Southport, NC to Swansboro, NC
Florida to Rhode Island - Day 16
We departed from Southport at 0600 in order to have a favorable current traveling up the Cape Fear River… the current in the river can be very strong and you do not want to have the current against you… the current was switching to ebb at 0730 so leaving at 0600 allowed us to have the current all the way to Snow’s Cut.
This area always seems to give us problem with bridges… we had three bridges to deal with… Wrightsville Beach bridge, Figure Eight Island bridge, Surf City bridge and Onslow Beach bridge… the opening schedules are such that it’s very hard to make each bridge on time… the first two bridges we can sneak under if the tide is low enough… and luckily today that was the case and we had no delays at them… the third bridge we were not so lucky… the Surf City bridge opens only once each hour at the top of the hour… we were arriving at the Surf City bridge about 8 minutes after 1200… and we had a strong current on the bow… barely making 6 knots… arriving within sight of the bridge I hailed on the VHF to see if they were opening for any boats at 1200… no boats so next question to the bridge tender was could you open a few minutes late for us… NOPE! We had to wait till the 1300 opening... so we slowed to a crawl and arrived at the bridge with still 30 minutes to wait.
So three bridge down and one to go… also, we had a weather front passing over the area that was suppose to produce some high winds and heavy rain… that was still to come and from the looks of the sky to the west and the Doppler radar the front was definitely coming our way.
We did get some heavy rain as the front passed over us but not much wind and we were approaching our last bridge… the Onslow Beach bridge… the winds had picked up since the rain stopped to 20 knots with gusts to 25 knots… hailing the bridge for an opening we heard what we did not want to at this point in the day… Not sure of he could open with the winds but to keep coming and he would see when we got close to the bridge… we sat at the bridge maybe 15 minutes and the bridge tender hailed us and said he was going to try and open for us… but he would have to control the opening manually due to wind and it would be very slow opening… and the opening was real real slow but we did finally make it through and back underway… no more bridges!
After this the winds really started to blow… steadily over 20 knots with gusts to 30 knots… and I overheard on the VHF reports of 40 knots winds in Swansboro… right where we were heading... not that the winds would cause us any problems but it’s just much nicer docking without winds to contend with. Where we were stopping in Swansboro the winds would be in our favor pushing us toward the dock… but when they are blowing so hard the problem is keeping the winds from slamming us into the dock.
We arrived to Swansboro and luckily the 40 knot winds were no longer here… still had 25 knots with gusts but could deal with those much more easily than 40 knot winds. We managed to get docked at 1700 hours at Duck’s Bar and Grille… it’s a dock and dine establishment… located at approximately N34°41.165’, W077°07.176’.
Today we traveled for 11 hours and covered 69 nautical miles averaging 6.2 knots.