Tuesday, January 02, 2007

Oriental to Beaufort, NC

21.2 nm
Wind: N 20-25 knots, dropping to 15-20
Seas: One-foot chop in Pamlico River
Maximum speed: 6.8 knots
Maximum speed under sail: 5.4 knots
Average speed: 4.6 knots
Latitude: 34°43.61’N
Longitude: 076°40.04’W

We saw dolphins today. A lot else happened, most of it bad, but the main, and most important thing is: we saw dolphins.

The other thing that happened was: our computer died.

If you haven’t been following along, you won’t know that our computer is our GPS, our knot-meter, and our only source of charts, because we can’t afford paper ones. The computer is also the CD and DVD player, the only place of storage for the novel I wrote in the month of November, and the repository of all of our digital photos and hours of music.

The computer didn’t exactly die. Its power cord did, which is only logical, considering it’s been yanked across the boat when the computer was thrown across it by our heeling at least three times.

But without power we had no charts, no GPS, no navigation. Once again, I thank my lucky starts for blessing me with a genius among men, a paramour who can fix any engine, any electronic device, anything.

I steered gingerly for a while, staying between reds and greens, heading into the tricky and much-shoaled harbor of Beaufort, while Karl tore the power supply apart. Eventually we came to a fork in the channel where the greens and reds shifted, and we didn’t know which side to keep them on anymore. When the depth sounder hit 4.6 (our draft is five feet) we decided to turn around and anchor just off the channel.

I bit my fingernails in the corner while Karl performed surgery on the power cord, eventually breaking the corner of the computer’s case. I huddled in horror as if he were breaking the limbs of my only child. He pulled out the soldering iron and solder which we happen to have on board, yanked out wire, solder and hmphed and managed to fix it, believe it or not.

Right at the edge of sunset, right when we were on the verge of having navigation again, we saw the dolphins. I gave a gasping squeal which made Karl think I was dying and pointed. We both saw them surface at least five times, a pod of three, ten feet from a sandbar.

If that isn’t good luck, I don’t know what is. I don’t care of my iBook looks like Frankenstein.

No comments: