Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Nature's Visitors

We are continuing our way up the coast. This leg of the trip took us from Hammock Beach, Florida to Hilton Head, South Carolina.  We left Hammock on Sunday morning and motored up the ICW to St. Augustine. There we motored out the inlet and made a beeline for Port Royal Sound. A day and a half later, we arrived at Skull Creek Marina along the northern side of Hilton Head Island.

The trip was mostly uneventful other than the usual inaccuracies of the weather forecasts. The one thing of note was the varied wildlife that came to visit us along the way. Pulling up the fenders in Hammock we found a couple small crabs hanging onto a string that was accidentally left dangling in the water. These were the first of several visitors for the trip.

After making our way out of St. Augustine, we were met by a couple of dolphins that came to play at the front of the boat. This is actually a fairly common occurrence, but this time the water was calm and they hung around long enough I could grab my phone and take some video.

Once the winds picked up and we were making good time under sail, a much larger pod of dolphins came and played in front of our boat for a while. We tried counting, and there must have bee at least a dozen swirling around and jumping in front of the hulls. I can't imagine how they can manage not to crash into each other as they go blazing by the front of the hulls. While dolphin visits aren't all that uncommon, it never seems to get old.

Early the next morning I found a small hitchhiker hanging on to one of the lifelines. Later he found a perch on the genoa sheet. I'm not sure that was the best seat given how the wind-filled sail would bounce the line around, but he hung on there for a while.

Later in the morning we spotted a turtle as we approached the sound. Of course, as is usually the case, he spotted us and dove before we could get a camera.

The last few thousand visitors came as we approached the Port Royal Sound.  The wind had died, and every manner of flying bug seemed to descend upon us.  Moths, flies, no-see-ums, and others that I couldn't identify. My homemade bug spray got a workout and I think it helped with the no-see-ums, but it wasn't perfect.  My wife got out a fly swatter and was playing "Whack-A-Mole" with them until bug carcasses littered the cockpit.  Fortunately the winds did pick back up, and they eventually scattered.

Lots of wildlife encounters, some good and some less so.  All part of the sailing adventure I guess.


  1. agree, I never get tired of watching dolphins swimming with the boat.

    1. I was just surprised that they didn't disappear when I went to get the camera...that is what usually happens. Must have been because I couldn't find the good camera and used my cell phone. :)