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Getting Ready to Start Down the ICW

Beginning in the Potomac


View 2000-01 Novices Overcoming ICW Obstacles & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Prequel
In January-February 1997 we chartered a boat in the Virgin Islands. I got certified in SCUBA. We chartered a different boat with the same people at Thanksgiving of 1997. Bob wanted to see if I could live on a boat. In February of 1998 we took a trip to Belize so I could dive the Barrier Reef and we ended up visiting Tikal in Guatemala. In May 1998 we bought a boat like the one we chartered and in December 1998, we went to Cozumel where Bob got certified in SCUBA.
End Prequel

Bob and I started down the InterCoastal Waterway (ICW) for the first time in November 2000. Technically the ICW goes from Boston down the Atlantic coast of the US, around the end of Florida, along the Gulf Coast and ends in Brownsville Texas. It includes the Chesapeake Bay. We were going to go from our home marina in Wynne Maryland, down the Chesapeake Bay to Norfolk VA where we would start the official AICW (Atlantic InterCoastal Waterway) down to Florida for the winter. We would save money by anchoring most nights instead of going to a marina.
CSY RosalieAnn

CSY RosalieAnn


We had a CSY (Caribbean Sailing Yacht) which was originally configured for charter in the Virgin Islands which we bought in May of 1998. It is a tough boat, with a galley, two heads, a separate shower and as originally configured, slept 8.
Original layout of a CSY

Original layout of a CSY

Some people go in groups headed by a person who has done the ICW before. We just headed out on our own. My 90 year old mother moaned that I was deserting her. My daughter confided to her friend that she thought her parents were going to hit a reef and drown when their boat sank. We had a 'float plan' which is the boat equivalent of a flight plan. Each evening I would check in by phone with my son, and tell him where we expected to be the next night. If he didn't hear from us, he could notify the Coast Guard where to look for us.

The trip from Maryland to Miami took 51 days. I kept a journal or log on the trip of our adventures, and I emailed these journals to my mother whenever I could. Each day, I would write down on a pad of paper what we saw and did. Each evening, I would write up an email.

In those days, the internet was not as ubiquitous as it is now. I had two options for doing email. I could connect the computer up to a phone line and get my email that way. Or I could use a service called Pocket Mail which was a device with an acoustic modem which I used with a phone. I had a bag phone (one of the first mobile phones) which I could attach to the antenna at the top of the mast and I got really good range with that. I also had one of those early cell phones.

Although I felt really prepared for the trip - I had done extensive research and had gone to seminars. I had the charts and maps and guidebooks. But each morning I felt just slightly nauseated. I told someone later it was like morning sickness, except I knew I wasn't pregnant. It was not until after I read a book by Lynn Pardey where she diagnosed her seasickness as anxiety that I realized that was what it was. I didn't have any problem on the second trip - only on the first one.

When we started down the ICW, I had just gotten my first digital camera. But I was still taking most of the photos with a point and shoot film camera. So a lot of the photos are not what we are accustomed to seeing in these blogs. And it also means that I didn't see the photos until weeks later.

Here are some excerpts from the logs (in italics)

November 1 - We moved on the boat yesterday, and I took the car back home (filled it with fuel first) to reorganize myself after we had taken most stuff down to the boat. Bob drained the water from the house and put antifreeze in the toilets. I called and found the SCUBA tanks had been hydroed and could be picked up, but Bob had already left the marina with the marina truck. Meant to clean out the refrigerator, but I got a call from the place I'd ordered an Xmas present for J. (grandson) and my card had been refused. Finally got ahold of the credit card co, and they had new software that was screwing up. They couldn't tell me how many or who had been refused. I was pretty disgusted. I went over to Solomons
Boat ramp under the Solomon's bridge

Boat ramp under the Solomon's bridge


to get the tanks - I took a few photos of the boat ramp under the bridge - and picked up sandwiches from Wendys.

Bob found the refrigeration wasn't working, so he bought block ice and cubes (instead of fixing it). He also found the new VHF radio won't even transmit as far as the marina office.

We got topped off with fuel, and then sailed out to the mouth of the Potomac. Unfortunately then the wind dropped and we had to motor the rest of the way. We rounded Smith Point.
Smith Point

Smith Point


We sailed into the Great Wicomico and anchored in Mill Creek by 4:30 after 33 nm at an average speed of 5 knots This is the second time we anchored in Mill Creek - both anchorages are on the chart. We are farther up than the first time past the G5. The green line on the chart is our track for this trip.
Chart of Anchorage in Mill Creek

Chart of Anchorage in Mill Creek


When we anchored here the first time, we saw a bald eagle sitting on a nearby fishtrap. (Photo is blurred - you'll have to take my word for it). The fish traps are properly known as pound nets
Pound nets with a bald eagle at sunset

Pound nets with a bald eagle at sunset


November 2, 2000

The night in Mill Creek was very quiet. There was another sailboat across the way this morning, but no other activity at all. We have breakfast and pull the anchor about 8,
Leaving the Great Wicomico

Leaving the Great Wicomico


and motor out of the creek
Wicomico Spider

Wicomico Spider


and into the Chesapeake. It is a nice day with hardly any wind. We try to sail at least once, but don't manage well at all. The wind is directly behind the boat, and there is too much risk of accidental gybing and we don't have a whisker pole. We've decided to go down south of Stingray point and go into Deltaville to anchor for tonight.

We've been into Deltaville twice. Deltaville is in the middle of a narrow peninsula with access from the water on both sides. The first time, we went in to Dozier's Marina. The people there were quite welcoming and helpful (and even let me access the photoworks website to see the newly developed film pictures of our boat on their own computer),
One of those film pictures - Our boat under sail

One of those film pictures - Our boat under sail


but getting to the pump out dock, we were as good as aground, and the rudder wouldn't move because it was stuck in the mud.

This time, since we don't need to worry about pump out, we anchored in Fishing Bay behind Stove Point Neck around on the Piankatank.
Second night anchored near Deltaville

Second night anchored near Deltaville


This is a popular anchorage, with room for a lot of boats without them having to be too close together and has good protection from the north, east and west. When we went in, we could not find a number of the marks, and when we left the next morning the CG boat was replacing some of them. When we arrived about 1 pm (and were anchored at 37.32.185'N /076.20.041'W by about 2 pm), we had done 25 nautical miles at an average speed of 5.3 knots.

There were already 3 boats in the anchorage - a boat with red topsides (the part of the boat above the water), a boat from the UK and a ketch. They were all on the west side where all the marinas and yards are - we anchored on the east. Other boats came in and anchored in front and behind us, but there was plenty of room. We had a completely peaceful night here.

November 3, 2000

We weren't sure we could get all the way to Hampton Roads the next day, so we decided to stop in Chisman Creek. We pulled the anchor and left pretty early (only had a bagel for breakfast instead of eggs as usual). We motored out and down the Chesapeake without even trying to put up the sails this time.
Following another sailboat

Following another sailboat


After we passed Wolf Trap light south of the Piankatank

00-1103-1103.jpgWolf Trap

Wolf Trap


and saw New Point Comfort Light way off on the end of Mobjack Bay,
6d11dae0-d5be-11e9-855a-3dfaf3407f00.jpgNew Point Lookout lighthouse way in the distance

New Point Lookout lighthouse way in the distance


There are two lighthouses with the name "Point Comfort". One is New Point Comfort, and one is Old Point Comfort. Old Point Comfort is still in use. New Point Comfort is abandoned. We crossed the York River and went into the Poquoson River. The Poquoson River branches off the York River.

Our guide book ("A Gunkholer's Guide Cruising the Chesapeake" by William Shellenberger) says, "The Poquoson River itself has little to attract the cruiser, quickly becoming shoal before there is much in the way of protection." But it recommends Chisman Creek which curves north after you round the red 14 marker south of York Point. It says there are 3 marinas there, none of which offer transient facilities.
We can see some tall red and white smokestacks crossing the York River

We can see some tall red and white smokestacks crossing the York River


of the Amaco refinery (or a power plant) . They are a landmark for entering Chisman Creek which otherwise doesn't have many marks. Chisman Creek is on the starboard as you pass the R10. We anchored just inside York Point.
Anchorage Chisman Creek

Anchorage Chisman Creek


The green line on the chart shows our track to the anchorage. The drawing of Chisman Creek on the left is from Chesapeake Bay Magazine's Guide to Cruising the Chesapeake Bay.

This day we did 32.6 nautical miles at an average speed of 5.6 knots, and anchored about 1400.

As we anchored a work boat putting out crab pots came up behind us and circled the boat, putting one pot directly in front and one directly behind the boat. Although the crab pot boat is almost within arms reach of us, no eye contact was made.

We spent a completely quiet night. Most of the traffic in this area is work boats and small power boats the wakes from which rocked the boat as we were not anchored very far out of the channel. The minimal traffic ceased around dark.

November 4, 2000 - Happy Birthday to me

It was flat calm all night last night and very quiet. We had eggs and bacon for breakfast and then started the engine and Bob started to pull the anchor and try to figure out how to get out without running into the crab pots.

There is a boat coming into the creek towing in another boat, and I hear him on the VHF talking to the boat he is towing. I also hear some conversations which I think are between lock tenders and sailboats on Ch 13. We leave between 0800-0830. There is hardly any wind as we run down the coast. There are other sailboats out there including a couple of catamarans with sails up, but they must be motor sailing.

I did the routing for today after Bob was asleep and when we had the cabin hatch boards in. The charts were in the cockpit and I didn't want to wake Bob up when I went to get them. I think I took us too far out into the Bay. After we get underway, I try to reconstruct the route on the computer to go closer to shore, but it is really difficult with just the little eraser end type pointer and without a mouse (I have a trackball, but the connector is too long to fit into the computer box in the cockpit.).
Computer with chart on the screen attached to the GPS

Computer with chart on the screen attached to the GPS


We decide to go inside the Thimble Shoal light. We start seeing more big ship traffic.
Thimble Shoals and a freighter

Thimble Shoals and a freighter


As we come down into Hampton Roads, we can see the Chamberlain Hotel from a long ways off.
Chamberlain Hotel

Chamberlain Hotel


The Chamberlain served for years as a destination for steamboat travelers from Baltimore. The hotel currently on the site was constructed in 1926 after the original burned in 1920. Much of the Chamberlain Hotel had been restored and featured an impressive lobby and dining room. The lobby display cases which depicted the history of the hotel and the steamers that used to bring visitors to the Chamberlain hotel resort and the Chamberlain's rooms offer excellent views of Fort Monroe and the Chesapeake Bay

The Spirit on the Seventh Floor: "You could try hanging a ''do not disturb'' sign at your door if you have seventh-floor room at the Chamberlain Hotel at Fort Monroe, but don't count on it staying quiet. When the original hotel was on fire many years ago, a young girl dashed back into the building to try to find her father. But he had already evacuated from the hotel and by the time she found out, she was fatally trapped inside on the seventh floor. Ever since they rebuilt the Chamberlain, hotel employees swear they can hear the girl banging on the walls and looking out the window, hoping against hope she will be saved."
- Daniel Rivkin

Old Point Comfort Marina, and everything else in this area except the Chamberlain Hotel was at that time part of the Fort Monroe Army Post.

We come down alongside Fort Monroe and we can see the brick row houses - military housing
00-1104-1212.jpgApproaching Fort Monroe

Approaching Fort Monroe


and the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse.
00-1104-12181.jpgOld Point Comfort Lighthouse

Old Point Comfort Lighthouse


As we round the hotel coming in toward the marina about 12:15 , I call on the cell phone and tell them we want fuel before we go into our slip.
Chamberlain hotel

Chamberlain hotel


The fuel dock is on our starboard as we enter, and we want to tie up port side to the dock. However, due to the wind, the boat is only backing to starboard instead of to port as it usually does, and we end up coming in on the starboard side. We use their lines, since all ours are rigged on the other side.

We get 15 gallons, and Bob goes up to pay. We tell them we are supposed to go into slip B33. They say there is no way we will fit in a slip on B dock (which is mostly small power boats). The guy who seems to be in charge runs up to the office and says it was supposed to be E 33, but he is going to put us into E38 instead. That's really better as that way we don't have to go around between the docks to the other side but just go in as we come around the protective wall. I think he decides this based on how incompetent we were at getting in to the fuel dock but whatever the reason, it's better for us..

One of the fuel dock guys and a guy from one of the other boats help us to tie up. The docks are floating docks and transient rates are $1/foot. There is free water, and free electricity, but only 50 amp outlets, so we rent a splitter for $5. (a splitter divides the output from 50 amp into two 25 amp sections)

Our trip today has been 22 nm at an average speed of 5.5 knots.

In 2000, the marina was open to anyone who wanted to come, but by 2003, the marina only allowed civilian transients if they are DOD employees (military, Coast Guard or civilian employees), or work at Fort Monroe. Since Fort Monroe has been decommissioned, the marina is open to everyone again.

The people tied on the end of E dock next to us are Fred and Sharon in an aft cockpit Gulfstar named DOLPHIN . Fred is a retired submariner from New London CT This is their first trip down the ICW too and they are bound for Ft. Pierce.. Bob fusses around with the lines until he has us tied as he wants. Right outside the marina is a big protected anchorage between the entrance to the tunnel and Old Point Comfort. You just have to be careful not to anchor in the channel especially of the commercial fishing boats in the far corner.
Fishing boats in the far corner

Fishing boats in the far corner

Chartmap_showing_anchorages and marina

Chartmap_showing_anchorages and marina


We go up to the hotel for lunch, but it is too late and they are not serving lunch. I go back to the boat and find my chicken from Wendys (from the 31st) and eat that and make myself a cheese sandwich. Bob goes out to the commissary, which Sharon warns him will be closing, and to the PX and brings back sandwiches, but we get into conversation with Fred and Sharon, and don't eat them. (As of 2003 the commissary is closed.)
Zero Mile Post by the commissary

Zero Mile Post by the commissary


Then we go up to the hotel to try to use the phone to connect to the internet and have dinner. The phones there will require a phone cable to connect, and that is in my other computer bag.

I have a nice birthday dinner - it is a buffet but the dishes are not labeled. The soup, the waitress tells us is vegetable beef. NOT. There is no beef in this soup -I know there is crab in it. It is a spicy tomato base, but I don't see any vegetables. The head waiter guy says it is really a crab/lobster bisque. Also on the buffet is some kind of a chicken dish in cream sauce with big hard biscuits in it, a beef dish, rice, potatoes, broccoli, green beans, rolls (but not hot) and a salad bar. After dinner we walked back to the boat (I picked up my email with pocketmail), and had an early night.

November 5, 2000

It rained last night. I heard an annoying loud dripping sound over my head (don't know why - it isn't leaking inside), and then I could also hear the pitter patter of the rain The wind has picked up quite a bit too. Since it is from the north, and the boat is in the slip pointed south, this makes a loud slapping noise when the waves hit the stern. Normally, this is not a problem at anchor because the boat would usually ride bow to the waves.

The rain stops before morning. Fred and Sharon from Dolphin intend to go to the brunch buffet at the hotel this morning. We were told that it didn't start until 11:00 am, so Bob takes the laundry and goes up to do that and have a shower. I piddle around on the boat. It is both windy and cold. The furling sail on the boat opposite us looks like it will be torn off the furler.

We leave to walk up to the hotel about 10:45. We get there at about 11:10, and find the brunch doesn't start until 11:30.

Fred and Sharon are hungry, as they haven't eaten since last night about 6:30 but I had a couple of bagels this morning, so I'm fine. I suggest that they go out on the steps overlooking the pool, and I go into the visitor's center and use Pocketmail.

When we go into the hotel again there is a long line waiting to get into the dining room. However, they take us without a reservation, and seat us in the front row where we can look out the windows at an angle (we are beside the wall, but there's a window at a 45 deg angle from the table at each side).

The "world famous seafood brunch" is $18.50 each, and includes champagne, juices, coffee, and a buffet where there is (on this day), egg drop soup, omelets to order, ham, roast beef, salmon, waffles made fresh (the ones with the big deep holes) with syrup and preserves, tossed salad, scrambled eggs, bacon, sausage, diced fried potatoes, half baked tomatoes, steamed shrimp, Alaskan king crab legs, mussels, meat loaf, a stuffed crab shaped thing, rolls, apple pie, strawberry mousse and coconut cake. At least that's what I remember of the offerings. Bob and I had cranberry juice. Bob and Fred and I wanted hot tea, but they could only find 2 tea bags, so Bob and I shared. It took us two hours to eat from start to finish.

Then we went up to the 8th floor to look out over the fort and Hampton Roads. It is a beautiful view up there. We could see the marina,
Marina

Marina


and the fort ramparts
Fort Monroe from the top of the Chamberlain hotel

Fort Monroe from the top of the Chamberlain hotel

Sally Port from the Chamberlain hotel

Sally Port from the Chamberlain hotel


And Fort Wool across the way. The land that Fort Wool was built on was started by ships dumping their ballast there.
Fort Wool

Fort Wool


When we toured Ft. Monroe, we also learned about Fort Wool because Robert E. Lee (who was originally a military engineer), was given the job of stabilizing the island when he was stationed at Ft. Monroe. From the website:

"A Brief History of Fort Wool 1823 - 1946
"The island that Fort Wool sits on is man-made. Known as the Rip-Raps, it was created beginning in 1818 on a shoal and is basically a big pile of rocks. The island .. was still incomplete at the start of the Civil War. .. Plans called for Castle Calhoun, the original name of Fort Wool, to have three tiers of casemates and a parapet with a total of 232 cannons. But as the island started to settle, construction stopped during the construction of the second tier.


"Fort Calhoun was used before the Civil War as a summer retreat for President Andrew Jackson. In 1862, a name change was in order. Named after John C. Calhoun, President Monroe's Secretary of War and Confederate sympathizer, it was decided that it would be named after Maj. Gen. John Ellis Wool, a Mexican War hero and commander at Fort Monroe..."

The soldiers at Ft. Wool were able to witness the battle of the Monitor and the Merrimac (some of the first ironclads).

"After being decommissioned it was given to the state in 1967 and in 1970 the City of Hampton developed it into a park. ..

It can be briefly glimpsed by cars entering the southern end of the Hampton Roads tunnel on Interstate 64.

