A Travellerspoint blog

Ripped Apart by the Wind

Missing a Granddaughter's Birth


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

Wednesday, 4 April, 2001 Leaving Isle of Palms

JANET ANN left early, and then we left. We were passed by two other trawlers - STEEL MAGNOLIA and SUN CHASER. There was a third one GOOSE CHASE, but it never passed us although we heard them on the radio behind us. We passed a shrimp boat beached on the mud. Shore birds are mating on the mud flats.
04-1120.jpgShrimp docks in McClellanville

Shrimp docks in McClellanville


As power boats would pass us, the laughing gulls would prospect their wake. Saw a bunch of gourds for birdhouses hanging on a stake like a big bunch of grapes. The wind is on the nose at noon, and there is current against us. A sailboat named LUV IT passed us pretty close. A boat with a big frame on the top came up and passed. It turned out to be a
Trawler from Montreal.

Trawler from Montreal.


There were several bikes and a ladder on top, and more bikes on the stern along with fuel cans. I took a picture.
Close-up

Close-up


We came up to the ferry across the Mimms Creek Esterville Canal
7de69b70-eaeb-11e9-8680-e9532440dbe2.jpgMimms Creek Esterville Canal Ferry

Mimms Creek Esterville Canal Ferry


and they waved us on through. We were tied up in Georgetown by 4:30 at a marina called The Boat Shed. Nice people - let me do e-mail in the office. They have about 4 places for transient boats. No pay phones. Rest rooms aren't locked. It was $1/foot and that included electricity.
Boat shed marina

Boat shed marina


The picture shows the dry stack storage building for small power boats from the gas dock. The little brick building in the foreground is where the bathrooms are. There are also outdoor storage areas.

Next to the marina at the shrimp docks is a good place to buy fresh seafood.I took the picture of the shrimp boat from our boat (across the stern of a trawler which was flying a US flag).
Shrimp boat next to the marina

Shrimp boat next to the marina


We had done 53.9 miles at 6 mph. JANET ANN was already there, and we were behind another trawler named CIRCE. There was a cute little boy from a boat named TWILIGHT TIME fishing off the pier.

Bob walked up into town and I downloaded e-mail. STEEL MAGNOLIA, GOOSE CHASE, SUN CHASER and ODYSSEY all anchored right in front on the clock on the rice museum off Georgetown.
Rice Museum Clock tower

Rice Museum Clock tower


I heard the first 3 making arrangements to have dinner together because the people on GOOSE CHASE didn't want to leave their dog along on the boat.
Sweet Sensation anchored in Georgetown

Sweet Sensation anchored in Georgetown


Georgetown anchorage

Georgetown anchorage


We walked up into town.
Historic sign about the town clock

Historic sign about the town clock


Bob thinks they've missed a bet by having everything close down at 4:30 or 5. There were only two restaurants open past 6. We ate at the River Room.
River's Edge restaurant

River's Edge restaurant


I had a scallop, shrimp and cheese dish which was very rich. I ate all the veggies - salad, mashed potatoes, and a broccoli and squash mix, and the hard rolls, but I couldn't finish the casserole so I asked to take it back with me. The waitress forgot and threw it out. We had bread pudding for dessert, but instead of the light lemon cream sauce I'm used to it was a heavy sugary sauce with strawberry and kiwi fruit garnish. At least the waitress didn't charge for my dinner because she forgot and threw it out

Thursday 5 April 2001

JANET ANN leaves early and the CIRCE extricates himself from in front of us. STEEL MAGNOLIA and SUN CHASER and ODYSSEA leave - STEEL MAGNOLIA is bound for Barefoot Landing. We are only going to Wacha Wachee, so we leave at a more leisurely time. We are not going outside through the Georgetown inlet because the wind isn't going to be in the right direction. We see GOOSE CHASE leaving, and we pull out after them.
Ship anchored in Winyah Bay

Ship anchored in Winyah Bay


GOOSE CHASE calls us on the radio (calls us a sloop, but that's OK I guess) and says to get out our camera because there is a bald eagle on the daymark. It did look exactly like a bald eagle, but I thought bald eagles were bigger. I did take a photo, but it was against the sun.
Daymark with an eagle?

Daymark with an eagle?


GOOSE CHASE and the others were talking on the radio and TWILIGHT ZONE passed him and caused the boat to rock and broke some stuff so GOOSE CHASE complained on the radio.

