Coinjock, NC to Pungo River, NC
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 16
We departed from Midway Marina in Coinjock, NC this morning at 0740 hours... had a slight current against us. We would be crossing the Albemarle Sound and then going south down the Alligator River. Both of these can be nasty with the wrong winds. The forecast was for north winds at 5-10 knots and 1 foot seas on the Albemarle... this would be a nice day if the forecast was correct.
The large group of boats we had met with in Portsmouth had now spread themselves out... quite a few stayed in Coinjock but everyone leaves at a different time and travels at different speeds so when we left we had only one of the boats we had been traveling with just ahead of us... a 36' Monk trawler named "Sandpiper"... we had befriended them as we entered Norfolk, VA giving them some advice on marinas in Portsmouth/Norfolk area and when we were in the Great Bridge Locks they were directly behind us and we talked then. They saw us behind them and hailed us on the VHF... we exchanged some chit-chat and discussed where we were planning to go for the day... I don't think they have ever made the trip south on a boat before. They were moving a little faster than we were and soon were a mile or so ahead of us.
When we reached the Alligator River Bridge they were just behind 2 sailboats and the bridge opened for them... we were way back... maybe 8 minutes from the bridge yet... I was not going to make this opening... :( We continued on and I noticed that the bridge was not swinging closed... I hailed the bridge tender and asked if he was holding the bridge open for me... he responded... "Yes, he was holding for me... and I was coming through right?"
I said yes I am and THANKS!!! He must of held it open 10-15 minutes total... really surprised me for him to do this... but it was great!
With the north winds the Alligator River became a little choppy... they were also blowing a little harder than forecast at about 15 knots... but it was a following sea and not bad at all. We passed the two sailboats that had gone through the bridge and were following "Sandpiper"... We had discussed earlier where we were gong for the night and he said he would join us there.
We arrived at the end of the A&P Canal and the anchorage area we had planned at approximately 1730 hours and were securely anchored at 1740 hours at coordinates.... N35°33.682’, W076°28.557’. I lowered the dinghy and took Beecha to shore before it got too dark to see where I was going... we have been here many times but running in some daylight is much easier than total darkness... at least this is what I planned, but it got dark real quickly and Beecha and I were headed up the Pungo river in the dark. There is a boat ramp that I take her to... it's about 1.5 miles up the river from where we anchor... was sure glad the moon was so full and bright to help... :)
We traveled today for 10 hours covering 68.91 nautical miles and averaging 6.89 knots.
Trip totals to date:
Distance: 702.47 nautical miles
Hours: 113 hours 21 minutes
Avg Spd: 6.2 knots
Days not moving: 3
Portsmouth, VA to Coinjock, NC
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 15
Leaving from Portsmouth we had two choices due to the opening restrictions on the Gilmerton Bridge 5 miles south of where we were docked... it was opening the last time at 0630 hours and would not open again until 0930 hours... we opted to sleep in and go through at 0930 hours. We departed from the city dock in Portsmouth, VA at 0830 hours giving us plenty of time to make it to the Gilmerton Bridge by 0930 hours.
I think I will label today as "Bridge Day" as we had several to pass today. The Belt Line RR Bridge (normally open), the Jordan Lift Bridge (removed no longer there), the Old Virginia RR Bridge (normally open), the Gilmerton Bridge (restricted opening), #7 RR Bridge directly adjacent to the Gilmerton, the Steel Bridge, the Great Bridge Lock and Bridge, Norfolk Southern RR Bridge (normally open), the Centerville Turnpike Bridge, and the North Landing Bridge. Nine bridges and one lock... :(
Belt Line the first bridge was open and not a problem... as we approached it the Old Virginia RR Bridge broadcast over the VHF that it was closing... not enough time for us to make it through... so we waited along with several other vessels... I believe there were 8 other boats waiting with us. Waited about 10 minutes and the train crossed and the bridge lifted... we still had plenty of time to make it to the Gilmerton Bridge by 0930 opening.
We rounded the last bend before the Gilmerton Bridge and I saw a lot of boats already there and waiting for the 0930 opening. We all piled up close to the bridge and the bridge tender asked if we could transit the bridge in tandem... two boats side-by-side... the span has a 125 foot wide opening so this was no problem... after we passed I heard the bridge tender contact the next bridge... "Steel Bridge... 10 motors and 13 sails coming your way"... 23 boats were waiting and had gone under the bridge... WOW!
