Welcome to the voyage! "Changin' Tags" is well on her way from Norfolk, VA toward St. Thomas. We left the dock this morning at around 09:00 after a final run to the grocery store, a great breakfast of eggs Benedict at a local cafe, and topping off the water tanks and strapping down the dingy on deck.
Both Dylan and I are used to the warm Caribbean so our bodies simply rebelled against the 40 degree weather! We looked like "Stay Puff Marshmallow Men" in our layers of foul weather gear. As we left the dock three fast little navy boats full of SEALs zipped past us looking firmly ahead... no waves or smiles... what's with that? Then as we approached the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel three HUGE Navy hover craft barreled past us as well. Leaving Norfolk it's hard to forget about our troops overseas. Here's to all of you over there a SALUTE from "Changin' Tags" and a Merry Christmas!
We spent the day motoring in very little wind and low seas around Cape Hatteras. I made some grilled swiss cheese sandwiches for lunch and put roast beast on Dick's and my own... DylAn reminded me at this point that he is a vegetarian... a fact I had known but forgotten. It might have served him better to have reminded me while we were in the grocery store earlier but there is plenty for him to eat and Dick and I get more steak, hot dogs and hamburgers so we are OK with it too.
For supper I made some spaghetti and we all ate quietly trying to stay warm. In the middle of the night our old friend AUTO PILOTI decided that he had had quite enough of our treatment of him and went on strike. Well let me tell you there is absolutely nothing that makes you love a working auto pilot as much as one on strike. Dick and I played around with it while Dylan hand steered around Diamond Shoals at 3:00am. Dick pulled out fuses, we both read the books, we messed with the gain and turned it on and off a bunch of times... finally we gave up and decided to head into Beaufort, NC to get it fixed and then Auto decided to work again and has been steering like a champ ever since. This morning we made our turn to cross the Gulf Stream and if you look at the "SPOT" at you will see that we are finally heading out to sea.
Dylan is doing great although waking him up in the middle of the night has been a very humorous challenge for me. He wakes up staring at you like a deer caught in the headlights, and the first time I woke him up he just went right back to sleep. Once he is up and about he stays awake and alert at the helm and he seems to be adjusting to the motion of a mono-hull with no ill affects so far.
Thanks for all of the riddles from Mike, and Dylan's Aunt... we are working on them. Don't send us answers!!!! we work on them until we solve them.
Hope you all have a beautiful day!
From the Gulf Stream,
Captain Tofer, Capt. Dick and Dylan