I wake up early on Feb. 29th to check the issues relative to our planned cruise and the first thing I notice is that I can’t see out the windows! We’re completely fogged in. Oh well, that wasn’t on my list from yesterday. Rule # (pick a number) is that on the water, expect the unexpected as Mother Nature likes to remind us who’s in charge. Anyway, I get my first cup of coffee and call the Camp Lejeune number for firing rang info and get confirmation that there will not be any range activities today. So we’re clear to go on that aspect. Next is the call to BoatUS to discuss shoaling in Brown’s Inlet and New River Inlet. I also want to ask about the status of the fog. I get a Captain from the local Swansboro BoatUS and he reports that the Browns Inlet shoaling issue is a non-issue as it was recently dredged and the New River Inlet just requires caution to not cut the corner when making the turn to port at Sneads Ferry. But his bigger concern is the fog and he says the fog will stay with us until either the sun burns it off or the winds pick up. I agree with him that the sun burning it off is not a possibility today and he says the fog will lift later this afternoon when the winds start blowing into the higher teens to twenties and that’s reason enough to stay put and ride out the storm.
The winds are forecasted to linger into Sunday, so we must make a decision regarding our guests coming in for the weekend. After speaking with the BoatUS Captain and discussing planning with Tracy, we decide to stay put and tell Lisa that we’ll be in Swansboro for the weekend instead of Sneads Ferry. By boat, they’re literally 20 miles apart, but by car it’s almost an hour as vehicle traffic must swing all the way around the sprawling property of Camp Lejeune. So if Lisa, AJ and Nicole come down it’ll still be some travelling to get together with Craig, Melanie and Brenda Hedgepeth since they’ll be in Topsail Beach at their cottage. Oh well, safety on the water takes precedence over convenience on land. So AJ says he’ll come to Swansboro today and Lisa says she’ll let me know later today on her and Nicole. We check our lines and then decide to lower the dinghy and check out the island across the ICW from our dock figuring Frankie can get some exercise running the sand. So we lower the dinghy and try to fire it up. When it won’t start and the battery is almost dead, I walk up to the marina office and ask a mechanic to come down and check it out. Twenty minutes later, Kevin comes down, tries to start the outboard, checks a few things, goes back for some tools and starter fluid and a short time later the dinghy outboard is purring. Kevin still doesn’t like the idle on it and agrees to come back on Saturday to check out the carburetor for gumming, etc. After he leaves, we get back into the dinghy, cross the ICW and pull up onto a sand hill island directly across from our dock. Tracy and Frankie climb a large sand dune and go exploring for about twenty minutes and come back with Frankie picking up about a dozen sandspurs stuck in his fur! We make the return to Kailani where Tracy and I get Frankie trimmed of all the burrs stuck to him. Frankie was in misery, those sand spurs are danged sharp and I found to my own chagrin they break off and leave almost microscopic pieces under your skin. Ouch! However, at the top of the dune was a flat area that looked like I imagine the face of the moon to look (except for the shells part), a shallow crater, wind-blown with scattered shells. Very surreal. Climbing back down the dune turned into a sand slide with me bouncing down on my behind, laughing my head off!-tc
The winds are now starting to pick up and we learn that AJ will not make it down to us for a visit. The original plan was that AJ would be onboard for Friday and Saturday while Lisa and Nicole would come in Saturday with Nicole returning with AJ on Saturday afternoon and Lisa staying until Sunday.
Thursday evening and all of Friday are spent riding the wild bronco aboard Kailani as the winds and waves are out of the northwest and that’s right off our port quarter. The video above is while tied up at dock! -tc So for a good two days, Kailani is getting pushed into the pilings and her fenders are going to need some new air after this storm fades away. Later in the day on Friday, we get confirmation from Lisa that she and Nicole will be coming down on Saturday and they’ll both stay until Sunday, so Tracy and I borrow the Dudley Marina courtesy car and head out to the new Super Walmart that just opened 4 weeks ago in Swansboro. After stocking up on groceries and some other miscellaneous items that we needed, we return to Kailani and fight the winds while carrying the groceries onto the boat. These high winds are tough to deal with, but we’re safely tied up at the dock and its certainly better that the weather our family and friends in Connecticut are experiencing as the second bombo-genesis storm ravages the Northeast this winter. They are getting lots of heavy wet snow with strong winds and thousands of power outages throughout the area. We’re just getting 20-25 mile and hour winds with gusts to 35 mph!
