Thursday, May 3, 2018

Morehead City to River Dunes, Oriental, NC.

Today:    48 miles, 6.5 hours, ICW
Total:     2435.4 miles, 379.3 hours

Monday, 4/30 -  Since we were awake and up, we still left the marina around 8 am.  
     Once again, we had a beautiful day on the water. Adams Creek is always pretty, especially the northern end.   On the lower end, homes dot the banks of the canal. About half way up, the creek begins to wind around though forests and fields.  We could hear the birds, but very few were noticeable. 
Rays swimming in formation
on the Neuss River
     Crossing the Neuss River was easy, we had an outgoing current that helped us maintain 7.8 until we made the turn for Broad Creek. Pete noticed what he though was a brown paper bag just below the surface of the water.  On closer look, it was a ray. Along with about 10 of its friends.  We both started looking and there must have been hundreds of them in the area.  I counted over 60 as we started to head up to River Dunes.
     Once we topped off the fuel and emptied the holding tank, we tied up on the dock closest to the Marina office and closest to the ramp.  Very convenient for Bailey’s last walk of the day.  It was only noon. Since our car is here, I had planned to go food shopping. Unfortunately, I really wasn’t feeling good, so I chilled out instead. I will borrow the loaner car on Wednesday and do it then.
     Pete was under the gun for meeting a deadline for work.  He was so frustrated that he couldn’t maintain a strong enough signal to email the reports.  He tried to work from the cockpit, then the Community Center. When it still didn’t work, he grabbed our car and drove into Oriental for a better signal.  He managed to beat his deadline, but not by much.  He did a lot of grumbling once he came back. Apparently, River Dunes has one of the internet units out, and it is right by the boat. As for phone coverage, it is extremely weak due to being so far form civilization.  As lovely as this marina is, we might not want to stop here in the future if Pete can’t work while we are here.
     Tomorrow, we will spend the day in the car(s).  We pick up the rental and then head to Castle Harbor Marina, Maryland for the final shuffle of the car.  Breakfast is prepared and ready to grab in the morning.  The dog’s car blanket, and electronics bags ready for grabbing also.
     We were just about to turn in when I received a text from Carolyn.  She is in the ER with difficulty breathing.  I will call in morning.  Thoughts, prayers, love and light are being sent her way.

Tuesday, 5/1 – We received a phone call at 4:30 this morning, Pete’s mom is being sent to the ER due to difficulty breathing again.  The incidences of CHF are increasing. She is a remarkable lady, who continues to fight to get well.
       We managed to doze on and off until the alarm went off at 6:15. By 7:15, we were on our way to New Bern to pick up the rental car and by 8:30 we were on our way north.  We encountered no delays and arrived at Castle Harbor by 2.  It was good to see a number of new-to-the-marina boats on the docks.  It will be interesting to see how many boats will be at the marina come summer.  The marina has replaced the bulkhead on the southern end of the marina, and the trees on the western edge have been trimmed. I wonder if this is in preparation for the equipment to also replace those bulkheads. . . I hope so.
     I spoke with Carolyn. She is feeling better, but the news isn’t good.  Apparently, she and Mom are sharing the same heart issues.  Pete and I discussed the possibility of continuing on to Doylestown, but it would add another 6 hours just in traveling time. It is frustrating to be so far a way when special friends and family are hurting.  Hopefully, the rest of our travels north on the water will be uneventful and quick.
Spring showing her many colors of green in Virginia
     The car ride up was uneventful, but our return trip was not.  We approached DC close to 5 pm and that meant traffic; heavy traffic southbound.  We did pay for the express lanes. I don’t know just how much.  When we entered the gates, the sign showed $2.50 for the ride.  When we were another 5 miles down, the sign stated $10.50.  Who know what we will be charged! We just have to wait for the statement, but the hour travel time saved was worth every penny! 
     We pulled off and found a Panera Bread for dinner.  With Bailey in tow, we were able to eat out on the patio, overlooking the pond loaded with carp.  Then it was back on the road.  
     Once we exited 95 in North Carolina, we still had 2 hours of back roads to Oriental.  We were on Rt 33 when we came across a diagonally placed “Road Closure.”  We really though it was for the cross street, but about 300 yards down, the road was completely blocked.  We turned around and had to find a way to detour without adding too many additional miles.  Please note that these roads are only 2 lanes, extremely curvey, no street lamps or moonlight, and lots of deer!  We saw at least 30 deer within 10 feet of the road. Who know just how many deer there were in the shadows of the trees!  We even came across a large yellow lab walking along the road. (There were homes about a ½ mile further down the road. Hopefully, he belonged to one of the families who lived there.) It was the most stressful 2 hours of driving I can remember.
     We were back at the boat by 11 pm and were so tired, we by-passed our showers. The water heater was turned off and we didn’t want to wait the 20 minutes for it to heat.  I will be doing laundry tomorrow, so the bed and we will get washed in the morning.
     Oh yea.  We decided that we will not be shuttling our car for future cruises.  We will UBER or rent a car when needed.  Less hassles and a lot let expensive considering the extra time at marinas, fuel for both cars, time away from work and from cruising!
     I hope morning takes a very long time in coming!