I see a tug with two barges behind us as we leave Georgetown and head under the fixed bridge and up the Wacamaw River. It is going a little faster than we are, and is pretty far back. We decide to let them pass, so we hold up a bit. It is ISLAND BOY from Tampa and he has two barges of I beams. We 'draft' on him, staying as close as possible.

I had previously heard on the radio about a gill net strung across the river up by marker #77. Pretty soon, the tug and barges get to this point and the fisherman quickly moves his net for the tug to pass. We go by too. A sports fishing boat coming down the river is vigorously herded over to our side of the river by the net tender. As soon as we get by, he pulls it back across.
Wacca Wache

Wacca Wache

Store at Wacci Wache marina

Store at Wacci Wache marina


We got to Wacca Wache by noon, after 20.4 miles at 5.4 miles per hour for a total of 642 nautical miles. LUV IT, SUN CHASER and GOOSE CHASER are all here. GREAT LADY (a large motor boat) and JAGUAR (a sailboat from MD) come in after us, and SQUIRT, a trawler with dark blue topsides comes in after 6 and ties to the fuel dock. We had barbecue from the lunch counter for lunch and ate dinner in the cockpit.

Friday 6 April 2001

We started the engine at 7:30 and I spilled the juice from last night at dinner that I left in the cockpit and forgot. Bob was annoyed. GREAT LADY has already left to go to Norfolk. JAGUAR pulled out as we were leaving. SQUIRT left right after us. There is virtually no wind.

There are a lot of bushes with pink flowers on the shore. I think they are wild azaleas or rhododendron. The dogwood is in bloom too. The ospreys are nesting. I see one flying to his nest with a branch about 2 feet long. You can just see the tops of their heads sticking out of the nests.
Socastee Bridge

Socastee Bridge


We came to the Socastee Bridge. SQUIRT and JAGUAR are already there waiting for it to open - also ESCAPE IV from Mass. and SEA BONDS from Tilghman Island MD (both sailboats). A trawler named MATILDA II from Maine came up and passed and a Bayliner named MOONBOW from Crisfield also went by.HIgh tide

HIgh tide

New bridge in the Rockpile

New bridge in the Rockpile

When we got to Barefoot Landing, STEEL MAGNOLIA, SQUIRT and MOONBOW were all tied up there. We went on past. This time when we go through the RockPile it is high tide so we don't see the edges of the rock ledges, and it is sunny which gives a whole different perspective. We call the marina that we have made a reservation for (Lighthouse Keeper near Little River) on the radio, and on the phone but they don't answer. So I say, forget them and we went on the Cricket Cove. They ask if we mind being on the face dock, but we don't, so we head in. We see the guy coming down the dock in a golf cart as we run aground. Bob swears and backs off and goes back out into the channel, turns around and approaches from the north side. We are tied up with 40 miles at 7.2 mph for a total of 677 nm since leaving Miami.
Cricket Cove docks from the restaurant

Cricket Cove docks from the restaurant


After we tied up, SEA BONDS came in and tied up behind us. They are a Moody, and draw 5.5 feet, and he says they are having engine problems with oil usage, so they have been taking it slowly. Bob did the laundry there and was happy with it. They had 2 washers, whereas there was only one at Wacha Wachee. We ate at the restaurant (called a bar and grill), and had filet which was very good, but the chef forgot to wrap it in bacon. They brought the bacon later and he came to apologize. The food was very good - apparently under new management. Rolls were hot, and service was good - refilling Bob's tea every time he emptied it. There was a golfing paper on the table and I read it. It had a coupon for a free desert with an entree so I got that.
Party Boat

Party Boat


There is a party boat that goes up and down the river, but it just makes some noise and not much wake.

Saturday 7 April 2001

We get away from the dock early, just as LUV IT goes past. After talking to Herb on the SSB, we decide to go out the Little RIver inlet and come in the Cape Fear River to Bald Head island. The Bald Head website says it is protected, and it should be, but it is rough enough to be unsafe in winds from the south. Also the ferry boats rock you with their wake each time they come in or go out.

LUV IT goes down toward the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge which, since it floats on the water, has NO vertical clearance and ALL boats have to stop and wait here until it is pulled away over to the side. It opens only once an hour. That is one reason we are going outside - to avoid it.
Lighthouse at Lighthouse marina in the morning

Lighthouse at Lighthouse marina in the morning


We cautiously go out the inlet - there isn't much wind, but we know that the markers are moved to account for shoaling and we don't want to miss any. We see a whole bunch of guys boat camping on the inlet peninsula - they have tents, and boats drawn up on the shore. After we successfully negotiate the inlet, we put up the sails, and eventually turn off the engine. We hear people going through the pontoon bridge every hour (or missing it) and then the CG comes up on the radio and says the bridge is closed until further notice!! He doesn't say why, but I gather it is because of too low a tide.

