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Friday, 29 April 2011
Swansboro, NC to Oriental, NC
Florida to Rhode Island - Day 17
After a couple of long days of cruising and leaving early we decided to sleep in a little later and not leave at sunrise... we awoke to a beautiful cool DRY day... the last two days have been gloomy and humid... and quite a bit if rain... so to have a nice sunny day to cruise was going to be awesome.

We departed from Swansboro at 0930 and continued north on the ICW... final destination for the day planned as Oriental, NC... there is a farmers market there on Saturday morning and Susan wants to get some fresh produce... so we will not be leaving early morning on Saturday from Oriental... we'll be at the farmers market.

With the exception of a few short stretches of favorable current most of the day we had the current against us... in place barely making 5 knots...

Oriental has a FREE town dock that holds maybe two boats and I was in hopes that we would be able to get a place on it. I kept checking the city's web cam but the same two sailboats were tied to the dock all day and were still there when we arrived so we proceeded under the high rise bridge and anchored at 1600 hours in Green Creek N35 01.447', W076 42.456'.

Today we traveled for 6 hours and 30 minutes and covered 43 nautical miles averaging 6.6 knots.
Posted at 6:42 PM
Thursday, 28 April 2011
Southport, NC to Swansboro, NC
Florida to Rhode Island - Day 16
We departed from Southport at 0600 in order to have a favorable current traveling up the Cape Fear River… the current in the river can be very strong and you do not want to have the current against you… the current was switching to ebb at 0730 so leaving at 0600 allowed us to have the current all the way to Snow’s Cut.

This area always seems to give us problem with bridges… we had three bridges to deal with… Wrightsville Beach bridge, Figure Eight Island bridge, Surf City bridge and Onslow Beach bridge… the opening schedules are such that it’s very hard to make each bridge on time… the first two bridges we can sneak under if the tide is low enough… and luckily today that was the case and we had no delays at them… the third bridge we were not so lucky… the Surf City bridge opens only once each hour at the top of the hour… we were arriving at the Surf City bridge about 8 minutes after 1200… and we had a strong current on the bow… barely making 6 knots… arriving within sight of the bridge I hailed on the VHF to see if they were opening for any boats at 1200… no boats so next question to the bridge tender was could you open a few minutes late for us… NOPE! We had to wait till the 1300 opening... so we slowed to a crawl and arrived at the bridge with still 30 minutes to wait.

So three bridge down and one to go… also, we had a weather front passing over the area that was suppose to produce some high winds and heavy rain… that was still to come and from the looks of the sky to the west and the Doppler radar the front was definitely coming our way.

We did get some heavy rain as the front passed over us but not much wind and we were approaching our last bridge… the Onslow Beach bridge… the winds had picked up since the rain stopped to 20 knots with gusts to 25 knots… hailing the bridge for an opening we heard what we did not want to at this point in the day… Not sure of he could open with the winds but to keep coming and he would see when we got close to the bridge… we sat at the bridge maybe 15 minutes and the bridge tender hailed us and said he was going to try and open for us… but he would have to control the opening manually due to wind and it would be very slow opening… and the opening was real real slow but we did finally make it through and back underway… no more bridges!

After this the winds really started to blow… steadily over 20 knots with gusts to 30 knots… and I overheard on the VHF reports of 40 knots winds in Swansboro… right where we were heading... not that the winds would cause us any problems but it’s just much nicer docking without winds to contend with. Where we were stopping in Swansboro the winds would be in our favor pushing us toward the dock… but when they are blowing so hard the problem is keeping the winds from slamming us into the dock.

We arrived to Swansboro and luckily the 40 knot winds were no longer here… still had 25 knots with gusts but could deal with those much more easily than 40 knot winds. We managed to get docked at 1700 hours at Duck’s Bar and Grille… it’s a dock and dine establishment… located at approximately N34°41.165’, W077°07.176’.

Today we traveled for 11 hours and covered 69 nautical miles averaging 6.2 knots.
Posted at 9:25 PM
Wednesday, 27 April 2011
Georgetown, SC to Southport, NC
Florida to Rhode Island - Day 15
We departed from Georgetown just before sunrise at 0600 leaving at high tide… leaving Georgetown at high tide allows you to have a favorable current all the way to Myrtle Beach and that we did… making 7.5 knots plus most of the time… which is much better than having a current on your bow slowing you down.

We had been pricing fuel and found that Osprey Marina on the Waccamaw River had the best price we had seen at $3.64 per gallon… we arrived there at 1000 and took on 718 gallons of diesel… leaving Osprey Marina at 1130.

Shortly past there we had the Socasstee Swing Bridge and we would require an opening in order to get past… had to wait about 15 minutes even though the bridge is suppose to be on demand… then again in Little River another bridge that is suppose to be on demand had us waiting for 15 minutes before the would open... it was just not having good luck with the bridges today.

The one neat thing was shortly after passing Little River we would normally of had to wait for the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge… but not this trip or any other trips in the future… it has been replaced with a new high rise span.

We had not really made a plan for our final destination for the day… not knowing how long it would take us to fuel up… after Little River there are not really that many “dog friendly” stops… in fact there were only a couple and none of them were very appealing… we ended up continuing on much longer that we had hoped to after starting so early… final destination being the free dock at Southport, NC… We were met by Bob Creech who has his boat in the same basin. He saw us coming into the Southport basin and hailed on the VHF and said he would meet us at the city dock and catch our lines… we had never stayed at this dock before so him being here and directing us to the city dock helped tremendously… at 2000 hours we were securely docked at the Southport City Dock N33°55.057’, W078°01.492’.

Days stats… 14 hours total… traveling for 12 hours and 30 minutes and stopped 1 hour and 30 minutes for fuel covering 85 nautical miles averaging 6.8 knots.
Posted at 10:48 PM
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