Freighter coming in to port

Freighter coming in to port


Fort_from_the_air_in_1967

Fort_from_the_air_in_1967


Map_of_the_fort_published_by_Ft_Monroe

Map_of_the_fort_published_by_Ft_Monroe


The hotel is the tallest building around, and a well known landmark. The wait staff was setting up for a wedding reception in the terrace room so we left and walked over to the fort. The hotel went out of business after 9-11 because anyone who wanted to go there to eat or use the hotel had to submit to a search. It is now an old folks home
Engineer's pier from the top of the hotel

Engineer's pier from the top of the hotel


We walked along the waterfront, past the place where the old Baltimore ferry dock used to be (that Bob used to travel on with his family to visit their relatives in Norfolk), past the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse
Old_Point_Comfort_Lighthouse

Old_Point_Comfort_Lighthouse

Old Point Comfort

Old Point Comfort

Old Point Comfort

Old Point Comfort


which is almost dwarfed by the fort ramparts past the Engineer's pier (which they built to bring in the materials to built the fort), and went into the fort through the East gate. This gate (and also the North gate) is just wide enough for one car (oversized vehicles have to use the Main Sallyport on the west), so there are traffic lights at either side.
Sally Port

Sally Port


One comes while I am on the bridge over the 8 foot wide moat and have to stand out of the way for a car to enter the fort, and then again when I am in the middle of the tunnel through the fort walls when a car is coming out, so I duck into a pedestrian cavity to allow them to come through. Bob and Fred and Sharon are a bit ahead of me because they walk faster and don't stop to take pictures.
Quarters_inside_the_walls

Quarters_inside_the_walls


Lees_Quarters

Lees_Quarters


Quarters One is right opposite the East Gate. It is the oldest residence on the post, and Lincoln and the Marquise de Lafayette have both stayed there. We walk around inside the fort, where Army families are still quartered, past the house where Robert E. Lee stayed in 1831-1834 when he was stationed here and was stabilizing the island where Fort Wool is located (it was then Fort Calhoun).
Drawing_of_the_1862_fort

Drawing_of_the_1862_fort


We pass the Flagstaff Bastion and the Jefferson Davis Memorial Park above us on the rampart
Jefferson Davis Memorial Park

Jefferson Davis Memorial Park


(which I thought was a strange thing to have where he was held prisoner). It has a gunnery track for a 15 inch Rodman gun.
31e047b0-d576-11e9-8ff5-cbdcde791709.jpgRamparts

Ramparts


and then enter the Casement Museum.
Casement_Museum

Casement_Museum


The (free) Casement Museum is in the fort casements which is what they call the rooms inside the fort walls. They have several dioramas set up,
Edgar_Allen_Poe

Edgar_Allen_Poe


Information on Edgar Allan Poe's brief portion of his military career at Fort Monroe, from December 15, 1828, until April 15, 1829. During his enlistment Poe rose from the rank of "artificer" (soldier mechanic) to sergeant major. Shortly after the conclusion of his tour of duty a collection of his works entitled Al, Aaraaf, Tammerland, and Minor Poems was published in December 1829. Poe's last visit to Fort Monroe came twenty years later. On September 9, 1849, he visited the Hygria Hotel where he recited several of his more famous works to a group of his friends on the hotel's scenic veranda. Less than a month later Poe was dead.

There was also a diorama of firing the cannons,
Recreation_of_gun_room_in_the_casements

Recreation_of_gun_room_in_the_casements


and one of the cell where ex-Confederate President Davis was held for several months,
Jefferson_Davis_cell

Jefferson_Davis_cell


one of the Casement Club which was apparently an early officer's club,
Bar_in_the_Casement (Casement Officer's Club)

Bar_in_the_Casement (Casement Officer's Club)


and one of a quarters for an army family with a piano, and a bed - an officer would get 2 rooms.
Officers_Quarters bedroom

Officers_Quarters bedroom

Officers_quarters_in_the_casements

Officers_quarters_in_the_casements


The casements are no longer used for quarters, but the chaplin has his offices there, and the post day care is also housed in the casements. We saw a short interesting video tape presentation on the Ghosts of Ft. Monroe, and saw a little show with narration and flashing lights on a map of the Chesapeake about the armament and the ranges of various types of artillery,
Map_of_the_Chesapeake_showing_gun_ranges

Map_of_the_Chesapeake_showing_gun_ranges

Fort Monroe was built between 1819 and 1834. Fort Monroe is named in honor of President James Monroe and is the largest stone fort ever built in the U.S. Construction began in 1819, and it has been continuously occupied since 1823.

Fort Monroe’s original mission was to protect the entrance to Hampton Roads and the several port cities that had access to its waters. During the Civil War, Fort Monroe was quickly reinforced so that it would not fall to Confederate forces. Fort Monroe is also the place at which Major General Benjamin Butler made his famous “contraband” decision, by which escaping slaves reaching Union lines would not be returned to bondage.

By World War II Fort Monroe served as headquarters for an impressive array of coast artillery guns ranging from 3-inch rapid fire guns to 16-inch guns capable of firing a 2,000 pound projectile 25 miles. In addition, the Army controlled submarine barriers and underwater mine fields. But this vast array of armaments was all made obsolete by the development of the long-range bomber and the aircraft carrier.

The little 30's movie of the firing of the disappearing gun was broken, and we didn't get to see that on this visit. This is a model of the 12" disappearing gun which was one of the most significant seacoast weapons of the early twentieth century. It fired a 1,000 pound projectile further than the guns on most battleships. When fired, the recoil retracted the weapon behind the embankment, concealing it from enemy observation, at the same time, it could be reloaded and aimed for the next shell. When ready to fire, the gun would be reset using weights and stay in position until fired again. These guns helped defend Hampton Roads and the Chesapeake Bay from 1901 to 1944.
Disappearing_gun_model

Disappearing_gun_model


There were plenty of places to sit in the museum even without sitting on Jefferson Davis's chair (which is in a glass case anyway).
Jefferson_Davis's_chair

Jefferson_Davis's_chair


This chair is reputed to have been used by Jefferson Davis during his imprisonment in Carroll Hall from October 1865-May 1867. Because he was suspected of having a role in the assassination of Lincoln, he was initially incarcerated in a prison in the casements (as Dr. Mudd was imprisoned at Fort Jefferson).

We exited the museum after peeking into the gift shop, and walked back up toward the old cistern
Old Cistern

Old Cistern


The old cistern is right next to the Postern Gate. For many years, Fort Monroe obtained drinking water from cisterns like this one.
The Old Cistern

The Old Cistern


which was appropriately marked as a confined space, and exited by the postern gate.
Inside postern gate

Inside postern gate


There was a sign advising bike riders to dismount, which would certainly be necessary as one of the passages had an arch which was only about 5.5 feet tall at the center. As Fred said - a bike rider would boink himself on the head.
Looking back on the Postern Gate from the Moat Bridge

Looking back on the Postern Gate from the Moat Bridge

Moat around Fort Monroe

Moat around Fort Monroe

Moat

Moat


We walked back to the marina, and stopped off to see what the weather on the weather channel said. Bob and Fred decided to stay another day. Bob said with the wind the way it is, we probably couldn't get out of the slip. We visited with them on their Gulfstar for a bit. We still have block ice, so Bob bought some more cubes. I watched the football game on TV and Bob started the electric heater up and read yesterday's paper (forgot to get today's paper). The NOAA weather say the wind is 20-25 knots, and in some places in NC is gusting to 31 knots. There's no good reading light here on this boat. Went to bed early.

November 6, 2000
Flagstaff Bastion

Flagstaff Bastion



This was to be a lazy day. I wanted to cut Bob's hair, but didn't get it done. He wanted to repair the UV protecting Sunbrella (the dark stripe) on the jib. It was too windy to do that as the jib would have to be taken down. Instead, he got out his tools and started modifying the cockpit locker that contains the pass-through into the kitchen so that it has a tray in the top to store things like winch handles
looking down on the original locker

looking down on the original locker


and I worked on writing up the sections of our trip. Bob wanted to walk up to the hotel for lunch. The people in the marina are afraid that letting me attach the computer to their phone system will mess it up so he was impatiently waiting for me to get done with what I was writing so we could have lunch and this time I would bring a phone cord to attach the computer.

There was a soup and salad bar, and the specials were meat loaf or crab cake sandwich. I should have taken one of them, but I had a cheese steak sub, and Bob had a BLT. Both very good, and pretty cheap, and we watched the harbor out of the window while we ate.

Then we tried to hook up the computer to the internet. It took a long time and a lot of futzing around before I got the computer hooked up and I had to use an #800 number because the phones in the hotel wouldn't accept a local number with an area code and area codes for the area have recently been added and are required. Then packed up and walked back to the boat. The whole thing with lunch and all took from 12:30 to 3:30. And lunch didn't take that long.

We went back to the hotel for dinner, and I had what they described as a "rib eye with bone" steak. (It was really a Tbone.) I took some of it home in a doggy box. We again watched the ships, and we amused ourselves by listing all the equipment we'd bought for the boat.

Back at the boat, I set the nav program to statute miles instead of nautical miles because that is the way the ICW is measured. Bob (grumbling) switched the antennas on the radios so that the one that will send is on the tall antenna.
Mallards by the marina

Mallards by the marina



The marina is gated so you need to have a key to access it. They have carts at the land end for people to take stuff in along the dock to the boat.

Tomorrow we will sail across to Norfolk and start down the AICW

Posted by greatgrandmaR 06:29 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Venturing into the Unknown Parts of the ICW

Getting to MILE ZERO


View 2000-01 Novices Overcoming ICW Obstacles & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Up to now, we have been in relatively familiar territory - we have been sailing around in the Chesapeake for two years. But now we are entering the main part of the Atlantic Intercoastal.

7 November 2000 -Leaving Old Point Comfort - Crossing Hampton Roads

Bob had the alarm set early so that he could help Fred cast off his lines. They have to get fuel first. Then he got us ready to leave, and took up the trash. I had some stuff I wanted to go to the pay phone and use the 800# to send but he was too impatient to give me time to walk up, so I sent it via the car phone (where I had to pay extra). We had very good connections in Norfolk. He came back and said the office didn't open until 8.

There was virtually no wind, so getting out of the slip went smoothly. We left about 7:30. Fred and Sharon still didn't have their fuel, so we started out across the harbor. It was overcast, cold and raw, damp weather. I charged the digital camera, and finished up a roll on the regular camera. I had been worried that there would be so many large commercial vessels and Navy ships that we would be overwhelmed with watching them, but this was not so
Crossing the harbor

Crossing the harbor


We have channel 13 on the good radio, and channel 16 on the new radio. Most of the traffic was on channel 13. I could see another sailboat ahead of us. There was a big Navy ship and a big container ship leaving the harbor but nothing going in our direction.

There was some adverse current in the harbor - I have the nav program set to show how much there is and which way it flows. We started down the Elizabeth River,
Aircraft carriers

Aircraft carriers

Coast Guard boat patrolling the ship piers

Coast Guard boat patrolling the ship piers


and we could see Fred and Sharon across the harbor behind us. They are catching up. We watched cranes loading container ships, and in one place they were 'bumping' coal cars (running them up a ramp and letting them slide down to move them over).

Coal piers

Coal piers


Elizabeth river

Elizabeth river


We passed the Corp of Engineers building with their boats painted black and yellow.

Corps of Engineers building on the right

Corps of Engineers building on the right


Hospital Point is the zero mile mark for the ICW. It was 12 statute mile from the marina to this point. I looked in the anchorage there, but didn't recognize any boats I knew.

The Elizabeth River ferry paddle wheel came out from his dock and turned down the river along our port side.
Portsmouth ferry

Portsmouth ferry


He started to pass us and got almost all the way past, and then decided to come over to the other side of the river, and turned almost right into us. We speeded up so he went behind us.

Portsmouth Ferry - Will he ram us?

Portsmouth Ferry - Will he ram us?

Two ships

Two ships


I had long ago lost track of the first sailboat, but saw another one ahead, and I heard the guy call the Jordon Highway Bridge (a draw bridge) while we were opposite the Naval Shipyard. I called ahead and said there were two more sailboats behind him, and the bridge operator waited until we were all there to lift the bridge. .We went through the open RR bridge at 10:40 and the Jordan bridge at 10:45.
Hess oil tanks

Hess oil tanks


We had intended to go through the Deep Creek Lock at the 11:00 a.m. opening, but it didn't look like that would happen. We didn't even get to the Gilmerton lift bridge until 11:15, and he didn't open for the 3 of us until 11:19.
Gilmerton Lift bridge

Gilmerton Lift bridge


Just after we passed under the big highway bridge (which was right after the Gilmerton bridge), we turned starboard (right) into the Dismal Swamp Canal. The other sailboat went down by the VA cut,
Sign to turn to the Dismal Swamp

Sign to turn to the Dismal Swamp


and Fred and Sharon entered the canal behind us. The canal was beautiful - all the trees were turning colors, there were numerous mallards along the banks and it was mirror calm. Too bad it wasn't sunnier. A kingfisher flew past giving his clacking call.
Entering the Dismal Swamp Canal

Entering the Dismal Swamp Canal

Distances sign

Distances sign


We reached the Deep Creek lock about noon (22.3 mile @ 5.1 mph), and the next opening wasn't until 1:30.

I heard a boat called RAGGY WALTZ call the Gilmerton Bridge to ask if the Dismal Swamp Route was open. He said he wouldn't know, but that he'd seen two sailboats go up there - guess that was us.

We tried to tie up to a dolphin (a group of pilings), but it was too shallow around it, so we anchored. I told Bob not to bother with a lot of scope or setting the anchor - I mean there was no wind or current - we just wanted to stop the boat a bit. So we had lunch. I ate my steak from the night before, and Bob had tuna salad, and we had grapes. Fred and Sharon anchored too.

Pretty soon another boat with a very smoky engine came and anchored, and then a pretty boat with green topsides appeared and they had a second boat with them.
Waiting for the lock to open

Waiting for the lock to open


I called the lock on the radio and got no response, so I called on the phone (I still had good cell phone service), and the lock keeper said she'd start to prepare the lock about 1:15. So we pulled the anchor after 1 and sat idling in the creek while she let the water out of the lock. When she gave us the green light (there was a traffic light on the front of the lock) we went into the lock which is 300 feet long, up to the end and the lock keeper picked up our lines with a boat hook (we had lines fore and aft) and looped them over a stanchion. Her two dogs were running around with her - one a spotted mutt and one a Chesapeake Bay Retriever
Entering the lock

Entering the lock

Tying to the lock wall

Tying to the lock wall


The green boat (who turned out to be RAGGY WALTZ) was behind us, and then Fred and Sharon were next behind them. Then the other boat with RAGGY WALTZ, some Canadians in a boat called CAMELOT II were on the port side opposite us, and the smoking boat, which was a Westsail 32 being single-handed by an old man with a Santa Claus beard was behind them.

When the lock tender started to let the water in the lock it was quite turbulent. I should mention that the water has so much tannin in it that it is the color of coffee. The Canadian's fenders weren't adequate and they were quite upset at the turbulence of the water, although the lock keeper said she let the water in very slowly.
Water coming in to the lock

Water coming in to the lock

Looking up at the lock dog

Looking up at the lock dog


As we came up in the lock, I saw a sign that said "No swimming in the lock" which I thought was funny in view of the water color.
No swimming

No swimming


The lock tender said she'd locked through 9 other boats that morning, and that she thinks only 4 went on the Elizabeth City.
Bob holding the line at the stern

Bob holding the line at the stern

Behind us in the lock

Behind us in the lock

Lock dog

Lock dog


Lock gates opening

Lock gates opening


We all left the lock, and went down to the bridge and waited for the lock tender to open that.
Leaving the lock

Leaving the lock

Lock side

Lock side


Raising the bridge

Raising the bridge


Raised bridge

Raised bridge

Fall color

Fall color


We went through the bridge at 2:15. RAGGY WALTZ and CAMELOT II passed us because they wanted to take some pictures of the undisturbed water in the canal ahead.
Yellow foliage

Yellow foliage


The canal is absolutely straight, but you can't just leave the wheel or the boat will dive toward the side. Sometimes the boats ahead will deviate around something in the water. Sometimes things that we don't see bump into the hull. There were a couple of places where it got a bit shallow, and Bob got the spreaders (the cross pieces on the mast) into the trees once, so we have a lot of leaves on the deck.

We passed the Corps of Engineers barge with a dredge on it near the 18 mile mark, and the feeder ditch to Lake Drummond at the 21 mile mark.

0011-038.jpgCorps of Engineer's barge

Corps of Engineer's barge


The traffic on the highway is rushing by noisily on one side, and other the other is completely deserted except for an occasional duck or bird. It is getting toward dark, and I am getting worried as the Visitor's Center dock is closed at 5. I try to call on the phone. Eventually I get a lady who says they have 5 sailboats already rafted on the dock, and everyone is very friendly and we won't have any trouble. I wasn't really reassured.
Dismal swamp canal and the Westsail behind us

Dismal swamp canal and the Westsail behind us


The Visitor's Center dock is 150 feet long and boats raft on each other. There's no dockmaster - the boaters manage their own docking. RAGGY WALTZ and CAMELOT II rafted on the back boat. We rafted off a PDQ catamaran, and we are sticking out in the front over another boat. The single-hander rafts onto the boat in front of us, and Fred tied up beside us. There's another Canadian boat from Toronto there. I have a good gossip on the pier and get e-mail via the pay phone.
Sample cotton patch and rafted boats

Sample cotton patch and rafted boats

Bob talking to Jeff on the catamaran

Bob talking to Jeff on the catamaran


The visitor's center is the only Visitor's Center in the US that is both for cars on a US highway (US 17 in this case) and for boats (The DIsmal Swamp Canal). The mileage marker just before the Visitor's Center shows that it is at 28 SM (statue miles - as opposed to NM -nautical miles). We came 22 miles from the Deep Creek Lock. The Visitor's Center is closed. There are climate controlled bathrooms, but no showers.For some reason, I expected that bathrooms would have showers. Snack machines are in a separate building. There are also picnic tables, and information on walking trails. There's no electricity available, but there is a nearby drinking fountain with a faucet to which you can attach a hose (except in the winter when the water is turned off), and trash cans.

