Calm before the storm... Nov 5-13, 2007

After four exciting days in NYC, it was time to continue our journey south and venture into the Atlantic Ocean. Our first passage was a short 80 mile sail to Atlantic City, NJ where our sole objective would be hitting the poker tables at The Taj. The swell and wind built throughout the day and we unfortunately had to enter the harbour at night. Although confident with our navigation skills, we were still a bit nervous entering the harbour in the dark, especially with all the fishing boats & lights that seemed to be visible in every direction. We ended up getting lucky and followed a boat in and quickly tied up at the first empty slip we could find. It was just before midnight, a perfect time to hit the casino. We strolled through the ghost town and got involved in a poker session that turned out to be quite profitable. We also met a number of unique individuals that provided us with a lot of laughter. We arrived back at the boat just before sunrise and were able to catch up on some necessary shut-eye.

Leaving NYC
Andrew on the helm in the ICW

After Atlantic City our next port of call was Norfolk, Virginia, 185 miles to the south. On this passage the leaks continued and we once again ran into engine issues which resulted in us having to replace our ignition starter. Norfolk, which is the world's largest naval station houses some of the coolest looking aircraft carriers and other navy ships. We entere the Intracoastal Waterway and continued through a series of swing and lift bridges. It was here where we noticed a young guy who was struggling to single hand his 26' boat "Belianto". Matt, who we soon referred to as Military Matt, had just finished his post in Afghanistan. He purchased Belianto to pursue his dream of heading south. He was a nice guy, who didn't know a lot about sailing so we decided to travel in a convoy and help him out in any way we could. That first night we found an anchorage, and enjoyed hearing his war stories over drinks. He quickly let us know that he thought we were crazy for not having a gun aboard our boat. We thought he was equally as crazy for attempting his trip with such little sailing experience.

Over the next two days Matt found it hard to keep up with us so we began taking shifts on his boat as well which left us with very little time off. Our normal cruising speed of 6.5 knots was reduced to just over 5 knots which allowed Matt to keep up. At one point we decided to tow his boat so that we wouldn't waste so much time waiting for him. After spending a couple nights together along the Intracoastal Waterway and celebrating Andrew's 22nd birthday we decided to go our separate ways and push on ahead. We arrived in Beaufort, NC on the 13th and once again had to make some repairs to the engine. An oil change, fixing an impeller leak, and replacing the fuel filters were just a few of the things that would soon have to be done on a regular basis. The next morning we provisioned for the next leg, and topped up the fuel tank. When we pushed off our hope was that our next port of call would be Florida. Little did we know what laid ahead....

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