The Tale of the Turbo
After we were towed into St Augustine with a seized turbo Skipper had a busy week trying to get Balvenie operational again. The local Volvo dealer sent someone to us the following morning, and after going through all the checks Mark had already done he too confirmed that the cause of our problem was the seized turbo. Suggestions were made of ordering a new turbo, but as this one was only 2 years old and we knew how much they cost I started searching online for an option of having it repaired. And that was where I found Evergreen Turbos located in an inland town in Florida.
It was late on Saturday afternoon but Mark rung them just in case. No luck, just the answerphone, never mind. You can imagine our surprise when our phone went around 7pm with Charlie Brown at Evergreen Turbos calling us back. We explained our problem, Charlie was confident he could fix it (he deals with all the blown turbos from the Nascar Racing in Daytona Beach) and suggested if we could hire a car the following day we could meet him halfway while he was visiting his mother.
Back online I found Budget, the only car hire company open on a Sunday in St Augustine, a car was booked and we had a very pleasant Sunday drive around Florida! 3 days later we had the turbo back looking brand new, absolute first class service. Volvo returned to fit it and after quite some coaxing Olive the Volvo sprung back into life, such a feeling of immense relief. So it was out of the very expensive marina and onto an affordable Municipal Mooring Buoy – bags were packed, perishable food given away and we flew home to New Zealand the next day.
The Oldest Town in America
St Augustine claims fame to being the oldest, continuously settled town in the USA. First inhabited by the Spanish in the 1500’s, it has a long and interesting history over the centuries. The town is immaculate and tourism is their main income. It is maybe just a little too picture perfect, but they have done such an excellent job of preserving their heritage it is better to see everything looking cute than some hideous carbuncle scaring the setting.
We had our injectors removed and sent away for cleaning and resetting when we returned from New Zealand, so we weren’t going anywhere until they returned. This gave us plenty of time to enjoy the town - St Augustine is rather a pleasant place to be stuck. We had a great night out with Pete and Kourtney who took us to a local music tribute concert, an interesting collection of local bands played the night away.
Back in Working Order
With Olive running smoothly again and a weather window of light south west winds for a few days it was time to move on, as far away from the hurricane belt as we could get. We hoped the weather would hold and that we would have favourable conditions to get around Cape Hatteras and into the Chesapeake Bay. Over 6 weeks after arriving in St Augustine we finally headed out of the inlet, pointed north east and raised the sails.
Why Are the Forecasts Always Wrong?
We had a great sail the first day, then the wind died completely and we motored in sloppy seas, on and off the first night and most of the 2nd day. The breeze was fickle so we sailed when we could, our steady forecast of 10 – 15 knots didn’t eventuate till mid afternoon on day three. It was looking good to round Cape Hatteras the following day.
By 6pm we had 20knots, at sunset 25knots, this was our last chance to turn into Beaufort, North Carolina. We downloaded the weather gribs yet again and at the same time received an email from our friends on Bandit who were watching the weather for us. It was showing a period of over 30knots during the next day along the coast, not a good forecast for rounding Hatteras - we did the sensible thing and changed course for Beaufort.
Learning All About the Currents
The guide books show a deep shipping channel to access Beaufort Inlet, well lit and well marked. The winds steadily increased throughout the night, the seas building behind us. As we ran downwind heading straight for land we slowed down as much as we could to have a daytime arrival but it wasn’t to be, at 4am we entered the long shipping channel into Beaufort.
We had miscalculated the currents and thought we would have slack water, instead we had a raging river flowing out at us, a following sea and wind coming in with us - not a mistake we will make again we hope!!! It certainly made for an interesting landfall and kept us both on our toes, checking course, staying out of the shallows, avoiding channel markers, getting twirled round like ballet dancers in some of the whirl pools – and then we were through, into the inlet, calm water at last just as day broke, the things we do for fun … phew!
6 Nights in Sleepy Beaufort
The strong winds continued for days. On day two we moved anchorage hoping to get closer to town. We just couldn’t squeeze into the town anchorage, jammed full of small permanent yachts on moorings … we just weren’t going to fit. We continued along Taylors Creek, a tiny waterway barely 100 feet wide in most places until we found a spot that was almost big enough for us, it had great shelter with tall trees to windward and dinghy access ashore, perfect - it was home for the next 5 nights.
We enjoyed our time in this sleepy little seaport, we went to the very good Maritime Museum, wandered all the streets, admired some beautiful homes, found a cafe that served excellent espresso, lunched in cafes hanging over the water, walked on nearby Carrot Island with the wild horses but mostly did small jobs inside as we sheltered from the wind and rain.