RI to FL - Day 23
Swansboro, NC to Carolina Beach, NC
We departed from Swansboro, NC this morning at 0705 hours and headed south on the ICW. There were several bridges today that timing just did not work out for us.
Actually the first bridge… Onslow Beach Bridge… we were lucky with this bridge in that the bridge tender was nice and delayed his opening for us…. We arrived 3-4 minutes after his 0830 opening and he opened it as we arrived.
Next bridge was the Surf City Swing Bridge and it opened only at the top of the hour… it was 20 miles from the Onslow Beach Bridge… so we had to make 20 miles in a little less than 90 minutes… with the current against us we could just not make enough speed to make the 1100 opening so we had to slow down and go through at noon.
Next bridge was the Figure Eight Island Bridge and if the tide is correct we can clear it without having to request an opening… We need 21 feet… it also opens on the hour and half hour so timing is not a real big issue… it is 18 miles from the Surf City Bridge… we still had current against us and I did not want to push them too hard… Once we got within VHF range of the bridge I hailed them and asked the current clearance… they responded with the tide is falling and we currently have just 3-4 inches over 21 feet… perfect… by the time we got to the bridge the sign posts read 22 feet… I dropped the antennas and mast and we slipped under the bridge with a foot of clearance.
Next bridge was the Wrightsville Beach Bridge just under 3 miles ahead… we had about 15 minutes to make it to the bridge at it’s next opening at 1500 hours… We can also make it under this bridge if we arrive at mid to low tide… as we approached we saw the bridge open and close at it’s 1500 opening… I got within range to see the sign boards through my binoculars for clearance… it read 18 feet… the bridge is arched and normally there is extra clearance at the center… more than what the sign boards read… but it looked way too low and the current was very strong on our stern… I decided to not get close enough to see if we would make it… we would never be able to stop and turn around with the current being so swift at the bridge. I turned around and headed slowly away from the bridge… we had about 30 minutes to kill waiting for the 1600 opening.
Before 1600 hours several other boats had arrived also waiting for the bridge to open. A sportfish, Grand Banks Trawler, large motor yacht and a Fleming… they all rushed up to the bridge waited. The bridge started it’s opening and I turned around to head back towards it… the four boats were all going under the bridge as we approached… This is very narrow and the current is very swift on our stern… as we passed under following the last of the 4 boats (the Fleming) the large motor yacht… maybe 100 feet… decided to stop and try and back across the channel into the marina on the starboard side of the channel… the Fleming nearly hit him and only missed by quickly reversing away from the motor yacht… the Fleming was backing right into us… I through the engines in reverse and let out 5 blasts on our horn… DANGER! He heard us and moved forward and away from us and around the stern of the motor yacht that had also decided it was not a good idea to back into the marina in front of the 65 foot Fleming… we are still sitting under the bridge trying to maintain control against the current. The 100 foot motor yacht is still sitting in the middle of the channel but not moving… the Fleming has moved past him and out of the channel. I started to move out from under the bridge and soon as I did the motor yacht decides he can now back across my bow and into the face dock of the marina. I again sound 5 blasts on our horn and quickly reverse the engines again to stop us from hitting the motor yacht that was backing right across our bow less than 50 feet in from of us. I could see people on the deck yelling to the captain… I assume to tell him to stop… which he did and he moved forward… I slowly started to move past him as I was not sure what he would do next… luckily he did nothing else and we were safely past him. Bridges and all other boats behind us now we continued south down the ICW… destination Carolina Beach.
Soon as we went past the inlet a mile or so past the bridge at Wrightsville… we again had the current against us and moving 5.5 knots… slow for the next 2 hours arriving to Carolina Beach State Park Marina and were securely docked at approximately 1810 hours Location: N34°03.000’, W077°55.138’.
We traveled today for 11 hours and 5 minutes covering 59.49 nautical miles averaging 5.36 knots.
