**More pictures on Travis’s Instagram: @cunning_fox_smile **
November 12th through likely the 16th, 2013
Beaufort, North Carolina
34° 42.741’ N, 76° 39.413’ W
With the end of our maelstrom-afflicted passage in sight, we found that we had one more minor obstacle to overcome, the U.S. Navy. Anchored directly outside the Beaufort channel were a warship and an aircraft carrier running flight ops. Over the VHF came frequent hailings, politely yet firmly telling the bedraggled pod of sailing vessels limping in to shelter to give the metal behemoths a 3 nautical mile berth. Despite the pleas that crackled over the radio informing the Navy of various hardships, ranging from engine trouble to mass seasickness, the Warship stuck to their orders and wrangled us on to a less than direct course into the harbor. As we converged on the entrance to safe waters, we hailed each other and traded stories of our war-wounds, laughing with the giddiness and familiarity capable by those who can only be described as survivors of a shared experience. (We would later find out that three of these sailing vessels had contacted the Coast Guard for assistance during the previous day’s storm, but not the plucky Sedna!)
Immediately after setting anchor in Taylor Creek across from the docks at Beaufort, we began dragging the contents of the interior of the boat out on deck to dry in the warm, Southern air. The calm waters of the harbor felt almost surreal in comparison to the incessant pitching of the seas between Cape Hatteras and Cape Lookout that so mercilessly buffeted poor Sedna and her crew. While Clay busied himself on the boat drying things out, Natasha and Travis went ashore in search of ice cream and beer. All endeavors were a success and, after food and a few beers, much needed sleep was had by all.
In the morning, Captain Clay took the first opportunity to go to shore to try to find showers, desperately needed by the entire crew. Meanwhile, Natasha and Travis began damage control, attempting to turn Sedna’s belly from a war-zone back into a livable space. Another gale was expected to blow through from the north beginning on Tuesday evening (the 12th), so after a day spent idling in town and more thoroughly cleaning the boat, we stocked up and retreated to our unheated cabin as the temperatures dropped. Although we were able to relax knowing that our Manson Supreme anchor would hold well all night, we had to keep diligent watch because our neighbors, “the Frenchies” from Montreal, were quite close with very little scope let out on their own anchor. Natasha made an evening trek across the creek for more beer (Captain’s orders), and realized just how frigid it had become. It felt like January at a mile high in Colorado… where did that gloriously warm Southern weather go?
Sedna and her trusty anchor held up well to the cold front that passed through, and her crew is now patiently waiting for the cold to pass and the sail to be repaired (again) so that they can be on their way again. Yesterday while Clay sought out sail repair service, Natasha and Travis explored the adjacent Carrot Island with its supposed wild horses. A lovely walk along Bird Shoals over exquisitely fine sand, and across some grassy knolls brought the rather rugged-looking herd into view. We took our time getting back to the proper spit of sand for a pick up from Clay, and upon arriving realized that the tide had risen above part of the island so that we had to make a detour to get anywhere that would be feasible for the dinghy to reach. Later that night, all three of us jetted to shore for hot chocolate to warm us up. We’re hoping the temperature rises again soon, and that our newly mended, pitiful sails hold fast for the next journey.
~Travis (& Natasha)