Okeechobee Waterway, it would be, spectacular.
It was really great to spend a day with our good friend and rest up a bit. Even with the requirement to hose off the decks 3 times a day to clear the love bugs. In all of our years of traveling the ICW and driving back and forth to Florida, we have never encountered anything like this. Even the locals said the same thing. We caught up on the time that had passed with our friend, ran some errands, played with the dog and cat and restocked some supplies. But we needed to move on in hopes that the great weather we were experiencing would hold until we made the crossing on the Lake Okeechobee.
Feeling a bit relieved that we were missed by the storms and tired from lack of a good night's rest, we slept in another hour and were finally underway at around 7 AM. The trip on the ICW was a fast one since we were on a falling tide. That falling tide and our one hour difference in getting started would be the difference between a comfortable trip and a roller coaster ride. But it would not be the first time for us on the Cape Fear River. They don’t call it Cape Fear for nothing.
The day was pretty much perfect for cruising the ICW. It was warm but not too warm and the winds were light to moderate. This section is protected waters so we were not concerned that the weather would turn. Besides, the Weather Service forecast a nice day, so we just relaxed and enjoyed the trip. Even crossing the harbor at Beaufort/Morehead City was uneventful and the many, many small boats usually darting back and forth were missing. The sun came out and warmed things up nicely. But that would change somewhat once we settled into our anchorage for the night and checked the weather.
We spent 5 days in Reedville, Virginia waiting for the southerly winds to die down so we could get to Norfolk. My friend John Denver once wrote, “I spent a week there one day.” Of course he was writing about Toledo, Ohio. Now don’t get me wrong, Reedville is a very beautiful area with great old houses once owned by Sea Captains alongside new McMansions being built as retirement homes. But a major metropolitan area it is not. We needed to get on our way and make some time. The day did finally come.
Our first attempt to get off the dock and get underway was aborted, once again due to a lousy weather forecast courtesy of the NWS. I don't mean the forecast was for lousy weather, instead it was another forecast that did not come close to actual conditions. There were hints that we should probably postpone our departure, but since we have been tied to the dock for so long, we ignored the subtle hints. The forecast winds were to be 10 to 15 out of the northwest and indeed they were. But much more 15 then 10 and the gust were 20 and increasing as the morning progressed. Eventually the gusts reached 25. The hint we ignored was the fact that the tide on the Chesapeake would be incoming most of the day. This put a north flowing current against a wind blowing from the northwest to the southeast. Any time there is wind against tide or current, the seas are considerably larger. That was the case as we headed out of the Magothy and into the Bay. We had pretty big swells rolling right onto our beam, making for a very uncomfortable ride. Beam seas in a trawler are worst case conditions. A quick decision was made to head back to the slip and try again tomorrow. As we turned to head back, we had seas breaking over the bow and splashing up on the windshield. We were only 30 minutes out, so after we turned around, we were back in the slip in another 30 minutes. But even that was no fun at all and we always say, if it ain't fun, why do it. The wind continued all day and began to ease up late in the afternoon. Forecast for the next day was light southerlies at 5 to 10. We'll see.