Got TANG? Change of Plans…

Captain Pat Log Entries:
Beaufort to Swansboro 11/14
I made some scramble eggs with sausage and covered with shredded cheese. And we had coffee
Tim leaves around 1000
Derrick and I do some chores
Derrick and I motor at about 1100
First bridge at 1215 which is sitting at 63 ft.
Derrick and I waiting till 1400
At 1400 the bridge clearance is at 64.5 ft.
We are starting to approach the bridge.
I watching the sides of the boat as we continue thru the bridge
Derrick says it looks good.
I proceed watching the sides, which are close
I look up and see the bridge center light make contact with the mast head tri color light which falls off the mast and onto the cockpit floor right next to me.
We accelerate and Derrick and I get into a regimen of travel down the ditch.
We are approaching the next bridge and I get a call from the sailboat behind us
He says the bridge vertical clearance shows 65.5
I knew that we were at low tide but thank him.
We anchor in the little cove near Casper’s marina in Swansboro, NC
Swansboro to swan point marina 11/15/07

The weather report continues to indicate rough conditions. There are high winds from the massive cold front moving through the region. Freezing temperatures from South Carolina north. Derrick and I are discussing how to handle the situation. Suddenly the boat starts moving. The wind has pushed on us enough and we drag anchor. The boat turned perpendicular to the wind dragging the anchor at about 2 kts in the direction of the highway bridge. At 150 yards off the bridge I got the engines started and was able to hold our position off the highway bridge. We weighed anchor and started motoring. So, the boat decided that we would continue on.

I call Casper Marina hoping to find a slip for the night all I can think of is the freezing temps coming. “Casper marina, Casper marina, this is sailing vessel Cat Maudy on channel 1 6 over.” No answer. “Dudley Marina this is Cat Maudy on 1 6, over.”

Dudley answers, “This is Dudley marina to the vessel hailing Dudley Marina. We don’t have room for you”.

The conditions continue to worsen with winds increasing on our nose at 25+ kts as we navigate into the ICW from the anchorage. I decide to continue south when I feel the boat stop. AGROUND! We were stuck hard to shoal off the boundary island that is homeport of the pink Chris Craft. I bear down hard in reverse but Cat Maudy is a big cat and she settles in. with the wind pushing us onto the shoal each second. Shit. I call Jane. “I just wanted to you to be the first to know that I have officially f%&#ed this up, bye.” My next call was to TowBoatUS.

Homeport for this TowBoatUS is at the Casper Marina. After about 15 minutes of waiting for the tow a couple of gleaming hull powerboats plow thru traveling south and bouncing us on our bottom. I can see that the water is 2 feet or less. Each wake is pushing us further onto the shoal when I see the TowBoatUS vessel emerge from the Casper Marine dock. Looking north up the ICW there is another 55 feet of plastic pleasure plowing along with huge wake following it.

I stand out on the fish deck of Cat Maudy and motion my hands and arms in a down direction. I can see the couple on the SunSeeker waving and smiling as they trek mindlessly south. “Well Derrick, this wake should pretty much set on this shoal forever. I suppose if we get some pink for the hull and green paint for the cabin we join that old Chris Craft.” The wake lifts Maudy and thrust forward. I look over and the towboat is approaching and the SunSeeker wake lifts us up and over the shoal to deeper water beyond it. We’re floating and making way directly for the anchorage in which we spent the night. Rock On! I fire the diesels and hear the towboat captain yell, “Come to port hard.” I do that, then maneuver past a day marker leaving it on the port side. Another massive turn to port and we are completely clear and making way back into the ICW.

“Derrick lift the engine compartment hatches and check for water in the engine bilges.” Derrick scrambles then returns. “Looks dry, we’re good to go.”

We head south ticking off the miles slowly. Day markers, ICW mileposts, the Onslow beach swing bridge and at last I’m able to locate the phone number of Swan Point Marina. They have space for us and are ahead about 6nm. We have been traveling with the dolphins. They travel up and down the ditch. Six dolphin are swimming ahead of and toward us. They disappear under our bows. At first I’m not sure what to think of them swimming with the boat in these tight quarters but then I figure, “They have a handle on it.” We make our approach and the guys on the dock are guiding us to a side on slip inside the man made jetty they call Swan Point Marina.

Cat Maudy’s bow rubs gently on the dock and then we are made fast.

Swan Point Marina 11/16/07
This is a down day. I made a temporary anchor light. Bought an AquaSignal hanging anchor light from Paul the owner of Swan Point Marina. A southbound hippy guy that is here on a Wharram Nari is installing a new diesel. The transmission on his current Yanmar industrial diesel had a massive transmission problem so he is forced to install a new engine and transmission he can’t get parts for his existing diesel. His name is Pete, and built this particular Wharram 23 year ago and has made as many yearly trips from Kitty Hawk, NC to Sarasota, FL. He has a beach business in Kitty Hawk and works in the marine industry as a welder in Sarasota. We chatted this afternoon about his boat and Cat Maudy. I told him the story of the jib stay tang. He thought about it for a while and then later in the afternoon he stopped by to make a few comments about it. I had him take a close look and he, “Oh, that has a lot of material left” but it is not to be trusted on the outside.

Notes from Land…
Thursday 11.15.07

– received a flurry of phone calls from Pat
– Earl ate some smoked turkey….and took a poo…..seemed like good signs
– winds gusted up while Cat Maudy was at anchor in the Intra Coastal…dragged the boat toward a bridge w/heavy current…Pat got engines going in nick of time
– Cat Maudy ran aground…while they waited for a tow…a big motor yacht w/big wake got them off
– waited 30 min for a drawbridge to open in a tiny channel w/3 other boats & 25 knot winds
– got a slip at a marina in Sneads Ferry NC…with about 2 min to spare b4 a tornado passed over
– I’m not taking any more calls from Pat today…

The Swan Point Marina at Sneads Ferry provides a “courtesy car” for use by it’s marina guests. What IS a courtesy car? The owner of the marina leaves the keys under the mat in his car – and the guests at the marina take the car wherever they need to go

It has now been 1 week, since I was on board with Cat Maudy. I’ve been on land, and have missed the adventures. I’m in the middle of 18 hour work days, and a phone that never stops ringing. It is prime-time for our business. Perhaps the tipping point is the notion of a Courtesy Car? Or the other countless events that you can only live, when you take risks? But for now, it’s all about Earl. I wasn’t sure if my little buddy was getting better, and the thought of him leaving this existence without saying goodbye wasn’t sitting well. I had to be in a place where people leave their keys in their cars for you to use. I had to experience the Intra Coastal. I had to be with Earl. I had to drop everything I was doing. I had to be in this story.

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