Thursday, April 14
Bucksport SC to Southport, NC
Distance Traveled: 57.6 nm
Miles to get Home: 1009.62nm
Total Distance Traveled: 3677.25nm
Our morning started with calm winds and a glassy anchorage. We had a long day ahead of us so raised anchor at 652am with sea smoke in the anchorage. The Cabin temp was 62F and the air temp was 53 cool degrees. We bundled up and Phil took the first watch as usual. By 9am at the beginning of my watch the wind was 8kts on the nose from the East. The GPS speed was 5.8 kt and boat speed was 5.49 knots and I was glad for the slight favorable current. Phil added 5 gals of diesel to that tank as we are now and have been in the stretch of our trip of motor ALL day. It's great for the batteries but not always great to listen to the engine that much. Near the end of my watch we came up to a C&C 30 named Red Jello at one bridge and at Little Rivers Swing bridge while waiting for it to open, we had a chance to talk to them as fellow C&C'ers do. With all the inlets that we pass - it's the game of do we have positive current coming up to the inlet and then negative current passing the current. We play the yo-yo of this game all day always hoping that we have more positive current (with the tides) so that we can be going 5.8 - 7.0kts versus 3.8 - 5 kts. It really makes a difference to have far we can get in a day. An example is we were going GPS 4.2 vs Boat 5.66kts coming up to Shallotte Inlet - After passing the inlet we were going 6.8 kts for about 15 min and then was down to GPS 5.5 kts vs Boat 5.23 kts. Another 25 min later we slowed down to GPS 5.1 kts vs Boat 5.44 kts. Overall we did good and were going to the Southport anchorage for the night, until Phil read that only 3 boats can fit there and as many boat had passed us in the day. We decided on the spur moment to do a U-turn when we saw a sign saying $1.35/ft Boat US discount passing S. Harbour Village Marina. There was a long fuel dock and a couple sailboats already tied up and we tied up too and got diesel fuel. By this time it was 515pm and I had started getting supper ready to cook while we were traveling. By 7pm we had chicken and rice/barley, acorn squash and cornbread for supper. Then time to take advantage of the showers. Tired from traveling, we read and went to bed at 930pm.
Friday, April 15
Southport, NC to Carolina Beach State Park Marina
Distance Traveled: 13.4 nm
Miles to get Home: 1023.02nm
Total Distance Traveled: 3690.65nm
We woke this morning to a CT of 63F and Air temp of 57F, heavy dew and glassy water. We are planning on getting to Wrightsville Beach today to tuck in for a storm that is suppose to come tomorrow with 20-30kts winds from the SW. We left the dock at 705am an narrowly avoided running into it again. Phil was distracted by the GPS and we almost plowed in but luckily we saw what was happening and just brushed off the dock where the fenders were still in place. Had the heart beating pretty fast on this one. Today we are going up the Cape Fear River and we hope we have left early enough to not get hit too badly by the current of the outgoing tide. But we have not left early enough afterall as our GPS speed is only 3.8 kts. We keep plugging away hoping as we go along that the negative current will ease once we turn into the ICW. Just after turning the corner S/V Red Jello hails us and tells us about the marina they are in that we just passed. Hey! on $30 per night and free electricity. We had a long way to go and may not even get there at this speed so it was a no brainer to turn around on come in to the Carolina Beach State Park Marina. We hit a couple times coming in the channel (need to stay close to the Green markers) but we're in and dock on the next finger next to Red Jello. The marina is almost empty and it's really protected. By 104am am we are docked and then sign in and we introduce ourselves to George and Mary Lou on Red Jello. This is a great place! They have nice showers, a washer and dryer only $1each, trails to walk on. We decided that we're going to stay tonight and tomorrow to wait out the bad weather. I'm thrilled to have someone else besides Phil to talk to - wow a woman to talk to!
After lunch, we took the folding bikes out and rode them to Carolina Beach. The tide is out, the young people are on the beach in bikinis and swim shorts while we walk the beach looking for some shells as it's low tide. We also stop at the local grocery store - The Sea Merchant - and get some essentials. We had also ridden to the post office for Phil to mail a letter. As the weather is predicted to be bad tomorrow, we put the bikes away.
We also spend time on Red Jello talking. George and Mary Lou have cruised to the Bahamas years ago - in the 1970's when all there was to navigate was Loran C - which you had to manually program. There was not GPS, no Chris Parker, no SSB, so the read the water and when the winds turned SE to S - went to an anchorage protected from the west winds they figured would be coming. We think they went there 7 times total. As you can imagine they are savvy sailors. They are on their way up to Baltimore to pick up a C&C 38' Landfall that they just bought, to take back to Indian Town for the summer. Their nephew has bought their boat so once the Landfall is in Florida, they will go back to Baltimore and bring Red Jello back to their home in Kincardin on Lake Huron for their nephew.