We saw one of the boats had a dinghy Portabote on davits. We have one but don't know how to put it on the davits.
Portabote and solar panel on dinghy davits

Portabote and solar panel on dinghy davits


Bob gets tired of talking and goes to fix dinner and eats before I get back. After dinner, we go to bed. I try to plan the next day's trip and listen to the radio some, but give up and go to sleep.

8 November 2000: S.M. 28.0 North Carolina Welcome Station.

There were at least 10 boats here last night, all rafted together. One was a big catamaran where we all shared pre dinner snacks. Last night I did the route to Elizabeth City, but didn't do the mileage. We know it anyway as it is marked on the charts. Also the river twists and turns so much that I'd have to convert from yards to miles, or else from meters to kilometers to miles. The ICW charts are marked in statute miles instead of nautical miles (nautical miles are longer), so I've switched one GPS and the charting program to statute miles and mph (from nautical miles and knots). I woke up about 5 and wrote up the Nov 6th and 7th journal. Bob got up about 6 intending to leave soon. I wanted to wait until the Visitor's Center opened and I hadn't quite finished writing the two days up.

00-1108-0708.jpgBoats at the Visitor's Center

Boats at the Visitor's Center


Fred and Sharon left, the singlehander in the Westsail (named BITTERSWEET) left
Boat leaving the raft-up

Boat leaving the raft-up


(he has a date with a girlfriend somewhere in GA and is anxious to get there), and the two boats next to him. RAGGY WALTZ and CAMELOT left, and eventually (after I picked up pocketmail at the pay phone) we left. I had to use the pay phone because we get no service from either Verizon or ATT here. Bob wanted to make the 8:30 lock opening.

Following others from the Visitor's Center

Following others from the Visitor's Center


We boogied down to the South Mills bridge (first going under the big US Route 17 bridge), and got there before 8, and then of course, had to wait until the bridge opened at 8:30.
Highway bridge Rte. 17 ahead of us

Highway bridge Rte. 17 ahead of us

Coming into the lock

Coming into the lock


Then our gaggle of boats went through the bridge and to the lock. There were a lot of us, and we were at the end of the line. No one else from the Visitor's Center came down after us for this lock opening. When we tied up in the lock there were 5 boats on each side, and we were the last boat on the starboard side. (The lock is 300 yards long.)
Loading into the lock

Loading into the lock


Fred was directly ahead of us, and in front of him were MAGIC EYE, a boat home ported in Tempe AZ, and a boat named EPHEMERAL, who spent the night at the lock (there's a grocery store across the street), and RAGGY WALTZ. On the port side was CAMELOT II from Toronto who are traveling with RAGGY WALTZ as far as Elizabeth City, BITTERSWEET, CARELLEN the other Toronto boat) and GENESIS, a boat with blue topside stripe from Norfolk
Water draining from the lock

Water draining from the lock


When we came out of the lock, we proceeded down Turner Cut in a line. RAGGY WALTZ and CAMELOT II and another boat are so far ahead that I can't see them at all. GENESIS is right ahead of us and they run their boat right into the trees on the side. Guess they lost it for a moment.
Genesis ahead of us

Genesis ahead of us


The trees have lots of clumps of mistletoe on them, and there are lots of bald cypress trees also. It's very wild and natural - few signs of humans. There is a house where a woman stands holding a cat and watching us pass. We get to Goat Island about 11:15.
Goat Island Chart with the magenta line marking the ICW

Goat Island Chart with the magenta line marking the ICW


Once we left the canal and motored into the upper reaches of the river (which is the Pasquotank River - Elizabeth City is NOT on the Elizabeth River), Fred started to pass boats, and so did GENESIS. We passed MAGIC EYE CARELLEN and EPHEMERAL. At about 11:45 we heard RAGGY WALTZ calling the Elizabeth City bridge to open, but we were about 45 minutes back. We passed the hospital, and then the water treatment plant and a wood chip plant which had a sign on it saying "Smoke and Plastic Free".
(My mom wanted to know who would sell smoke!!)
00-1108-1154.jpgPasquotank river

Pasquotank river


We went through the railroad bridge
Chart of the railroad bridge

Chart of the railroad bridge


and BITTERSWEET, GENESIS and Fred's boat DOLPHIN were in the front, and then us, and lagging about 10 minutes behind us, MAGIC EYE, CARELLEN and EPHEMERAL. Fred or one of the others called the Elizabeth City's bridge to open, and I said that we were the 4th boat and there were 3 more behind us. So the tender waited until we were all there to open.

Approaching the Elizabeth bridge

Approaching the Elizabeth bridge

Looking back at the Elizabeth bridge

Looking back at the Elizabeth bridge



We tied up in Slip 17 in Elizabeth City about 1:00 after 23.2 miles at 5.5 mph.
SV RosalieAnn at the Mariner's docks

SV RosalieAnn at the Mariner's docks


There was a walk through boat in Slip 18 next to us from the West River in MD, and a big aluminum boat a couple slips over in Slip 13. The rest of the crew were in the slips north of it.

The Rose Buddy (Fred, a local resident and retired postal carrier) on a golf cart came by and told us the wine and cheese party would be at 4, and gave us maps and literature. (Elizabeth City is famous for its hospitality which includes free dockage for 48 hours, although they said we could wait for the weather there as long as we needed to.)

We walked across the street to Stocks (Comstocks) for lunch, and then walked around town a bit. We got a sewing needle in the Singer store next door to Stocks, and I got a new trackball in a computer store, and then we stopped in the Chamber of Commerce to see if I could indeed pick up e-mail. Then we walked back to the boat, stopping to mail 3 rolls of film in a post box on the way.

Some of the other folks from the Visitor's Center got there later in the day including the PDQ catamaran with the kids and the 3 Siamese cats. They need more width than one slip so they are over on the side. Also some folks that did the whole trip from Norfolk in one day, and didn't stop at the Visitor's Center came into slip 14.

Bob left to walk around on his own, and I got the computer together to go back to the Chamber of Commerce. A man stood at the pier leaning on the railing, and struck up a conversation - his name was Harry and he said he had a boat like ours. We conversed until Bob came back to the boat, and then I left them comparing boats and went and downloaded e-mail.

I finished the write up of the 6th and 7th and sent that. Then I came back and they were still there. Harry was with the guy on the aluminum boat, and they had a centerboard problem - the centerboard was partway up and the rope that pulls it up and down had broken and come out of the track. They couldn't see what they were doing because the water was so dark and full of tannin. They borrowed our dive light to help. (Harry wasn't taking his own boat down from NY because his wife just had a baby - the baby was unexpected and arrived early, he said.)
Rose Buddies tent

Rose Buddies tent


We went to the wine and cheese party and I got my rose (they give all the women roses which is why they are called Rose Buddies), and smooshed with the other cruisers and Rose Buddies. The Canadians and the folks on the cat are home schooling. Then we went to dinner at Mulligans with Fred and Sharon.
Mulligans

Mulligans


We had a conversation with the people on the next boat who have a retriever named Dreyfus. They put him in the dinghy to get him to shore because he won't walk off the bowsprit. They are former sail/canvas makers from Annapolis who built their boat and moved to St. Mary's County, and their house is on Cuckold Creek right across from Blackstone Marina where we had our boat when we first bought it. She has 7 daughters and a whole bunch of grandchildren. It is amazing how many people we meet from home - Caroline (RAGGY WALTZ)'s parents have also moved to St. Mary's County. I called our son and spoke to our DIL for a bit. We watched Jeopardy and Who Wants to Be A Millionaire on TV, and then went to bed.

November 9, 2000

large_00-650820.jpg
We decided to stay in Elizabeth City another day because the weather is forecast to be strong gusty winds and rain from the SE which will be in our face and slow us down.

We go over to Comstocks (they let you read the paper over there and then you put it back) and I had an egg sandwich, and talk to Fred and Sharon. They decide to go today anyway, and several others do also. We see them off.
Stocks

Stocks


Then I call the PO on the cell phone to see if they are forwarding the mail (our son in Charleston says he hasn't gotten any) and they say that they just sent the first packet Monday. She adds that I sure get a lot of mail, and that our daughter can pick up the 3rd class mail anytime.

I also call Radio Shack and they've got my computer back but lost my address, so I give it to them, and they promise they will send it today. I go over to the Chamber of Commerce to get and send e-mail. They are building a new museum across the way.

Crossing the street that runs along the waterfront requires skill and daring as there are no lights or crosswalk. I have my leftover Chesapeake Chicken for lunch and Bob makes himself tuna salad.
Mural of Elizabeth City history

Mural of Elizabeth City history

This picture is two halves of a mural on a printer or newspaper building that I've joined together into one picture. I took the pictures on the way back from the Chamber of Commerce, along with the one below.
Historic Elizabeth City church

Historic Elizabeth City church


Some people come down from the canal - a boat with a couple of kids, and a Brit couple with a deck and dink full of leaves from running into trees. They go into the slips beside us.

One couple is out of water, and Bob lends them his hose because theirs won't reach. We decided to go to the Colonial Restaurant for dinner. After the wine and cheese party (some of the new people had brought dips because they had been there before), we walked over there.
Colonial Restaurant

Colonial Restaurant


I almost fall in getting back on the boat (there is a very short finger pier and we have to climb off the bow - there is a plastic milk crate to step up on, but it is still a good big step, and this time I knock the crate into the water), and Bob says I won't be allowed off the boat again. He's only half joking.

Elizabeth City water tower from a subsequent visit

Elizabeth City water tower from a subsequent visit

Posted by greatgrandmaR 12:57 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Are There Alligators? Up the Alligator River

Transiting NC from Albemarle Sound to Wrightsville Beach


View 2000-01 Novices Overcoming ICW Obstacles & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

November 10, 2000 - crossing Albemarle Sound To the Alligator River

We are leaving this morning, and SANTA MARIA (the boat next to us with their dog Dreyfus) is also. We cast off the lines by 7:15. Bob has to free up the speed log so that we will know how fast we are going. We put up the staysail and main.
Leaving Elizabeth City

Leaving Elizabeth City


I'm not sure if we are going to be able to get past the Alligator Swing bridge because it won't open if there are high winds, and it's pretty windy.
Elizabeth City airport

Elizabeth City airport


SANTA MARIA followed us out, and drew up even with just the jib and mizzen.
[Santa Maria is a ketch - a ketch has two masts. The front mast has the main and jib. The rear mast has the mizzen sail, sometimes called the jigger]
SANTA MARIA - Jib and Jigger

SANTA MARIA - Jib and Jigger


Bob said the boat wasn't balanced without the jib, so we put that up too, and passed them.
Sailing

Sailing


Another boat called JOY B tried to call SANTA MARIA - an old bearded single hander (from Bermuda), but they apparently didn't hear. He called 'the boat near Santa Maria' and I answered. They apparently heard him for the first time and tried to reply.

JOY B asked if we were going the 'long way' or were going to cut across. We said we didn't know we were just going to sail. I think JOY B was following Santa Maria because they've done the ICW numerous times. Both SANTA MARIA and JOY B went off to the starboard. As SANTA MARIA passed us on the port side, we had to circle to let them pass, [the rules of the road/water say that we were the 'give-way' boat] and lost a lot of ground. Bob eventually pulled in the jib. SANTA MARIA was ahead of us and JOY B (being a smaller boat) was still off to our right.

We crossed Albemarle Sound and entered the Alligator River. After we crossed the sound, we started to hear the Alligator River Bridge traffic, and deduced that it was opening. At one point the bridge tender said the wind was 14 mph there at the bridge. She also said they were training a new tender and that she "needed the openings" so they weren't holding the bridge for people. A small cruise ship (probably only 200 people) named the CARIBE something passed us before we got into the Alligator River.

Alligator Swing Bridge swinging open

Alligator Swing Bridge swinging open


JOY B is crossing in front of us, and the cruise ship toots her horn twice at him to indicate which side they intend to pass him on. Bob starts the engine and takes down the sails and tells me to stay behind JOY B.
Alligator Swing Bridge, Backlighted sailboat following us

Alligator Swing Bridge, Backlighted sailboat following us


We see SANTA MARIA and the cruise ship and a bunch of others go through the bridge. A big power boat passes us all and the bridge opens for him, and we head toward the bridge to go through, and another power boat rushes up at the last minute.
Power boat rushing to make the opening

Power boat rushing to make the opening


As we go up the Alligator, a ketch named POPEYE passes us - he takes down his mizzen and just has his jib up. JOY B has his sails up and is over by the shore.
JOY B over by the shore

JOY B over by the shore


I am reluctant to sail in the river because I want to get to the anchorage before dark and sailing sometimes takes longer.
Alligator River

Alligator River


We come up to the headwaters of the Alligator and round Deep Point. There are two anchorages that people use here - one around Statute mile 104 and one at 102. I think the one at 102 will be best because passing tugs won't have to make a turn there, so that's where we anchor. There is a mooring there (which is on the chart, but I didn't know what the symbol means - I had to look it up - you can see it on the chart below).
Anchorage at the head of the Alligator River

Anchorage at the head of the Alligator River


The chart has the two anchorages shown with our green track ending at the first one opposite Deep Point. The second one is to the left of the first one near Bear Point. The chart has been turned sideways so that north is more or less up. I can see the boats in the other anchorage, including SANTA MARIA. I wonder what they will do about exercising the dog. JOY B goes by to the other anchorage.

There are already two ketches (one POPEYE and one Spanish named CONTESSA) and two trawlers (a big one and a smaller one named MARYLAND YANKEE home port Frederick MD in the anchorage. POPEYE anchors next to the other Spanish boat. Another boat with blue topsides comes in after us and anchors nearer shore, and a boat comes in at 5:30 when there is just a glow in the sky and anchors down at the other end.

When we anchored, Bob was letting out the chain, and I was reversing. He had trouble getting it to stop, so he stomped on it, and I decided I'd gone backwards enough, so put the engine into neutral. As Bob was contemplating the amount of chain that was out, the boat hit the end, and the anchor set and stopped the boat with a jerk. Bob said to himself that the anchor was certainly set. We were only a little way from the mooring, but decided to leave well enough alone. We were anchored by 4:15. The sunset is about at 5 pm these days.
Sunset

Sunset


As the sun set, the almost full moon rose. It was clear and cold, and windy - the wind generator ran all night. We have done 53.8 miles at an average speed of 6.4 mph.

When we came north in 2001, they were taking down the Fairfield bridge and the canal was closed to commercial traffic. There was a tug and tow on the mooring. This picture shows what the mooring looked like in person from the channel in fall of 2001.Mooring

Mooring

11 November 2000 - Belhaven:

The moon shown through the dodger and down the companionway hatch very brightly and waked me up. The sunrise was overwhelmed by the brightness of the moon. I tried to find the Saturday am news (one of the channels said that they were the only channel to have it) but apparently it was too early.

Bob was a little annoyed because it took me so long to get ready. I was trying to find the anchorages in the Waterway Guide near Belhaven on the chart and couldn't find Windmill Point, lost my pen etc. I've got a goto function on the old Capn 45 software that I can't find on the version of the program.

The boat beside us - CARA left well before we did. The last boat in that was anchored down at the end left just before us. As we left, the big motor boat trawler left. I motored out very slowly, as it took Bob a looong time to wash off the anchor. He said the whole bottom of the bay was on it. By the time we got up to the other anchorage, all but JOY B had left, and we saw him pulling his anchor.

We turned into the Alligator Pungo Canal (we'd seen some tugs and tows last night but didn't see any today). We have a 16-20 knot head wind for a bit but the wind drops in the canal. Bob brings me French toast in the cockpit as I steer (or monitor the autopilot). We are still trying to use up the thin bread he bought for our daughter's visit in October. The sun is right in the cockpit (low in the sky) and I can't find the cursor on the screen. We turn off the radar as it is of no use in the canal.

We pass the 110 St. M (statute mile) mark at 8:40. The Fairfield swing bridge is at the 113.6 mile marker, and we won't make the 9:00 opening. POPEYE passes us at 8:50. CONTESSA also passes. (They were both still in the anchorage when we left.) Bob ups the engine speed a little before they pass, but then we figure that we won't make the 9:00 opening and will be too early for the 9:30 opening, so he eases off again. In the lower section of the canal there is low new growth from a previous burnoff of the forest and also some marsh grasses as the actual river winds around and about the canal, so with less screening trees the wind picks up to NW at 13 knots.
Alligator Pungo canal

Alligator Pungo canal


We see what look like crab pots!!!
Approaching the Fairfield Bridges

Approaching the Fairfield Bridges


Bob took over the helm as we approached the bridge at about 9:20 and was idling around in the canal and ran aground. He got off and was blown back on, and then got off again. By the time we got reorganized and going in the right direction, the swing bridge was opening.

POPEYE and CONTESSA go right through, and then a boat from Annapolis named LEEWARD comes north (we all (both north and south boats) use the left hand (going south) channel. Then we went through. JOY B and the trawler MARYLAND YANKEE II were right behind us.
Boat following us through the Fairfield swing bridge

Boat following us through the Fairfield swing bridge

MARYLAND YANKEE II and JOY B behind us

MARYLAND YANKEE II and JOY B behind us


The bridge tender was writing down boat names, and I took his picture. He was standing on pivot point of the bridge. We went under the new highway bridge being built so highway 94 won't have to go over the swing bridge anymore.
Old Fairfield Bridge and bridge tender

Old Fairfield Bridge and bridge tender


The bridge tender held the bridge apparently for a guy with radio problems (possibly a sports fisherman named SLACK TIME). We heard him ask when the new bridge would be ready, and the tender answered sometime this winter. The question was asked "Are you going to retire?" The answer "Guess I'll have too". The reassurance"It's not so bad - take it from me."
Looking back at the New fixed bridge in the Alligator Pungo canal

Looking back at the New fixed bridge in the Alligator Pungo canal


SLACK TIME passed us all, and then MD YANKEE II. A big boat from VA Beach called HAPPY HOURS with an MTOA flag (Marine Trawler Owners Association??) passed us at about 8 knots very very close
(We thought it was much closer than necessary, but at that time we hadn't learned the proper way to let someone pass) at 10:55 around St.M 123
Behind us in the Canal

Behind us in the Canal


As we came out of the canal into the Pungo River (at 11:30), Bob immediately ran aground. He claimed it was because I didn't have enough magnification of the charts. I generally like to have a scale that allows me to see various land features so I can place where I am, and in the canal it doesn't matter. You have to stay in the canal anyway. At any rate, we got off and proceeded. A barge with a peculiar tripod of what looked like telephone poles, one on each front corner, and one on the back sticking straight up into the air came towards us and passed.
[We found out later that these are called 'spuds' and when the barge is to remain in one position they are cranked down into the bottom to stabilize the barge].