After the Gilmerton Bridge I saw two boats break off the ICW and head toward the Dismal Swamp... so we were down to 21 boats heading towards the Steel Bridge. All 21 boats made the Steel Bridge's 1000 opening and we were headed toward the Great Bridge Lock... I did not mention that two of these 21 boats were mega yachts... 100+ foot... so I bumped ahead as fast I could passing as many boats as I could... I knew space in the lock would be tight and I did not think all 21 boats were going to fit... needed to be toward the top of the pack...
Arrived at the lock at approximately 1030 hours and was maybe number 6 in the pack at this point... I made it in port side to behind the two mega yachts... and there were five other boats behind me on the port side... and there were 11 boats were on the starboard side of the lock with one boat rafting up to another boat... 19 boats got in the lock... the last two boats arriving had to wait for the next locking through.
We left the lock and passed under the Great Bridge Bridge at it's 1100 opening and headed to our next bridge... Norfolk Southern RR Bridge... which was open... no sweat... next came the Centerville Turnpike Bridge that opens every half hour so making it was no problem... passed under it at it's 1130 opening.
Next bridge was the North Landing Bridge... opens every 30 minutes also... but it is 5 miles past the Centerville Bridge... you just can't make it in 30 minutes at 7 knots... but with so much boat traffic still in front of us I thought maybe we might just make it as it would take some time for the boats in front of us to pass through... NOPE... arrived just a little bit too late and the bridge tender was not going to hold it for us... :( so we waited at the bridge till the 1230 opening along with 13 other boats of the original 19 boats that had left the lock together... the two mega yachts and 4 other faster motor boats made the 1200 opening.
After the bridges the boat pack started to spread out with everyone gong slightly different speeds... but I knew the next stop for all of these boats would be the Coinjock area... exactly, the same place we planned to stop... Susan called ahead to Midway Marina located in Coinjock and made a reservation for us so we were sure to have a spot of dock... :)
Eventually, 11 of the 13 boats that we had left with at the North Landing Bridge passed us... we are running at a lower rpm to conserve fuel... so unless we get a boost from current we are moving at 6.5 knots... a knot slower than normal cruising speed but it takes our fuel consumption rate way down... between 1.2 and 1.5 gallons per hours compared to 2 gallons per hour. We arrived to the Midway Marina in Coinjock, NC and were securely docked at 1630 hours.
We traveled today for 8 hours covering 41.6 nautical miles and averaging 5.21 knots.
Trip totals to date:
Distance: 633.56 nautical miles
Hours: 103 hours 21 minutes
Avg Spd: 6.13 knots
Days not moving: 3
Lodge Creek, VA to Portsmouth, VA
Rhode Island to Florida - Day 14
We spent a wonderful couple of days at Olverson's Lodge Creek Marina... spent some great quality timw with Cas and Fred Olverson... we celebrated Susan's birthday on Saturday night and had a fantastic dinner at Luna's in Callao... Fred and Cas joined us... great evening with great people!
The winds subsided after midnight on Saturday and the Bay was forecast to have 1-2 foot seas with an East wind 5-10 knots... We departed the dock at 0710 hours and headed out of Lodge Creek toward the Potomac River... Once on the Potomac River we headed east out to Chesapeake Bay... we reached the bay about 1000 hours and turned south... destination Portsmouth, VA.
The bay was calm with 1-2 foot seas as forecast and it was easy cruising... the sun came out late morning and the 1-2 foot seas subsided to barely 1 foot and we had the current with us all day... typically pushing us along at 8 knots... at times we were doing close to 10 knots... love days like this... :)
Not a lot of boat traffic... a few tugs towing barges headed up the bay... one container ship and the most exciting was a giant cruise ship... did not pass close enough to see the name but it looked 20 stories high... and it was moving along very quickly... RADAR/MARPA said it was moving 22 knots... really fast for such a large vessel.
With the time change it started getting dark around 1700 and we still had over an hour to go... once we passed the navy ship yards we were running in the dark... we had another trawler that had joined us somewhere along the way... I had not noticed him until I saw them about a half mile off our starboard beam just before we turned into Hampton Roads... we ran neck and neck to the Navy ship yard and then they dropped behind us as we approached a dredge working in the channel. Later I heard them hail Tidewater Marina for a slip for the night.
We continued past Tidewater to a small basin located on the Portsmouth side of the ICW just before you come to Ocean Marine Yacht Center... the ferries from that take people from Norfolk to Portsmouth and vice versa docks in this basin... but we discovered that you can dock in here and it's free... mo electric or water but you are tied to a dock. We arrived and were safe at the dock at 1815 hours.
We traveled today for 11 hours and 5 minutes covering 87.31 nautical miles and averaging 7.88 knots.
Trip totals to date:
Distance: 591.96 nautical miles
Hours: 95 hours 21 minutes
Avg Spd: 6.21 knots
Days not moving: 3