A see a bird that is mostly white and I think it is a swan. Bob says no it is a sea gull. It is too big for a gull, and it just has black tips to the wings. I look in the bird book. It is a gannet, a bird that mostly stays at sea.

We come in the Cape Fear River. Out a ways from land, the water changes color abruptly from blue to olive. It is not the depth, so it must be the outflow from the river. As we were coming in between Bald Head Shoals and Jay Bird Shoals, a little power boat named WET DREAMS asked us to turn on our radio to 16. It was already on - so I asked him what his problem was. He didn't answer or I couldn't hear an answer. He apparently was having engine problems, as he later got a tow from a local sailboat. With a name like that I would have hesitated to give him a line, plus he did not appear to be in any danger or distress although I would have called the CG for him. Maybe out of beer, or his engine was cutting out, I don't know. We were bucking a current of a couple of knots and trying to stay in the center of the channel.
x660683.jpg[Approaching Bald Head

Approaching Bald Head

Bald Head

Bald Head


We get into Bald Head after 43.9 miles at 5.9 mph by 3 pm. We got fuel and then tied up. The Maritime Market has been moved from next to the marina to a location so that you have to rent a golf cart to get there. The prices were outlandish. In the winter (before Memorial Day), the price is $1.10/ft plus $5.00 for 30 amp, but last time we were there, they overcharged us by using the summer rate which is $1.30/ft. When I discovered I'd been overcharged, I called them and they gave me a credit. This was just the last straw. Not only is the marina unsafe in some winds, they have moved the store so you have to rent a golf cart to get to it and they've eliminated the Boat US discount, but they can't be bothered to charge the right amount.

GOOSE CHASE came in ahead of us, and I went over and talked to them. We agreed that we would have to leave early in the a.m. so that we have a favorable current up the river and through Snow's Cut.

As I walk on the docks there is a female mallard quacking pretty vociferously. A male mallard is making soft apologetic quacks at her. Two laughing gulls are sitting together on a post squawking in unison. I see a large flock of ibis - a couple of hundred - wheeling over the island. I take some more photos of the CSY that is apparently permanently docked here.
Bow

Bow

x001116-1517.jpgCSY

CSY

Cockpit

Cockpit


We have dinner at the restaurant that wasn't open last time (Ebb and Flo's) and we had the steamer dinner for 2. We couldn't sit outside because we would be eaten alive by no-see-ums. Service was poor - slow and the food was cold when we got it. They only gave us one seafood cracker and one non-plastic knife. This restaurant is closed in the winter. The dinner consisted of potatoes (a lot -the majority of the food in the dinner), a couple of little pieces of corn about 4" long, two enormous sausages (which I didn't eat as I don't care for sausage), some shrimp, some clams, some oysters and a half of a king crab. This was the entire dinner for two people. These are SMALL pots that the food is in.
Steamer dinner for two

Steamer dinner for two


Sunday 8 April 2001

GOOSE CHASE leaves by 6:30 and we leave Bald Head a little later to catch the tide coming into the river. According to my figures, the tide will be coming in up to about 8:30, and if we go through Snow Cut before 9:30, the tide will be with us too. We had a fair current (going the same direction as we were) up the Cape Fear River,
Ferry dock - Southport

Ferry dock - Southport


and through SNow's Cut. We heard GOOSE CHASE at the Wrightsville Beach bridge when we were still a good distance (7-8 miles) away. We went through at 11:00 with SEA BONDS who had spent the night at Southport. This bridge only opens on the hour.

We got to the Figure 8 bridge about noon. I see a flock of cormorants swimming in formation, and there are a lot of great egrets spaced like little white telephone poles along the shore. We also see some common loons.

