Bon Voyage LodeStar*

It’s been a quick sale and long goodbye to LodeStar*. She needed to be imported into the States from a customs perspective, and of course required a surveyor’s professional inspection, which includes being hauled out of the water. This transpired to be the more difficult process since very few marinas are able to haul out a boat with a catamaran width, despite the number of cats around. In fact, if it wasn’t Wilmington, 25nm up the Cape Fear river, it would have to be Savannah which is 300 miles away.

Such a funny feeling

And then of course we just had to endure a little hurricane in-between. Isaias came to provide us with a taste of what extreme weather is like. Something I don’t want to experience again, but another notch on the belt I suppose, even if it was only a category 1 (out of 5). Trying to reassure my little cherubs that all was well at 11:30 at night when boats around us were sinking, losing their sails and bimini tops and the creaking of ropes being stretched to their limits holding LodeStar in place, made me hold my breath and wince until the howling gust was over, was a feat. In addition to helplessly listening to rescue calls from vessels somewhere out there on the emergency channel of the VHF radio. But all was well and Andrew and Mike Bourdua did an outstanding job of securing LodeStar in place. From wrapping the sail bag, to adding additional lines from the ‘free’ side of LodeStar (we were on a t-head in the marina so only one side on the dock) to the dock, to removing all canvas covers and cushions. People have asked why we stayed on the boat, but of course Andrew wanted to ensure that she would be fine, and I didn’t want him on the boat alone.

Canvas and cushionless

Turns out it was a good decision as the solar panels did require some additional tying down and the fenders all blew together and up onto the dock at one point. Andrew managed to quickly push them down and back into place before Lodestar was slammed against the dock. The surge was probably 6 feet, you can tell how much the dock lifted by looking at the height of the pylon during and after the storm. Another marina further south where we had anchored a few days before wasn’t so lucky, the surge resulted in the docks floating off the tops of the pylons.

The boat on the dock next to us
Pylon C in the day
Pylon C during the hurricane surge
Where we had anchored the week before

Anyway, so back a few weeks, to the 16th July. We arrived in Carolina Beach where the Bourduas (Andrew’s college mate) have recently moved. Wow. What a set up. We were able to anchor right by their dock with their Carolina Skiff which is a minute walk to their front door. Could not have been more perfect. It was an exciting reunion after our February jaunt in St Lucia, and especially now meeting Charlemagne who we had heard so much about.

The ‘Magne!’ and the newly turned 10 year old Captain, Owen

The Stancills arrived the next day and now it really was a St Lucia reunion.

It was a unanimous decision that we should all move onto LodeStar, having stayed in the Bourduas house (Andrew and I on LodeStar) for Owens birthday – it would be her last time to host and first time to have a pooch on board.

Face painting was always an activity that never got tiresome on LodeStar*

So on piled 11 people and 1 pug, topping the amount of bodies onboard ever and making the race for a spot to sleep a little more competitive. Very much like the party game of musical chairs when there isn’t space for everyone. It didn’t seem to matter too much as some of us seemed to stay up all night anyway!

The Bourduas’ house

We explored Masonboro and Figure 8 island which is exclusively for residents such as Tom Hanks and access is prohibited. After we were all thoroughly skanky after 3 days of tubing, beach, catching up and general craziness, we descended on the Bourdua household to feel human again.

We rafted LodeStar and Sea Pony for a few days upriver

It was once again time to wish the Stancills farewell but the Bourduas still had weeks of the Jennings’s to go! Little did they know…It always amazing to have a base to wash clothes, have a bath and access to a car but I cannot even begin to explain just how much or express our gratitude to the Bourduas for their support. In the process of selling LodeStar, it meant that we needed a place to store our ‘stuff’, somewhere to leave the kids whilst we missioned with all sorts of admin and of course a car to just get things done. Having barely had their home to themselves since they moved in, they were now facilitating all the Jennings admin too. From taking the girls to the neighborhood pool (residents only during Covid, suddenly Emily had 3 kids), to compromising on plans to cater for us, to great people to bounce ideas off, debrief on the day and glean for all sorts of local knowledge. We just couldn’t have done it without them without probably losing the plot. Thank you Bourduas!

Valley and Charlemagne in his new jacket
Our only boat accident – poor Erin kicked LodeStar’s (stationary!) propeller – was an adventure having to get to land, climb fences and get to a road to call an uber and get her stitched up
The ladies

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