Wednesday, 5/2 – Pete snuck out around 6:45 am, took the dog for a walk, fed her and then took the rental car back to New Bern.  He called once there to ask if I could look for his clip-on sunglasses and blue tooth ear piece.  I searched and unpacked everything, but no luck.  He never found the glasses and ear piece, so he called Enterprise.  They had just detailed the car and found both.  They will have them shipped FedEX over-night.
     Once back, Pete had to prepare for a very busy day.   Then he began working straight through until 5:15.
     I stripped the bed and took the laundry over to the machines.  The freezer was defrosted and cleaned, and parts of the boat interior were also cleaned.
     I headed to showers around 1:30. Friends on SV DEEGEE V, Donna and Ed, pulled in around 2.  Donna and I were went food shopping on her loaner car time and then the four of us headed over to dinner in Oriental on my loaner car time. Since the office closes at 6, I could keep the car for later in the evening and just leave the keys in a designated spot.
     The loaner car is the same one we used when we were here in 2010. She now has 162,000 + miles and is dire need of a new transmission.  She got us to Piggly Wiggly, back to the marina, and then to M & M CafĂ© in Oriental, where Pete had his Cheese Burger, while Donna, Ed and I had their delicious Lobster Rolls.  While finishing dinner, Scott, the harbor master, called. A boat came in late and wanted to catch a late dinner in Oriental.  I told him we would be only a half hour more and would leave the keys for the newly arrived crew.
Sunset at River Dunes
     Once back we said good by to Donna and Ed.  They will head up to Belhaven tomorrow and probably to the top of Alligator Pongo on Friday. Right now, if Pete continues with fully-packed work days, we will only be able to go to Belhaven on Friday. That way he will have phone service for work. If he has no work commitments, we might be able to head straight to the top of the A/P Canal. I will keep them posted of our daily float plans. Perhaps we can travel together later at some point.
     Once back on board, Pete crashed and burned.  I managed to stay awake for Bailey’s final walk.  Once off the boat Bailey started to race around, then I heard a couple of splashes.  I think she found the river otters, who have been living here all winter, and leaving their calling cards on the dock.  The harbor master said that they also sometimes hide their food under the floating docks.  That must make quite  memorable odor on warm days! The lit buildings are pretty stunning. I  was able to snap a few night shots of the lit structures around the marina.  

      Next: showers and bed. ‘Nite all!

Thursday, 5/3 – We never heard DEEEGEE leave early this morning.  Both of us slept soundly last night.
     Pete once again has a full day of work.  I did a few things around the boat, but spent time on the phone with Mom’s doctor discussing the possibility and drawbacks of surgery.  Then spent a long visit with Chris on the phone and more time with Mom.
    The afternoon was spent on photos and blog. I hope I can get more posted before we leave in the morning.  We will see.
     Tomorrow we will head to Belhaven so Pete can work.  Saturday, we plan on the 12-hour trip from Belhaven to Coinjock.  With Mom’s health issues, we want to get closer to home, sooner rather than later.

~ ~ ~ /) ~ ~ K & P

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Mile Hammock Bay to Morehead City, NC.

Today:    33 miles, 5.6 hours, ICW
Total:     2468.4 miles, 384.9 hours

     It was another beautiful morning and everyone, but 3 boats, decided to leave at first light or shortly thereafter.  The breezes have changed to the NNW and have brought cooler temperatures with the change. 
Barrier island at Camp Lejuine
Bailey's safe place during the rocking
     It was an uneventful cruise with the exception of the smaller fishing boats, who like to pass about 10 feet from us at speed. 
     As we were in the northern part of Bogue Sound, the current was in our favor and we cruised at 8.4 for a while. This also meant that once we crossed the inlet, our speed would drop. It wasn’t a real concern a we needed to drop speed further to allow a tug and barge to reposition, then build up speed to head north.  This wasn’t a problem as we only needed to travel about 1000 feet before making our turn into the creek for Morehead City Marina.
     It was a relaxing evening after dinner and we plan to get a later start tomorrow as River Dunes is only 30 miles upriver.

