The conservation of heat

When I go to sleep in one of Sedna’s berths (knowing that it is either cold already or going to become so while I’m sleeping) I pretend to take counter measures; but they always fall short.

For example, on the eve of a predetermined fore-night I will often cover myself with three blankets; the well worn bedspread Gretchen gave me, a Pendleton wool blanket from my mom that ought to be warmer than it is, and a smallish and well-snuggled down blanket that’s warmer than its weight. Warped in memories of love one would think. But no.

While asleep I tend to toss from left to right while my bones readjust to a worn cushion’s crevice, and in doing so I inevitably uncover myself from the blanket sandwich I carefully designed while awake. Once asleep my subconscious controls the night, and when I start to become aware that I’m cold my instinct is to conserve what heat remains rather than gather and rewrap the fallen layers that once held me warm. I prefer to reluctantly freeze until chill’s discomfort stings my dreams shakes me awake enough to recover and re cover. Sometimes I fail to wake up and instead freeze a limb or entire slab of

This is how it was on Thanksgiving morning when I awoke in Georgetown, SC. It was about 29 degrees with wind. Ice had collected along Sedna’s deck where the water doesn’t drain as it should. My left side ached for no reason and I was determined to do something about it. I fussed up, make some shotgun coffee, over -layered with wool socks, sweat pants, jeans, two long sleeve shirts, a hoodie, a vest, a jacket, gloves, and a beanie.

My short term plan was to use Georgetown’s public restroom then sit in the local coffee shop (with free refills) and absorb their heat while our sun warmed up my hull’s interior a bit. The restrooms was open, and upon looking at my puffy-eyed self in the mirror I decided to take a brisk sink face rinse. I found to my delight that the electric hand dryer also blew heat (on the second punch and more on the third). Finally I was a bit cleaner, warmer, and more presentable for coffee. Did I smell? How can one tell after crawling out from under a bridge or from the waterline of a boat?

No matter, coffee shop was closed, so I piled along Front Street seeking any available door that would accept me. No shop was open (of course), but then as I neared the block’s end in frozen defeat I spied activity inside a local diner and opened it’s door. Several people were busy preparing food, and though I was told the cafe was closed for business on this sacred day, if I returned after 11AM they were serving up a free meal for the entire community. That warmed me right up. The place is called Aunty’s.

The previous day an anchor-out named Leo hailed me over to bum a ride shore later that evening, but when I went to collect him he was not quite ready, so we made tentative plans for a Thanksgiving meeting of some sort. I looked forward to collecting him this mid morning for our humble meal.

Upon returning to Sedna’s slightly warmer interior I checked the marine forecast (I should leave this afternoon), then I plotted my course.

I weighed my black, mud coated anchor and left it dangling, then motored over to the nearby town dock to prepare this vessel for her overnight journey south.

After I un-caked the ground tackle and made a final trip to the public head I collected Leo.

We arrived at Aunty’s around noon and were served up all the fixen’s of a proper southern Baptist meal. I over-ate, took a slice of apple pie to go, then basked in my cockpit while Leo dusted a fine cigar while lounging on the dock’s finger next to me. We swapped stories, shared boat details ,and re-embraced our collective paths, then I took him back to his robust Alberg 30 pocket cruiser and wished him well.

I untied from the dock at 2:30 PM and motored out into Winyah Bay with the intent to meet it’s Atlantic mouth at both slack tide and dusk.

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The inland waterway between Georgetown and Charleston had unpredictable shoaling of 3 feet at low tide, and I didn’t want to get stuck in ‘the ditch’, so I chose the offshore route.

This was my first overnight solo sail, and I was going southeast about 60 miles to Charleston. The forecast was for 10-15 knots from the north moving northeast with 3-5 foot swells, then increasing to small craft warnings of 20-25 knots and 5-7 feet for Friday day and Saturday.

I was well fed and overdressed as the sun set on Thanksgiving night, secure within my self inflating PDF and harnessed with a short leash to Sedna’s interior. By 6:30 I had navigated east to the safe water buoy then pointed the tiller pilot south toward a waypoint about a mile east of Cape Roman Shoals. My next plotted waypoint was toward Charleston’s harbor entrance about a mile east of Rattlesnake Shoals then into Charleston”s large bay. I had two anchorages plotted; one at Fort Johnson closer to the entrance but less protected from northerlies and remote, and one near the Coast Guard Station near a large marina/downtown.

It took me all night to get to Charleston’s Harbor entrance and there was plenty of shipping traffic to deal with, but about 9 AM I set the hook near the Coast Guard Station and sacked out. My brain took about a day to recover (Friday), and yesterday I finally did some laundry and a bit of food shopping with my dwindling reserves.

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This morning I woke up early and went for a run around quiet old city while contemplating staying for a while to seek work and once again attempt to legitimize myself, but I later thought better of it. I must forge on, at least to Hilton Head for a visit with my cousin and family.

So just now I’ve concocted my next move; a 3AM departure with the current’s blessing back into the sea, then 35 miles southwest to St. Helena Sound where I will anchor along Morgan (monkey) Island. Yes, there’s a colony of over 3000 Rhesus Monkeys that were relocated there about 35 years ago. After I consult with them I will have a better understanding as to what my next move should be…