Monthly Archives: November 2011

Camera Karma

We’ve got some bad camera karma going on here. As some of you know, we used to have two good cameras that we took awesome pictures with last year, but they have both died due to being in a “marine environment”. Right before we left on this trip we bought a completely waterproof camera. Not the most expensive one on the market, but we expected it to do the basic job. After less than two months it’s already majorly malfunctioning, and we are so disappointed! Don’t ever buy a Kodak Easyshare Sport C123! The light meter is going haywire, and the flash will not work at all. And we haven’t even gotten it wet in salt water! And due to the way they make cheap Chinese plastic electronics these days, there is no way to fix whatever isn’t working. And worst of all, we can’t find the receipt to return it.

The effect of the malfunctioning light meter creates some fanciful effects, however, and some of the photos add a lot to the general “Way Happy” vibe we have going on here. These have NOT been altered in any way in Photoshop, etc. They are exactly as the camera took them. Check it out:

Fabulous Sunset!

Lala’s feeling WAAAAY Happy today:

So today we are going shopping for another camera while we are in the big city of Charleston.
Hopefully better photos will be appearing on our blog again soon!!!

Peace on the ICW

We are finding the ICW rather beautiful and peaceful right now. We are even sailing, gliding along quietly at an easy 4 knots through lovely, open grassy marshes and tidal creeks. And we can’t comlplain about the weather, it has been quite warm and sunny for days now!

It is amazing to see the East coast at such a slow speed. We get to witness things that people in cars, or even powerboats for that matter, dont normally see, at least not in the detail we get at what amounts sometimes to walking speed. Things like terns wrestling with a fish they caught that is just a little too big for their throats. The reflection of trees on the water. Herons standing in silent, still watch, as if in deep meditation. Fisherman coming home in their little skiffs, skimming over the water to go clean their catch of the day. Empty mansions along the waterfront. Slow travel may be slow, but it has it’s rewards.

Today we stopped along the way to try to get some oysters, as it was low tide and we could see there were a lot around. We mostly found small ones, but we are looking forward to eating the bigger ones we picked!

Here is one of the oyster beds, and you can see some of the oysters clusters sticking out of the water.

We will be in Charleston tomorrow, and are looking forward to reuniting with our favorite city on the lower East coast!

– Capt’n K & Lala

Location:South Carolina

Addendum to last post

We are waiting out the big blow tonight in a comfy secure marina and we just finished watching a bunch of ridiculously scary Youtube videos of boats in extremely heavy seas and powerful storms. And I just want to fully own the fact that although to some people we may seem adventurous, in the greater world of sailing we are TOTAL WIMPS. We know it and dont want to pretend otherwise. What we just experienced out there in the swell from hell, although uncomfortable for us, was really quite benign and tame compared to what it could have been. We are just pansies.

So there. That’s the truth.

Here are two of the videos we watched, just to give you some perspective.

– Capt’n K & Lala

Location:A cozy safe marina

The Swell from Hell

Now that we have caught up on our sleep a bit, we can tell you the story of our trip from Beaufort, out at sea. We were sailing along happily, in our own little boat world, when we heard what sounded like thunder rumbling in the distance. Strange, we thought….there were no clouds in the sky at all. Then we heard announcements on the radio that the Navy was conducting live firing exercises in the vicinity and all ships should maintain a safe distance. Then we spotted a large hulking shape on the horizon, and we realized our course was taking us straight in their direction! Cap’t K got on the radio:
Us: “Warship No. 21, this is sailing vessel Way Happy.”
Them: “Way Happy, this is Warship 21, lets switch to channel 72”
Us: “We are approaching your location, and we’d like to know your course so that we can maintain a safe distance.”
Them: “we are on a course heading of 045 degrees, and we would request you maintain a distance of at least 3 nautical miles.”
Us: “ok, we will change our course heading to 270″
Them: ” thank you and enjoy your day sailing. Please keep in radio contact”

Well alright then! We’ll continue to enjoy our nice day while you guys fire explosives all around us!

So we changed our course heading to due west instead of southwest, and proceeded along until we saw another large ship ahead. Our new course had put us directly in line with another warship! Only this one was Destroyer 77. (side note: we think the warships should have more creative and dignified names than boring numbers. Some of our name suggestions are Rambo, Grim Reaper, and Fabio.). More radio contact was made, and it was determined we should maintain our course heading.

Eventually we saw a third navy ship, and all in all it took us most of the day to get ourselves safely around them. It was quite a long detour for us, and it completely changed our plans for arriving in Georgetown before dark the next day. And, our changed course heading meant we had to do a very long downwind run to get back on our original course.

Going downwind is my least favorite point of sail. You would think it would be the easiest, but at least for this boat it is not. Out at sea, especially, there is a tendency for the waves and swell to rock the boat back and forth very uncomfortably. This is the condition we found ourselves in. Also, when going downwind you must factor in the speed you are going and subtract that from the wind speed to get the actual amount of wind you have to work with. So while we had enough wind to sail in any other direction, going downwind we effectively had less than 10 knots, which just isnt enough to sail comfortably. So we rocked. And we rolled. ALL NIGHT LONG!!!