~ ~ ~ /) ~ ~ K & P

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Carolina Beach to Mile Hammock Bay, NC.

Today:    52 miles, 8.6 hours, ICW
Total:     2387.4 miles, 372.8 hours

Yes! it is a pink-hulled fishing boat!
     We were underway around 8 am, but we still have problems with the tablet turning off periodically.  We will have to investigate more once we are stationary in River Dunes. 
     I am constantly bewildered by the boaters traveling this section of the ICW (between Carolina Beach and Morehead City).  It seems the closer we are to the ocean, the more small boats are on the waterway.  The amount is not the problem; it is the fact that they are sometimes in their own world, talking or fishing, and are unaware of other boats in the ICW.  More annoying: They love to pass us with in 10 feet or so at fast speeds!  
     Today’s passing experience was the most surreal. . . We were traveling in a narrow area of the ICW. A south bound, 45-foot power boat was approaching at a slow speed.  We suddenly heard a double tap on a horn.  It was a 35-foot power boat coming north, at ¾ speed, and “threading the needle” between us and the south-bound boat. He wouldn’t answer his radio, he didn’t back down and he wouldn’t look at either boat as he passed.  There might have been 8 feet between the boats as he passed! Be aware of a blue-hulled, tan canvased motor boat called CAROLINA GIRL.
Unusual home in Wrightsville Beach
SUP boarders leaving "Brunelle's" Island ~
The one where they went aground and
lost their rudder in 2009

Wrightsville Inlet


A Skidoo with a custom windshield,
Bimini and cooler for fishing
Home is definitely pink and
currently empty
Colorful crab pot and floats

New Surf City Bridge
under construction
     There was also a 60-65 foot power cruiser. He didn’t call to say he was overtaking us.  When another sail boat commented on the radio, the captain of the motor boat said that he has been doing this for 4 years and it was the sailboat’s responsibility to check behind him!
   Thankfully, the rest of the trip was uneventful.  We had to wait for the 3 bridge openings, but we tried to pace the boat so that the wait was minimal.  SV CHECKERED PAST was one of the boats we traveled with for a good part of the day.
     In Mile Hammock, we spoke with the owners of SV OSPREY, a 2003 Catalina 350, hull # 59.  They purchased it 2 years ago and have made the trip to the Bahamas, but needed to return home to work until a recent retirement.  They are taking her back to Norfolk and are looking forward to exploring the upper Chesapeake Bay. Perhaps we will see them during their explorations. 
Sunset at Mile Hammock Bay

~ ~ ~ /) ~ ~ K & P

Friday, April 27, 2018

Myrtle Beach to Carolina Beach, NC.

Today:    53 miles, 7.1 hours, ICW
Total:     2335.4 miles, 364.2 hours

Inside the harbor for
Myrtle Beach Yacht Club and 2 other marinas
     We were set and ready to leave by 7:50 am. The current was with us to Little River Inlet, but that was only a couple of miles. Our speed went from 7.4 mph and dropped to 5.2 once we crossed the inlet entrance.
FV HURRICANE SHRIMPER making adjustments
Little River Inlet
     Last night, when checking Facebook, an Active Captain posting mentioned that Shallotte Inlet was recently dredged, and the marked channel is currently not a problem.  We made it though at low tide with plenty of water.  Lockwoods Folly Inlet is still tricky. We had no problems following directions that kept us close to the red buoys.
Bailey like to cross her legs
    Pete spent a couple of hours working.  I found that the tablet, which houses the Sonar Charts, kept turning off.  I must have rebooted it 8-10 times.  It is a little disconcerting, specially since we were traveling at low tide through Ocean Isle City.  
     While traveling though Southport, we were traveling at 9.2 mph.  Unfortunately, once we entered Cape Fear River, we battled the ebb current the entire way. Our speed dropped to 4.8 for hours!
Playing at water's edge
Shoal very close to the channel
    We reserved a mooring ball in Carolina Beach through the DOCKWA App because we didn’t have time to drop anchor as planned.  The trip up Cape Fear River really delayed our anticipated arrival in Carolina Beach. Since Pete had to be on an hour conference call at 4:30, I made the reservation at 4 and we grabbed the mooring ball at 4:20!  The conference went well and we spent peaceful evening on the mooring.
Carolina Beach's mooring field
     I received an email from Donna, SV DEEGEE V.  They will be in River Dunes next Wednesday and if we are still there, might we get together for dinner.  We will be there and it will be nice to catch up with Donna and Ed.