Posted at 8:37 PM
RI to FL - Day 22
Oriental, NC to Swansboro, NC
We departed from Whitaker Point Marina this morning at 0825 hours and headed back out to the Neuse River. We had a short span of the Neuse to cross to make it to Adams Creek and sheltered waterway. It was still fairly windy but the waves were minimal and we had a pleasant ride across to Adams Creek.
Not much of anything happened of any significance today… a couple or boats passed us that were headed to Jarret Bay Marina for a haul out. Heard a lot of boats on the VHF but never really saw any of them.
We did have current with us for the majority of the day which is always nice. We did not have far to go today… Swansboro, NC so I took advantage of the current boost and backed the RPMs down to save some fuel… even doing this I saw several places where we were well over 8 knots.
We arrived to Swansboro and docked where we normally do… a dock and dine restaurant near Casper’s Marina. The name of the restaurant has changed over the last few years and is now called “Saltwater Grill”. We were securely docked at approximately 1445 hours at N34°41.170’, W077°07.168’.
One of the heads was not working today so I am off to the bilges to try and fix it… most likely a duckbill valve in the pump. This evening we have plans to meet Frank and Chris Erwin for dinner to celebrate Susan’s birthday.
We traveled today for 6 hours and 20 minutes covering 42.83 nautical miles averaging 6.76 knots.
Posted at 3:06 PM
RI to FL - Day 21
Bellhaven, NC to Oriental, NC
Daylight Savings Time Change…. Had to set that alarm earlier than normal today… Had it set for 0500 hours to be ready to leave by sunrise at 0615 hours. Well… It was a good idea anyway… Alarm went off at 0500 and was quickly turned off… actually, I reset it for 0630 and went back to sleep… it was cold, raining out and still very dark… no way was I going to jump in the dinghy and take Beecha to land.
At 0630 the alarm went off and it was much easier to get up and get going… still raining on and off but managed to get Beecha to land and back without getting wet… but nearly froze to death on the dinghy ride… 2 miles to a boat ramp one way and it was COLD!
Got the dinghy back on top the boat, raised the anchor and we were off at approximately 0720 hours. Not as early as I would of liked but it was just not happening today.
Destination for today was Oriental, NC… we would cross the Pamlico River and the Neuse River… both of which can be very nasty if the winds are up and in the right direction.
We transited the Pungo River and the Pamlico River with calm seas… 1-2 waves at most… then we were in well protected waterways all the way to the Neuse River. The winds had not been over 10 knots up to this point. We headed out of the protected waterways into the Bay River that would take us out to the Neuse River. The winds started howling… 20 knots plus steady and gusts to 25 knots out of the NE… this was not a good direction for the Neuse River. By the time we reached the Bay River and entering the Neuse River we had 3-4 waves on our port bow and it was a nasty ride. The wave were close together and steep… we turned SW down the Neuse River and the waves were almost on directly on the stern… we had about 30 minutes to ride in this direction before we would make a turn to starboard and have the waves hitting at a better angle. By the time we reached our turn the waves were 5-6 feet and still very steep and close together. The autopilot was working it’s butt off to try and keep us going in a straight line. Finally we made a 30 degree turn to starboard and the ride became much better. We had a couple of more starboard turns to make as we proceeded down the Neuse River and with each turn the waves started to decrease as we moved into the lee of shoals and land. Soon it was back to a 2-3 wave and it seemed glass smooth compared to the beginning of the Neuse.
We had decided to not anchor in Oriental and go to a marina… it was just too cold to make the early morning dinghy run to take Beecha to land. Walking down the dock is much easier and not near as cold. We made reservations earlier at Whitaker Point Marina on Whitaker Creek in Oriental, NC. We had never been in here before so something new would be nice… and it was only $1.00 per foot for dockage for MTOA members… VERY COOL!
We arrived to the marina at approximately 1410 hours and docked on a T-head at N35°01.774’, W076°40.899’. The marina staff was friendly and nice… plus they had a courtesy car that we used to make a trip to the grocery store. Pool was closed but it was too cold anyway… LOL
We traveled today for 6 hours and 50 minutes covering 46.42 nautical miles averaging 6.79 knots.
Posted at 6:21 PM