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.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Parting ways with MV-Sunshine

Here is an image of this morning’s sun rise alongside the Cape Lookout lighthouse.  

After a week of traveling alongside MV – Sunshine, we parted ways this morning.  Sunshine motored out of Lookout Bight early in the day.  Anne and I remained in the bight until the afternoon and then headed into Taylor’s Creek to prepare C’est la Vie for our departure.  We plan to attend the NCOBS Staff Appreciation Dinner on the night of the 25th and visit Sunset Island, FL on the 26th.  Life at 6 knots is about to give way to some high speed travel.

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.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Marina Bound

With NOAA forecasting gloom and doom we decided to come into the marina.  Storms were predicted for the area and we didn’t like getting glares from the guy we were near.  So, after coffee in town at the Bean we went back to our boat and began to pull up the anchors.  It was a good thing the Cape Dory guy was not on his boat as we did have to push his boat away from our anchor while we pulled it up.  We were not in danger of fouling our lines or doing any harm to his boat but his vessel had drifted atop our anchor.  
Jeff used some fancy footwork and fended off the boat.  Oddly enough it was not the side with all the fenders!

We then started the motor and docked at the marina.  That thankfully was uneventful.

Weather prediction it is only really a guess and the guess was not the reality.  No storms.  Oh well, Jeff and I rented some bikes and rode all around town.  It was fun to see all the old houses along the waterfront.  This is another place that I would love to live.  Don’t know what I’d do for a job but the area is wonderful, laid back and friendly.  Well, most folks are super friendly.

The folks we met- Bill and Lynn, Gil and Laura, and the beautiful boats we looked at on the hard at a yacht brokers was worth the price of admission. 
Bill and Lynn are on a Nordhaven 43 called Wandering Winds.  They traveled from California through the Panama Canal.  What an adventure!  We chatted for an hour or so.  He is a NOLS grad (national outdoor leadership school) from the 70’s.  He remembered so many snippets from his course.  What a cool thing to hear about.
Gil and Laura are “locals”  they moved here from other places and Gil makes wooden furniture.  Laura owns a sail loft as well as is a chef.  We had lots to talk about since they just took possession of a Drascomb Gig.  That is the same type of boat that The Mag is.  They are in the process of restoring it.  Maybe once we get back to Florida we can help them out with measurement if need be.  Not too many of the boats were made.  I think I heard Jeff say about 100 or so.  What a wonderful small world!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Oriental, NC again

We left our anchorage in Silver Lake and again anticipated sailing back to Oriental. We passed the dredge Merrit in the channel and got ready to sail. The winds were even more fluky than they were coming to the island.    We did hoist the main but it didn’t last very long.  We put on Otto and he did a super job of steering us back to Oriental.  We thought we’d anchor in the same place as before.  When we arrived to the anchorage we realized that most of the shimp boats were gone.  It looked so empty.
I didn’t do the best job as skipper while Jeff was readying the anchor.  We really were too close to another little sailboat.  A cape dory with a folding dinghy.  The owner was a grumpy old man.  He didn’t yell at us but just glared.  Then when that proved to not work he put fenders out all along the side of his boat that was facing us.  Jeff put out a second anchor and we swung on it for a while as a storm was looking like it wanted to form right on top of us.

 I took the dinghy in to meet Muriel at the pool.  As is their custom,  the Lovett’s left after us in the morning and arrived way earlier than us in the afternoon.  The pool was still a wonderful treat I also took a shower and scrubbed.  3 or 4 more like that and I might begin to feel like all the salt, sweat and sunscreen has been washed off!  The storm dissipated and I drove Origami back to pick up Jeff.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Ocracoke, Island day 2

In the afternoon, on august 17th, Jeff and I rented bikes.  We rode out to the beach access by the airport and we played in the surf  (see image above pulled from the internet).

