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, September 3, 2010

The morning after Earl

All is well in on C’est la Vie in the South River. Earl moved further offshore, to the east, during the night.  I managed to sleep most of the night.  With the anchor drag alarm set to ring if we moved more that 150’, I awoke at midnight and four a.m. to monitor the boat and conditions.  During my time awake I never observed wind gusts above approximately 50 knots and we did not drag out anchors at all. 

Currently the winds are WNW at about 20 knots with clearing skys off our bow (see image above). 

With Earl departing our area we now plan to return to Beaufort, NC.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Waiting on Earl

The winds continue to build and the skies grow darker.  Save for removing the blades from our wind generator we have made all our preparations for Earl’s arrival (see image above.)  We have found a secure anchorage in Southwest Creek, off South River, off the Neuse River (34°55’N 76°33’W) that provides good protection from Earl’s forecasted N to NW winds. 

Ironically I explored this area via sea kayak about a decade ago as part of a recon for the NCOBS’ OBX Sea Kayak Program.  A friend and individual influential in the creation of NCOBS, Doc Borden, once lived along the banks of the South River.  Myself and other Outward Bound staff used his home as a base of operations during one summer season of kayaking programs along the Cape Lookout National Seashore.

Back to Earl, currently the winds are forecasted to be 40 to 50mph with gusts to 70mph.  Our greatest concern is dragging our anchor and ending up pushed aground by the winds.  Fortunately the shoreline in this area is lined with salt marsh.  If we do drag and ground out we will come to rest in soft mud.  To avoid dragging we have set two anchors in a vee to our NNE.  We chose the NNE because this is the direction of our greatest fetch.   The image below is of our dual anchor set up.  The hose over the secondary anchor rode is serving as a chafe guard.

The community of South River is under a mandatory evacuation due to potential flooding from storm surge and heavy rains.   Since we are on a boat neither of these factors are a threat to us.

We were please to see another sailboat, Sandpiper, a 40+ foot sloop arrive in South River to ride out the storm.  Misery loves company.  They anchored in the main fork of the river just out of sight from us, but we are in radio communications.

Fo0rtunately the anchorage has spotty, but sufficient cell service to both monitor the storm via the internet and to talk with family and friends on the phone.

Now we wait and hope Earl’s passing is uneventful.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

time to splice (a.k.a: the splice of life)

We raised the anchor and began motoring up Core Creek along with the morning flooding tide.  On our last trip up Core Creek, August 14, we departed Beaufort midway through a flooding tide and were able to ride the rising tide all the way up to the Neuse River.  Today we departed at the onset of the flood tide.  Somewhere around Bock Marine we outran the flooding tide and spent the remainder of the transit  fighting current.  Lesson:  Leave Beaufort 3 hours into a flooding tide when traveling north up Core Creek / ICW.

On our trip inland Anne took the helm so that I could focus my energies on creating a new anchor rode.  On our secondary anchor, a 35# Bruce, we have used a 20’ section of chain with a 130’ section of 1/2” three strand line.  We plan to set both anchors to ride out Earl, but feel that the ½” rode minimal for the task.   Our primary anchor has 100’ of chain and 320’ of ¾” three strand line.   Our solution is to cut 200’ off the end of the ¾”, three strand primary rode and create a new 200’ section of ¾” to use as a rode for our secondary anchor.   Confused yet?

To join the new rode to our secondary anchor, must splice the rope around a shackle via a chain splice.   Since my splicing skills are a bit rusty I started by creating a simple eye splice in the bitter end of the new rode (see image above.)  This proved helpful, but frustrating since this section of rope was well used and very stiff. 
Eye splice complete, I was all too happy to move onto a chain splice in the opposite, less used, and more supple section of rope.  The final product is pictured in the image below.   This will be joined to 20’ of ¼” stainless steel chain to create our new rode.

Hurricane Earl preparations

We continue to hope that Earl will track further east.  The image above is the forecast track as of Wednesday morning.  We are preparing to move C’est la Vie out of the Beaufort and head inland to a secure anchorage in the South River.  I placed a red thumbtack on the map below to highlight our planned anchorage.
This seems like the best area for us to hide from Earl’s passing.  Unfortunately the Verizon coverage map is less than favorable for staying in touch with everyone.  Hopefully we will have cell phone connection, but coverage in the area is spotty.
Our plan is to set our anchors in the South River by this afternoon and begin to prep the boat by removing sails, canvas, etc.  The storm is expected to pass during Thursday night.  If all goes well then we will be back in Beaufort/Taylor’s Creek by Friday afternoon.