FL to CT Day 22
Coinjock, NC to Portsmouth, VA
Departed this morning at later than normal.. had a little computer work come in that needed to be done before we left so departure time was 0820.
Today is a terrible day for bridges... the opening schedules just won't allow us to make them... pass through one bridge and there is no way we can make the next bridges opening time at our 7 knot pace.
First Bridge was the North Landing Bridge... takes about 3-4 hours to get there from Coinjock. It opens on the hour and half hour... but the bridge after it the Centerville Turnpike Bridge only opens on the hour... they are just over 5 miles apart... we have to run at over 8 knots to make it within the half hour... so we have to go through the North Landing on the hour opening and then take an hour to the 5 miles to the Centerville Bridge... that's at about 4 knots.
Anyway, had it all planned out and then as we get closer I start hearing the Centerville Bridge opening at times other than top of the hour... come to find out that their restricted opening schedule is only during the week days... weekends are on demand... YEAH! So, once we made the North Landing we continued on at normal speed and the Centerville bridge opened on demand as we approached... very nice!
After this we still had the Great Bridge Bridge that does only open on the hour and we were totally out of whack timing wise for this so we continued on and pulled into the dock just before the bridge and tied up for 40 minutes to wait on the 1400 opening. Susan Took Beecha for a walk and it was a nice break in the middle of the day.
After the bridge we immediately go into the Great Bridge Lock... there was only us and one small 28 foot boat locking through... drop 1.5 feet and we were out heading to the next bridge that we also only opens on the hour... Steel Bridge... it's less than 3 miles away... so we creep at a snails pace taking 45 minutes to travel 2.4 miles... just above idle... and still
have to wait at the steel bridge for 10 minutes. There is a new high rise bridge under construction so this soon will be a thing of the past.
From here it free sailing... the Gilmerton Bridge is new and now has a 35 foot clearance and we do not need to open it... next stop Portsmouth. Well, almost... last 2 miles from our destination for the night is the Belt Line R&R Bridge... rarely closed... but today we watched it close in front of us as we approached... waited only 5-10 minutes...watched the train cross the bridge and we back underway.
We arrived the free dock a the end of High St, Portsmouth, VA... a popular place for cruisers to stop before heading up the Chesapeake Bay. There were three other trawlers and two sailboats already moored here. We pulled into our normal spot along the high wall... most boats do not like it due to it's height above the water... but it is perfect for our side gate... same level... :)
We were secure at 1600 at approximate locations N36°50.130', W076°17.777'. We traveled today for 7.7 hours covering 41.8 nautical miles averaging 5.4 knots.
Posted at 3:48 PM
FL to CT Day 21
Alligator River, NC to Coinjock, NC
Last night was very interesting evening... when we anchored winds were already whipping up with the approaching cold front... about 2030 the winds increased significantly... going to the pilothouse and checking the wind speed I saw 33 knots and gusts to over 40 knots... it was pitch black outside except with each lightning strike... oh yeah... there was lightning and with each flash I could see the clouds of the approaching front billowing down all the way to the water... looked as if there was a wall approaching... we saw on the weather earlier that there was a tornado warning in effect until midnight... sure did not like seeing the clouds hanging so low... anyway, the wind continued until the wall of clouds was on top of us... literally hanging maybe 100 feet above the water... rain and hail... lightning... it was a little dicey for about 30 minutes and
then wind subsided to 20 knots and the lightning was moving away from us... only the rain remained.... by 2200 it was pretty much over... the anchor had held so we did not end up in the swamp land behind us... LOL.
We went to bed and hoped to see the sun in the morning... 0600 alarm went off and the winds were calm and you could hear the birds outside... I took a photo of the sun rising up over the swamp. It was a beautiful morning... although it was COLD!
I was off in the dinghy with Beecha to the Gum Neck Landing for her morning walk... this trip was much nicer than the one from the previous evening when we arrived... glass smooth water... the canal going back to the boat ram was very pretty... cypress trees lining each side and old cypress stumps protruding above the surface on each side... there were signs warning of submerged hazards and to use caution. It was very beautiful.
We had one bridge to deal with today... the Alligator River Bridge at the mouth of the Alligator River at the Albemarle Sound... as we approached there was sailboat hailing the bridge for an opening... we were still 15 minutes away... thought for sure we were going to miss the opening... we were still 78 minutes out when the bridge swung open allowing the sailboat to pass... I hailed and asked if he would hold the opening... surprisingly he agreed and held it open for us... this rarely happens... very nice!
Albemarle Sound can be a bear with high winds... winds were still up 15-20 knots out of the NNW... reports from boats out on the sound already were mixed from less than 2 feet to 4 footers... different people's perspectives I guess... anyway, we headed out and saw typically 2 foot waves and towards the end of the crossing some swells that were maybe 4 foot... did not expect them... must of been some residual from the cold front passing...
We soon were in the North River heading to our destination for the evening... Coinjock Marina. We arrived and were securely docked by 1530. Our location for the night N36°20.920', W075°56.941
Posted at 4:56 PM
FL to CT Day 20
Oriental, NC to Alligator River, NC
We spent a layover day Thursday the 24th in Oriental, NC and had a real nice visit with Fran Reich… she’s family but not sure what she would be… she is Susan’s Sister Lisa’s Husband Alan’s Sister… anyway, we really enjoyed her visit… she drove three hours one way to see us… ?
We woke up at the normal time 0600 but had sort of lazy start not rushing around too much at all and did not get away from the dock until 0715… heading out of Oriental Harbor to the Neuse River… winds were forecast for 5-10 in the early morning and increasing to 20-25 in the afternoon… they did pick up a little sooner but we were almost off the Neuse before the winds had a chance to whip up any large waves… 2-3 foot was max we saw. We also had to cross the Pamlico Sound and it had 3-4 waves but the ride was not bad at all.
There was a cold front approaching and it was supposed to really pickup so we opted to cut the day short and anchor at the south end of the Alligator River rather than go all the way to Alligator River Marina.
I had seen an anchorage on ActiveCaptain just to the west after exiting the A&P Canal at the south end of the Alligator River. We decided to give it a try as there was also a boat ramp near it that we could take Beecha to shore. The wind was already whipping up as the front approached and I was seeing gusts to 35 knots as we turned out of the ICW at marker 52 and followed the charted deep water west into Alligator River… not quite as deep as charted especially just as you exit the ICW… charts had 9 feet we saw less than 6 feet but after than the charted depth was pretty close. We continued west winding back until we reached a curve in the river than put use behind a point of land and in the lee of the wind and dropped the hook between Bonnet Point and Piney Point in about 11 feet of water… winds blowing 25-30 knots… I put out 100 feet of chain… roughly 10 to 1 scope… I want to sleep soundly tonight.
Our location for the night… N35°41.565’, W076°07.548’. We traveled today for 9.75 hours covering 68.9 nautical miles averaging 7.0 knots.
Posted at 6:18 PM