FL to CT Day 20
Swansboro, NC to Oriental, NC
Not a great forecast for today’s weather… rain, and more rain… it did rain during the night but when we woke at 0600 it was not raining. Susan took Beecha for her morning walk. With the forecast I debated on weather to leave or stay at the dock… we had a short day planned going only to Oriental, NC… so I opted to depart and we left the dock at 0700 and headed north on the ICW. “Sanctuary” hailed on the VHF and let us know they were off the dock and heading to River Dunes Marina today, so we would not see them tonight but would stay in touch.
It was a very uneventful day of cruising… the forecast was very accurate and we had rain all day… nothing very heavy just a steady shower… no sunshine… :(
We did communicate with “Sanctuary” one more time and we confirmed our destinations for the day and would touch base tomorrow.
Besides having current with us for the majority of the day the best part of the whole day was when we arrived to Oriental and the free town dock was open… the dock has room for just two boats and we were one of them…http://www.towndock.net/harborcam … we have found this dock open only one other time a couple of years ago.
We were securely docked at 1245. Our location for the night is N35°01.488’, W076°41.739’. We traveled for 5.75 hours covering 42.8 nm averaging 7.5 knots.
Posted at 1:36 PM
FL to CT Day 19
Carolina Beach, NC to Swansboro, NC
Yesterday afternoon after arriving we had a few drinks and snacks aboard “Sanctuary” with Jim and Peg Healy. It’s always nice to be able to spend some time with good friends after a day of cruising.
We departed from Carolina Beach State Park Marina at 0715 and headed back out to the ICW entering Snow’s Cut with a slight current against us. We had several bridges to deal with… Wrightsville Beach, Figure Eight, Surf City and Onslow Beach. We do not need an opening for Figure Eight Bridge so that makes one of them easy. Wrightsville Beach Bridge we need an opening at all times other than dead low tide… which was not going to be the case today… checking the GPS our arrival time to the bridge was going to be a couple of minutes late… the bridge only opens once an hour at the top of the hour. We needed to be there by the 0900 or have to wait until 1000 to pass. I asked “Sanctuary” to go ahead of us as he could make the bridge in time being able to move a little faster than we could. They made to within range of the bridge to get the opening started and then the plan was to have them go as slow as possible to allow us time to catch up. I hailed the bridge and asked if I would be able to make the same opening being slightly behind “Sanctuary”… The bridge tender said he would hold it for us… luck was with us today.
Next bridge was Figure Eight Bridge… it had 22 feet clearance which is enough for us to pass under when I drop the antennas and the mast.
We then had approximately 3 hours to make it the next bridge… the Surf City Bridge… which opens only at the top of the hour. You would think this would not be an issue with getting there within 3 hours time… but you have such a varied current through the area… one minute you’re doing 8 knots and the next you’re under 6 knots. We ended up making way too early… had to run at idle speed the last mile or so just to not have to sit at the bridge and maintain position for several minutes which can be a real hassle… especially with wind and current. We made it through at 1200 opening.
Next bridge was the Onslow Beach Bridge… they open every 30 minutes so it’s not quite as difficult to make an opening on time. We were shooting for the 1430 opening. We made it without any trouble… actually arrived about 5 minutes early. I had not even hailed the bridge and it started opening well ahead of schedule… very surprising… maybe he thought we were a commercial vessel… anyway, it was an awesome surprise.
“Sanctuary” had told us about a great diesel fuel price at Casper’s Marina in Swansboro… $3.10 per gallon plus tax…. $3.31 per gallon total… we did not really need any fuel but it’s hard to pass up this price. “Sanctuary” was going to stop for fuel and spend the night at Casper’s Marina. We would only stop and get a couple hundred gallons and then go to our normal dock we stay at in Swansboro.
We arrived to Casper’s at approximately 1615 and pulled into the fuel dock… which was the only available dock space was left… “Sanctuary” stood off while we fueled. Once we left the dock they pulled in to where we had been and would be there for the night.