Barge with "Spuds"

Barge with "Spuds"


After we went through the Alligator Pungo Canal into the Pungo River, I called to Robb's Boatyard and Marina and asked them if we could have fuel and perhaps a dock, and he said sure. When we got there to call on the radio. I did that, and we switched from channel 16 to 69 and then his radio crapped out when he was in the middle. I thought I'd had a problem, so I switched back to Channel 16. He told us to come in to B dock behind SANTA MARIA (who was there already).
Belhaven chart - gas dock marked

Belhaven chart - gas dock marked


We were tied up by 1:30, after a total of 35.5 miles at 5.8 mph. The dock girl dragged the diesel hose all the way down to the boat (the dock was about 300 yards long and we were about 15 yards from the end) and we got 22 gallons. I paid $3 for an electric hookup, and $1/foot for the boat so the bill was $79.00 with the fuel. I could hook my computer up and get e-mail for a charge because he said their long distance provider went bankrupt and took all the pay phones out, and also there were no local ISP provider numbers. So I went back and got the computer and downloaded stuff using the mindspring 800#.

I talked to the Santa Maria people and they'd had a problem with the dog - there was no 'land' to land the dog on to do his business so he got out of the dink and was standing up to his hips in water, which he didn't like, and then they had a big wet unhappy dog. They got underway early, but missed the 8:30 bridge opening and had to wait for the 9:00 opening, and then landed him to do his business on the other side of the bridge.

Bob did a wash (which was only $.75/load here). Water was free, and there was also free cable. But we don't have a hookup cable. There was a sign that indicated that no sewage, treated or untreated would be discharged (which means the LectraSans should not be run). I called Oriental for a slip. One marina closed at noon on Sat and I got an answering machine. Probably not a good bet. When I called Whitakers they wanted an eta, and I had no idea what that would be.

After the e-mail and the wash, we wanted to take one of the free electric golf carts and explore the town and have dinner, but they have to be back by sunset or the police impound them so we walked. We walked up to the main intersection (with a traffic light), and the only activity we saw was a small hamburger place (closed on Sun), a laundromat, and the True Value/Radio Shack store. Everything else closed by 3 Sat at the latest.

The Helmsman restaurant recommended by the marina didn't start to serve dinner until 5. We walked up to the town hall where they have a button collection and curio museum donated by Eva Blount Way, but it was closed too. We walked down the main street 4 or 5 blocks to the Rivers End marina where they had a smorgasbord dinner, but they didn't start to serve until 6. I sat down and tried to remove some gum from my shoe that I'd stepped in and then we walked back to the Helmsman.
Inside the Helmsman

Inside the Helmsman


Here we both had the pork chop special (two chops, with two vegetables for $6.95). We both had a stuffed potato, and Bob had lima beans and I had a pasta bean salad. This consisted of spiral pasta with green beans, kidney beans, and boiled raisins. There were orange strips (carrots?) and red bits (either tomatoes or pimentos I'm not sure which) in there too. They gave us a big basket of hush puppies while we were waiting, and Bob had a pineapple upside down cake for dessert. I had a strawberry cake, which was pink and dense with a sticky sweet pink icing. I took one pork chop back to the boat.

We stopped in the hardware store as they were closing, and bought a cable and stopped by the bathroom. The lady from Santa Maria (her husband's name is Phil, but I can't remember hers) said she was going to go get a shower and finish her laundry. They are going to stay another day.

We watched the weather channel, and also on the local news channel they have the NOAA weather. Bob went up to use the bathroom and it was locked. Actually, we had the wrong combination. We both remembered it wrong.

After I figured tomorrow's route, we both watched TV until we fell asleep.

12 November 2000 - Belhaven to Oriental

I wrote up the 9th and 10th last night and started writing up yesterday. Also picked up my voice mail from the 301 phone. There was a message from someone who found Brian Beasley's driver's license. That's the only one I've had except for an insurance agent.

My rose that I got in Elizabeth City dropped all its petals :-( . The cotton bole that they gave us the next day is still fine of course. I had the rose in the toothbrush glass in the head.
Robb's marina

Robb's marina


Bob got up about 6ish and started stirring around. I got up and worked on yesterday's journal some more. The boats are lined up parallel to the docks. On our dock, starting at the office end is Santa Maria, us, then a gap and the two sports fishing boats (pretty big ones - named WASTE WATCHER from D.C. and IRISH GIRL from Annapolis) that the marina guy says are going to leave early. On the dock opposite us is a small sailboat, a small motor boat and two enormous looking boats. The one right opposite us, Bob said he heard the guy say he's owned it 3 times. Apparently he's a broker, and people keep buying it and then trading up to bigger boats.

Those 2 big boats on the opposite dock left fortunately, as I don't think we could have gotten out (we'd have had to back very straight) otherwise. Bob disconnected the cable, and electric and made one last trip to the bathroom. Phil on Santa Maria who had told us he was staying another day apparently changed his mind. He said the boats behind us were up and getting ready to get underway as he comes back from exercising Dreyfus. But we don't wait for them.

There isn't much wind. It is partly cloudy - the sun is behind the clouds - a raw cold day. Bob started the engine, and I turned everything on, and then he started to back out. We got underway about 7:45 and were back to the ICW by 8:05, doing 6.4 mph (5.6 knots) with a tail wind of 5.8 knots apparent. (Apparent wind is the wind that you feel on the boat. To get the true wind speed, you have to take the boat speed into account. If you are going into the wind, you have to subtract your own speed to get the true wind. If you have a tail wind, you add your own speed to get the true wind.)

WASTE WATCHER and IRISH GIRL pass us (rolling us with their wake) before 8:30. CONTESSA comes from somewhere, (probably an anchorage) and cuts close inside of us at G7. They have no bimini over the wheel and the helms person is always in foulies - probably to keep warm. We get to mile 140 at 8:45. Our total mileage to date is 245 nautical miles.

MARYLAND YANKEE II passes us pulling its red dinghy. Bob spends his time polishing the stainless. He says that at least he didn't try to polish the anchor :-)

As we approach Goose Creek, I download pocketmail and get 4 minutes worth before I get cut off. Bob opens the engine hatch in the floor to check to see if the engine temp on the gauge is really 170 like it says, instead of 180 like it should be.
No Wake Zone opposite the CG station

No Wake Zone opposite the CG station


A white boat named ENCORE, but with no hailing port passes us. Bob gets on the radio to warn ENCORE that the marker is a river marker and not an ICW marker (river markers going down the river the red is on the left - ICW markers going south - which we are- the red is on the right). They hastily changed course.
River entrance marker

River entrance marker


We go from the canal into the Bay River (which I think is a funny name for a river),
New fixed bridge

New fixed bridge


and then into the Neuse River. There aren't many waves, just a few little ones at the mouth of the river. The wind is off the starboard quarter at 4.8 knots apparent, and our speed is 5.5 knots. Looking at the water on the horizon through the binoculars, the waves make it appear deckled. SANTA MARIA is on our starboard and ENCORE is in front of us. They both go over to Adams creek on the port.

We have decided to go to Oriental for the night so we go up the river instead of into Adams Creek.We stopped at Whitaker Creek Yacht Harbor. They have slips big enough for some of the smaller catamarans. We went to WCYH because it was closer to the ICW. They have a lounge with washers and a phone that you can use free for the computer and a courtesy car. I called the marina yesterday afternoon to make a reservation. They asked us our keel depth and our beam and our ETA. I told them I had no idea of an ETA. I called from the Bay River and told them I thought we'd be there between 3:15 and 4.
Chart of entrance to Whitaker Creek Marina - purple line is what we are to follow for the ICW

Chart of entrance to Whitaker Creek Marina - purple line is what we are to follow for the ICW


They put us on the first slip beside the fuel dock. We are tied up by 3:15 p.m. after 48 miles at 6.3 mph.

I finish up a roll of film and mail it there. I also found the Southern Cruising Guide and bought it. I talked to a lady on a catamaran who is going down farther along the Adam's Creek Canal to Jarrett Bay Boatworks to get their boat hauled because they are the only one with a lift big enough for their boat. They are doing the cutlass bearing and leaving the boat to go to visit their daughter in Germany. Daughter is a year younger than our son Rob.

The marina people tell us that several of the restaurants in town (2 miles) will come and pick us up, so I call the M&M cafe, and he says he'll be there in 5 minutes and he was. We had a very nice meal. I had crab, spinach and
Cheese quesadillas

Cheese quesadillas


and Bob had a surf and turf. I had enough room left for a piece of cheese pecan pie, and Bob had a brownie sundae, with only one scoop of ice cream by request. There was another couple there - German I think - who had tried to walk from the marina, and got a lift for the last bit. We are surprised at how many foreigners there are cruising the US.

As we got back, we saw the Canadian boat CARELLEN that we saw in Elizabeth City with the two boys (7th and 9th grades that they are home schooling) coming in. I finished up yesterday's journals and took the computer in and hooked up to the phone and downloaded all the e-mail. Bob thinks we can go all the way to Swansboro tomorrow if we leave early enough, so I do that route. Originally, he had wanted to go to a consignment shop he heard about in Oriental, but we can't get the courtesy car until 9:00 a.m. We watched TV
00-1112-1911.jpgBob and the marina cat

Bob and the marina cat


until we fell asleep.

13 November 2000 Oriental to Beaufort

Bob decided to get a shower this morning because he had been too tired last night, so he went down and did that. It was very foggy - none of the daymarks were visible from the dock less than 100 feet away. Very still and calm, but also sunny. Bob said that we wouldn't be leaving anytime soon, so I took some photos, and redid the route to account for leaving later, so that we would go to Beaufort like I told Rob that we would do.
Channel into Whitaker Creek

Channel into Whitaker Creek


Then of course the fog lifted quickly, so I didn't get a chance to take a shower like I had wanted to do. I did got down to the bathroom and to do one last pocketmail download at the phone.

On the way back to the boat I met the lady from CARELLEN, and I asked her if she'd seen Fred and Sharon. She said they all had gone into the Marina at the Alligator River bridge, and that she'd seen them since then. She said it was too cold to anchor out last night.

We saw several birds in the trees near where we were including a red bellied woodpecker. After I got back to the boat, Bob was showing the Canadians the screens I painted, so they came aboard and looked at them from both sides, and I showed her the paint I used.
One of the porthole screens

One of the porthole screens


Screen from the inside - you can see out - can't see the painting

Screen from the inside - you can see out - can't see the painting


We finally got away from the pier at 9:11. The engine hour meter stopped working yesterday and isn't working today either. Also the oil pressure and temperature are not right. Bob starts taking things apart and gets down in the engine compartment twice. Eventually he finds the loose or broken wire that isn't making a good connection and everything is fixed.

We have all the side curtains and dodger up because it is warm nice weather. Before we get into the canal, a cruise ship, NIAGARA PRINCE (American Canadian line) passes. A boat with a blue and white stripe from PA named MANDOLIN comes past and the lady gets her toy poodle to come up and bark at us. PRIME INTEREST with grey topsides stays behind us. TERRAPIN STATION, from NC and LUMBER I from Poughkeepsie NY, two sports fishing boats pass in the Adams canal about 11:25, and the shrimp boat FOXY LADY from Norfolk comes north. A big boat named CHANGING CHANNELS (with dolphins for the "C"s) does that - passes us and the goes into a marina ahead of us.
Sandy edge of the ICW

Sandy edge of the ICW


The port side we see sand dunes and scrub pines and it is mostly deserted. On the starboard there are big fancy homes with piers, riprap and landscaped lawns.
Houses on the side of the ICW

Houses on the side of the ICW


We heard a really big racket - a throbbing noise. Bob has been into the engine room and thought he fixed the engine electrical stuff which runs the gauges -- what is this racket?? Is the engine coming apart?

We look around and it is a BIG amphibious vehicle
Noisy amphibious vehicle

Noisy amphibious vehicle

Amphibious vehicle

Amphibious vehicle


with big spinning tires that is making the noise - it passes going north.

We pick up the range in Core Creek, and TERRAPIN STATION and LUMBER I pass us again. I tell Bob that this is like driving west in the our 1932 Plymouth. Faster cars would pass us, and then stop for lunch or something and we'd get ahead of them, and they'd have to pass again.
Boat following us in the channel

Boat following us in the channel


As we are going down towards Beaufort, I suddenly look up and find that Bob is going to go the wrong way. We quickly alter course, and go down into Town Creek in back of Beaufort. The more popular (and larger) anchorage is Taylor Creek right on the waterfront, but I've decided that the less popular anchorage is better. SANTA MARIA is already here along with a couple of moored boats, and a live bait shack (abandoned).

We anchor exactly in the middle of an anchorage between black and white markers A, B, and C which form a triangle at about 1:30 after 23.9 miles at 5.8 mph and a total trip of 306 nautical miles.
Beaufort anchorage and Gallant channel bridge

Beaufort anchorage and Gallant channel bridge


The folks from SANTA MARIA tell us to be aware that the boat next to them (with a bicycle on the deck) has a somewhat scruffy man living aboard.

After we anchor, JOY B comes in and anchors behind us and GEMINI anchors in front of us. A new looking big boat with (apparently) a single man aboard anchors off to one side. Maybe he is a delivery skipper.
Town Creek from the road

Town Creek from the road


We are in the habit of eating dinner while watching the sunset and then going to bed. We also listen to "All Things Considered" and "Fresh Air" on NPR each night - we can get it most places on the FM radio, and we get better local weather than most other radio stations, plus we don't have to listen to music that one or the other or both of us don't like. In a marina, we watch the TV of course.

The guy from JOY B rowed over after he got in yesterday (Nov 13th) to thank us for asking the bridge tender to hold the bridge for him. We can neither one of us remember which bridge it was, but I do remember vaguely doing it. He apparently anchored on the front side of Oriental last night because he had a bad experience with the marina that we were in last night. He says his dog (a piebald mutt) has no difficulty doing his business on the foredeck, and doesn't have to be taken ashore like Dreyfus of SANTA MARIA.

14 November 2000 : Beaufort NC to Camp Lejeune Marine base at Mile Hammock

When we woke up this morning all the boats were rearranged in the anchorage. The moored boat that we were in front of is now in front of us. GEMINI at was in front of us is behind us. JOY B that was behind us on the port side is now beside us on the port, and SANTA MARIA that was beside us on the port is now on the starboard, and not pointed the same direction as we are.

GEMINI leaves early before 7. I think they went back to the split in the channel and went down the other side under the fixed bridge. I call the Gallant's Channel bascule bridge which is right next to the anchorage to find out when the next opening is. He says he will open at 7:20, and opens at 20 past the hour, 40 past the hour and on the hour, except he doesn't open at 7:40. So we hastily pull our clothes on and pull the anchor and go through the 7:20 draw.

Bob had some trouble with the wash down pump (which is a cheap Ruhl bilge pump that he plugs into a 12V plug in the Vberth and puts over the side into the water and pumps water up out of the creek or whatever body of water we are anchored in to wash off the anchor chain and anchor), so he didn't get the anchor actually washed off.

Come down past Taylor Creek and there *are* a lot of boats anchored there. Then go south toward the Atlantic past Bird Island. There are lots and lots of pelicans there. It smells like heather. We have breakfast in the cockpit while motoring.

As we turn back up into the Morehead Channel, the tide is coming in and the current has us up to 8 mph. We pass mile 215 at 9:03 and are into Bogue Sound by 9:11. Bob goes to see what is wrong with the wash down pump and finds that the plug had a short which caused it to blow a fuse. So he fixed that. We pass the 220 mile marker at 9:51.
Morning reflections from the spoil island in Bogue Sound

Morning reflections from the spoil island in Bogue Sound


Bogue Sound is very shallow, so in order for there to be 12 feet, they have dredged the Bogue Inlet Canal and put the spoil over on the port side forming some little islands. Sometimes the spoil shifts back into the channel. We see a boat ahead (BIT OF HEAVEN) which seems to have run aground. They get off before we get there. Of course they may just be anchored in the channel. It's hard to tell.

It starts to rain

It starts to rain


Gentle at first and then hard. Bob turns on the navigation lights and slacks off the speed as it is harder to see. We went under the Emerald Isle fixed bridge at 11:00, and right afterwards were passed by a J42 named TARTLET from FL.

The current is now about 0.4 knots against us. Our speed is down to 5.2 mph (4.6 knots). There is a boat following close behind us that does not seem to want to pass. It has blue topsides, and proves to be an English boat named FORCE 8. We feel really sorry for them in their aft cockpit with no bimini or cover. They look very cold and miserable in their foul weather gear out in the rain. (We have discovered that the ensign that the boats from England fly is a red flag with the Union Jack in the corner, and not the regular Union Jack flag. So boats that we thought were from Bermuda were really English. The actual Bermuda boats have an additional insignia in the middle of the red part of the flag. A Union Jack with the insignia is call a 'defaced' ensign.)
Bogue in the rain

Bogue in the rain


We are waiting for the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge together,
Onslow Beach bridge opening

Onslow Beach bridge opening


FORCE 8 goes through the Onslow Beach bridge

FORCE 8 goes through the Onslow Beach bridge


and we let them go through first so we can follow for awhile. The Onslow Beach bridge is run by the Marine Corps. We saw a sign 5 miles back warning us about unexploded ammunition. We go through the bridge at 1:30. MARYLAND YANKEE II also passed us at the bridge.
Bridge tender's building with the Marine C insignia

Bridge tender's building with the Marine C insignia

Birds sit on the bridge fenders of the Onslow Beach bridge

Birds sit on the bridge fenders of the Onslow Beach bridge


The sun came out and we put the side curtains up to dry off a little and also turned off the navigation lights. Some rain from off the bimini onto the computer box, and I wiped it off. The SSCA burgee has the top snap broken, so I go out and take both burgees on that side down until Bob can replace the snap.

