When we see frontal clouds like this it gets us to thinking. Maine has been lovely, we have made many good friends there, enjoy the environment, and watching the schooners. But truth be told, we’ve both got the itch to move, to feel Wind Horse carving waves, to have a clear and uncluttered horizon. Perhaps the fact that we rarely pay a comfort penalty at sea has something to do with this.
And then we notice the birds begin to fly south. Warm weather anyone? How about white sand beaches, clear water, tropical breezes? The result of these omens and much cogitating has Wind Horse following. We are headed back to Beaufort, North Carolina. Sure it is late in the season, but this is an easy trip for us at our cruising speed of 11 knots. A couple of days and we are there if we go direct.
Of course there are bound to be distractions along the way. That’s Barnegat light above. We’ve stopped to have a gam with friends aboard the trusty scow schooner Nina, reached via a narrow channel showing 5.5 feet of water at high tide. Great fun, indeed.
Cruising with a five foot draft opens up a whole new world of places, people, and critters, which we love. But we also enjoy being offshore.
Which brings us to the continental shelf, just outside the influence of the Gulf Stream, a bit north of the entrance to the Chesapeake. There has been a nice breeze pushing us down the coast, as much as 32 knots from the north (see the max wind speed arrow above).
This has generated lovely sustained surfs, speeds into the high teens, and great conditions for further refining the NAIAD stabilizer software settings. The plan has been to ride this weather all the way to Beaufort. However, it seems a frontal boundary has a date with the Gulf Stream as we near Cape Hatteras. The forecast of 25 to 30 knots is no big deal, but occasionally this type of prognosis goes spectacularly wrong. So we reluctantly divert to Hampton Roads (Norfolk). At this juncture, the balance of the trip begins to make sense via the Intra Coastal Waterway.
We have mixed feelings about this, the ICW being significantly more work, but all the same we decide on the inside route, the better to shoot birds in flight.
As a preamble to the photos that follow it should be noted that we have lusted after a really good bald eagle photo for many years..
At 1700, awaiting a 2000 hours bridge opening, we spy this fine fellow finishing off his dinner.
Another sign that plan B is indeed the right one for this winter.
You say you want more detail? Consider that this photo was taken under a cloudy sky, and the capability of the Canon 1DX and 600F4 IS 2 comes into focus.
We’d say this bald eagle agreeing to pose for us is indeed the silver lining in those dark clouds that have been prodding us along the last two weeks.