We took on 200 gallons… nice buffer to have in the tanks… don’t want to run out of fuel… :) We moved about 1000 yards to the north from Casper’s and pulled in to the Dock and Dine docks at the Saltwater Grill. We were securely docked at 1645. Our location for the night is N34°40.980’, W077°06.532’. We traveled for 9.5 hours covering 58.8 nm averaging 6.2 knots.
After docking Frank and Chris Erwin stopped by the boat to say hi… they had previous plans for the evening. Normally, when in Swansboro we have spend the evening with the Erwin’s … Drinks and dinner… this trip we had dinner at the Saltwater Grill… nothing special about this restaurant at all… they try to pull off the “fine dining” experience… fancy presentation of the foods… a little pricey… anyway, I would not recommend it.
Posted at 8:08 PM
FL to CT Day 18
North Myrtle Beach, SC to Carolina Beach, NC
We had a great afternoon and evening at Barefoot Landing… I was able to catch up on some computer work, Susan went to the store and did a little shopping in the mall. That evening we went up to happy hour at The Flying Fish… appetizers and drink were half price… had some great sushi, ribs, calamari and hushpuppies… filled us up! The best part was the oyster shooters… I had a few of those… basically a bloody mary with a raw oyster in it… rim of glass had Old Bay on it… they were awesome! Then topped everything with some ice cream from Maggie Moo’s.
We departed this morning at 0700 and headed north on the ICW…. Dropped the antennas and we slipped under Barefoot Landing Bridge and we were into the Rock Pile… dead low tide so all the rocks were fully exposed… I actually prefer to transit this area at low tide as you can see everything that is possibly dangerous. We passed through with no problems. I think the only way you could have an issue is if you have to move to one side for commercial traffic… center of the channel is not an issue.
Shortly before reaching Little River, SC I heard a familiar voice and boat name on the VHF… “Sanctuary” with Jim and Peg Healy aboard was talking with the Socastee Bridge. Checking the charts I could see that they were about 16 nm behind us. We had made plans to meet them in Carolina Beach tonight and it looked as if this was not going to be a problem. I hailed them on the VHF and exchanged a quick confirmation of locations and the plan to meet in Carolina Beach State Park Marina.
We continued on reaching the Little River Swing Bridge… notorious for slow response… I hailed when we about a 1/2 mile away and was surprised to get an immediate reply… “Bring it on up captain”… I acknowledged and continued toward the bridge… to our surprise the bridge was opening before we arrived… we did not even have to slow down… straight through… awesome!
Up to this point we had experienced little effect from any current… running at 6.5 knots… as we approached the Little River Inlet things changed… we suddenly had a strong current on our bow… it was like a light switch was turned on… It was short lived and as we passed the inlet we had the same strong current on or stern pushing us up to 7.9 knots… but it was also short lived and soon we were doing the yo-yo back and forth as we approached and passed each inlet.
Then we were approaching the Cape Fear River… we had a huge boost from the current pushing over 8 knots… but when we rounded the corner at Southport, NC and headed up the Cape Fear River… it was like we put the brakes on… we dropped from 8.4 knots to 3.0 knots… OUCH! I decided to move out of the ship channel and to the edge of the deep water riding the eddies being caused from the swift current… it wasn’t 40 feet deep anymore but still 15-20 feet and we picked up 2 knots running from 4.5 to 5.5 knots. A small center console boat came up to us and was yelling I was out of the channel and that I need to move to the east… I just acknowledged him and said I was ok… but he was really concerned about us. He rode behind us a about a mile trying to get me to move over… eventually, he gave up… shrugged his shoulders and turned around.
We arrived to Carolina Beach State park Marina at approximately 1445 and we were securely docked at 1500. Our location for the night is N34°03.013’, W077°55.154’. We traveled for 8 hours covering 49.24 nm averaging 6.2 knots.
I hailed “Sanctuary” on the VHF to see where they were and to let them know that there was plenty of space in the marina. They were also dealing with the strong current of the Cape Fear River.
Posted at 3:55 PM