FL to CT - Day 32
Portsmouth, VA to Smithfield, VA
Going to Smithfield today so we needed to plan for the tide as we can only make it on a high tide. That meant departure at between 0900 and 1000... to arrive to the Pagan River at 1330 high tide. Winds were forecast for 15-20 knots with 25 knot gusts.
We left the dock in Portsmouth at 0900 and headed north up the ICW till we reached Hampton Roads next to the Naval Base and turned to port heading for the James River. This is where we got hit with the winds... it was very bit of the forecast plus some... saw gusts to over 30 knots and it was fairly rough.
About half way across to the mouth of the James River the starboard engine alarm went off... OVERHEATING!!! I shut the engine down immediately continuing on the port engine... Susan took over them helm and went to investigate. Found nothing out of the ordinary... no broken hoses or evident leaks, water level fine, sea strainer clean, oil level fine. Only possibility... Raw Water Pump Impeller... would have to check that in Smithfield.
At the mouth of the James River at Newport News Ship Yards we were overtaken by a large ship and two assist tugs. She was really big and came by real close... was neat to watch them work the ship in to the ship yard docks.
Leaving at 0900 we arrived to the channel going into the Pagan River a little early... still an hour before high tide but we continued on... very shallow going in but not too bad... 7 feet was the shallowest I saw. The problem area is called Bob's Shoal... as we approached It I watched the depths slowly decrease till the sounder stopped working and started flashing LAST LAST LAST 5.0 feet... we creeped across at idle and you could hear the bottom of SAILS sliding over the mud bottom... it's about a 1/4 mile stretch and you make a turn to port and you are back in deep water and heading toward Judy and Wayne McPhails house just a mile ahead... :)
We arrived and backed into the dock next to their new boat... Z KAT... 46 foot Carver Motoryacht. They have only had it a few months. We were secure at the dock at 1300 N36°59.512', W076°37.449'
. We traveled today for 4 hours covering 22.8 nautical miles averaging 5.7 knots.
We will be here a couple of days... forecast for Chesapeake Bay does not settle down till Thursday or Friday... Lily has an appointment at the vet for what we think may be an ear infection and to have her right front leg checked... she has been limping on it since we left Florida... anyway, want to be sure it's nothing serious. We have our mail being forwarded here and I have some cabinet work to catch up on. Engines are due an oil change and I have to check out why the starboard engine overheated.
Posted at 4:09 PM
FL to CT - Day 31
Coinjock, NC to Portsmouth, VA
We had dinner last night at the Coinjock Marina Restaurant... Susan had the infamous Prime Rib... We have enjoyed the leftovers from it this morning with breakfast.
We departed at 0745 which was planned time to make the first bridge at it's 1130 opening... There are three bridges/locks to deal with today and they all have restricted opening schedules... First the North Landing Bridge and the Centerville Turnpike Bridge open on the half hour and hour. Then the Great Bridge Bridge and Great Bridge Lock. The bridge only opens on the hour and the lock is sync'd with the bridge opening. The issue is the distance between the North Landing and Centerville Bridges... 5 nautical miles... we cannot cover that distance within 30 minutes so we have to go real slow to cover the 5 miles in 60 minutes... It's about 2.5 miles to reach the Great Bridge Bridge... 30 minutes... so to make an on the hour opening at Great Bridge we have to go through the North Landing on Bridge on the half hour... so out schedule was...
North Landing - 1130
Centerville - 1230
Great Bridge - 1300
We made it through the North Landing at 1130 as planned... a little tight because they were only opening half the span... slowed to a snails pace and made the Centerville Bridge at 1230 as planned. Arrived at the Great Bridge Bridge at just before 1300. Plan was working well. There were a lot of boats waiting at Great Bridge to move north... I counted 6 in all... a small barge and tug, sailboat, small power boat, an 86' Nordhaven and three 40'ish foot trawlers plus SAILS.
After all of us passing through the bridge... I saw that the lock already had one LARGE tug and barge sitting in it. There was enough room for the Nordhaven behind the barge. The lock hailed the small tug and barge and informed him that there was not going to be enough room for him this lockage but everyone else would fit.... COOL!
There was maybe 30 feet between the barge and the west wall of the lock... all the boats had to slide alongside the barge and tie to the port side of the lock... the first boat after the Nordhaven was a sundeck trawler... he started to slide past the barge and stopped... we heard him talking with the lock on the VHF... he was not comfortable moving alongside the barge and tied to the wall before the barge... was not looking good for everyone to fit at this point. A few minutes passed as we watched boats moving around in the lock ahead of us. Soon the lock hailed us and a Krogen ahead of us... there was not going to be enough room for us... we would have to wait for the next lockage... We turned around and went back to the bulkhead just after the bridge and tied to wall to wait. This meant we would not be going anywhere for another hour... the 1400 bridge opening and lockage... BUMMER!
1345 lock hailed us and gave us the ok to enter the lock... we moved into the lock with the Krogen and the small tug and barge. 1400 the Great Bridge Bridge opened and 4 other boats came through and proceeded to the lock. Finally at 1435 we exited the lock and were underway... nothing to stop us now before we reached our destination for the night in Portsmouth.
I was wrong! Just as we approached the Gilmerton Bridge and the Norfolk Southern #7 Railroad Bridge... the VHF rings out that the railroad bridge is closing... NO!!!! It closes real real slowly... I thought we would make it... Susan did not... we waited! It took forever for a train to ever show up and when it did it was moving real slowly and it seemed like it was miles long... We waited 45 minutes... :(
At 1615 we reached our destination for the night in Portsmouth... The free docks at the end of High Street. Pulled into join two sailboats on the north dock and we tied to the east dock. Later another sailboat pulled in and tied to the west dock. Our location for the night N36°50.130', W076°17.774'
. We traveled today for 8 hours and 30 minutes covering 42.5 nautical miles averaging 5.0 knots.
Posted at 10:27 PM
FL to CT - Day 30
Columbia, NC to Coinjock, NC
It had calmed down during the night... at about 0200 there was not a bit of wind and flat calm... woke up at 0530 to the wind gusting over 20 knots... it was now out of the NE as it was forecast. Did my usual morning routine, checked the engines and was ready to depart at 0630... Lily and Susan were not yet ready and I had to coax them to get up and get ready to go. An hour later everyone was ready and I went out pull the anchor.
I flipped the switch to turn on the hydraulic pump and hit the button to raise the anchor... NOTHING HAPPENED... flipped switch off and back on... still nothing... off to the engine room to see what was up. I found two broken belts for the pump laying in the bilge... Killed the engines and broke out the tools... I had spare belts so it was just a little time to install the two new belts... well an hour of time... back at to the bow at 0830 to raise the anchor... with the wind and the muddy chain took about 15 minutes to bring the anchor up... 0845 underway.
We had to cross the Albemarle Sound this morning and it was going to be a rough crossing... NE winds 25 knots with higher gusts that produced a steady 3-4 seas with a few bigger rogue waves... the pilothouse windows were getting plummeted with spray... 2 hours before we reached smoother water... poor Lily got seasick... felt so bad for her... :( After the rough ride we were ready to stop early and called Coinjock Marina to reserve a space.
We arrived to Coinjock and were secure at the dock at 1345 N36°20.999', W075°56.881'
. We traveled today for 5 hours covering 33.0 nautical miles averaging 6.6 knots. The marina is expecting a full dock tonight and packed us in tight... boat behind us about a foot away... :)
Posted at 2:32 PM