C'est la Vie is a 1966 Charlie Morgan 34.

Her home port is Everglades City, FL. Our typical cruising area is Southwest Florida, the Florida Keys, the Southeastern Atlantic Seaboard, and the Bahamas. We are C'est la Vie's third owners and purchased her in 2005. We continue to maintain and update this classic vessel. Please post any questions or comments about C'est la Vie or our travels via the comment links below.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Oriental to Cape Lookout

To take advantage of an ebbing tide down Core Creek we departed Oriental early in the morning.  The forecasted thunderstorms that drove us into Oriental Marina yesterday afternoon decided to make a surprise appearance.  The image above is looking off our stern at a squall line chasing Sunshine down Core Creek.  We were able to ride the tide all the way out Beaufort Inlet all the while peering over our shoulders at the ominous clouds. 

Once in the Atlantic we turned nearly due east towards the entrance to Cape Lookout Bight.  The winds continued to build and now we were running parallel to the nearing squall lines.  Despite the menacing skies we never caught a drop of rain.  By the time we were settling onto our anchors in the bight the skies began to clear.  The winds, an unexpected 15 to 18 knots from the north, continued throughout the afternoon.

While I was walking Carlie along the beach in the bight, I observed a large motor vessel, approximately 50 feet, pass just off the bow of an anchored 37 foot Tartan sailboat.  From my vantage point the motor vessel appeared alarmingly close to the bow of the sailboat.  Seconds later the sailing vessel was drawing rapidly alongside the motor vessel.  My first thought was, “what an odd gust of wind.”  Then I realized the motor vessel had run its props afoul of the sailboat’s anchor rode. 

Now both vessels  hung on the sailboats lone anchor.  If the single anchor, set only to hold the sailboat, failed, then the north winds would quickly set both vessels on the shore.  Rather than deploying an additional anchor, the crew of the motor vessel focused solely on setting out fenders between their hull and that of the sailboat which now looked like an odd appendage dangling off its port side.  

After a couple minutes of spectating, I loaded up Carlie and returned to Sunshine.  Sunshine was anchored within 150 yards of the unfolding fiasco.  The crew of the sailboat was absent.  Previously I had noticed a red dinghy off the stern of the sailboat.  Scanning the horizon with Bud’s binoculars, I located the dinghy across the bight by the lighthouse.  Moments later I set out in our dinghy, Origami, to locate the captain and crew of the sailboat.   I delighted in the sense of purpose as I  bounced across the bight, spray soaking my cotton shirt.  I arrived to find the red dinghy anchored in solitude and spent a couple minutes shouting for the owners, nothing.  Returning to Origami, I motored on a few more minutes to the beach off the lighthouse.  Unsure of how I was going to locate the owners, I beached Origami and was immediately beset upon by a large, energetic family that spoke little English and obviously wanted me to take their picture. 

My frantic search for the owners took a backseat to a tourist photo session.   Memories captured… handshakes and thank you’s dispensed, I once again began to wonder how to find the sailors.  Rounding the dunes at that moment was the quintessential cruising couple… man and wife; graying but still fit; clad in 360 degree brim hats; nautical themed canvas tote bag.   Sure enough, I confirmed they were the owners of the Tartan and informed them that a large power vessel was afoul of their rode.  With a quick thanks that made haste to their dinghy.

By the time we all returned to the anchorage, Sea Tow was on the scene with a diver in the water.  Eventually the diver freed the vessels and retrieved the anchors.   We learned later that the two boats knew each other and were among a large group that had a planned meet up in the bight. 

We wrapped up our day with a walk along the Atlantic side of the beach.

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