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Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Change of Plans - Part Deux

Once we changed our plans to move more quickly north, our goal on the trip was to go in at Cape Fear Inlet and then on the inside to Wrightsville Beach. We would figure out the rest from there based upon weather. As is his process, Myron was continually getting weather updates underway. We were under a high pressure, 1025 on Monday, which was holding the north winds at bay. Even the east winds were fairly light. Our arrival time at Cape Fear was zeroing in at 1 am Tuesday morning, just about max ebb for the Cape Fear River. We did not relish the idea of fighting a 3.3 knot current in the dark, so we changed our plans again and headed for Beaufort, NC Inlet. We may still hit the max ebb, but that ebb is only (relative term) 1.8 to 2.0 knots and we would arrive in the daylight. With the lack of thunderstorms in route, it seemed like a good idea to me. It all worked out and we hit slack tide at Beaufort Inlet. We continued on to Broad Creek, dropped anchor around 3:30 pm, showered, snacked and slept for more than 12 hours.

We had a few new experiences on this trip. First, and unfortunately not adequately captured on camera, I saw rays swimming in formation toward the southeast. They were brown, probably only two to three feet across, but many of them were in diamond formation perfectly and closely spaced. The winds were light to nothing, which is probably why I could see them so clearly on the surface.

I also saw small parachute with something attached. We had just changed our route from Cape Fear to Beaufort Inlet and this item was directly in our path. Myron was off watch, but had not yet gone to bed. I asked him to come up to drive the boat while I recovered to strange object. Identification of the object attached to the small parachute was not obvious. We found mailing instructions and they revealed the mystery. It was a NOAA National Weather Service weather balloon along with its radiosonde. The balloon was shredded and tangled around the parachute cord. We marked the GPS location and will complete the remainder of the requested information and mail it off at our next available post office.

Another curious sight taken in by Myron was a surfing performance by a cormorant. It was when the wind and waves were up. Intentional or not, the cormorant had its wings spread out and was riding the crest of a small breaking wave. Not once but twice!

You never know what you will see out there. I try to stay alert for flares or someone in need. We once found and recovered a Livingston dinghy on the Pacific Ocean on our way to Catalina Island. Thankfully it was empty.

We will move on today but have not solidified any plans for side trips. We need to delay somewhere while we wait to get to the Potato Festival at Elizabeth City. Sounds silly, but it really was fun last year.

Love to all,

{GMST}35°05.47'N|076°37.14'W|5/6/2015|7:52 AM{GEND}

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