Just returned yesterday from a five-day job with another captain, moving a fast 50-foot turbocharged motor yacht from Stuart, Florida, to River Dunes, North Carolina (a Grand Banks East Bay 50). The weather was dicey because of pop-up thunderstorms, which can be vicious in Florida. We ran the boat up the coast offshore much of the time when the sea wasn’t too rough, bounding along on those cobalt waters at twenty-two knots, spray erupting over the bow rails like handfuls of flung jewels in the sun. We got caught in a storm and the boat was struck by lightning, a loud flash-crack like a shot from a monster rifle, followed by an eerie sizzle, which was probably the charge dissipating into the sea, because the boat is well grounded. It popped some breakers, but did no damage we could discern.
Rounding Cape Canaveral, we saw a Space X rocket poised on a pad, ready for launch with eight satellites aboard, but the launch was delayed by weather. Haven’t found out yet if it went. Space X is a fine private company that has already sent the first private resupply mission to the International Space Station. Then near Cape Fear, North Carolina, we saw a water spout descend from the flat black base of an impressive massive cloud build-up seven miles off our flank. The spout churned the sea and changed its writhing shape minute by minute. It persisted for more than a half hour, and there was dense rain falling near the spout in a heavy gray veil. In Myrtle Beach there was a nice fireworks display close by where we were tied up for the night at Barefoot Landing.
Other sights along the way included porpoises, a large unearthly manta ray, many high-dollar McMansions lining the Intracoastal Waterway, and a young woman texting on her cell phone while driving a jet ski with her other hand.
Overall, it was yet another excellent adventure, adding to my store of experiences that will probably find their ways into my fiction.