We turn into an artificial dredged anchorage (still on Marine Corps property - Camp Lejeune) at mile 244 and anchor at 2:30. We have traveled 44.8 miles at 6.1 mph, and have gone a total of 345 nautical miles.
Mile Hammock Bay anchorage

Mile Hammock Bay anchorage


GEMINI and MARYLAND YANKEE II are here already, and FORCE 8 has also come in with us. Bob decides to anchor on the inner edge of the dredged area, and we have considerable difficulty because we start out in 10 feet of water and as he lets out the anchor chain, we are blown out onto the shallow part and end up in 5 feet of water. Bob resets the anchor once, and then just decides to put out less scope (less chain).

Eventually, we are joined by POPEYE, MAGIC CRISTALLINE (both French boats that we were anchored with before at mile 102 before the Alligator Pungo Canal), JOY B, and SANTA MARIA (from Beaufort with us), EPHEMERAL (came into Elizabeth City with us), DENALI ROSE, and KAYWANA (another British boat I think). A trawler named THE TRAVELER came in late and anchored so that he was on top of our anchor.

It is cold tonight, and we sleep under a blanket and a quilt, and leave a couple of oil lamps burning for the extra heat more than the light. Since this is an anchorage (so designated on the chart) we don't put on our anchor light - as we also didn't last night in Beaufort.
Evening

Evening


The battery operated light we have has gotten too dim for me to read my notes after sundown. My computer screen is brighter but hard to read by. Bob did change the battery in the lamp so it was bright enough to read

15 November 2000 = Mile Hammock to Wrightsville Beach.

THE TRAVELER left before 6, which takes the question of what to do about them parked on our anchor away. DENALI ROSE, and SANTA MARIA left early too (it is really illegal for them to take the dog to shore here - no civilians are to land), and POPEYE and FORCE 8 left about 6:30. We were underway before 7. We see SANTA MARIA sideways in front of us in the channel. Were they aground or just letting the dog go ashore? I don't know. We came up to them and followed. POPEYE is ahead. I saw two dolphin in the channel just before a shrimp trawler passed us.!!! The Intercoastal Guide says they are often seen here, but I didn't expect to be able to do it. Later we got quite blase about it.
Was that a dolphin?

Was that a dolphin?


As we passed Swansport, we saw BIT OF HEAVEN tied to a pier.

We pass a very large pink (white trim) castle type house with a 2 story fake lighthouse on the water side, and a lot of palm trees - right in the middle of the salt marshes on its own little island. I didn't take a photo of it, but next time we came past, I did
Pink house

Pink house


I am looking at the waterway guide to try to figure out where we will go the next couple of nights. Bob is worries that the forward LectraSan doesn't seem to be working, so I take over steering, and fail to account (with the autopilot corrections) for the wind blowing us sideways and nearly take out a daymark. We go close enough to touch it almost. Bob has a fit.

I haven't told him that I nearly ran down a fishing boat yesterday coming through a canal. They got into my blind spot while I was looking at the computer and the chart, and I only missed them because they were anchored at the bend in the canal, and I changed course at the last minute. Scared me to death, but they didn't seem at all concerned. They must have had faith in me (REALLY misplaced).

We are following SANTA MARIA. MARYLAND YANKEE and a Sea Ray called IMEREST from Annapolis passed us about 8:45. We have good phone connections here for pocketmail.
houses along the ICW

houses along the ICW


We get to the Sears bridge (only opens on the hour) and MARYLAND YANKEE is hanging back. The bridge reprimanded them and made them come up closer. KAYWANA comes up beside us, and LADY LANTRA from PA and PATIENCE, a pretty boat with cream topsides and a green stripe are behind us. We all go through the bridge without incident, and we all pull out a sail. I hear DENALI ROSE ahead of us reporting a marker where the sign has fallen off the post. Didn't think much about it at the time. We see a great white heron fishing in front of some fancy houses.

With the bimini curtains down and the sun out it gets nice and warm. The outside temp is 50.5 deg F, and Bob has taken his jacket off. There is everything on the starboard bank from a little bungalow style house only in treated lumber green to a large white house with a Versailles style stairway up to a wrap around 2nd story veranda and a huge (6 ft) white swan cutout on the lawn. There are big old gnarled trees - probably live oak - on the banks and pine trees in back. The water here is clear and we no longer have to add salt to the LectraSans like we do in the bay.

A CG Auxillary boat passes us going north. Also a motor boat named TOYS 4 US.

Everything was peaceful. Bob was motor sailing, so I went down to contemplate my navel in the head - when all hell broke loose. He had run aground in the channel. I came up without pulling up my pants, but he's taken care of it OK.

At the Figure 8 bridge (which opens on the hour and half hour) we were told by the bridge tender than if we were to a specific marker a half mile from the bridge by the time the bridge opened, we could come through. So we put the hammer down and really motored hard to make the 1:30 opening. We were just almost to the marker when the bridge started to open, so we kept coming. As we got to the bridge, I heard the tender say that he was closing, and I about had a heart attack. But he was talking to someone behind us, and we got through. The bridge closed right behind us.

The CG Aux boat comes back past us going south. A big stealth power boat passed - they had their dinghy up against the stern so you couldn't see their name

From the Figure 8 bridge to the Wrightsville bridge was supposed to be 5 miles (277 to 283) and that bridge only opens on the hour. Doing only about 5-6 mph, we didn't think we could make the 2:00 opening. But we were there 15 minutes early, swept down toward the bridge by a considerable current. Bob was unable to hold his position in the channel, so he turned around, and so did everyone ahead of us. Then we were all trying to get turned back around for the bridge opening, while avoiding running aground and into each other. We did make it through.

As we went through the Wrightsville Beach bridge, I was telling Bob to look for a marker to go into Wrightsville Beach to anchor. He was looking on the wrong side of the channel, plus that was the marker that DENALI ROSE had reported was gone. So we missed the turnoff,which is almost as bad as missing the turnoff on the freeway. However, I knew there was another way to get there and we didn't have to turn around. We came in Shim's Creek instead of the Mott Channel to the Banks Channel to Wrightsville Beach and anchored by 2:45 pm after 42.1 miles at 5.4 mph and a total trip of 381 nm. We anchored below the Mott Channel (where we should have come in) next to a little yellow boat with what looked like a string for an anchor rode. BIT OF HEAVEN joined us later. Up on the other side of the Mott Channel by the fixed (low highway bridge) was where most of the boats anchored. That's the area marked anchorage on the chart. The boats up there included GEMINI and PATIENCE rafted with LADY L.

Wrightsville Beach anchorage - purple number is the ICW Mileage

Wrightsville Beach anchorage - purple number is the ICW Mileage


I later met the lady (whose name is Fred) on DENALI ROSE in a marina in Titusville. Another friend said it was lucky we didn't go into Wrightsville Beach that way as most boats go aground there.

I called our son Robert, and told him we hoped to go to Bald Head Marina the next night, and Bob called LectraSan people (Raritan) and they gave him some additional trouble shooting info. I then called Bald Head and made a reservation because the guides said it was 50 cents a foot after Nov 1st. They said that we shouldn't start into the Cape Fear River until afternoon, as otherwise we'd have a significant (4 knot) current against us. Bob called Raritan back, and they are shipping a panel to Rob's house for us.
Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset and the little yellow boat

Sunset and the little yellow boat


We had dinner as the sun set. Some black birds came and sat on our jib sheet and life lines. We went to bed with the quilts again, and listened to NPR, and had 3 oil lamps.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 21:44 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Slowly Fleeing the Cold Weather

Pressing toward Charleston for Thanksgiving


View 2000-01 Novices Overcoming ICW Obstacles & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

16 November 2000

There is some condensation on the overhead - I think from the oil lamps. It wasn't as cold last night as the night before. A bird came by and looked at us inquiringly this morning.

BIT OF HEAVEN left early, and the little yellow boat with its yellow dinghy also goes. We don't want to get to the Cape Fear River too early, and should probably not leave before 10 if we don't want a lot of adverse current in Snow's Cut. This is hard to do when we have been leaving so much earlier. We finally pull the anchor about 9, and motor slowly out the way we came in. We wonder what all those boats who have left early are going to do about the current. Probably never find out.
Small boat in the New River near Carolina Beach

Small boat in the New River near Carolina Beach


Today @ 10:20 we saw a whole school of dolphin - 5 or 6 gamboling about in the channel. There appeared to be a guy in a flat skiff that was feeding them. Although given the story that Fred told us later, maybe they just like little boats. They are around long enough for Bob to see them too. Also saw a big belted kingfisher sitting on a day mark. Lots of pelicans and cormorants, also egrets and heron. (A daymark is an unlighted marker.)

Out there to our port is the ocean, separated by a couple layers of dunes and little sandy islets with inlets in between. On the ocean side are people with SUVs and pickup trucks who have driven out there to fish.

We get to Snow's Cut about 11:15, following EPHEMERAL (whom we last saw back at Camp Lejeune). The current is now pushing us down the cut which has high sand banks. A motor boat called OLIVER'S TWIST from BelAir passed us at 11:34, and Bob thinks that his friend Ed knows the owner, who also had a race horse by that name. We come out into the Cape Fear River. Fortunately there is little wind, and all we have to contend with is current.
Shore of the Cape Fear River

Shore of the Cape Fear River


On the starboard bank, we see the Sunny Point Army Ordnance Depot with their own tugs tied up alongside, and a red railroad engine running along on its own tracks.
Shore of the Cape Fear River

Shore of the Cape Fear River


There is a New Orleans boat tied up, loaded with containers that has one of those circles with a slash across that means prohibited on the side. I can't make out what is pictured that is prohibited. On the deck they have two little tug boats. We pass
LADY JEAN

LADY JEAN


a shrimp boat who has her nets out, and flocks of birds wheeling above her. SEA YA, a boat from Emerald Isle NC passes us going south. I see ranks of yellow tanks on the upper deck. Probably a scuba boat.

None of the charts (only the AAA map) mentions that there is a ferry across this river. It goes from south of Sunny Point to the Fort Fisher Historic Site across the river (a car ferry). Unfortunately, since it isn't marked on the charts it is hard to tell where to go to get out of the way of the ferry, and for a little while, the ferry appears to be pursuing us to run us down.
Fort Fisher ferry

Fort Fisher ferry


But eventually they turn and go across the river. EPHEMERAL is cutting the corners, and eventually goes into the ICW at Southport.
Map of Bald Head Island

Map of Bald Head Island


We continue down the river, aiming roughly for what is marked as an abandoned lighthouse.
Approaching Bald Head

Approaching Bald Head


It turns out to be on Bald Head. They have a fake (ie non rotating light) in it at night. I call the marina, and they tell me what slip to go to. I ask if we can get fuel first, so they give us directions to the fuel dock. They ask where we are and Bob says marker 5, and they say to turn in opposite marker 13 which would be behind us if we were really at #5. Bob has made a mistake with the marker number, as we were really at marker 15.

We turn in toward the entrance channel and Bob has the wheel hard over to counter the current. Suddenly he throttles back and spins the wheel. In the entrance channel there is no current. We come up to the fuel dock and get 30 gallons. At the fuel dock, we have been 28.1 miles at an average speed of 5.9 mph, and a total trip mileage of 405 nm. We have about 158 miles to go to Charleston. Our maximum distance per day is 50 miles, so that is at least a four day's journey. We need to be there by the 21st.

While I am standing on the deck I hear "Rosalie Ann -where have you been?" It's Fred Schlacter in the dinghy behind his boat DOLPHIN.

We get tied up to the floating dock, and get the little footstool out, and lock up the boat and put everything away. Then we walk up to the office to pay. I start off ahead of Bob and stop to see Fred and Sharon. I discuss where they've been - we've been just missing them everywhere. The night we stayed extra in Elizabeth City, they went into the Alligator River Marina. The next night which we spent at mile 102, they stayed a 2nd night at that marina which they really liked a lot. The next night that we spent in Belhaven, they spend anchored in Pungo Creek outside of Belhaven. They heard me calling the marina on the radio as I came in. The night that we spent in Oriental, they were anchored in Cedar Creek near Oriental.

The night that we anchored at Camp Lejeune off Bogue Sound, they went to Dudley's marina near Sneads Ferry off Bogue Sound. He thinks that a bridge that we were able to go through, he just missed because the bridge tender couldn't see him in the rain. When we were anchored in Beaufort, they were at Harbor Village Marina at Topsail Beach beyond Morehead City.

They ran aground in the channel that day, and Fred got in the dinghy and took a line out and put it around a pole and then came back to the boat and pulled on the line and told Sharon to run the engine. While he was in the dinghy, a whole school of dolphin played around them. Sharon said she usually is all worried when they go aground, but she didn't care this time - she just sat on the deck and watched the dolphins.

Last night when we stayed at Wrightsville Beach, they tried to get into a Southport marina, but there was no room, so they came to Bald Head.

Fred says there are thundershowers forecast for the 17th, and so he is waiting another day. I tell Bob that I want to do that too. Fred also tells me that the price is not 50 cents a foot. So I go up to see what Bob is doing and tell him to tell them that he is a Boat US member so they will give us a discount. The price doesn't drop until Nov 30th and then just to 75 cents a foot. We do decide to stay until Saturday. Fred feels that we can go all the way to north Myrtle Beach on Sat. where there is a place we can tie up for free.

I call Rob, and Bob calls Ed and asks him about the OLIVER TWIST boat we saw, but his friend with the race horse has apparently died. I bring the laptop in and download and upload e-mail until about 5:10. Then I take a shower and wash my hair. The water is nice and hot. I remembered the shampoo and towel, but forgot a hairbrush. So I go back to the boat and brush my hair, and then we go to dinner with Fred and Sharon.
Bald Head Lighthouse

Bald Head Lighthouse


I have she crab soup and a caesar salad with a crab cake, and Bob has the shrimp and steak. Sharon and Fred have rib eye. They had mahi mahi last night which was excellent they said. Today the special is tuna. The other special is frog legs, which has no takers. There is a large noisy party there, who eventually leave to go back on the ferry. We ask if they have any ice cream desserts, but they don't. The ice cream shop shuts at 5 in the winter. We all want ice cream, so we go to the grocery store and I get a dove bar, and the others get little 1/4 pints. Bob eats his whole thing and "pays for it" afterwards.
Bald Head at night

Bald Head at night


We watch TV - I discover the Game Show network and we see old Match Games and old Wheel of Fortune, and old Three's Company, which I never saw the first time.

17 November 2000:

The wind generator, which Bob has stopped [so that the noise won't bother others in the marina] wakes me up groaning in the wind. It does that in high wind when it can't spin. It gradually gets light, and the ferries start to run. I see the palms on the opposite shore with the fronds all bunched downwind. It rains some. There are no thunderstorms that we see, but it is raining.

The Weather Channel which has the Wilmington NC weather says it is only 7 mph wind. No Way. Bob leaves to go up and do the wash and take a shower. I turn on the wind instruments and it says the wind is 20-25 knots.

They have a buffet breakfast, and we go with Sharon and Fred. Fruit (melon, strawberries, grapes), eggs to order, sausage, bacon, creamed chip beef, grits, cottage fries, biscuits, lemon poppy muffins, pancakes, and juice. Sharon had coffee. Fred, Bob and I wanted tea. They had only Constant Comment and Raspberry tea. They brought little metal pots of hot water and glasses with handles to put the hot water in. I put my tea bag in the pot. The guys put theirs in their glass. At breakfast, we can look out and see a surf line off the island to the south.

I finish writing up the 14th and 15th and go up to download and upload mail. Bob washes off the deck, and tops off our water tanks.

There is another CSY in the marina here.
Bow of the Aeolus

Bow of the Aeolus

CSY Aeolus

CSY Aeolus

Bob starts working on the SSB and gets it to work and we listen to Herb's Southbound II. He tells people what the weather will be where they are going. Some of them he tells to delay getting to somewhere so that they won't be coming in in a storm. We here some people from as far away as Venezuela.

It's still rainy and overcast. Bob wants a hamburger and so do Sharon and Fred, so we go up and eat in the bar. I have a salad (which has raisins and pecans in it), and quesadillas. Everyone else has soup and a hamburger. We tell sea stories to each other. I go to download pocketmail, and as I am coming out of the phone booth I meet a raccoon. I also see a great blue heron sitting on the dock railing.
Night on Bald Head

Night on Bald Head


I figure the tides on my computer. Fred says we should wait until 9 to leave, and my computer agrees. We have to do 47 miles including going through the Rock Pile (a narrow section between rock walls) and also go through a swing bridge and one of the few remaining pontoon bridges left, but we should be able to do that OK.

18 November 2000 (Sat)

We waited to leave until today hoping the weather would be better with less wind. Sharon and Fred want to go to Barefoot Landing, where you can tie up for free (often rafted like at the Visitor's Center) and shop at the mall there. I'm not so sure about that, as it is a long day, and Fred is convinced that we will have too much current if we leave before 9.

It is a sunny day, but there is still some wind. We get away from the dock at 8:30 in a slick maneuver - don't need anyone to help us. Back out over the lump in the marina that is right behind us - the depth alarm goes off, but we knew the lump was there because another cruiser told me about it. The wind is on the nose and about 20 knots, but the waves aren't bad.

We see the Saudi container ship (leaving port) that we saw when we were coming down the river (with the name in Arabic on it), and then also see a ferry which comes steaming by on the port side and then gets almost to land and does an about face and comes back into the river. Why?? Saw another container ship with a pilot boat that appeared to be in hot pursuit, but the pilot boat went on past the freighter.
Freighter and Pilot boat

Freighter and Pilot boat


Bob saw the markers for Oak Island, and I nearly directed him in there instead of to Southport. He complained that the route that I had laid out on the computer didn't go that way just in time to go the correct direction.
Oak Island lighthouse

Oak Island lighthouse


Fred is following us. We hit the 310 mile mark after about 4 miles from the marina at 9:15, and we are back in the ICW.
Boat behind us

Boat behind us


We meet the ferry for Bald Hill coming out of the ICW. The wind drops to 7-11 knots in the ICW, and we pull out the jib.
Approaching Southport

Approaching Southport


Fred passes us - he is faster than we are. Bob says there is a CSY behind us, and sure enough - it is COSMOS, home ported in Hermosa Beach CA. They say it is too cold there - they have had the boat since 1984. It has the stripe painted out, but they still have their trailboards.
Cosmos coming up from behind us

Cosmos coming up from behind us


Cosmos passing

Cosmos passing

Cosmos going under a fixed bridge ahead of us

Cosmos going under a fixed bridge ahead of us

CSY Cosmos ahead of us

CSY Cosmos ahead of us


COSMOS got into a 'race' with Fred ahead of us. We all go by a little boat - must be local - no engine or anything - called QUESTION OF BALANCE.
Shrimp boat docks

Shrimp boat docks

Pelican feeding frenzy

Pelican feeding frenzy


I cook spaghetti for lunch, and we have apples also. The motor boat SWALLOW (which I comment looks more like a bustard as it is a very big blocky boat - not at all swallow-like) passes us and cuts in very close. A catboat from Pt. Judith RI (flat bottomed boat) passes and then shortly afterwards we see the boat tied up at a dock. We pull in the jib.
Dredge with daymarks

Dredge with daymarks

Just past the dredge with a boat following us

Just past the dredge with a boat following us

Atlantic side of the ICW

Atlantic side of the ICW


We idled for 20 minutes waiting for the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge to open.
Approaching the pontoon bridge

Approaching the pontoon bridge


This is the last pontoon bridge still on the eastern ICW. They blow a horn when it is OK to go through and another one when they are closing.
Going through the pontoon bridge

Going through the pontoon bridge

Behind EQUINOX

Behind EQUINOX

Pontoon bridge

Pontoon bridge

Pontoon bridge tender

Pontoon bridge tender

Pontoon bridge

Pontoon bridge


The day has turned cloudy and cold it is supposed to rain tonight. Not enough wind for sailing.

