It was our third day at sea since we left Lucaya. We would arrive in South Carolina after sunset, dropping anchor in the marshlands just before dark. After our ominous encounter with the massive shadow in the night, Travis and I sailed together in the cockpit wide-eyed knowing that one of us should be asleep, but neither of us could. I could literally feel the blood moving in my veins… and I was so disappointed that my beautiful night was ruined and to add further insult to the evening, I found the Snickers bar that I was so looking forward to eating in the middle of the night with coffee under the starry sky, completely smushed. A fellow cruiser and friend has termed these kinds of things as First World Problems. True, still my mind was racing and my heart was bruised.
I finally did fall asleep a few hours later in the cockpit, waking at sunrise. It was beautiful, lifting the heaviness of the evening away. Everything was magical again. A brilliant sun rose out of the sea.
Travis went below to sleep and I enjoyed an intimate morning that healed my heart, complete with a huge helping of pancakes and mother nature. I sipped my coffee and realized I was absolutely famished so I took a good look at the chart and all around the horizon. Satisfied that Seahorse and Bel Canto were the only specks in the middle of the immediate sea before us, I went to the kitchen and cooked up a huge stack of blueberry and chocolate chip pancakes; I call them Black and Blues…I don’t care for pancakes without chocolate chips. I popped up into the cockpit every few minutes and checked everything out.
Just as I was on my last bite, an exuberant group of dolphins surfaced out of the sea to say hello. One leaped out of the water and thrashed down on its side with a big splash. I jumped up and ran around the bow in my usual giddy dolphin dance. They stayed for a while, swimming alongside Seahorse, and then vanished as if they were never there. Bella & Truchie stared in amazement, they have not figured out what these slippery silver swimmers are yet…or how to catch them.
Full of chocolate chip pancakes and dolphin greetings, I sat on the rail in awe. I had tears in my eyes because my heart was so happy and grateful for this experience… to soar across the ocean in our home, visiting distant lands and never feeling like a stranger, just a voyager. Seahorse, my trusty girl, galloped along the water keeping the course Travis had set for her, while I sat eating pancakes and watching dolphins as he slept.
As I sat enjoying this perfect moment, the cutest little bird flew onto Seahorse and landed a few feet away from me. Land was not in site still. It was a fuzzy yellow warbler, Travis later told me, as I excitedly introduced him to our stowaway as soon as he woke up.
My heart soared another mile as I was completely fascinated by this cute little bird hitching a ride. He hung out on the cabin top for a few hours before making a horrible decision. He decided to fly into the cockpit. Truchas was even more fascinated by this fuzzy yellow warbler as he made his appearance. The bird landed on the wheel, but was surprised when it moved (on auto-pilot) so he flew off and settled in on the Starboard Deck. Then he made a really bad decision and flew right in front of Truchas’ face. Truchas, who was on a 2 ft leash, lunged forward and caught it in mid flight!
Horrified, I did the quickest thing that popped into my head. I threw my Cream Soda all over Truchas. I showered her in it and frantically screamed, “No Truchas!!!” It worked, with a huge look of surprise, her jaw opened and the bird flew out of her mouth… back onto the Starboard Deck. Truchas looked at me with complete annoyance and betrayal. I wasn’t sure if it was because I ruined her hunting experience or because she was wet and sticky…probably both. Travis and I had a good laugh at this crazy encounter, but before we could finish laughing, the crazy bird did the same thing. Truchas didn’t miss her on the second round either. My second reaction (my soda was gone…) was to run up to her and jump up and down in a frantic panic. This worked as well as the soda in the face trick and the bird once again flew off unharmed. The bird wisened up and hid behind a small anchor and my lyra this time and stayed there. Truchas spent the rest of the day at the very end of her leash waiting for the bird’s next flight. At some point during the day as we neared land, the fuzzy stowaway flew from Seahorse. I was sad I had missed it, but happy that we could offer the tired soul a home for a bit. I am sure Truchas didn’t miss it… or did she eat it?!
This is how sailing is. Huge changes happen, often after long periods of it being one condition, so it seems sudden because the turn is so great. A peaceful calm slowly turns to a jaw dropping stormy sea then back to a calm that you would never think possible… A calm that makes the water look like pudding and tricks you into thinking maybe it hadn’t been as stormy as it seemed. Or a perfect sail turns into some sort of mechanical or navigational mayhem. Or an amusement park ride of waves and howling wind turns to a hush.
We reached Beaufort upon a Magical Sunset with an abundance of presence radiating from our hearts. To complete a passage is awe-inspiring. The channel into Beafort, SC is crazy long, but beautiful. We had plenty of time to process our adventure as we motored down the channel with Bel Canto.
The dogs saw the shore and were ready to get their paws dirty! It was their first passage as they had flown to the Bahamas to board Seahorse. They had done great!