Flying fishes

Saturday-Monday. September 24-26

We leave Coinjocks very early in the morning. It’s hazy weather and in the early hours we navigate both visually and by radar.

Fog and water have its own charm, especially when the sun starts to disperse the fog. Through the rising fog we register the wreck of a sunken boat, an accident or scuttled by someone who lost the love for her?

After some hours, the, almost uninhabited, winding water landscape with swamps, lakes and canals is slowly transformed by shore side buildings. Country homes with long jetties are equipped with BBQ shelters, boatlifts, motorhomes and trailers. Waiving people on shore and circling birds of prey above the trees. We cross a lake towards Belhaven, our last stop on the ICW stretch.

When we arrive in Belhaven, we are in the assumption to moor at a yacht harbour and a Senior Club welcomes us. But it appears to be their own private “happy hour” sheltered jetty. Very enthusiastically and decisively they show us the way to the close by city harbour. But firstly they want to know where we come from, our voyage and our destination. In that way they also have a story to tell.

The municipal harbour is fine and shortly after mooring Dave, one of the pensioners from the “happy hour” jetty, arrives to welcome us. Spontaneously he offers to drive us to the local Food Lion supermarket. “It’s too warm for a walk on a hot and muggy day”, that’s his motivation for this sympathetic offer. Thank you Dave! After a tour of the village and giving Dave our blog address we say goodbye. We walk to a bar for a beer and Wi-Fi. At the first place the beer is okay but the Wi-Fi is useless, it just doesn’t connect. So we proceed to the next establishment, named the “Racktime”. It’s a bar and under its own flag as “private bar” allows their customer to drink and smoke, which is very unusual. We notice this when we enter. A strong tobacco smell together with original country music, pool tables, and one-armed bandits against the wall, take care of its own ambience. The kind barmaid gives us a warm welcome and curiously asks for our ins and outs. WI-FI is ok. As usual the people are very friendly. So our day is made again.

Next morning we get up early. 260 Nm to go to our next destination Charleston. Initially another 45 Nm on the ICW. On this stretch there are no old bridges and locks. We make good mileage and just after noon we overtake an old acquaintance for the third time. The 500 m long tug with barges is now sailing on this winding stretch. It’s interesting to see how the two small pushers assist the giant to take the curves. It’s an extraordinary sight. Around three o’clock we leave the ICW behind and enter the high seas again. A favourable tailwind gives us a comfortable cruising speed of eight kts. The long wave pattern underneath the boat produces an easy sway.

Towards the evening when relaxing on the aft deck I observe a flock of weird small birds fly by and disappear into the waves. A moment later I realize that they are flying fishes.

The same night during my watch I hear strange flapping noises on the gangway. After using my torch I see a fish gasping for air on deck. And it’s not the only one, attracted by the navigation lights they fly onto the deck. The water is rough and the night is dark, too risky to throw them back into the sea. Next morning I collect them and put them in the freezer, for the BBQ.

It’s almost evening when we approach Charleston. On the VHF we are cautioned for a large container ship overtaking us. At last some heavy traffic. In front of us a two-master called “Groninger”. That must be a Dutchman. I will tell you in the next blog….

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