Saturday, June 30, 2012

Bad Day (Leg 4)

     Our day started off just like any other day on this trip, well rested and glad to be out cruising. We wanted to get an early start so we could make about 50 miles to our next stop the, Great Bridge Locks. Up the anchor came and off we went.....after a good breakfast prepared by the boat's First Mate. There were would be no sailing today as we were well inside the ICW and sailing in these sections just was not feasible. By the way, I have nothing but great things to say about our little Atomic 4, a gas hog surely, but runs smooth and is very quiet and livable during long periods of extended motoring. So north we headed. Not long into our trip this day we recieved a phone call from our friend and petsitter, Krystle. Our oldest baby Max was very ill and she had taken him to the emergency room. Being the knowledgeable person she is she told us it wasn't good and we needed to get home ASAP! This was a bit of an issue as we were deep in the heart of the ICW around the Currituck, NC area. We wouldn't be in the Va Beach area until that afternoon. We had no choice but to motor on. We were both pretty upset; luckily I was a bit preoccupied with navigating us home so it wasn't as bad for me. For Crystal, it was tough. I could see her heavy heart, as she wore it all over her actions and face; I knew it was going to be a long ride. We motored on. When we hit Currituck Sound (very shallow) we were hit square in the face by 20-25 knot winds and 3-4 steep chop. With no dogder on our boat......well I got soaked, repeatedly for the hour to hour and a half it took us to cross the sound. Once out of the sound and into the narrower sections of the trip we scooted right along toward getting to our Max. You see, once we reached the Great Bridge Locks we were actually only about 20 minutes from home (by car, anyway). We had made a few calls during the day and had arranged for our good friend Mike who worked close by to pick us up there. So with everything all set and some good news from Krystle that Max was stable we actually began to enjoy the ride. We had found ourselves in some of the most beautiful and remote areas of North Carolina and Virginia, areas that we knew well by road in vehicle, but were completely new to us from the decks of Sal. We had fun trying to pinpoint what neighborhoods we were seeing. We came up to the first bridge that would require us to hail and request an opening. As we approached the bridge we did just that: "North Landing Bridge, this is Salacia; request time for next scheduled opening". I was so nervous that I wasn't sure what I supposed to say. It must have been what they wanted to hear because we got a reply: it would be about 15 mins. As we approached the bridge we circled in front of it waiting for it to open. After a few circles the wife looked back and there was a large barge being pushed by a tug! Holy SHIT!!!!! What to do? A the barge got closer and closer I decided to try and contact the tug operator to find out what he wanted me to do. He asked me how fast I could do through the water. I told him about 6 kts. He said fine just stay in front of me. Ok, I will do that! We had this big barge and tug behind us until we reached our destination. The FREE docks on the south side of the bridge at Battlefield Blvd. We tied up, met up with Mike and headed to see our Max. By this time, he was stablized but not diagnosed, so we took him home. He would go into work with Crystal the next day see what it was that had caused him to become so ill so fast. Many months later we would discover that our poor Max had cancer, and that original scare was a hemangiosarcoma rupturing on his spleen, causing him to need an emergency splenectomy. Cancer sucks; however, between Krystle's early recognition of his symptoms and subsequent quick intervention, and the tireless attentions of the medical team at Pet Care Veterinary Hospital, we were able to enjoy Max's company for another 9 months before he lost his battle to it. I am sorry to have to write about this awful harbinger of a day but this is how leg 4 of the trip went for us. It wasn't all bad but surely wasn't as enjoyable as it could have been.

 A sad day motoring north on the ICW

Holy Wind! I was freezing! It was March and the wind was blowing out of the NE at about 20kts!!! The umbrella was the closest thing to a dodger we had onboard at the time...First Mate took this shot from a cozy dry spot in the companionway  : /

Some relief and beauty! Quite beautiful section of ICW

Yep. Had this guy behind us for some time.

Trusty Atomic 4 don't fail us now!

 Not sure what this was, but it definitely looked sunken.

    Here is our Max two days before he ultimately had to be euthanized 9 months later. We took him to a nice spot and fed him chicken nuggets for lunch. Toward the end we allowed to him to have anything he wanted to eat. We sure do miss him!

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