July 14th, 2011
I awoke to the sound of flies and bugs in the cabin and thought I heard a knock on the boat and a voice saying "sir?", I realized I was dreaming but still answered "What?". I laughed to myself and got up to get going. I of course popped my head out of the cabin and looked around just in case I was dreaming and actually did find the marina the night before.
By 6:30am the anchors were on board and I was underway. Slightly sleepy, I decided to make some coffee. My cook stove wasn't working so I improvised with my plumbing torch and a tin can... I was very pleased with my Macgyver-like actions.
I was making my way through some small cuts with the motor and radio on when I looked over my shoulder and noticed a huge sport fishing boat attempting to pass me without waking me too bad. I immediately moved to the side to let them pass and offered the obligatory joke "Do you have any Grey Poupon?"
I began reflecting on my trip and thinking about how today should be my last day on the water. I was concerned with the level of fuel I had left because I was switched over to my last backup tank that held 3.7 gallons of gas and it was 9:30am and the nearest marina was not very close. I thought about how many chores and responsibilities there are on a boat. And even though I am just moving slowly down a channel at most times there is the constant need for vigilance that can be very tiring both physically and mentally. Much of this reflection may have been brought on because I was passing through an area where the markers were very far apart and it was about as exciting as watching water boil. Also, there was hardly any breeze and the horseflies were driving me nuts.
YIKES! At 10:30am my gps map disappears! The information on the data chip must have been unreadable but it felt like I was going to sail off the end of the earth. At that point the weather was hazy and the markers were still far apart. I quickly broke out the paper charts and went in to old school navigation mode. Checking and double-checking was the job of the day. I had a snack of peanut butter and crackers and got some on the chartbook, I guess I should take better care of them. The day was beginning to drag on and I was observing the fact that I had passed hundreds of houses that all have the same view while I had hundreds of different views of houses that sit still.
I made it to Beaufort, SC with fuel to spare. I fuel up and check the weather radar on my phone...Yikes! Storms are starting to build around me so I wait a bit before leaving the dock. I outrun storm clouds like I am in the scene from the movie "Independence Day" when they fly Air Force One out in front of the explosions. I was now making my way back to familiar waters as I pass the Marine Corps base on Paris Island and get close to Port Royal Sound. I round the bend, look across the sound and see the neighborhood in Hilton Head Plantation called Dolphin Head... I am almost home although I still have an hour of sailing to do.
I drop the sails as I pass the ICW Marker 13 and with my buddy Jimmy Clark's permission, pull up to the North End Charter Fleet dock. The dock is busy and I am greeted by old friends. We decide since it is happy hour, a celebratory cocktail or two is in order.
I am home, the boat is in safer waters for hurricane season, all is good! the Tiki Thomcat will be moved to it's new home in N. Ft. Myers, FL in November after the threat of hurricane season passes.