After supper, I took advantage of the washer and dryer and washed the ultrasuede that I've used to cover the cushions in the cabin which I read magazines in the lounge.
Saturday, April 16
Carolina Beach State Park Marina
I think that many people don't know about Carolina Beach State Park marina. I see that it's is in the Skipper Bob Books, but it's been closed that past 2 years while they have completely renovated the marina. There is new bulkheads and new floating docks which are quite nice. It's close quarters so you might be able to fit a boat 40' overall in there but nothing more than that (including bow sprint and dinghies hanging off the back). They have a lounge area that has round tables and chairs with glass windows so there is a unobstructed view on the scenery around you.
We had scrambled eggs and whole grain muffins for breakfast. We decided to talk a walk on the trails and try to get back for the Range guided trail walk at 10am - best laid plans it turned out. We started walking to the Sand dunes and it turned out that it took much longer for the walk than we though. I enjoyed smelling the dead leaves in the forest - here the live oaks drop their leaves in the spring. There are many pine trees here and the pine cones are huge! Small pine tree has 8" long pine cones. I restrain myself and don't pick any up for craft projects though. Along the Cape Fear river there is a lot of sand on the trails and at times there is only sand to walk on, making it slow going. We took a different trail not marked on the map and came to another couple who we chatted with. Then we came to a rode - talked to Rangers in a SUV and was directed back to the parking lot where we started. We arrived back at 1015am, too late for the guided trail walk. We saw George and Mary Lou walking down the street to walk into town and Phil with his loud voice called them. They waited for me to join them and Phil stayed behind. His left heel has been bothering him when he walks too much so he stayed behind. George, Mary Lou and I walked to town and stopped at a boutique that had great clothing and Food Lion. Of course I got a few items which I carried back in the cooler backpack.
What happened to the storm? We were wondering that all day too as it was sunny, breezy and warm most of the day with some periods of clouds that blew through. It turned out to be a much nicer day than we thought it was going to be, but the storms did come through early evening. Even though there were tornado watches north and south of us, we didn't have any and the storms were bad at all for us. The locals say that the mountains break up the storms so they weren't surprised. What did happen was that the wind clocked so that the waves were coming into the channel causing a swell in the marina. As things go, it wasn't bad and we added some extra line just to be sure.
Before the storm came, George and Mary Lou came for happy hour and we enjoyed chatting some more. It's so great to have company!!!. I fixed ham slice and instant mashed potatoes with fresh broccoli. Lorraine eating instant potatoes - oh my. Well YES. I have potato buds and I can say that with cooking them with milk and doctoring with instant minced onions and garlic - I will eat these instant potatoes.
After supper I took advantage of the free electricity and checked out and downloaded from the library ebooks and audiobooks that I transferred to my Nook and Ipod Nano.
Sunday, April 17
Happy Birthday Rachel!!
Carolina Beach to Mile Hammock Bay
Distance Traveled: 53.35 nm
Miles to get Home: 1076.37nm
Total Distance Traveled: 3744.00nm
Even though we loved our interlude at Carolina Beach, we need to keep traveling north. Our goal for the day is Mile Hammock Bay so we left the dock at 654am. We go by many inlets today so another day of playing the current game and we wonder if we'll have more of the day with a favorable current or not. We also have a few bridge openings and we get to the Wrightsville Beach Bridge 10 min late for the on the hour opening, so we jill around for 50 minutes. We see S/V Short Walk and I hail Ann to chat for a little. They are going to Mile Hammock Bay also today. I also spoke to Steve Wesburd on S/V Traveler. He's a Master Captain transporting the Hunter 31 back north. He give me a recommendation for a boat broker in Baltimore. By 1134am the wind has picked up and Phil puts out the head sail but it turned out only for 30 min. By 230pm the winds have picked up the mid teens with gusts to 22 kts. We make it to Mile Hammock Bay by Camp Lejune by 430pm. The was the anchorage that people were dragging in last fall and this time though there aren't many anchored here, we have trouble anchoring. We dropped anchor the first time and dragged. I started with 60' and continued letting out more chain as we dragged until 80+ feet were out and we were too close to a M/V. Up comes the anchor and we try again. This time we set still with 80ft out in 10ft of water.
Tonight for supper I use the canned beef and gravy and make a shephard's pie using instant mashed potatoes on top. I started turning the heel on the socks I'm making for Phil and he read until we went to bed at 10pm.