Fred and Sharon are way ahead, and we pass them about 2:30 where they anchored in Little River. We talk to them on the radio, but we intend to go on to a marina as we'd rather have heat if it is cold and rainy. We pass BETSY MARIE and DESTINY stopped at Cricket Cove Marina a little ways on. We've decided to go to Dock Holiday Marina which is just before the 'Rock Pile' area of the ICW. We get tied up at about 3:50 after 42.2 miles at an average of 6.2 mph. Our total trip since Nov 1st is 442 nm (nautical miles - nautical miles are 2000 yards).

I mail a roll of film, and download e-mail in the marina office before they close. The marina tells us that the ICW is closed south of them due to high steel work on a new bridge. They say that the waterway won't be closed in the rain, and it is 100% predicted rain for tomorrow. I call the construction site on the cell phone, and they say they will not close tomorrow, but will close Monday. They ask me to announce that on the VHF.

We have free cable TV, but our cable is too short to reach. We walk up toward one of the 5 restaurants that are here (Hooters, and a raw bar are two of them), and eat dinner in one of them (can't remember the name - something Junction). I have lasagna. They have oysters, but Bob says they are too expensive. He can't believe that they have no steamed shrimp. They have fried, or boiled, but not steamed. He has a shrimp salad sandwich, which he ends up eating the shrimp out of and leaving most of the bread.

Bob then sets out to walk to West Marine and I go back to the boat. He tried to buy a longer TV cable, but they only have a 20 foot one and no connector. He did buy a little hand pump - he had one in the tool box he left at home. We watch Wheel of Fortune - very poor reception - very snowy. Then we zonk out.

19 November 2000 - Sunday The Rockpile in the Rain

We woke about 5 and it was raining. We discussed whether we should leave this morning, but I don't see any help for it. We have to go today or we may not get to Charleston for Thanksgiving. So we got up about 6 and Bob went up to shave. His knees are bothering him. ENCORE, the big motor boat, left and disappeared into the fog and rain.

We got out of the slip about 7:30. I forgot to reset the GPS that I use to mark down the day's mileage. The canal is deserted, and it is low tide. We are in the Pine Island Cut, which is popularly known as the worst part of the ICW. The section known as the Rock Pile has rock ledges jutting out into the canal, and is too narrow for tugs or commercial traffic to pass a recreational boat. As this is low tide, you can see the ledges at least.
Rockpile ledges to the left of the red marker

Rockpile ledges to the left of the red marker


I call on the radio to check for commercial traffic coming the other direction, but there is no answer. No one is around. The dodger keeps fogging up in the cold and rain. Since we expected it to be wet, we put the computer down on the nav table and not in the cockpit. So I end up sitting on the steps and relaying what is ahead to Bob. (Although he could look down at it himself if he chose.)
Mist and rain in the Pine Island Cut

Mist and rain in the Pine Island Cut


We have transited most of the Rock Pile, and are coming up to Barefoot Landing when *surprise* - there is a swing bridge here that isn't on the charts and isn't mentioned in the ICW Guide. It opens on request, so I request an opening. I also relay to the bridge tender what the construction guy told me about the canal being open today and closed tomorrow. I'm later told that this bridge should never have been built. All new bridges over the ICW are supposed to be fixed bridges at least 65 feet tall.

As we pass Barefoot Landing we see a number of boats tied up including COSMOS and DESTINY. BETSY MARIE and EQUINOX and I have a conversation on the radio, and I tell them the same story about the ICW being open. They are going to leave about 8:30

I call DOLPHIN (Fred's boat) many times with no answer. He told me yesterday that if the weather was bad, they'd stay there. And this weather is certainly bad. But if he doesn't get through this area today, he will be stuck there. OTOH, Sharon will probably like that extra time for shopping.

The SC bridges monitor channel 9 and not 13. People are having trouble remembering that. The bridge list in the charts doesn't have it correct either. We have picked up a covey of boats behind us. TUPPENCE, COSMOS and a boat with a blue hull and a motor boat pass us. I talk to COSMOS on the VHF about the CSY email list.

We go under the Conway Bypass Bridge, which is finished, although the ICW book says it was never finished. We also pass under the new bridge that is under construction. I take a few photos with the digital camera while trying to keep it from getting wet.
New bridge construction

New bridge construction

Hgh steel work for which they would close the ICW

Hgh steel work for which they would close the ICW

Our mast going under the bridge

Our mast going under the bridge

Our TV antenna and radar dome - cranes for the steel in the back

Our TV antenna and radar dome - cranes for the steel in the back

Looking back at the new bridge

Looking back at the new bridge


Farther down we see *another* construction barge with a crane. It appears to be deserted. Bob asks me if he should go to one side or between the barge and something that is being built in the middle of the canal. How should I know? There is only a sign that says "Slow - Construction Area - No Wake". As we passed, it appears that there was an unattended generator pumping out a caisson. (We did go between the barge and the other thing.)

As soon as we went through, everyone behind us passed us. They just wanted to let us go first through the scary bit. The folks with COSMOS thought that the bridge that was closing the water way was the Socastee Bridge, which was - they thought- under repair. I didn't think so. They all go speeding ahead, and then we catch up to them at the Socastee Bridge, which is perfectly OK. I open beefaroni for lunch, and make hot tea.

We wanted to get to Georgetown tonight to allow us a short run to McClellanville. Or at least down farther on the Waccamaw River to Thoroughfare Creek to anchor. But we just can't get that far. It is too much of a strain looking through the fogged up dodger. And it is going to be cool tonight, so I want some heat, which means a marina where we can hook up to the electricity. So we stop at the Wacca Wache Marina in Murrells Inlet near Brookgreen Gardens. We have only done 36.6 miles at an average speed of 5.9 mph. We are at a floating dock.

He has us listed on his board as ROSALYNN - says he couldn't understand my accent. He gives us a small bottle of wine, a bag of popcorn and a plastic bucket. We have cable TV and electricity, and he lets me go upstairs and download e-mail. Some non-native English speaking foreigners come in (i.e. not Canadians or English) and have never had barbecue, and are persuaded to try some.
Wacamaw River

Wacamaw River


When we can see it, we are in a bald cypress swamp with Spanish moss on the trees. Again, as in the Dismal Swamp, tree stumps are growing small colonies of plants which would be the envy of any landscape gardener. Bob made a tasty chicken and pasta dish with the last of the fresh string beans, and some fresh carrots in it. TUPPENCE, and MARYLAND YANKEE II are here too, and a 2 boats come in afterwards (one is LA VITA DOLCE which has a dog on it) and are put on the fuel dock. ENCORE comes in much later and is put on the outside of the fuel dock which is a fixed dock. We fell asleep watching TV.

20 Nov 2000, Monday

It is very very foggy this morning. We debate the possibilities, and then decide that the only real option is to go to McClellanville if we are to make Charleston by tomorrow. We have a slip reservation there. But this story illustrates the reason why boating plans should be flexible. Since we had so much bad weather and had to go so slowly through the Rock Pile section of the ICW yesterday, we did not make it as far as planned. And it is supposed to go down to 29 deg F tonight. So today we have to get to McClellanville because that's the only place within range of Charleston the next day where we can get electricity to run the heaters.

I download pocketmail by phone and also talk to a lady in the restroom/shower who is from the catamaran CORSAIR. She recommends a marina in Miami on Treasure Island.

We leave about 9:45, and Bob pulls out a sail. SHEARWATER (the big power boat docked beside us at the marina) passes us, and then MARYLAND YANKEE II. OUR TERN (with the T in the shape of a bird), a Manta 40 catamaran passed us about 10:40. I am trying to dry off the dodger and side curtains. The sponge just makes the droplets of water smaller. None of the towels does any better. I finally use a paper towel. We see a little sun, but it's still cold. The current is with us and we are making 8+ knots. I called Robert before he went to work.
Live oaks with Spanish Moss on the Wacamaw River

Live oaks with Spanish Moss on the Wacamaw River


We came by Georgetown and under the bridge about noon and went across Winyah Bay. Georgetown seems to have a large number of smokestacks. I had Bob on the wrong side of one of the markers but it was OK. Georgetown is an ocean port. We saw a pilot boat heading out.

Pulled in the sail, and the current is against us too. It does get warm in the bimini from the sun. I take off my thermal hood. We go past Estherville Plantation, and I think I can see some houses through the trees. It is 52 deg. outside, and Bob takes off his NSA sweatshirt. He expected the weather to be warmer than this and hasn't brought many cold weather clothes. I have only a few myself.

We come to a free running ferry (as opposed to a cable ferry), and it waits until we pass to cross.
Free running ferry

Free running ferry

Free running ferry

Free running ferry


It is about a mile into the Estherville-Minims Canal. There are old rice fields and salt marsh, pine and palmetto on the canal edges. Saw some wooden towers like ranger towers that were not on the charts, and a house way back off in the trees. Most of Minim Creek has no sign of habitation - is very wild.

We cross Little Duck Creek, and it is a maelstrom - like a little Woods Hole - of conflicting currents. Three big Canadian powerboats pass - two of them are named WRECK HUNTER and CASAMINE JADE. CJ had both bikes and motor scooters on the deck. Cross the South Santee River at mile 420 at 2:59 pm after 35 miles. This is the last chance we have to anchor before McClellanville. We have 10 miles to go to McClellanville. I hear EQINOX calling Leland Marine Services, the only tie-up place in McClellanville and not getting any answer. I also hear other boats planning to stop there. I called Leland Marine last night on the phone and was told that they took no reservations, but they'd make a place for us. I called again and was told the same. I also hear COSMOS, and BETSY MARIE and MARYLAND YANKEE II on the radio to each other.

The exhaust and the bow wave makes the water look soapy It was that way in the marina last night too. The sun is in our eyes. At mile 425 it is 3:45. I call Leland Marine on the radio with no answer. I call EQUINOX on the radio. He says he is on a private dock and can't make Leland answer. Someone gives him the phone number so he can call. We get to McClellanville just before 5 (sunset). Bob cuts into St. Jerome Creek a little close to the side and the water gets a little skinny. The entrance to the creek will be too shallow for us at low tide.
Looking in from the ICW to Leland Marine

Looking in from the ICW to Leland Marine


No one answers the phone at Leland Marine. We see EQUINOX and also CASSANDRA JADE and her two Canadian power boat friends tied up along with another sailboat. Some boats are rafted with shrimp boats. There are two other docks with clots of shrimp boats rafted to them on the creek, and there is a sailboat alone at a dock across the river. The guys on the dock tell us that the owner has gone into town, but they help us tie up at what proves to be the fuel dock. The guy comes back and we pay in cash, and hook up to the electric. He lets me use the phone to download pocketmail.
McClellanvile chart

McClellanvile chart


There is a little power boat that has come in for fuel - 1983 USNA graduate and former Marine, although he doesn't look it - his hair is long. They tried to get fuel at Isle of Palms and couldn't. They are on their way north, and intend to anchor out tonight.
Shrimp boat docks from the ICW in 2003

Shrimp boat docks from the ICW in 2003


After they get fuel, there is a pervasive gas smell in the air, which makes Bob wonder about cooking. We have hot dogs and baked beans for dinner. This is a fixed dock, and there is a 5 foot tide. Bob carefully adjusts the lines so that we won't get hung up. He gets up a couple of times to make sure that we are OK, and at low tide the dock is over his head when he is standing on the deck. It might have been better for us to raft on another boat. The other boat would be floating too and it would be like being at a floating dock.

I put the sleep timer on the TV and fall asleep watching Monday night football.

21 November 2000: Tuesday

I am awakened by a tremendous BANG by my head at 5:40 am. The shrimp boat behind us has clipped us on the way out. Bob pulls on pants and a coat and comes back saying that the bow wave just pushed us into the pole. I don't think so. I go out on the stern and look where I think the shrimp boat hit us, and find a rough place. Bob thinks they just put some paint on us, but I looked at it again later, and there's definitely a chafed place about 3 inches long on the corner. I didn't see how they could hit us there without hurting the dinghy, but Bob said their stern swung into us.
Scraped place on our boat

Scraped place on our boat


It did not get that cold here last night - only down to 46, although it dropped to 37 deg F this morning. We got up and were underway by 7. The sailboat at the dock across the way left first, and then EQUINOX, and we were right behind him. A small shrimp boat came out behind us and went out Five Fathom Creek. I saw his superstructure running along on the other side of the marsh grass from us. I thought it was a car at first.
Flats and marshes in the ICW

Flats and marshes in the ICW


MARYLAND YANKEE II passed us at 7:42. We can see mud flats and sand beaches on each side of us as it is low tide. Bob cooks some bacon, and we have that with bagels. He comes and takes over the steering. There are pipes through the dunes with water coming out. I thought it was sewage, but there's nowhere for sewage to be coming from.

Bob pulled out the jib. The boat heels in gusts, but the wind is at 30 to 45 degrees so it is hard to keep the sail drawing. We hear about a sailboat aground up near Isle of Palms. We passed mile marker 440 at 9:05. The Charleston marina is at 464 - 24 miles to go. We pulled in the jib at 10:15, just before some gusts of 22 to 25 knots hit us. The sheet got crossed on the other winch as Bob was pulling it in so the result was that it was furled really tight.

We passed mile marker 450 at 10:20. We saw a boat on the wrong side of the marker, and thought it was EQUINOX, so called him on the VHF. He was highly indignant that we would think he was aground, and he was down by Isle of Palms already. The sailboat aground was CASTLEWINDS. Bob said if they pulled out their sail it would probably heel them enough to get them off. But the tide is rising and will probably float them off. A little later, we passed the boat that we heard originally was aground and it was CRIMSON CLOUD, a boat with red topsides. A ferry crosses about 11:10. There are a lot of little birds on the mud flats poking around for food.

Bob goes to the head, and a power boat passes us, and immediately the depth sounder goes crazy. It looks like we are running aground. One second it is 6.8, then 5 feet, then 4.5, then 6.0. With two examples of sailboats aground behind us, this isn't unlikely, but I can't find the deep channel. Eventually Bob comes back and we figure that the power boat stirred up the mud and debris so that the depth sounder couldn't read the bottom correctly.

We go under the new bridge (which is now finished) at 11:40, and I call the Ben Sawyer bridge. They say the bridge is not able to open, and they will let us know when it is fixed. So Bob slows down. Then they say come on down and it will open. So Bob speeds up. Then she says the guy hasn't come out from under the bridge yet (her own private troll?). So Bob doesn't know what to do. The wind is against us but the current is with us, and it is hard to control the boat even in a slack current with no wind.

The other problem was that the bridge monitors channel 9 and the charts said 13 and 16. And the hours indicated that it either opened on demand or on the hour. We thought we might catch up with COSMOS at the bridge because we heard them calling someone on the radio, but evidently they and EQUINOX were already through the bridge. Eventually we got within about a half mile of the bridge and it started to open, so we put the pedal down.
Ben Sawyer Bridge open

Ben Sawyer Bridge open


There were two boats waiting ahead of us, so we went through in a timely manner behind them at 12:18. She blew the closing horn as we were within the bridge.
Ben Sawyer Bridge closing

Ben Sawyer Bridge closing


Charleston harbor was very very windy and with white capped waves, and with a lot of big ships. The dodger was immediately splattered with spray. We made our way up the Cooper River, among ships like horizontal skyscrapers, and tugs which seemed to be heading in improbable directions. We came to a barge which was dredging, and went on the north side of the orange mooring balls.
Patriot's Point marina chart

Patriot's Point marina chart


I called the marina on the radio, and they gave us directions to get into the gas dock. We were there by 1:00 and got 25 gal of diesel, and then went into a slip after 37.4 miles at 6.4 mph for a total trip to date of 546 nm. There is a tremendous amount of current in this marina and with the wind it was very difficult to get into a slip. The harbormaster picked the slip that it would be easiest for us to get into, and his helpers aided us all they could.

We found it was a lot cheaper to stay for a week, and that meant that we got a regular slip and did not have to stay on the outer dock where you are subject to wakes and more wind and current than the inner slips
Outer docks - subject to wakes

Outer docks - subject to wakes


It is windy and there is a current, so it is hard getting the boat positioned in the slip so we can get off, and yet so that it doesn't overhang the pier in the front. Bob and I have to pull as hard as we can together to hold the boat in position so the lines can be adjusted, and then Bob had to move really fast to secure the lines before I have to let the boat slip forward again. We are in the last slip on C dock. It proves to have only 50 amp service, and we need 30 amp. We walk up to the office, and get a splitter, and information. The showers are up at the Hilton Hotel. We walk up there and get lunch/dinner barbecue sandwiches which are very good, with cole slaw and potato salad. Also hot tea. I download some pocketmail, and we use the bathrooms, and then come back to the boat.

Bob starts to mend some of the bimini curtains where the thread has dry rotted. There is only one sail shop in this area, and they can't handle anything this week. He also tries to rent a car, but they are all reserved. I called Kathy and told her we were here, and asked them to come tomorrow morning. Rob will be working tomorrow afternoon, and she will be working Thurs and Friday.

