As we made our way home through the next several days we realized once again that our sailing journey was buffeted by God’s grace and the love and prayers of others. We can’t have this many things go wrong on one trip without knowing that somehow there’s a will stronger than we know for our precious Neverland to get home.
When we left Beaufort it was our first experience on the Intracoastal Waterway. It was beautiful! Traveling along the marshlands of North Carolina was an eye opener to the vastness of the salty marsh. There were small dolphins, blue herons, white egrets, marsh deer, and several other creatures. Along the way were bascule, swing, and fixed bridges. We stopped each night in an anchorage. We found ourselves completely alone without having to share any of the lovely side creeks or rivers with others.
Just like us we chose the path less traveled when we ad a choice. It turned out to be a good thing since the weather had turned sour. From days of heat to days of cold and rainy weather we had to adjust quickly and find those old sweatshirts and foul weather gear again.
We went up the Alligator River to the Albemarle Sound then the Dismal Swamp and the locks there to the Elizabeth River. We stopped in Portsmouth and motored our way across the Bay to our new haven-Davis Wharf!
It is hard to comprehend that our boat is only twenty minutes from us and that we can go and see her, touch, her sit with her at anytime.
She is in port now. She is rested and ready for us to give some long needed tender loving care. We are looking forward to spending the next few summers rediscovering the Chesapeake Bay.
There will be another passage in the future. Our love for passagemaking has not disappeared. But, for now, it’s time be at home port for a bit.
May 21, 2021
We left the good people of Inagua on May 8th. Being the southernmost island of the Bahama chain, we had 600 miles to cover to get to Stuart Florida. We stopped for one night along the way in the remote section of the Ragged islands at Raccoon Cay. It is uninhabited and we were really all alone on a deserted island. It was blissful. The place was pristine. Clear waters, beautiful birds and land creatures, and no sign of people. At anchor we swam, took the dinghy to land walked, and relaxed. The next day we made the four night passage to Bimini where we rested at a marina from morning until around 5 pm. We checked out of customs and immigration and began the journey across the Gulfstream to Stuart, Fl. We couldn’t wait to re-enter the United States. However, it would not be an easy crossing. Just after sunset the stars disappeared and thunder clouds appeared. A line of squalls came upon us. As I was feeling the wind change temperatures from warm to cold and warm again, I looked over at the clouds and lightning was setting off the night sky. Mike was getting the electronics in the oven when I called for him to come help take sails down. We got them down in record time and hunkered down until the squalls passed. The rest of the trip was into the wind and running the engine until we reached Stuart, FL. We celebrated once we entered the marina. Our Neverland was back in the US after 15 years sailing foreign waters!! YAY!
We were gifted with three nights off the boat at Mike’s sister’s house. We reunited with family and celebrated the gift of being together again.
We left Stuart with the plan to go offshore and stay ahead of the 25-30 knot winds to the south of us. We got as far into the Gulfstream as we could and picked the current to carry us. The wind however, was NE-N and we were into the 6 foot waves and our boat was pounded for 48 hours to the point that stanchions on the starboard side leaked and everything was saturated in the cabin. In order to stay in the stream to benefit from the current we were dead into the wind and had to motor the rest of the way. Finally, on Thursday the wind and the waves becalmed and the ride into Beaufort was effortless. We are safely in port at Beaufort, N.C.
We are so glad to be done with offshore passages for a while.
Mike & Monica
We plan to write some notes here about our sail trip and the preparations for it