Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Question #1: Chip and Tammy's trip to Wanchese on Isabella was hairy because of:

a. a late start
b. a wrong turn (or a really long, wide one)
c. a big blow
d. running over a giant squid
e. all of the above
f. all of the above except d (and technically e as well)

If you said f, you are correct.

About three hours into the trip, when we were at the R in OUR, things went south. Well, we were TRYING to go south(ish), but there might as well have been a giant squid in our path. The wind had been slowly building all morning, something we knew was coming, but there was that a. and b. problem.

So by the time we got to the R in OUR we had the c. problem. It was blowing a steady 20-25 with much higher gusts. The waves had built to 3-4 feet, and we were under power, very little of it. At the confluence of all those arrows, we were going about as fast as I could walk (on land). If the engine had died, it would have been SO ugly. The channel is about as wide as that red arrow with shallow water on either side, not shallow like 6 feet, shallow like 1-2 feet.

All this was a good reminder of why we love sailing and hate motoring. We were at the total mercy of the engine.

But, frankly, if it hadn't been a wee bit terrifying thinking of all the possible things that could go wrong with the engine, it would have been a hoot. It's a natural thrill to ride the waves, to lean into the wind, to take the occasional spray -- and to watch for sea creatures (we saw dolphins).

But, it was a wee bit terrifying, the engine did not die, we did not run over (or even see) a giant squid, and we made it safely to the boatyard. High fives in the cockpit.

a. don't be late
b. don't take a wrong turn
c. give a big blow plenty of sea room
d. fear the giant squid
e. all of the above

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