Saturday, April 9, 2011

Beaufort Storms

We woke bright and early Friday morning and headed back to the Beaufort waterfront to check out the North Carolina Maritime Museum.  It is a wealth of information about pirate lore, boat building history, the fishing industry and the wrecks in the “Graveyard of the Atlantic”.  In fact, Blackbeard’s flagship “Queen Anne’s Revenge” sank right in the Beaufort inlet about 400 years ago and is still sitting on the bottom in about 13 feet of water less than ½ mile from the inlet.  Across the street from the museum, they have a boat house where you can watch people building wood boats by hand.  Just watching them inspired me to want to build our own dinghy one day. 

We walked up and down the waterfront and worked up quite an appetite.  We ended up at The Dock House for the very best crabcake sandwiches for lunch.  We can’t quite get those in SLC so it took us about 10 min to scarf them down.  Returning to the boat, we were surprised by the forecast for high winds that night.  We had dinner and battened down the hatches.  High winds turned out to be storms with thunder, lightning and about 40 mph gusts.  It’s one thing to experience a thunderstorm in a house with a concrete foundation and worrying about unplugging your computer, it’s another to wonder if your anchor will hold, if you’ll hit another boat, run aground, or if lightning will strike your 55 foot mast while you are on the water.  We didn’t sleep much that night, but we made it through safe and sound.  We intended to head out the next day for Cape Lookout.

Well, weather didn’t improve until about 2 pm the next day, so we returned to the waterfront and found a great store, Harbor Specialties, and Susan helped us tremendously in finding just that right momento from the trip.  She embroidered a bag with Stella Blue’s name and has the ability to sew anything we need, with just a phone call and the boat’s name.  As an aside, it turns out Susan was the original owner of a boat named “Banjo” which happened to be for sale in January by the second owner.  It had piqued our interest in early January and was the whole reason we began looking for boats in New Bern.  We never imagined that we would consequently run into Banjo’s owner in a shop in Beaufort while we were sailing on our Tartan 37.  She was thrilled that we knew her boat and we were thrilled to hear her story. 

Unfortunately, the storm from the night before and the pressure changes created an issue with my head.  I felt like my head was being hammered continuously through most of the day.  When we got back to the boat, I couldn’t keep my eyes open.  Baxter made the best chicken & sausage gumbo for dinner.  He’s the best ever!  We checked the weather and made plans to head out to the Cape the next day….despite the storms and the ugly radar that loomed ahead.  Baxter and I had a difficult time trying to understand how it was that the only storms in the ENTIRE country were over Missouri and our 100 square miles in Eastern North Carolina.  Sometimes you don't have the option to figure out why you just have to figure out what you can do with what you're served.

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