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
FL to CT - Day 29
Hobucken, NC to Columbia, NC
Lily woke us up at 0400 wanting to go outside... she had to poop... Susan took her out and did not realize that the rear deck was filled with mosquitos... Lily pooped and wnet back to sleep... then we spent the next hour and a half killing mosquitos... we both tried to go back to sleep but I don't think either of us actually got any real sleep... we finally got up at 0630 and started our day.
Took a few minutes to get the anchor up as the chain was really muddy... came up inches at a time so I could wash the mud off. Besides the muddy chain the anchorage worked well... very close to the ICW and peaceful... I even had an open WiFi signal that I was able to us... we had no cell phone service at all. We are in the "Dead Zone" for cell coverage. At 0730 the anchor was up and we were underway heading north up Hobucken Cut.
A couple of boats passed us today that we had never seen before... we are in a whole new group of boats moving north... yesterday it seemed everyone that had been moving around us stopped in Moorehead City/Beaufort area.
We did have some commercial traffic in the A & P Canal...a tug pushing a barge... the canal is sort of narrow and the edges full of old stumps so passing a tug and barge that is taking is taking up a good portion of the available width could be a little hairy... but he did move over some and allow us to pass so we did not have to get too close to the stumps along the edge.
We were not making a lot of speed with a slight current against us all day so we ran at 6.0 – 6.8 knots most of the day... this would put us in the Alligator River Marina area around 1700-1730... that's where we decided to stop for the night... not the marina but anchor somewhere near there.
As we approached the Alligator River Bridge we had a nice thunderstorm approaching from the NW... this bridge won't open when winds reach 35 mph... a half mile out the line of the storm hit us... winds went from 20 knots to 30 knots plus and it started pouring down rain and even some hail... and of course some lightning to make it complete... the bridge operator had already started the opening and was swinging the bridge open... he hailed on the VHF... "Captain... the bridge may not swing all the way open with this wind... just wanted to give you a heads up..." I acknowledged and we watched it slowly swing open as we approached... about a 1/3 of the way open it stopped... bridge operator hailed again... "Captain... that's it she wont's swing any further... be careful..." I acknowledged and proceeded forward... looked like we had about 30-35 feet open between the end of the swings bridge and the fender system... Susan said some choice words and said I can't watch and left the pilothouse... we cleared with plenty of space on both sides... it was just the wind gusting at 30 knots that made it a little hairy... ?
We then proceeded north toward where we had chosen to anchor for the night... it was up the Little Alligator River a couple of miles to Southshore Landing... N35°55.555', W076°02.958'
. We were anchored securely for the night at 1830. We traveled today for 11 hours covering 70.4 nautical miles averaging 6.4 knots.
The wind changed directions after the storm passed and switched from NE to NW... not a good direction fro the anchorage... got a little choppy... winds to 25 knots... anchor held well.
We did have a nice treat with a a glimpse of a sunset...
Posted at 7:08 PM