~ ~ ~ /) ~ ~ K & P

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Georgetown, SC to Myrtle Beach, NC.

Today:    60 miles, 9.6 hours, ICW 
Total:     2282.4 miles, 357.1 hours

Beautiful morning in Georgetown
The Paper Mill
Reflections of Route 17 Bridge 
     According to the current information, we should have only had an hour push up the Waccamaw River before the current would be against us if we left Georgetown by 8 am.  Instead, we had the current pushing us up river for the entire ride. We were doing 7.2 mph, which is much better than the anticipated 5.5!  We slowed down the closer we got to the to the split into the “ditch” south of the Socastee Bridge, but we were still traveling 6+ mph.
Trees along the banks
      There is such a big difference between traveling this river in the fall verses the spring.  On our trip down, the trees were leafless, the forests grey-brown and silent.  Spring brings many of shades of green, the sweet scents of new growth and spring flowers, lots of nests with ospreys, eagles and storks minding their broods, and turtles enjoying the sun. They can be found warming themselves on any logs or stumps they can climb upon.
Nesting Storks and Osprey

My Favorite Old Tree
12 Turtles sitting on a log!!!

Raising the soil level
 for new development

The edge of the channel against
part of the Rock Pile
     We were unable to get dockage at Barefoot Marina & Resort. There is a tremendous amount of construction on the eastern side.  They are creating a huge entertainment center with lots of new stores and restaurants.  As a result, there is no longer dockage available for cruisers.  The docks at Barefoot Landing Marina will only be available for guests on boats staying a few hours for the restaurants. So, Pete was able to get dockage at Myrtle Beach Yacht Club.  We have passed a marina that has a light house at the entrance.  The entrance is deceiving.  It curves into a large basin that houses 3 marinas, and lots of boats.  Being only 4 miles north of Barefoot, it is still convenient, with great staff, well protected and very reasonable.  With Active Captain discount, it was a $1.00 per foot!

~ ~ ~ /) ~ ~ K & P

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Charleston to Georgetown, SC.

Today:    66 miles, 10.4 hours, ICW
Total:     2222.4 miles, 347.5 hours

MY ELYSIAN as we were leaving Charleston
A collapsed building
Another dredging "city"
     We were underway by 7:40 am.  There was no rush this morning as we had to wait for the 9 am opening of the Ben Sawyer Bridge.  It will not open on weekdays between 7-9 am and 3:30-6:30 pm.  We were the second of 3 sailboats that made the opening. Unfortunately, it was low tide and the first boat went hard aground about a ½ mile north of the bridge. He said he would wait to float off with the incoming tide. The boat behind me passed and pushed his way through the skinny area.  We touched bottom, backed off, then found enough water to continue. We found out later that it took anther 2.5 hours for the tide to rise enough for the first boat to continue on their way. We tapped bottom again passing through Isle of Palms and then at Red 86 I went wide into what I though was deeper water according to the sonar charts, but ran aground.  Thankfully, we were able to back off.
Isle of Palms
A Ketch that is high and dry!
     Pete had work that took up the morning and part of the afternoon, so I really enjoyed this part of the ICW.  The scenery is beautiful and a number of inlets, where there is always a chance to spot of dolphins. Of course, all the inlets control our boat speed.  If the tide is going out, one side of the inlet will increase our speed (1-2 miles per hour) while the other side of the inlet slows us down by the same amount.
Within 15 feet of the muddy
bank, but still in the channel!
     McClellanville is always a concern.  It has notoriously skinny water a low tide.  Now, with the sonar charts, we know where the deeper water is, and we made it though at low tide, with no problems! The current finally stayed in our favor for the last 3 hours of our day.  As we made the turn from Estherville Mimin Creek Canal onto Winyah Bay, we were doing 9.2 mph!  The current gods were kind and stayed with up until we were docked in Harborside Marina in Georgetown.
Friendly clouds above the banks of the ICW
       This is a great marina.  It was rebuilt and just reopened last fall.  It is right in town, $0.25 less per foot than Georgetown Marina and the current isn’t nearly as strong.  They are still working and expanding the docks to accommodate more boats.

~ ~ ~ /) ~ ~ K & P