I found the second sail of Amara a lot more stressful then the first.
Both Rick and I were nervous about sailing from Norfolk, VA to Tiverton, RI, without a professional Captain on board. But neither of us talked much about it before hand for fear of increasing the other’s worry. It reminded me of driving the car the first time solo. You have trained, you have done it with others, but now it was up to you. Rick plotted out the course on the iNavX and Raymarine. I got out the paper charts and verified. I had seen it on paper, so in my head I knew we were never going to be real far from shore. But for some reason being out of sight of land was really bothering me this time.
Unlike our first sail, we had overcast skies much of the time. I found night watch eerie and unsettling when I was not able to see the moon or the stars. Also, as we got further north there were many more boats, and fewer with Automatic Identification System (AIS). I had gotten used to being informed of the size, speed and direction of other vessels. It enabled me make adjustments to our course so far in advance that I never even saw the other ships with my eyes. So I certainly did not have to worry about being on a collision course with them. In the dark, with a ship in the distance, watching to see if that vessel, was going to move off of the random “fixed point” I had chosen on Amara and having that “fixed” point, keep bobbing around with the motion of the sea, made it difficult and painfully slow to determine if we were on a collision course. It was so stressful and scary for one of them, that even though I hated to wake Rick, I eventually did in order to get a more experienced opinion if we were in danger. Thankfully, we were not.
The best part of our second ocean voyage on Amara was the pod of Dolphins that played with us. They would swim beside us on the port side, then go under our bow, and swim along with us on the starboard, and back again. It was so playful, there was no doubt they were doing this on purpose. It is so hard to explain just how it felt to have dolphins playing with you. Rick and Greg also got to see a pod of pilot whales, unfortunately for me, I was napping at the time. Rick saw a large but gratefully very dead shark on one of his watches. The closer we got to Rhode Island, especially once we were turning into land, the more Lobster pots to avoid. Which was an all new challenge for me.
When we got within view of Block Island, I don’t believe I have ever been more excited to see land in my life. We also had cell reception again, so it was like getting back to civilization. Rick expertly, navigated up the Sakonette River to our mooring ball at Standish Boatyard. We had some challenges getting hooked onto our mooring the ball at first. But Rick came up with an excellent solution and before long we were all hooked up and ready to head to shore.
I was literally so happy to be back on land, I was seriously considering kissing the ground when I got off the Amara in Tiverton.
The first ground I found was either paved or covered in weeds, so I thought better of kissing the ground there. It was wonderful to see Shannon again. It had been a long time. It was also great to get to see Eric and Shannon’s house and celebrate our arrival with a lobster dinner.
It was good to know Amara was moored where a larger ship did just fine during hurricane Sandy. But it was still hard to leave her to go back to Colorado. For the most part, I sleep very well on her. Especially, when there is just a light rocking. I was ready for her to be my home. I wanted to be on her more then at our “real” house. Which was great motivation to get things packed up, quickly. I knew Captain Marty (Eric) knew way more about taking care of her than I do, but she was my baby now. When we rode away, she seemed so lonely sitting there by herself. When I told my friend, who does have an infant about being up at night doing watches and so forth, she agreed it did have similarities to having a baby and now I was hooked.