We had a great voyage home. Besides our stopover in St. Thomas VI, we never lowered a sail the whole voyage. The winds blew out of the NE all the way to the mouth of the Cape Fear River.
We had some tech savvy delivery crew with us in the VI and when they opened their computers to Passage Weather, the weather maps showed four days of contrary winds and squalls. They decided they didn’t have time to deal with that. So they jumped ship and caught the next plane home. That left us with only Jennifer, who had never been to sea before.
Despite the contrary weather forecast, we were eager to get to sea and deal with whatever nature sent our way. It was late November and the hurricane season was over. We motored twenty miles offshore, turned off our motor and drifted on a beautiful blue sea and enjoyed the view. Black rain squalls arrived from all directions and we milked them for a few miles at a time. During the night when all was pitch black we decided to heave-to and let the wind blow. When the wind picked up, we took off for North Carolina averaging 150 to 180 miles a day. During a momentary calm Soanya saw a big fish swimming by our underwater window and called out to me. I grabbed my fishing line and with my ever present partner, Darshen, by my side, I quickly pulled two Mahi Mahi aboard. Darshen squealed in joy and fear and ran back to the cockpit where he energetically did his happy dance, jumping in place and waving his arms.
A stiff wind picked up again and we continued on our 330 degrees course back to North Carolina. We were heading home to leave the schooner indefinitely to help Dad adjust to his new life without his wife, Anne, of 60 years. Her framed picture in the pilot house gave me solace and courage and I knew I was doing the right thing in her eyes.
The wind died completely as we approached the mouth of the Cape Fear River. A heavy blanket of fog blocked our entrance, but as we motored forward it lifted and let us under. It was a great surprise to be met by my Uncle Bill and Cousin Bo as they drove up in a speedboat. We anchored across the river from Southport and they ferried my Dad and sisters out for a visit and Jennifer to the airport.
We still had twenty miles to sail up the river to Wilmington, so at dawn the next day we caught the tide up. We landed on the dock December the fifth. That was the day I was aiming for, my mother’s birthday. It was also the day my brother Bobby and I arrived home on the last voyage of the catamaran Tantra 38 years ago. I don’t know how these things happen, but they make the milestones in life memorable and magical.
Dad climbed aboard the schooner Anne and we all enjoyed a warm December sun. “Look Dad, the stainless steel fittings you made 35 years ago are still strong. They are almost the only thing on the schooner that has not broken.” Dad smiled and looked around. Soanya busily cleared the galley and packed food to take to Greensboro. Darshen ran back and forth from bow to stern and Dad said, “No running”. I said, “Dad, the halyards and lifelines run along the edge of the boat and Darshen knows he is not supposed to go near the edge of the deck or even touch the lifelines. I can’t stop him from expressing his playful energy.” We watched Darshen running and bouncing like a frog. “We are home Dad. We are here to be with you”.
Ed. Note: More pics and blogs from Guyana coming soon as well as how Reid and family adjust to a “normal” life!