Our TV cable won't reach to the box here either, but I think we'll get almost as much TV from the antenna. They only have 11 channels. We watch TV and have hot cocoa and go to bed.

We spend a week in Charleston where my son lives.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 14:18 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Thanksgiving and Crashing and Crunching into Florida

Visiting our son in Charleston and Going "Outside" for the first time


View 2000-01 Novices Overcoming ICW Obstacles & Bermuda on greatgrandmaR's travel map.

Wednesday, November 22, 2000
From the marina looking across the Cooper River

From the marina looking across the Cooper River

Ship in the harbor

Ship in the harbor


Aircraft carrier from the marina

Aircraft carrier from the marina



Our son Rob and DIL and the kids came over in two cars intending to leave us one. We had intended to sleep on the boat and rent a car to get back and forth, but being a holiday weekend there were no rental cars, and our son wanted us to come and stay at their house. Eventually, I went home with my DIL and the kids and Bob and our son took the scuba bottles to be refilled and did some shopping, and Bob dropped our son off at work. I opened the one mail package, and looked at the other packages that were there, checking to see what had come and took a shower. After dinner, our DIL and Bob drove over and dropped the car off for our son to get home at 1 am.

Packages - apparently everything has come that I ordered except those for the family of our daughter in Miami.

23 November 20000 - Thanksgiving

Our DIL went to work at 8, and our son took care of the kids and started the turkey. She had precooked just about everything else including making cranberry sauce. They let her off early, so she was home right after 1, and we had a nice dinner and a relaxing day. I even got to cut Bob's hair finally. Talked to two of our daughters on the phone and found that the packages to Miami had gotten there.
Grandson playing chess with his mother

Grandson playing chess with his mother


November 24, 2000 - Friday

On Friday our DIL went to work again. A second package of mail came. I called the home phone number billing, and discovered that since I had limited service (pay a charge for every outgoing call - which I thought would be sensible since I wasn't going to be making any calls) meant that every time voice mail was accessed, that was charged as an outgoing call. I was outraged. My bill was the same as when I was there. No messages because most calls were telemarketers or wrong numbers or someone who hung up without leaving a message, but a charge for every one. So I told them to take their voice mail OFF.

I also discovered that USAA hadn't removed the collision on the cars like I told them to. I was quite upset about that, as it increased our bill by a lot. The front LectraSan stopped working last week, and we've been communicating the them about it. Turned out that some soldering had fallen off the panel. We still hadn't gotten the LectraSan control panel

Bob and our son went shopping in the a.m while our DIL was at work (Bob wanted a sewing awl to repair the bimini curtains where the thread was dry rotting - our son eventually found one at a stable). We also bought a phone so we could hook up to phone service at marinas if necessary. I gave the cord to the wall to them so that they could hook both their bedroom phone and the computer up at the same time. And Bob got an additional extension cable for our TV.) We all got into the car and went to the Piggly Wiggly to get groceries and ice, and then down to the marina.

Our DIL was to meet us after work so we could go on the Yorktown, but we finished up sooner than we expected, and drove over to the parking lot hoping to intercept her. She came past and the kids all waved, but she didn't see us, and it took us about an hour to find her again.
Son's family walking down the deck of the Yorktown

Son's family walking down the deck of the Yorktown

Bob and Rob walking down the deck

Bob and Rob walking down the deck


We went on the Yorktown first and looked at the planes. Our grandson, granddaughter and DIL went on the flight simulator.
Detail of one of the exhibits

Detail of one of the exhibits


Bob was very annoyed at how they'd carved up the Yorktown and filled it with exhibits and planes that had nothing to do with that ship so it wasn't a bit like when he was on it. I think our grandson enjoyed it though.
Coast Guard Cutter INGHAM

Coast Guard Cutter INGHAM


As it got dark, we went down into the submarine the USS CLAMAGORE. Bob served as an enlisted man on submarines before he went to the Naval Academy. He was much happier with the submarine presentation because it was more like when he served on submarines.
Submarine

Submarine


The website says: "USS CLAMAGORE was commissioned on June 28, 1945, as the war in the Pacific was drawing to a close. Based at Charleston for much of her career, she cruised Atlantic and Mediterranean waters for nearly thirty years, including critical patrols at the height of the Cuban missile crisis in 1962. Twice modified from her original World War II configuration, Clamagore continued in service as one of the U. S. Navy's last diesel-powered submarines until decommissioned in 1975.
Submarine

Submarine


"Aboard the Clamagore, it is easy to visualize what it was like to live onboard a submarine, visit her control room, crew's berthing and mess areas, engine rooms, maneuvering room and a memorial to submariners lost at sea. "

In truth it is hard to do much to butcher up a submarine - there isn't enough room inside. This is not a handicapped available exhibit because each section of the submarine is cut off by watertight doors and you have to step over the sill.

Afterward, it was so late, that we went to a restaurant for dinner. The kids were pretty tired by then.

November 25, 2000 - Saturday

Our son left about 1 a.m. to go to work and took the Jeep. Bob wanted to get gas in the car and then go to the air station and shop, but it was raining off and on. We finally went anyway. We saw our son's truck at the base (he was working at Hess Oil as a delivery driver) . Our granddaughter had a birthday party after lunch,- fortunately our son got home almost in time for her to go because her mom didn't have a car. Our DIL had left us some delicious turkey sandwiches for lunch.

Last year, in the evening, we visited the Beidler Forest. We visited the little information center (my grandson was leery of the snakes) and took a self-guided tour on the 1.75 mile boardwalk which runs through the old growth forest over the black swamp water.
Boardwalk

Boardwalk


It was cool, calm and peaceful in the forest.
Reflections

Reflections


We saw a few birds and some turtles sunning on the logs as we followed the tour pamphlet. We were also able to look up inside a hollow tree
The_inside_of_a_tree

The_inside_of_a_tree

Granddaughter by the hollow tree

Granddaughter by the hollow tree

Granddaughter

Granddaughter

DIL's picture of me

DIL's picture of me

My photo of them

My photo of them

Rob's family

Rob's family


The Beidler Forest was originally established to preserve 1,800 acres of old-growth swamp forest, one of only two stands of old-growth still left in the state. Most of the huge Bald cypress in this part of the swamp are in the neighborhood of 1000 years old. The oldest known tree on the sanctuary clocked in at 1500 years old. There's also several miles of hiking potential on old logging roads, and a canoe trail on which guided trips are led

November 26, 2000 - Sunday

In the morning, our son took us down to the boat with all our various purchases, and then left for work. We walked up to the marina office to straighten out the billing and the phone line, and went up and got another barbecue sandwich. I got some photos of dolphins right in the marina
261480.jpg Dolphin in the marina

Dolphin in the marina

Dolphin fin

Dolphin fin


November 27, 2000 - Monday

Monday I did a few more rounds with LectraSan (who were closed from Weds to Mon) while Bob took the hotel van over to Charleston to shop. He brought back pralines. LectraSan claimed that they'd shipped us the part (and charged our credit card for it) and that UPS sent it to California by mistake. Rob (who used to work for UPS) said they probably never sent it. I told them to send another one to our daughter in Miami. I spend some time on the computer doing e-mail, and we went up to the hotel for dinner at the regular dining room. I had a steak which I brought most of it back. We had sherbet for dessert.

We are leaving tomorrow heading for Miami. Next: Dawho River

28 November 2000- Tuesday

Tuesday morning, we left about 8:30. We didn't leave before that because the Wappoo Creek Bridge doesn't open between 6:30 and 9. I didn't sleep very well last night and I watched TV too late (Monday night football, but I don't know who won.).

Bob went up to the office to give them back their phone book etc., and I started the engine. It took me 3 tries and then I had to put it into neutral by pulling the little tab out. We cruised across the harbor - me at the wheel having a heart attack because Bob was stowing the lines and the gate in the life lines was open and he didn't have his life vest on.
Looking back at Patriot's point

Looking back at Patriot's point

Shore

Shore


The sun was in my eyes but we managed to get across the harbor. There wasn't much traffic.
0028-0900.jpgCharleston from the ICW

Charleston from the ICW

Charleston

Charleston


The we went along the Battery in Charleston where all the big old homes are. I called the Wappo Creek Bridge, and the woman answered in a foreign accent. I don't think she understood English very well - she only gave set replies and never really answered any questions. She said she was opening at 9:30 and 10. I thought we might make the 9:30 opening, but Bob thought not. So we circled there in the Ashley River until about 9:45. After we went under the bridge, Bob saw some dolphins and we passed a 4 masted tall ship.
Four masted ship

Four masted ship

Four masted ship

Four masted ship

Four masts

Four masts


Two boats that were behind us at the bridge including and Island Packet named ISHMAEL. A motor boat with bikes on the swim platform passed us but Bob steered into the wake and we hardly noticed. They passed the next boat up and I guess they weren't paying attention because the sailboat really tossed and rolled violently.

We went through Elliot Cut (fortunately the current wasn't too bad) and up towards the Limehouse bridge on the Stono River. We thought the Limehouse bridge opened on the hour and half hour. [Figuring how much speed to go at to get to a specific place at a specific time - taking current and wind into account is a little like I imagine rally driving would be.] We saw that the Limehouse Bridge opened at 11, and slowed down so that we could go through at 11:30. The boats ahead of us, however, got to the bridge at 11:10, and the bridge opened for them. I called on the radio to ask when it was scheduled to open. Did not get any response. Finally, after I'd given up and gone back into the cockpit, the bridge answered. She said she opened on demand. So we went through by ourselves.
Limehouse bridge keeper's house

Limehouse bridge keeper's house

Limehouse Bridge

Limehouse Bridge

Limehouse bridge closing

Limehouse bridge closing


We crossed the 480 mile mark after 15 miles at 11:35.

We went by a
Shipyard which does contract work for the armed forces

Shipyard which does contract work for the armed forces


We crossed the 480 mile mark after 15 miles at 11:35. We saw a pier with a fake owl on one post, and all the other posts had cormorants on them. The country changed to salt marsh on one side and big homes with Spanish moss draped live oak trees on the other. Bob saw a grounded sailboat while I was in the head. Saw a moored sailboat, apparently abandoned, with the boom swinging out over the water and the sail like a droopy petticoat.
SC 174 Highway bridge crossing the ICW

SC 174 Highway bridge crossing the ICW


We passed under the SC 174 highway bridge and turned up a small creek at mile 501 and anchored by 3:00 pm after 36.3 miles at 5.9 mph and a total of 577 nautical miles. The Island Packet ISHMAEL which passed us earlier was already there. We were between narrow banks of mud - within 50 yards of the bank in 14 feet of water. The boat swung to the tide and not the wind. When the tide changed all the boats swung around 180 degrees.

We ate dinner in the cockpit as the sun was setting over the marsh, and a ketch came into the creek - no name or number on this boat. He went back and forth several times before deciding to anchor around the next bend.
Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset


After dark when the tide was going out, I could see ISHMAEL's anchor light by looking out the aft port from our bunk. When the tide changed and the boat swung around I looked out and saw lights moving across rapidly.
Highway from the anchorage during the day

Highway from the anchorage during the day


I said to Bob - The boat's swinging wildly!! He went out and looked - the creek was mirror calm. I had been looking at the car lights on the highway. I could download pocketmail from here pretty well.

After Bob was asleep I tried to plan our route for the next day, and decided to anchor off Port Royal south of Beaufort, and then go to a marina in Savannah. I discovered we didn't have any computer charts for GA or FL.

Wednesday 29 November 2000 to Dataw

Woke early and Bob started the engine about 6:30. Oops - throttle cable broke. He worked on it and finally got it back together about 9:30. In the meantime I called Rob and told him where we were and what the problem was. After 9 I also called the computer chart people, and asked them to send Rob the missing charts. We decided to go to Dataw Island Marina about 20 miles away because they have all the facilities and also engine repair people. For some reason, the island is called "Datha" but the development and marina are "Dataw". I don't know why.

The trip was relatively uneventful and we were tied up at 2 pm after 24.4 miles at 5.5 mph and a total trip of 599 nautical miles. We ordered a new cable, and transmission seals, did laundry, downloaded email on the courtesy phone, and had dinner - very expensive restaurant. We split a rack of lamb with each of us having our own drink, salad, roll and dessert, and the total bill was $47.00. We get free cable TV here. They gave me directions for Rob to bring us the charts which the Capn people have sent overnight mail [I will need the e-charts for Georgia and Florida pretty soon] and I dictated them to our DIL.
Sunset

Sunset

0029-1744.jpgDusk

Dusk


Thursday 30 November 2000

We got the new cable, but Bob ordered the connectors too small and he used the old ones. The new cable works fine and we saved the old one in case. Got a guy to align the transmission and Bob watched while he did it.
0030-1255.jpgGranddaughter

Granddaughter

Bob and granddaughter in cockpit

Bob and granddaughter in cockpit

Stern

Stern

Stern closer

Stern closer

Dinghy motors (2) on the aft raling

Dinghy motors (2) on the aft raling

Son with Bob in the cockpit

Son with Bob in the cockpit

Son in cockpit

Son in cockpit

Christmas lights

Christmas lights


Rob and our granddaughter came with the charts and I installed them on the computer. They had lunch with us, and then he went back so he'd be there when our grandson got back from school. We got the seals (and the bill for all that).

1 December 2000

We left about 7:30 to 8. The moon and Venus were in the same position as on the SC state flag last night - just needed a palmetto tree. It was a beautiful day. Bob did put on his life jacket (and the river was dead calm) to stow all the lines, but the throttle spring was too stiff and couldn't move it up past 1500 rpm without it automatically returning. He fixed it once he realized that it really was that way and not just whimpy throttle handling on my part.

We pulled out the jib as we got back to the waterway (the marina was 3 miles off it), and joined a procession of other boats, also with their jibs out. We were doing about 7.5 mph. The boats were: FORCE 8 a Bermuda boat who followed us down Bogue Sound and into the Mile Hammock Bay anchorage. (FORCE 8 eventually went into an area which I think was a yard just north of the Beaufort swing bridge.)

KIAORI II, a Niagara 42 Canadian boat first seen in Mile Hammock Bay who Bob had spoken to when we were in Oriental. They went to the same marina we are at. They have their boat name on a cloth banner draped over their dinghy. They also have a cat. She said the cat fell in recently and did not care for the experience.

PRIME INTEREST - also first seen after leaving Oriental. They are also at the same marina we are. They said they'd anchored 35 miles N. of Charleston but let out an extra 10 feet of anchor rode which meant that at low tide they were aground on the bank. He said without the extra 10 feet they'd have been OK. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise because they called Tow Boat US, and when the tide came up and they were free, their water pump went out, so they needed TBUS anyway and had already called. They said the tow boat person recommended a marina to them (didn't say which one) and the repair person there was able to fix their water pump on Sat a.m. of Thanksgiving weekend. As they were coming in yesterday, a small boat wake pushed their dinghy under their swim platform and punctured it.

AGREEMENT I -a Canadian boat from Montreal with a yellow bimini. They had a hammock slung across the stern, and a wake from a passing power boat (Agreement was on our starboard and two power boats passed at the same time - one between us and one on our port - they didn't see the one on our port) dumped the occupant back into the cockpit. I think they went into Skull Creek Marina a little way up

MOODSHADOW who apparently is traveling with KIAORA II - another Canadian boat.

We pulled in the jib and we go to the Beaufort Bridge. The first boat in line called the bridge, and found it wouldn't open for about 40 minutes. So we all idled back. There were 5 of us and another little sailboat in the back who motored hard and made the bridge opening at the tail end.
Ladies Island bridge - Beaufort SC

Ladies Island bridge - Beaufort SC

Ladies Island Bridge

Ladies Island Bridge

Boats behind us going through the swing bridge in Beaufort

Boats behind us going through the swing bridge in Beaufort

Beaufort Marina

Beaufort Marina


I called ahead to get a place at the Outdoor Resorts Marina at Hilton Head Island. I couldn't get them before 9. They wanted to know if we had an RV or a boat. I said a conservative estimate of our ETA was 4 pm, and we wanted fuel, so they said they'd put us on the fuel dock.
Passing the Marine base at Parris Island

Passing the Marine base at Parris Island

PRIME INTEREST behind us going down Port Royal Sound followed by a heliocopter

PRIME INTEREST behind us going down Port Royal Sound followed by a heliocopter


We went down the Beaufort River past Parris Island (occasionally buzzed by helicopters) - sometimes with the jib out - and across Port Royal Sound to Skull Creek and got to the resort about 2. When I called on the radio, the dock master said he had several boats to place before us and asked us to slow down and not get there for 10 minutes. KIAORA II and MOONSHADOW went in first and were on the fuel dock. There was a big motor boat at the fuel dock. PRIME INTEREST was circling around with us (that's when the accident to their dinghy happened).

He asked us if we wanted fuel first and we said yes (PRIME INTEREST had said no). So when the motor boat left, we went into the fuel dock, and he went out in a john boat to lead PRIME INTEREST into a slip. He said they were shoe-horned in. Then, since we were earlier than expected, he put us inside too at a T head. The dock crew were very admiring of the way Bob handled the docking - he was very slick I must admit. The young boy said he'd never seen it done better.
RosalieAnn in Hilton Head

RosalieAnn in Hilton Head


Marina - Hilton Head

Marina - Hilton Head


So we were tied up by about 3 after 39.3 miles at 5.9 mph for a total trip of 632 nm. When we inquired about the tides (the tide was on the ebb when we came in), we discovered that we won't be able to get out until about 9 the next day. Low tide is about 6.
Hilton Head

Hilton Head

Outdoor Resorts

Outdoor Resorts

Night photo of Hilton Head

Night photo of Hilton Head


We found they would let me us the fax line to upload and download mail (including an e-mail that was 1800 characters too long to get all of it on the pocketmail). We found the laundry room (which we didn't need as we did it yesterday). When we went up to have dinner, we saw them putting Christmas lights up. I tried to take some pictures of the marina at night. We had dinner in the restaurant - another fancy smancy place with prices to match. Hot tea was $2.95. THey had no simple desserts like ice cream. A strawberry pecan bread pudding was $4.95. I had a good beef bean soup, and should just have gotten a salad. Instead I had a chicken pasta dish which was really too rich. Bob had a glazed pork chop. Then I sat up and planned our route and wrote e-mails.

