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  • Katharine Hesmer

DAY FOUR | December 17, 2021

Charleston, SC to Hilton Head Island, SC

(NOTE: it’s December 22, and I’ve been struggling to get my laptop to connect to my hotspot so I can update my blog. A little trick AT&T likes to use if you have unlimited data is to slow down your internet speed if you reach a certain level of data usage, which hardly feels “unlimited” to me, but I’m guessing all the companies do it to manage data speeds. Apparently I burned right through the max on day three. Raise your hand if you’re surprised. That’s what I get for yammering on and on about vacuum sealers. Now I’ve resigned myself to posting from my phone which works well enough. Just isn’t terribly efficient. 🙄)

Woke up to another quiet and warm day on the Intracoastal Waterway. The weather has been incredibly comfortable. We brought a space heater with us since the boat doesn’t have heat, but we've only used it once — on our first full day on the water. Today was filled with more beautiful South Carolina low country scenery. Nothing but marsh and water for as far as the eye can see.

The first thing on my "to do" list was to cut Skeet's hair. The poor child literally cannot see, and I kind of miss his face. The bow of KORKZcrew has now already officially served as a gym AND a hair salon, and a dolphin-hunting perch if you're Steve. Who knew it could be so versatile.

Haircutting on a boat is a little . . . messy. I asked Ron if he had a preference for where we shed Skeet's locks and he didn't, so we chose the chair on the front of the boat. Smart if you're concerned about Skeet sitting at a good height for this delicate operation; really dumb if you care about NOT having 2" hair fronds all over the deck from bow to stern for god knows how many more days. Add in a little moisture and voila - hair stucco! Just what we always wanted. 🙄 Were the end results worth it? You be the judge. I kind of think so, but will DEFINITELY be keeping my day job. (I’m lucky Skeet’s hair is so curly that it hides my various “mistakes” 😳.)

There was very little wind today, aside from the occasional breeze that was just enough to be sure Skeet’s hair clippings spread in a nice, even layer across every exposed surface of the boat. Lovely. But it DID feel like the perfect opportunity to fly my drone. I’ve gone through a slump in recent years and haven’t been inspired to use it much. Same with photography I’m sad to say, although my family members are probably ecstatic 😂. I used to be the girl with a camera of ANY description under one arm, and her drone under the other. So I’m admittedly rusty in both departments. So what more perfect platform for reacquainting myself with operating the drone than taking off from a moving target over water. I think you know where this is going. I’m not the brightest bulb.

My drone now lives at the bottom of the Coosaw River in South Carolina. I’m guessing you’ve never heard of it, as it was newly formed on December 17, 2021 from the tears of Katharine Hesmer. You’ll find it on Wikipedia.

I would be the first to tell you if I honestly thought this horrific and costly mistake was a case of pilot error, which in this instance certainly wouldn’t be a stretch, but my controller suddenly decided to stop communicating with the drone, and I couldn’t for the life of me get it back to the boat. It was a gut punch to not only know that I was in deep doo doo, but to also realize that the likely outcome was not going to be pretty. It went on for at least 10 minutes which felt like 10 years. I’m one of those annoying people who doesn’t give up easily, so it was super hard to wrap my brain around the fact that this was not going to end well and I was just going to have to watch in horror as my drone crashed into the water. Which is exactly what happened. To add insult to injury, the drone’s app on the iPhone tells you that’s it’s about to run out of battery, and then begins to beep at you methodically and insistently, then faster and faster, much like the beating of my heart in that moment, and then it asks you in a robot voice to please land the dang thing pronto. No kidding, robot voice. 🙄 (I would ordinarily say “no sh*t” without skipping a beat, but I’m trying to clean up my act and pretend to be civilized. Word to the wise: Don’t buy it for a minute. 😈)

I did manage to get the low resolution thumbnails off of the app on my phone, so here are the first and last images taken from my drone on this trip, lost at sea on day four of a 5-month journey. Nice work, Kack.

I felt like all the blood had been drained from my body, and just sat there staring blankly into space. All I can say is I’m certainly not the first to lose a drone this way, but it felt colossally irresponsible, and that’s not a fun place for your mind to live. And my poor kids were trying to cheer me up saying, it’s ok, Mom! You can just ask for one for Christmas! “Just”. Like it’s a roll of paper towels and if you lose a square, you just tear off another one. UGH. Perma-pit-in-stomach. 😑

After the drone fiasco, I tried to keep myself busy and distracted, and the ultimate distraction came when Skeet and Greta and Ron called me to the bow to see dolphins that had begun to swim along with us. How dolphins instinctively knew that I needed cheering up is one of those unanswerable wonders of nature. 😜

It was the most exhilarating thing I think I’ve ever seen, and poor Steve was about to jump straight out of his fur. His tail was wagging so fast I was sure he would take off from KORKZcrew like a helicopter. All I could think was please don’t drop your phone please don’t drop your phone please don’t drop your phone, but the excitement was enough to make anyone’s hands shake. That was a BLAST and I think the dolphins might have had even more fun than I did. Dolphins apparently enjoy riding the wave produced by the bow just like surfing a wave, and it saves them lots of energy. If you’re looking for a way to clear your mind and feel better about life in general, watch this video. It just does not get old, and it went on for at least 30 minutes.

Last thing I’ll bore you with in this post is the new “arrangement” we figured out in the KORKZcrew pilot house. As I mentioned, space is a premium when you’ve got 4 people living on a 37’ boat. But these Great Harbour N37 trawlers are so well-designed, and make the most out of very little space, which is a BIG reason it made our short list when we were boat hunting. For example, our pilot house has a bench seat that converts into bunk beds. Brilliant! We started the trip with it set as a bench. I’m so literal I wouldn’t have realized that even though we didn’t have anyone who’d necessarily need to SLEEP in those bunk beds, it would double our storage space. Thank goodness for the 3 other clear-headed humans in my family.


After: (the bottom of the seat back flips up and locks into place)

See you tomorrow! 🌛

11 hours underway; 72 nautical miles traveled

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