Crossing the Line: Long Pants and Sweaters All of a Sudden!

It’s Sunday morning, mother’s day and I am not with my mother.  In fact, I can’t even call her as we are way too far from land to get any Cell reception.   Oh well, at least I am on my way home and will see her later this week.  I wonder if that will begin to compensate for being away for these months?  “Mom, I am thinking about you!  Honest!”  Hmm…

Anyway, as Scarlett O’Hara, in Gone with the Wind, once quipped, “I won’t think about that today, I’ll think about that tomorrow.”  Indeed, that’s the best I can do for now.

Yesterday we rounded Cape Hatteras and exited the Gulf Stream.  Good bye warm water.  I recall years ago when I sailed on a boat from Bermuda to New York that the weather changed dramatically in the short distance it took to cross the Gulf Stream from south to north.  The weather went from warm and humid to cool in just a few miles.

And yesterday that’s exactly what happened.   For the last four months I have been in shorts, short sleeved shirts and sandals and haven’t even thought about having a sheet over me at night, much less a blanket.  Well, in the course of a few hours yesterday, all that changed.   A few hours after rounding Hatteras and adjusting our course for New York, the temperature dropped dramatically.  Off came the shorts and on came the long pants.  As it got dark I broke out a fleece and my foul weather gear, along with a wool cap.  Sleeping with a blanket last night, yet another “new” experience.  Yikes, I thought summer was coming.

It’s nearly noon and the thermometer in Pandora’s cabin shows 72 degrees.  Heck, I haven’t seen temps below 80 for months.  What a jolt to my delicate system.

In the 600 miles from central Florida to the Outer Banks of North Carolina you’d expect the temperatures to become gradually cooler but we didn’t really experience much of a change beyond a drop of a few degrees since leaving Nassau Bahamas.   However, once we left the embrace of the warm waters of the Gulf Stream.   Down the temps went, and fast.

As was once said,  “Dorothy, you aren’t in Kansas any more”.  And how.  Yes, it’s cooler but soon, as the summer heat kicks in, I’ll be complaining about the hea .  Oh yeah, so, what’s with that?  Two movie quotes in a single post?    I always liked “go ahead, make my day”…   Bob, Bob, the first two quotes were cute but the Clint Eastwood one has absolutely nothing to do with anything.  Stop it, NOW!

Never mind…

We had an amazing sail yesterday from early morning when the wind came back up until about 22:00 (That’s 10:00pm) when a squall line came through.  That was pretty interesting with dramatic lightning in the distance.  Happily, it never really got close to us so we were able to enjoy the show but weren’t subjected to too much wind.   However, as the line passed, we were left with north winds on the nose, although they were light, for the rest of the night.   At least my batteries are now fully charged.

So, we motored for about 10 hours until 08:00 this morning when the wind picked sufficiently to sail.  Now, it’s nearly noon and we are moving along very nicely, sans motor.

For some additional excitement last night we were treated to a “close encounter” with a 100′ long commercial fishing boat.  We were on a course that would have had us passing behind them but as they got close they made a dramatic course change and began heading directly for us.  I was called up on deck, made a quick course change and came a lot closer to them than any of us wanted.    It seemed like he didn’t even see us but who knows.   That was stressful, especially as they were much bigger than us.

We also enjoyed an interesting situation where two large ships came close to us, one coming from the west out of the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay and another crossing our bow from the east, heading into the Bay.  Normally, the best option, when being approached by a large ship, is to adjust our course and speed so that we cross behind any large ships.  It’s not prudent, as you can imagine, to go in front of something that weighs THOUSANDS OF TONS.  However, in this case, there were two approaching us at the same time, from reciprocal directions.  This meant that to go “behind” one put us in front of the other.    Our solution, s-l-o-w-w-a-y-d-o-w-n and after about 45 minutes at a snail’s pace, both passed and we were clear.   Much less exciting than the fishing boat…

Today, now that the wind has picked up we are again sailing along nicely toward our next destination, Sandy Hook New Jersey.  If we are able to keep our current speed today and overnight, we should enter New York harbor at some point mid afternoon tomorrow, in time for the flooding tide that will carry us up the harbor and into Long Island Sound.

It’s been a long trip but one that has provided for some excellent sailing and weather.  To get a favorable weather window that lasts a full week really is a treat.

I am looking forward to being home in a few days and celebrating a belated Mother’s Day, with Brenda and my very own mother.  And, I am even a little excited about wearing long pants and even “real” shoes when I get there.  “Kansas” was nice but I am excited about being home too.

So, that’s my report and I’m sticking to it…

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