2 December 2000

We will not be able to get out until the tide is higher this morning. We are almost aground at low tide. So I was writing e-mail preparing to go up at 9 and send it when Bob brought me breakfast. I spilled almost a whole cup of cranberry juice in the bunk. Bob kept trying to get me to blot it up with a damp washcloth, but that was completely inadequate.

We got underway at 9:45. Everyone else was still there when we left. Going down toward Calibogue Sound so lots of fancy houses on Hilton Head Island.
Hilton Head from the ICW

Hilton Head from the ICW

large_0002-1008x.jpgFake lighthouse marking Hilton Head Marina

Fake lighthouse marking Hilton Head Marina

Hilton Head

Hilton Head


Saw what I thought was a crab pot boat towing something, but it proved to be just a LOT of gulls following in the wake.

Pulled out the jib and motor sailed down the sound doing as much as 8 mph. Before we turned into the Cooper River (a different one) we passed the Haig Point lighthouse
Haig Point Lighthouse

Haig Point Lighthouse


on Daufuskie Island where there is no vehicular access. We were passed by ferries to the islands going both direction.
Daufuskie Island Ferry

Daufuskie Island Ferry

Daufuskie Island

Daufuskie Island


(One book says the name come from a corruption of The First Key (WRONG), and other says it is Indian for Place of Blood (less wrong).)

The weather is cloudy with a nw wind of about 7-8 knots. We pulled in the jib as we went under the power cable into Ramshorn Creek. We passed under the bridge at Thunderbolt, and by the Palmer Johnson marina (where we saw DESTINY tied up). It is starting to rain and be nasty, so we went up into the Herb River and anchored by 2:30 after 28.5 miles at 6 mph for a total of 657 nm.
Herb River Anchorage

Herb River Anchorage


COSMOS the other CSY is also anchored here. Also POLAR BEAR, and a boat with dark topsides from D.C. KISMET comes in later and anchors ahead of us, and CHARISMA anchors closer to the end of the creek with another boat. We are fairly comfortable although there is a fairly brisk wind from the north and there is no wind protection from the north. But the low marshy banks keep there from being much fetch. The tide and current has more effect and the boat swings around 180 degrees, and Bob worries that we will swing or drag into someone's dock so he doesn't sleep well and is up and down all night. The windmill whined all night generating electricity.

3 December 2000

The temperature got down to 42.5 F last night. Bob started the engine at 6 in order to flush the toilet. He made bacon, grilled cheese and hot tea for breakfast and pulled the anchor. He started pulling the anchor by 7:30 and were well underway by 8. A bit damp, but not actually raining.

A power boat that passed us yesterday (and that we passed while he was getting fuel in Thunderbolt) named PET ROCK passed us again. Heard people talking on the radio - seemed to indicate that the Palmer Johnson marina was out of fuel. Also someone talking to a boat going outside and he said it wasn't bad out there.
Isle of Hope

Isle of Hope


Passed DUNA (a boat from our home marina in Point Lookout) - she was at the Isle of Hope Marina.
Skidmore Narrows Bridge

Skidmore Narrows Bridge


Went through the Skidmore Narrows Bridge - the last bridge opening that we have to do in GA.

Pulled out the sail in the Vernon River and Bob made hot chocolate. I have almost no pictures of this area because there's nothing to take a picture of. The country is so flat and with so few trees that you can see a sailboat mast from a long distance, without being able to tell exactly where they are in relation to the ICW. Few signs of man except for sailboat masts across the marsh grass or gravel and sand bars. There's no phone service on either cell phone.
Shrimp boat

Shrimp boat


I called for reservations at the Kilkenny Creek Marina because it was another raw damp day, and Bob got chilled and started to shiver. I wanted electricity so we could have heat.

Went through Hell Gate and it wasn't too bad. The tide gave us a boost up the Ogeechee. We get to the Kilkenny Marina by 12:44 (much earlier than expected) after 32.5 miles at 6.4 mph, for a total of 685 nm.
Kilkenny Creek Marina

Kilkenny Creek Marina


Their floating docks are wooden on blue barrels, so you have to walk carefully as they bounce around a bit. When you stop on it, it gives under your weight. The bigger pieces just give a little, but the smaller connector ones dip down a lot. It is like walking on a jungle suspension bridge. There were several boats anchored up from the marina. The anchorage looked as protected as anything in this flat country ever is.
Location of Kilkenny Creek anchorage beside the marina

Location of Kilkenny Creek anchorage beside the marina


MERIDIAN a big power boat that we saw last at Dock Holidays Marina came in and got 300 gal. of fuel. They expect to be in Jacksonville tomorrow. They complained because they have only 3 sides to the steering station. Also a boat named EZ BREEZES came in - very chilled - with an aft cockpit boat and no heat.
Fuel dock at Kilkenny Creek Marina

Fuel dock at Kilkenny Creek Marina


Since their pay phone was intermittent and wasn't too reliable, he let me use his only phone line to download e-mail. I had the laptop on the freezer in their very warm one room office/bait sales/lounge.
Outside area at Kilkenny Creek

Outside area at Kilkenny Creek

Kilkenny Creek marina office

Kilkenny Creek marina office


No cable at the boat, and we could get reception on only two good channels with the antenna. Watched football on the one good channel. Seems to be cold in Jacksonville too.

4 December 2000 - In the Wilds of Georgia

Last night the heater made the cabin so hot that I got up and turned it off. I was wearing a heavy shirt and sleeping under a blanket and a quilt. Bob was not sleeping under his quilt. It got down to 64 deg F inside, and Bob got cold and complained (and turned on the heater again) but still didn't get out his quilt. It was back up to 69 by 7 a.m., but he was still complaining. There was frost on the inside of the bimini which later melted and dripped on us.

There was also frost on the enclosure curtains and on the dock. Since we are tied to the dock starboard side to, and the boat backs to starboard, and there is a lot of current pushing us forward, Bob is concerned that we will hit the boat ahead of us while trying to get out. I suggest that he pull the boat back a couple of feet (there's no one behind us on the face dock), and then let the bow go first, and then back up onto the dock which will make the bow swing out. So that's what we did. The guy from the boat ahead came out to help, or to be sure we don't hit him or both, but we did OK without him having to help much. We got away from the dock about 8.

We pulled out the jib in St. Catherine's Sound. It is pretty common for people in the ICW to fly their headsails if there is any wind at all. The winds are light and variable. The day is sunny and bright to the starboard without a cloud in the sky, and on the port side the clouds are grey and lowering.

Two Great Bay Pushers (Bob's name for some power boats) come past us in the South Newport River and toot at us twice. We toot back twice that's etiquette. They do slow down a bit to pass. A big power boat from Miami named SHIPFACED passes very close. I don't think that's a good name for a boat. Pulled the jib in.

We pull out the jib again in Sapalo Sound and surf up the sound with a following wind of 3-5 knots apparent. Big flocks of gulls that are resting on the water fly up as we come thru. We see more shrimp boats. The temperature outside is 41 deg. F and Bob makes hot chocolate. The Coast Guard Securite broadcasts are from Mayport FL now.
Shrimp boat

Shrimp boat


Some hysterical lady is lambasting power boats about their passing wake. She does not identify her boat, and we can't tell if she's ahead or behind. I took a picture of a tree full of snowy egrets,

Trees full of snowy egrets

Trees full of snowy egrets

and a lighthouse that was abandoned and has been restored. About 2:00 we saw two houses hidden in a clump of trees. They must be accessible only by boat. We see goats on an island.

We pass two boats anchored in the Back River where I wanted to stop, but Bob wanted to go as far as possible and so I could not persuade him to stop and anchor there or in the Duplin, or Darien Rivers. I think he felt that we had lost a lot of time by stopping off at Kilkenny Creek.. We go off the ICW at SM 658 in the Altamaha River to anchor in behind Dolbow Island, just north of Little St. Simon's Island. We are anchored by 3:30 pm after 47 miles at 6.3 mph for a total of 726 nm.
Little St Simon Island anchorage

Little St Simon Island anchorage


Holding was good, but there is little wind protection. ROSIE who has been following us passes, and PIKA comes in and anchors right off LIttle St. Simon's Island at the entrance of a little creek. There were no other signs of civilization. It was dead calm all night - no wind - although the boat did swing with the current when the tide changed. Tide is 8-9 feet here. There was no traffic.

We can only get 2 regular channels on TV - one is WTOC out of Savannah

5 December 2000

The temperature got down to 34 deg F outside last night, but it wasn't bad as it was 10 deg hotter in the boat. We both wore our clothes to bed like we used to do camping when I was a little girl, and this time we both slept under our quilts, and were not at all cold. Although getting up to use the bathroom was a bit like getting up to use an outhouse must have been.

Bob started the engine at 7 and we were pulling the anchor by 7:45. His wash down pump got a short, so he just let the current wash off the chain. A Tow Boat US passed us going north in Buttermilk Sound. We saw several porpoises (dolphins).
Scuba bottle box which blocks the view to the rear

Scuba bottle box which blocks the view to the rear


Running the ranges is hard when they are northbound ranges - the scuba box gets in the way of seeing whether you are on the range. Coming down past Brunswick we saw the new suspension bridge that is half built. Bob wants to know if we are going there, and it was hard to tell from the chart, but we weren't.
Brunswick bridge

Brunswick bridge

Brunswick Bridge

Brunswick Bridge


There is a big ship anchored in the channel, with a lighthouse beyond.
Anchored ship

Anchored ship

Jekyll Island 'clubhouse' peeks above the trees

Jekyll Island 'clubhouse' peeks above the trees

Jekyll Island marina

Jekyll Island marina

Jekyll Island

Jekyll Island


We intend to go to Jekyll Island Marina. get fuel, and use their courtesy car to get groceries. Bob sprained his knee or something back last summer and doesn't want to do a lot of marathon walking. We hear CHARISMA calling them on the radio. There is a big power boat behind us which does not want to pass. It turns out to be ENDLESS VACATION from Annapolis, and they want to go to the same marina. The marina is just past the new fixed bridge and the old swing bridge, which is still there for fishing, but with the swing part taken out.
Approaching Jekyll Island marina

Approaching Jekyll Island marina

Highway bridge

Highway bridge

Old and new bridges

Old and new bridges

Fixed bridge and old draw bridge

Fixed bridge and old draw bridge


The fuel dock is on the north end, almost in the shadow of the bridge. Fortunately, the current is away from the bridge. CHARISMA is there in the best easiest spot getting fuel and that restricts the area that we have to put the boat into. But Bob eventually maneuvers us into the dock and we get 25 gallons of fuel. They put us on the outside dock down at the other end. Directly behind us is a boat names WHIPPORWILL with a dinghy named TWHEE. We are tied up by noon, after 25.9 miles at 6.7 mph for a total of 748 nm.

I talked to Jan and Hank who wanted to buy a CSY but decided that the 44 was too much for them, and settled for an Island Packet. They are leaving their boat here for the winter and driving home. Unfortunately, no local cars can be rented for a one way trip, nor can they be taken out of state. So they got a ride to the airport, rented a car, and then have to go to Savannah to get a car that they can drive to MD (they live in Columbia) and drop off there, and then drive back to drop of the local car.
Jekyll Island marina

Jekyll Island marina


We had Brunswick stew at the restaurant for lunch. Bob can't understand with all the shrimping going on how come shrimp is so expensive. Local shrimp is almost 9$/lb.
RosalieAnn at the Jekyll Marina fuel dock

RosalieAnn at the Jekyll Marina fuel dock

RosalieAnn bow

RosalieAnn bow


We have free cable TV, and we borrow the courtesy car and got groceries and also got ice.The grocery is about the size of the old Leonardtown grocery next to the bank and doesn't have any fresh veggies except for salad type. I downloaded e-mail twice, and after the office closed at 6 I tried to use the pay phone (only one) to do pocketmail, but the phone and the pocketmail refused to talk. While waiting I talked to some guys who were phoning their wives each night - they were taking a trawler down.

Bob had bought a new heater in Charleston and he started using it tonight - it has a thermostat so I won't be tempted to turn it off!!!

6 December 2000 - A Rock Crunching Exit

We both have trouble sleeping, so we wake up cranky. We've decided to go out Brunswick Inlet into the ocean to got down to the St. Mary's River. This will be our first venture out into the ocean. The weather forecast seems good- light north winds are forecast. . So after the power boat ahead of us leaves, we start off. We go around the south side of the island, which has the mast of a shrimp boat wreck sticking up. How did that happen? Will that be our fate too?
Wreck South end of Jekyll Island toward the ocean

Wreck South end of Jekyll Island toward the ocean

South end of Jekyll Island

South end of Jekyll Island


The first part - almost out the channel - is also used by the ICW, and that's fine.
Looking back at the ICW

Looking back at the ICW

Going offshore

Going offshore


But the books say that one shouldn't exit at this point without local knowledge. There is a LONG line of breakers extending down from the north. We see a fair number of shrimp boats out. Bob gets out the staysail for the first time in awhile, and then gets all the sails up. We motor sail, but the winds are quite light - not the 10-15 knots that was forecast. Bob takes in the jib and then starts fooling with a way to keep the boom over to one side.

Suddenly I notice that the breaker line is very close and it is getting shallow. I yell "Breakers, Breakers" at Bob. He doesn't understand the situation, and apparently thinks he's too close to the red buoy on our port. The depth alarm goes off and he's still going the wrong direction. Then WHAM, we come down hard on something - probably a sand bar. I hope not rocks. The breaking waves wash us off and then back down again. We hit at least 3 times really teeth-jarring hard. Eventually the waves lift us and we are over on the other side of what is probably a sand bar. Bob hopes aloud that the rudder is OK. I take comfort in the fact that we have a heavy well built boat which is known as a coral crusher.

We idle along because there are two shrimp boats with their nets across where we want to go, and then resume speed. Bob checks the engine room, and all appears to be OK.

We have 7.5 knots of wind from the NE for a little while. No particular waves. Eventually, Bob gives in and puts the sails away and we motor. We arrive at the St. Marys River Inlet a little before 1400. Coming in the St. Mary's River is a piece of cake (we see a submarine going out from their base at King's Bay GA).
Submarine going out the inlet- most of it is underwater and it makes a big wake

Submarine going out the inlet- most of it is underwater and it makes a big wake

001206-1354.jpgComing in the inlet

Coming in the inlet


There are ranges to use and the water is deep and has a lot of buoys. The only problem is a multitude of shrimp boats all of which appear to be heading toward us.

I start calling the Tiger Point Marina, but they don't answer. I try the cell phone and it won't even call. I try the bag phone and it rings and rings with no answer - even the emergency number. I try the radio and again no answer. Eventually, someone whom I apparently talked to last night (although I don't know who it is) and who I told that we were going outside comes up on the radio says that they are chock full and have stopped answering the phone, and tells me a couple other marinas to try. So I call on the bag phone to Fernandina Harbor Marina. He says that they don't take reservations, but that he's sure they can accommodate me. So we go to Fernandina Beach, which is a nice municipal marina right in town.

As we are going into the inlet we pass an ocean going tug and the Casino Ship STARDANCER coming out. Also a little sailboat which is trying to sail. I took a picture of Ft Clinch.
Fort Clinch

Fort Clinch

Fort Clinch

Fort Clinch


I've never gotten to Ft. Clinch because it is too far away from the marina, and I have never felt like taking a taxi. In the beginning I was calling it Ft. Clink, like the German guy in Hogan's Heros We pass down the river past a paper mill and some cranes, and we see the anchorage across from the marina where, among other boats, COSMOS is anchored. Anchored cruisers can use the dinghy dock free unless they want to get rid of trash and take showers - then there's a charge.
Approaching Fernandina Beach

Approaching Fernandina Beach


I call on the radio, and they put us on the west side of dock #2. We have a hard time getting into that dock because we are port side to the dock and the boat won't back over that way. But we get tied up by 2:15 after 36.4 miles at 6.8 mph for a total of 780 nm. We go up and register
RosalieAnn docked

RosalieAnn docked


The office has an e-mail port.
Pelican on the marina roof

Pelican on the marina roof


We walk into town for lunch. Most places close at 2:30 or before. We finally go to 27 North, a coffeehouse, and get sandwiches just before they close at 3.
Sign about the Revolutionary War invasion of the British

Sign about the Revolutionary War invasion of the British

Signpost

Signpost

Main street

Main street


Then Bob walks to the hardware store to get (among other things) glue for his favorite sunglasses.
Shrimp boat

Shrimp boat


I go back to the boat to write e-mail.
Ferry boat off our stern

Ferry boat off our stern


I see someone walk up to the boat through the port while I am listening to Herb on SSB. I go out and it is Charlie and Sunny from COSMOS. We have a long conversation. They've been biking around the island. They leave about the time Bob is coming back because they have to take the bikes apart to put into the dinghy to take back to the boat. They introduce themselves to Bob as he's coming down the dock.

Bob has bought Santa Claus hats. He's thinking about getting a plastic reindeer for the staysail. Everyone has decorated for Xmas. After dark, we see that even the paper mill and the big cranes have Xmas lights.

At this point, my computer froze, so I went up to get e-mail before they closed at 6. There was an incredibly intense red sunset, so I had to take a picture of that first.
001206-1748.jpgSunset over the anchorage

Sunset over the anchorage

Lights on the Paper plant

Lights on the Paper plant

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset

Sunset


001206-1826.jpgSunset

Sunset


Then we walked up to the Crab Trap for dinner. I had oyster stew (forgetting that milk sometimes doesn't agree with me) and a salad, and cheese grits, which turned out to be cheese sticks, but with a batter of grits. Bob had an au gratin seafood dish which was too rich for him to eat more than half of. The food was quite reasonable in price.

We walked back to the boat and bought peanut brittle and ice cream cones at the candy store.
001206-1829.jpgLights after dark over our staysail boom

Lights after dark over our staysail boom

Christmas lights on the paper mill

Christmas lights on the paper mill


We decided to anchor off St. George island tomorrow and then go into St. Augustine the next night. SInce it is only 20 miles we think that we can use the marina showers tomorrow and I can send this e-mail before we leave.

We called our daughter in Miami, and she didn't know who I was. I only got Rob's answering machine. Bob is a little miffed that I've made a big thing of running aground and said we won't go outside again. I think we will though - just have to get our confidence back up.

Posted by greatgrandmaR 12:58 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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