The waves were a bit more choppy then the day before.  Jeff threw me in the air over the waves, into the waves, and through the waves it was so much fun!  We body surfed and bobbed.  What a joy to hang in the trough of the rollers and then be lifted onto the crest and slide back down to the trough.  Smiles all day long.
We grew a bit pruney and  rolled out of the ocean.  The beach was still to hot to just sit and relax so we got back onto the bikes and rode around the village.

We located a fun wine bar and we decided to inspect it.  Too salty and sandy to go in we looked around and found a hose.  A few minutes with the pressure water and I was good to go!  Sure enough Zillies had fun wines a wine bar and beer singles.  No green flash for Jeff but we got an assorted 6 pack of the hoppiest beers we could find.  We doled them out and thoroughly enjoyed them.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Ocracoke, Island

We awoke refreshed and ready to take on the town.  Jeff reconnected with a high school buddy via facebook  who by chance was in town with his family.  We met them for breakfast at the Pony Island restaurant.  The walk was wonderful as the morning was cool and it was less than a mile and it felt good to stretch our legs.  It was fun to meet Mark and his kids.  They gave us some beta about the beaches and offered to come and get us and drive us out.  They did drive us back to the dinghy dock which was nice as the sun was out and heating up the island.

 Patti, my friend from Beaufort, encouraged us to visit the beach via access near the airport.   Dennis, our friend from Straits, always spoke highly of Howard’s Pub.  So, that too was on our radar as a place we wanted to check out.  The airport is just a ways down the road from the Pub.  I was excited to go swimming  in the ocean.

 Bud, Muriel and Shelly rented a golf cart for the day and we headed out to the beach.  Jeff wanted to do some boat projects so just the 4 of us went.  We parked the cart at Howard’s Pub and walked the 1/2 mile to the beach.  It was wonderful.  The sand was so hot that you could see the waves off the surface as if we were in the desert.  The wind and waves were just right.   We had an on shore breeze with gentle rollers that broke on the sand bar with regularity.  It was fun to body surf and I texted Jeff to get here quick as it was a perfect day at the beach.
Needless to say,  the boat projects took longer than expected and Jeff met us at Howard’s for a late lunch.  Thanks to our friends Patti and Dennis we had a grand day!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Oriental, NC

We arrived last night to the magic of Oriental, NC.  We were surrounded by humongous shrimp boats.  They were 3 to 4 boats deep into the channel all rafted up together.   Sunshine threaded the eye of the needle and docked at the Oriental Marina and Inn.   C’est la Vie chose to put down the hook in the anchorage with the other sticks. 
We did get a few looks from other boats anchored around us.  Adding a second anchor to limit our swing radius sent the salty locals below decks.  No dirty looks or posturing, actually one gentleman got into his dinghy and rowed over to us.  He is hard of hearing so instead of shouting across the span of water he rowed over and answered Jeff’s questions.  That was really nice. 

Assured of our holding we rowed into Oriental Marina to take showers and listen to the live music.  To my surprise there was even a pool!  Cool, relaxing, refreshing non-salt water in which to swim, divine!  
After dinner we went back out to C’est la Vie had a great breeze and wonderful sleeping weather. 

The following morning, August 15th, we were up early and ready to get to Ocracoke Island.  We were anticipating a beautiful sail... main boot off, forward sail at the ready,  we slipped out of the anchorage excited to sail in unfamiliar waters.  The wind was fresh for the first 2 hours as we motorsailed close hauled out the Neuse River.    We really anticipated raising the forward sail and turning off the motor when we entered the Pamlico Sound.  The winds began to wane as we entered the sound and, ultimately a little more than halfway through the 7.5 hour run we lowered the  main sail.  The second half of our voyage to Ocracoke we gave the helm to Otto and motored on.

On approach to Ocracoke from the sound one must transit Bigfoot Slue.  As we entered the slue there was an unusual Army Corps dredge boat called Merrit (see image).  Rather than pump the spoils away via a underwater pipe, the Merrit expelled its spoils through a cannon like appendage that extended off the foredeck.

 Jeff hailed them and we passed them without worry.  But it was a big boat!

  Wind on your nose is only fun if you are a dog.