon to horizon rainbow, a double one.

What, no helium balloons?
Beaufort, NC  34°42.911N | 76°39.815W

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