Monday, April 18
Mile Hammock Bay to Beaufort, NC
Distance Traveled: 39.42 nm
Miles to get Home: 1115.79 nm
Total Distance Traveled: 3783.42 nm
We woke at 630am and lifted the anchor at 647am as Phil saw S/V Red Jello leave so we jumped to leave too so that we can make the bridges when they do. I was at the helm and Phil was down below making coffee. The wind was dead downwind at 3 kts. GPS was 5.2 kts Boat was 5.6 kts. By Bogue Inlet we get the positive current of GPS 7.1 and keep the positive current for most of the morning. The conversation of the day is whether we go to Beaufort on try to get to Oriental. We decided, as you can see, to go to Beaufort so that Phil could get a chart of Pamlico and Abamarle Sounds and why kill ourselves every day? We set anchor at 120pm and got the 8hp engine on the dinghy. This is the first time since leaving the Bahamas. We walk around town, get the charts, have some ice cream and then come back to the boat at low tide. I had hoped that I could meet with Sonda and John, whom we met in Georgetown, but they aren't to be back from their cruising until beginning of May. Too bad.
The big entertainment of the afternoon after we returned were 5 teen age thin girls in bikinis cruising up and down the Taylor river on a small power boat. They were singing to the music - off key - with a couple on the bow dancing. They went up and down the river and Phil just had to get out the binoculars to check them out. There were also teen age boys cruising up and down the river checking out these girls. Oh to be young with nice figures and that kind of self esteem! It was fun to watch them and we had a good laugh.
I continued knitting Phil's socks while enjoying the sun in the cockpit. For supper we had left over chicken and rice and fresh broccoli.
Both Phil and I read the evening away.
Tuesday, April 19
Beaufort, NC to Oriental, NC
Distance Traveled: 24.64 nm
Miles to get Home: 1140.43
Total Distance Traveled: 3808.06
We woke at 6am today wanting to get an early start to catch the favorable current. By 636am the anchor is raised and we are on our way with a pink sky and full moon on the horizon. It's really beautiful this morning. The wind is 5 kts and out GPS speed quickly goes from 3.6 as we are approaching Beaufort Inlet to 7.0 as we pass the inlet. We make good time up Adams Creek and are at our waypoint to enter Tarpon Creek to Don and D Wogamon's dock at 1030am. We know it's going to be close us getting to their dock but didn't realize that we would get stuck 10 min up the channel just past a couple marinas and become the morning entertainment for the local residents. We hit bottom and though Phil goes in reverse and we rock the boat back and forth we are stuck good. We call Tow Boat US and they come within 10 minutes. The captain is nice and offers tows us all the way to their dock which is a good thing. It takes 15 min to get off where we are stuck the first time and then we get stuck 2 more times, the last being at the junction of a fork in the creek. But the tow boat prevails and we are tied up at 1140am - but on the ground. It turns out that there isn't a tide here in the creek, but the water goes up and down by as much as 40 inches according to the direction the wind is blowing. With a SW wind - which we have now - the water goes out into Pamlico Sound. With the NE wind the water comes up in the creek - kind of like the west end of Lake Erie. We are here until the wind changes - maybe Friday. But we like being here - have a dock, free electricity, great hosts. D is in New Bern for errands and appointments. Don is here working on S/V Southern Cross a Dickerson 41 (the last woody) to get it ready for cruising again. His current project is caulking the teak decks.
It's very warm here - I actually am wearing shorts - so we quickly put up the Farouck and relax in the cockpit for a while. Then we walk to the local grocery store and get a ride back from a gentleman that saw us aground. It's close to time for showers and D arrives for us to meet. We quickly arrange to do dinner together. Phil and I get in Sun Showers that has warm water by my definition and I fix the zucchini carrot strands as my contribution. We have a great supper of rotisserie chicken, brown rice and my vegetable dish with chocolate cake for dessert. Ann and Doug Sedden join us (they rent Don and D's apartment) and we taste wine and talk about cruising and boating until the wee hours. Ann then D leaves us and the guys and I talk until almost midnight. It's was a wonderful evening and I particularly enjoy the company.
Wednesday, April 20
Today I'm going to update the blog, then we have lunch with Tom and Beverly Love. D offers to let us use her laundry machine, so Phil starts and load and I find out that there is a dinner planned by S/V Blue Jacket tonight at 7pm that we are invited to. Last Tango is docked in Broad Creek and there will be 14 people all together so of course we are going. After checking weather, it looks like the NE winds will be tomorrow then clock to E on Friday. So we hope in the afternoon that we can get out of Tarpon Creek and will dock at Oriental to wait out the East winds. Then we plan to sail to Ocracoke Island on Saturday, Sail to Roanoke Island on Sunday, go to the Virginia cut on Monday to get to Norfolk on Tuesday. Of course you know how plans can change.
I don't have time this morning to post photos - so will try to fit it in later.