Saturday morning we wake up to slightly slower winds and make preparations for Lisa’s arrival. Since she and Nicole have never been onboard Kailani, we’re cleaning her up real nice. Vacuuming, polishing, dishwashing, and straightening out are the order of the morning and soon, Lisa and Nicole show up with Bo the docile Jack Russell Terrier (he said in jest!). When Frankie and Bo start playing, both are excited to levels we’ve never seen from either dog and thirty minute long tussles are the norm for the visit. Bo is Nicole’s dog and she says she needs a small dog bed/crate for him during their stay, so we load up and go back to our new favorite store in Swansboro, the Super Walmart. Tracy and I are looking at a few things for the boat while Lisa and Nicole shop the pet supplies department for the bed and a few other items.
After the Walmart spree, Lisa takes us into downtown, historic Swansboro and we walk the quaint little shops looking for items to catch our fancy. Tracy has been looking for months in shops like these for a nice tablecloth to put on the galley dinette but we just haven’t found anybody to carry them. Apparently the new style is placemats and runners. We check out every gift shop in town and narrow our search down to the Quilter’s Cottage. Once we’re inside, the only tablecloth they have is a square shaped antique one that’s much too large and not conducive to folding to fit, so we decide to give up and go right above the quilter’s Cottage to the Bake Bottle and Brew coffee shop. They have coffees, ice cream, craft brews and a small specialty gift store area. We order some coffees and while I get the order completed, the three girls walk thru the gift area and to our complete surprise, there’s a tablecloth that fits the bill for everything we’re looking for. Go figure, coffees and a tablecloth in the same establishment. All in all we end up with a nice nautical coaster set for the coffee table and the tablecloth.
Once we return to Kailani, Nicole opens the box containing the bed/crate and it opens to a size about four times larger than her dog, Bo. So it’s back to Walmart for a return and a smaller size. Also we just got word that Craig, Melanie and Brenda are in fact coming from Topsail to Swansboro and we’ll be going out to dinner together. Lisa figures that she has enough time to go to Walmart, make the exchange and get back before they arrive, so off she goes with Nicole.
The Hedgepeths arrive just before Lisa gets back so we spend some time catching up with them. Melanie had come up with Lisa last year for our bon voyage/retirement/40th anniversary party and stayed at our house, but we hadn’t seen Craig or Brenda since Lisa and Art got married about thirty years ago, so we had a nice time catching up and Craig describing the progress on their cottage construction.
Dinner tonight is the Icehouse Restaurant and being a party of seven on a Saturday night, we end up waiting a while for a table. The wait gets so long that we finally agree to take two tables of four and Craig, Melanie and Brenda eat at the other side of the dining room from us. Oh well, just another plan gone sour. But living aboard Kailani on the water has made living with disappointing changes a norm for us and it’s no big deal. Yes it would have been nice to sit together, but everybody still had a nice meal and we can always stop back on our way back north next month and get together again. The Hedgepeth’s head out right from the restaurant for the two hour trip to Louisburg and we return to the boat for a good night’s sleep.
Sunday morning comes and after everyone is wide awake, Lisa decides we need to go to Yana’s Restaurant for breakfast. Yana’s is a themed restaurant with a life-size Elvis statue guarding the entrance and once inside there’s everything from a Wurlitzer jukebox to other wall decorated memorabilia giving a real throw-back feel to the place. After brunch it’s back to the boat for good-byes. After Lisa and Nicole leave, we decompress a bit, do some clean-up and make some preliminary preparations for tomorrow’s departure. For instance, we have to raise the dinghy back onto the sundeck roof and tie her down. Luckily it’s a fairly calm day with little wind and hardly any waves so it gets completed safely. I am in love- meet my new boyfriend. And yes, Nick is ok with it! -tc
Later in the afternoon, Tracy makes arrangements with Dudley’s to borrow the courtesy car again so we can have a date night at the movies. She wants to see Red Sparrow and there’s a movie theater 4 miles away in Emerald Point.
We walk into the 6:30 pm show and we’re the first ones in and there’s only about 6 more people in the theater for this showing. I’ll bet that doesn’t happen once summer rolls around here in this beach community.
As we’re walking out of the theater, Tracy has to go on line and get an explanation of the plot so we can figure out what we had just watched. Oh well, at least we had some good popcorn and drinks. Now it’s back to the boat, set up the auto coffee maker and get a good night’s sleep for tomorrow’s cruise.