It wasn’t as fun as that might sound. In fact, it was what I consider a form of torture. Kind of like getting on a really bad carnival ride and not being able to get off for 14 hours. Sitting or lying down (standing wasnt really an option) required the activation of all your muscles all the time to avoid being flung from your seat. And the poor cats! Usually when we go sailing they hunker down in the comfiest place they can find and sleep until its over. Mojo in particular wont be seen again until the boat comes to a complete halt. But several times Slomo got up to stretch his legs and get a bit of fresh air, only to find he couldnt even make it a few feet with out sliding and being tossed around! Once he did actually make it out to the cockpit and had the horrible idea of trying to take a stroll up on the deck, and we had to throw him back in the cabin quick before he was tossed overboard!

We tried everything we could to make it a more comfortable ride. We adjusted our course as much as we could without going in the wrong direction. We tried different sails and different sail combinations. Finally we found that sailing the mainsail alone provided the most stability, although it was still painfully rocky. Sleeping was not really a viable option. We both just wanted to hop on the next train home, except there was no train and this horribly rocking boat IS our home.

So when the dawn arrived and we approached the Cape Fear inlet, we made the call to duck in there instead of enduring another day of being rocked crazy. As soon as we changed our point of sail to a nice reach, it was wonderful again and we had a lovely sail up the Cape Fear inlet. (while we each took turns passing out in deep sleep) Our boat really loves going to windward, and as soon as we turned towards the wind instead of away from it, she perked right up and got way happier. As did we!

So one of the major lessons we learned on this leg of our soutward journey is that while 10-15 knot winds from the northeast sounds lovely in theory, beware of the swell from hell!!

– Capt’n K & Lala


Came back in at Cape Fear

The run from Beaufort was light and dead behind us. It rolled the heck out of us and the light winds were not enough to power us very well, so after 24 hours we decided to duck in to Cape Fear rather than press on in the exasperating conditions.

So now we will run on the ICW for the rest of the day and get a nice anchorage tonight. More stories later of the destroyer and warships that we ran into along the way!

Outside run from Beaufort

Good morning! It is a beautiful (but chilly) sunny morning and we are headed out the Beaufort inlet to sea. The weather seems to be in our favor to make it to South Carolina by tomorrow night. We are aiming for Georgetown or Charleston, depending on how fast the winds blow us, but Cape Fear is an option too.

Last night we enjoyed a special meal with some new friends we met in a bar in Beaufort, Pam and Tom, who are visiting the area to do some kayaking. They were staying in a timeshare condo nearby and invited us over for dinner. A real “house”! Good food and conversation! And I even got to take a steam bath!! It was lovely!

We are back in pelican territory and I have been enjoying watching how low they can fly over the water.

We will check in when we get back to land…wish us luck at sea!!

– Capt’n K & Lala

Location:Back to sea

Tales of Beaufort

We are in Beaufort, NC, not to be confused with Beaufort, SC. The North Carolina version is pronounced closer to the correct French pronunciation (Bo-fort), while as far as we understand the South Carolina one is pronounced “bew-fort”. Anyway, here we are in a very crowded anchorage where we got almost NO sleep last night because a very inconsiderate boat anchored RIGHT next to us, literally on top of our anchor, and during the night a storm passed through with high winds and boats were swinging all around, with this guy about 10 feet from us all night. This person did not even check his position all night, while we were up most of the night monitoring the situation the best we could. In the morning we were finally able to move to a different spot, and we do not have very good feelings for this guy right now if we were to meet him. I’m sure he didn’t have any malicious intent in anchoring so close, he was probably just trying to squeeze into a spot like everyone else was, but if you are going to anchor that close to someone in a storm at least be aware of what your boat is doing while it swings around!!!

One of the reasons we are making a stop in Beaufort was so that I could pick up some mail from my sister, who was awesome enough to mail me some new clothes so that I can make a stylish impression on the pelicans at sea. Thanks Sis!! They all fit perfect!
Here I am modeling one of my new outfits, while our messed up new camera takes it upon itself to add psychedelic effects.

I thought Beaufort would be a great place to pick up mail because I remember from being here last year that there is a post office right across the street from the dinghy dock. Super easy and accessible. Well as it turns out, the nearly bankrupt post office closed that branch, and now the only post office in Beaufort is over 2 miles away on a busy highway on the very outskirts of town in strip mall land. I didn’t mind the walk, as I wanted to get some exercise anyway, but it was a less than pleasant 4 mile round trip excursion on the side of the highway walking nearly in the trash filled ditch in order to not be so close to the speeding cars. (there was no sidewalk) Our current development model does not take pedestrians into account!! It is assumed that EVERYONE has a car and uses only it to go EVERYWHERE. It discourages people from walking. I resent this.

Maybe we should have brought our car. I thought that wasn’t possible, but this video proves otherwise. We could have just driven it onto the foredeck and we would have been all set!
Check it out. I almost peed my pants laughing. These Haitians sure are resourceful! Hopefully it will be a little comic relief for your day.