These early November days mark two months of our journey. We left Trident Yacht Club September 8th but it seems like a century ago. We have seen a lot of places, met a lot of people and learned, learned learned, fixed the boat, and learned some more. There have been a lot of “ups” but there have also been some “downs.” Most of the low points have been centred around boat issues – a leaky bow thruster, a fried alternator belt, unexplained water intrusion in the bilge under our main cabin bed and a multitude of other little things. Some days, yeesh. The emotions range from disappointment and frustration all the way up to, well, fear and dread.
Yeah, not good.
But we are learning to ride the wave of emotions and to tackle the boat issues one by one. Sometimes that means getting outside help (when the issue is outside our wheelhouse) like we did with our chart plotter problems. Mostly, though, we try to tackle things on our own, albeit, with the sailing community you are never really on your own. A mention of a confounding issue (like the water intrusion under our bed) will spur lots of ideas and, even better, “that happened to me” explanations. YouTube University has also been a proud supporter of our DIY work for many years 😉. Those little videos have saved our bacon more than once.
Today, we can happily say that the boat is purring along. No boat work has been on our agenda of late. Yes!
Truly, though, most of our days are just chockful of special-ness, with the last few being particularly high points. Why? Because they remind us that we are “elsewhere.” We are exploring and discovering and when you combine that with being able to fall asleep in your own comfy bed every night…amazing.
The first of our “elsewhere reminders” happened at the bottom of the Alligator River, North Carolina. We anchored just off the ICW, very purposely near a spot that promised that a pet relief dock loomed within the reedy, shallow edges of the Buckridge Coastal Reserve. Research into this Reserve highlighted that it is a known habitat for alligators. Lovely.
Having anchored just before sunset, we had only 30 minutes or so of sunlight to get the dog to this dock and back to the boat. Doable, right? So, the dock was actually at the end of a very long, shallow and narrow access from the open water, winding its way through the marsh. The dinghy had to go dead slow, with the motor tilted, to navigate around multiple underwater hazards. And with the risk of an alligator sighting and looming darkness, all hands and paws stayed well within the dinghy. No alligators were spotted but we were treated to a close-up look at the beauty of the Reserve as we wound through the marsh. It was a spectacular and inspiring moment in the wilderness. And thankfully we got back to the boat just before darkness fully set.
Our other “elsewhere reminder” was in Belhaven, North Carolina. It is right off the ICW and is just a normal-type small town kind of place. Tiny and nothing splashy. What stood out to us about Belhaven was its people. My gosh, I have never met friendlier people. Anywhere. Walking along the road with our backpacks, a lovely lady pulled over and asked if we wanted a ride to the grocery store. Remember that we have Ocean with us. She was willing to take us to the store with our big old dog. Plus, she had just returned from dropping off another Canadian boating couple from the grocery store. That is beyond nice. We declined her offer (we needed to stretch our legs) and for the whole 30-minute walk to the store, every single car slowed down to give us a wave or a smile or a nod. Every single car. It was just extraordinary. The other really cool topper about Belhaven, for us, are its beautiful cotton fields. That is a new sighting for us and yet another reminder that we were somewhere that was delightfully different.
Tomorrow, we head to Oriental, North Carolina. We got separated from our sailing pod this morning but hope to catch back up with them over the next few days.
Victoria is a hiker, dog-lover, blog writer and planner extraordinaire. Oh, yeah and she is kind of fond of living on a boat.