I have to admit our night with the riff raff ended in a cloudy fog that I cannot adequately capture with written words (mainly, because I can’t remember it). I only know we made it back to the boat at some point and fired up the heater without burning any blankets or appendages because we woke up there, alive and surprisingly warm, despite the temp drop to the mid-30s that night. We blinked and squinted our way back to the ole’ Cove mid-morning to meet our buddy, the infamous Mitch, for a greasy cheeseburger (perfect hangover cure) and were pleased to learn from the friendly Cove Crew that Pirate’s Cove is reportedly the place where the reigning Parrot Head himself wrote the smash hit Cheeseburger in Paradise.
I have to say I’d agree with him. The cheeseburger was first rate.
I also found this fun review of the place, which I think confirms my rendition of the riff raff we found at the Cove:
“Cheeseburger in Paradise!”
“Best burger north of Sea and Suds. This is a locals hangout-don’t come here if you are in a hurry, have an attitude, or are an overbearing Yankee – you won’t like it!”
I think the same rings true for sailing in general, so the Cove was an easy fit for Phillip and I. We certainly enjoyed our time with the riff raff. Plus, being tied up to the dock near running water and restrooms is nice. We spent a few hours the first morning hauling several one-gallon jugs of water back and forth from the dock to fill our water tanks on the boat and by the fourth or fifth trip, one of the Cove Crew told us: “You know you can just pull around here and use the hose.” They really are a great bunch. We stayed a day or two at the Cove, but we knew we had a front coming that was going to bring some strong northeast winds (30 mph gusts were predicted), and we did not want to be tied up to the dock, banging around, when those winds hit. So, on Sunday, November 24th, we tossed the lines and headed over to Ingram’s Bayou to spend a few nights on the hook.
Several local cruisers had told us about Ingram’s Bayou and described the little inlet as a well-kept secret, preserved and pristine, like camping on some tucked-away river. That sounded perfect to us. We donned our sailing gear and headed west.
But, sadly, we were not able to do any sailing. It’s a tight, short passage on the ICW from Pirate’s Cove to Ingram’s Bayou so we had to motor. And, it was pretty chilly. So much so, we kept our hands tucked away in warm places and steered with other body parts:
Knocking me out with those American thighs!
Now, after the anchor fiasco at Fort McRae, we were prepared to drop 150 feet of chain this time if necessary. We were going to shoot for a 10:1 ratio – at least. I started layering on the Gorton’s fisherman outfit as we took a lay of the land, made some rough eyeball calculations of our swing radius and prepared to drop anchor.
Before it was all said and done, we had laid out about 165 feet of chain. We were not going to find ourselves jumping up and down again all night, watching the shore and worrying about our anchor. Or so we thought. Feeling firmly planted, we did what we do best when we drop anchor – made cocktails (some Oohh Shiiiiit!s) and toasted the sunset.
That last pic is about as good as Lyden’s Swan over a Crack – in my humble opinion. But, it’s easy to capture such brilliant shots when you have such an exquisite backdrop. Ingram’s Bayou was indescribably beautiful.
But, our first night there, the front came through and we experienced some of the most powerful, horrific winds ever to whip over our boat. Laying in the v-berth, we could hear the wind howl over the deck, the halyard lines would shimmy and vibrate and the anchor chain would groan and creak until the boat finally shifted resulting in a thunderous pop of the chain. It sounded deceivingly destructive from below, like the boat was surely cracking at the seams. But it was not. We checked several times during the first couple of hours that night and, although we were swinging around wildly, facing north one minute, and hurling around to the south the next, we were decidedly not moving. Our 165 feet of chain was holding fast. And, we had added some extra chafe guards to our snubber line that were doing their job as well. We were secure. And, thanks to Mr. Heater, we were warm, too. We hunkered down for three brutally cold and windy days in Ingram’s Bayou, with friends and family constantly checking in: “You guys okay?” “You staying warm?” “Are you still out there?”
We were definitely out there. “Out there” is where we always want to be, cold front of not. We spent three of the most quiet, relaxing, peaceful days I have ever spent anywhere bundled up in Ingram’s Bayou, reading, napping, cooking, eating and just enjoying the serenity.
Oh, and drinking. It appears we did a bit of that, too. We tend to. Reading was the favorite past-time, though. I polished off Gillian Flynn’s other novel – Dark Places (a deliciously twisted follow-up to the infamous Gone Girl) breezed through David Sedaris’ Me Talk Pretty One Day (an entertaining perspective from a gifted satirist) and dove right in to Garth Stein’s Art of Racing in the Rain (a dog-lovers’ dream – a true treat of a book). Phillip entertained me with hilarious, hearty sea stories from Frank Papy’s Sailing: Impressions, Ideas, Deeds, before he really dug into Wally Lamb’s I Know This Much is True, which he devoured and described as one of the most engaging, honest renditions of the human condition he has ever encountered. It’s on my list.
We did venture out into the cold on occasion to check the depth of our swing radius and explore the little inlets and sunken treasures in the bayou.
My Gorton’s fisherman outfit continued to layer and grow with each outing.
The jacket doesn’t zip, so I strapped on a fanny-pack style pfd to hold it all together.
We had a slip reserved at The Wharf for Thanksgiving, so we pulled anchor Wednesday morning (November 27th) and headed over that way.
We were going to have to stop first at the fuel dock to pump out before we could tie up at our slip. It had been eight days on the boat, folks, think about it. The wind was really howling as we neared the dock so I bundled up some more (yes, more) and prepared to jump off to secure the boat as fast as possible. We were not going to have another Annie docking debacle. Not that day.
As Phillip inched the bow up next to the dock, I jumped off (line in hand this time) and clamored around furiously cleating lines off to keep the boat on the dock. It was a bit of a scramble but we did it.
But, when the fuel boy came out to see what we needed, the first thing he said to me was: “What’ll it be, sir?”
I can’t imagine why …