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Monday, 27 April 2015
FL to CT Day 18
Oriental, NC to Columbia, NC
We departed from Oriental this morning just as the sun was coming up at 0625. It was great to see the sun this morning compared to rain and fog yesterday morning. We would transit three fairly large open bodies of water today… The Neuse River, Pamlico River/Sound and the Alligator River. Northwest winds 5-10 increasing to 10-15 was the forecast. For the Neuse River and Pamlico this is a good forecast… Not the best for the Alligator River. We did have a favorable current most of the day pushing up to just over 8 knots at times. Our planned destination Alligator River Marina at the mouth of the Alligator River at the Albemarle Sound.

A few days ago I had hit a crab after leaving Price Creek north of Charleston and the starboard prop had become fouled to the pint it was vibrating heavily. We were in the process of stopping so I could dive and clear the prop but suddenly the vibration stopped and we could see pieces of what was left of the crab pot float. I increased the RPM and no vibration so we continued on. Today running up the Neuse River I was feeling a vibration in the starboard engine/running gear… we must of still had some line from the crab pot on that prop. The vibration was not bad and decreasing the RPM slightly the vibration stopped. We continued and decided that I needed to dive and check things out when we docked tonight.

The Neuse was choppy but no issue at all…. Same for the Pamlico… The Alligator river was quite a bit rougher… 3 foot was and they were piled up on top of each other so it was a rough ride with spray hitting the pilothouse windows every so often. It was more an aggravation than anything else… now I am going to need to wash the pilothouse windows in the morning.

We cleared the Alligator River Bridge at 1800 and were securely docked at the Alligator River Marina at 1815. Beecha was anxious to get to land and Susan was off with her for a walk right away. I pulled out the dive gear and jumped in the water… ICE COLD!!! The dive was totally by feel… it was pitch black under the boat... the sun was setting and the stern was away from any sunlight and the water here is not what you would call clear. I did find a long length of line. It was really twisted up from being on the running gear for a few days.

Our position at the marina N35°54.330, W076°01.722. We traveled today for 11 hours and 50 minutes covering 84.7 nautical miles averaging 7.12 knots.
Posted at 7:44 PM
Sunday, 26 April 2015
FL to CT Day 17
Swansboro, NC to Oriental, NC
We departed from Swansboro this morning at 0655 in rain and fog. Luckily the dense fog was over land and not the waterway but it was still a yucky morning. We had been spoiled up to this point to have had a beautiful sunrise each morning. Nothing improved as the day went on… fog went away but it remained overcast and rain all day.

We exited Adams Creek into the Neuse River and the NE winds were kicking the waves up… 3 foot short chop… it would of only gotten worse as we continued up the Neuse. I had a lot of cabinet work come in so we opted to stop in Oriental and get out of this nasty weather and I could catch up.

We arrived to Oriental at 1330 and were securely docked at 1335. Our position at the marina N35°01.461', W076°41.739'. We traveled today for 6 hours and 35 minutes covering 42.2 nautical miles averaging 6.4 knots.

Just looked at Google Maps of our position and it does not show a dock… but we indeed are docked the FREE docks in Oriental.
Posted at 7:35 PM
Saturday, 25 April 2015
FL to CT Day 16
Carolina Beach, NC to Swansboro, NC
Since are position is now approximately 300 nautical miles east of Punta Gorda where we started sunrise is now about 45 minutes earlier so the alarm time has been changed to 0530. Susan and Beecha are not real happy about the new time but it was a compromise… I wanted to change it to 0500 and compromised to the 0530 to keep everyone happy. So alarm went off this morning at 0530… no snooze button... up and getting ready to go.

At 0630 we were underway from Carolina Beach State Park Marina and it was to an awesome sunrise… couple of photos… one at the dock as we left and another 10 minutes later heading up Snow’s Cut. Absolutely beautiful!!!!

The area we transit today we have named bridges from hell day… have four bridges to deal with… the Wrightsville Beach, the Figure Eight Island, the Surf City and the Onlsow Beach bridges. We actually had great luck with all but the last bridge. The Opening schedule for the first three are such that we can’t go fast enough to make the openings between bridges so you have to slow down to a snail’s pace or sit and wait at the bridge. Today was different. We arrived at the Wrightsville Beach Bridge at low tide. It has a 19’ clearance but with 3 foot drop in tide gave us 22’… again at the Figure Eight Bridge low enough tide to give us 24’ clearance. We then were set up perfectly with a 6.5 knot speed to make the Surf City Bridge at it’s only on the hour opening. We arrived to it for its 1300 opening and to find 7 other boats sitting and waiting for the opening. The four power boats had all passed us… I guess people do not check the opening times and when they will arrive and pace themselves and sit and wait at the bridge… some of them close to an hour wait. The only bridge we had to change our pace for was the Onlsow Beach Bridge… we arrived sooner than anticipated due to current boosting our speed and slowed down for the last few miles to arrive just at the bridges scheduled opening time.

For years in this area we would stop at a dock and dine restaurant in Swansboro. Just over a year ago the city of Swansboro put a town dock in as an extension of the restaurant dock and started charging for dockage. The rate was higher than the adjacent Casper’s Marina so we have stopped at Caspers the last couple of trips. We would always visit with some really good friends that live here… Frank and Chris Erwin… our timing was off this trip and they were out of town. We needed to make a grocery run and nothing was within walking distance so checking we found that Dudley’s Marina had a courtesy car available for use. So Dudley’s Marina was our stop for the today.

We arrived to our Dudley’s for the night at 1530 and were securely docked with power on at 1745. Our position at the marina N34°40.808', W077°06.739'. We traveled today for 9 hours covering 59.2 nautical miles averaging 6.6 knots.
Posted at 3:45 PM
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