This section of he waterway is apparently into lawn ornament one-up-manship. On the way down we saw a giant swan.
Swan on the Lawn

Swan on the Lawn


Now there is also a life sized giraffe,
Giraffe statue

Giraffe statue


and a large double sized shiny metal mermaid statue.
Salt dome house

Salt dome house

Golf clubhouse

Golf clubhouse


A couple out zooming around in an inflatable comes close to the boat to ask where we've been. A Corps of Engineers boat named FRY passes us going south with a very long piece of pipe sticking out the front end like a giant cannon. The signs along the shore prohibit the taking of " Oysters, Clams or Messels". We still see people mucking about in the mud.
Marina entrance sign and fishermen

Marina entrance sign and fishermen


We tied up in Harbor Village Marina at 43.9 miles at 6.8 mph for a total of 753 nm. it is a flat $1.20/ft. .

GOOSE CHASE is already there. Later SEA BONDS, and ODYSSEA pull in. We are on the far edge of the marina from the office, rest rooms, showers etc. The office is very close to us, but is across the channel.
Marina office across the canal from us

Marina office across the canal from us


We either have to hope that the courtesy car is on our side and drive around, or walk about a half mile around the basin. Since there was no restaurant there, we had hot dogs for lunch, and I took the car around with the guy from ODYSSEA when he registered and did e-mail in the lounge. We ordered Chinese for dinner. So did SEA BONDS. I got General Tso's Chicken ($7.25 with white rice as a single entree) and Bob got Sweet and Sour Pork. The dinner is less than $10, but we tip the delivery person. They must do quite well out of the marina because almost all the transients order Chinese from them.
Panda Chinese delivery menu

Panda Chinese delivery menu

Monday 9 April 2001

Bob got us underway before 6. today. The computer has us well up on land when we are in the marina. It is a new marina, and isn't on the charts.
Chart of new marina

Chart of new marina


We are starting to have to put salt in the Lectrasans again (they need salt water to work), and we are running out of salt. It was less than 6 miles (Bob thought it was 7) to the Sears Landing bridge so we were there well before the 8 o clock opening. There are a lot of signs around saying that this is "Batt Deeded Bottom" and the violators will be prosecuted. Crab pots are encroaching on the channel, and there are also some stacked in the salt marsh.
Surf City bridge

Surf City bridge


We went by the big pink house at Alligator Point with a lighthouse in the yard and a frieze of dolphins across the front. I took a picture this time.
Pink House

Pink House


ODYSSEA passed us and then pulled over at Swan's Point for fuel, and then passed us again. We caught them both at the Onslow Beach bridge which is run by the Marines. We met a tug just up from the bridge - it was ISLAND BOY coming back with empty barges.

SEA BONDS asks if the waterway is closed for Marine live ammunition exercises. I ask the bridge and the tender says he doesn't know about anything. We hear some cannon fire, and see some smoke inland to the left. We go past a firing range tower
Watch tower

Watch tower


with a big red flag on it (GOOSE CHASE says incorrectly that it is the Marine flag, but it isn't). There's a bunch of guys there with binoculars, but they are mostly looking out at the beach and the ocean - have their backs to us. The AM radio is supposed to have messages of exercises at 530.
Broken (?) equipment Camp Lejeune

Broken (?) equipment Camp Lejeune


We get to Swansdown and tie up at Dudley's Boatyard by 1:30 after 38.8 miles at 6.0 mph for a total of 786 nm. They tell us to come in starboard side to, but Bob doesn't do it - he goes in port side too because if there is any kind of wind toward the dock, we won't be able to get out because the boat only backs to starboard. So we are at the end of the dock, facing in the direction we want to go.

Dudleys is a BP station and boatyard, and we are on fixed docks for the first time in a long time. We are on the outside of B dock at the north end. Next to us on the inside of the dock is SQUIRT. There are floating finger docks off the north side of B dock, but I guess the water there is too skinny for us. Between the long dock that goes out to B face dock and the long dock that goes out to C face dock is a marine railway. On the railway being sanded and painted by an old man is a work boat named SMALL FRY. GOOSE CHASE is already here on D dock.

SEA BONDS comes in and is put on the long C dock up by the railway. Then a whole group come in together. BUENA SUERTE, an Island Packet goes on the B dock side of the marine railway slip behind SEA BONDS. STEEL MAGNOLIA goes on B face dock behind us. FARAWAY goes behind SQUIRT, and a little undocumented boat from MD with grey topsides being singlehanded goes on the first floating dock off B dock. Later another trawler, CHANGE OF HEART goes in next to GOOSE CHASE on D dock.

Bob took the courtesy car to the grocery store - he complained that they only had one tomato. SEA BONDS wants to get underway early, and he can't leave until BUENA SUERTE leaves, and STEEL MAGNOLIA is sticking out a little behind them, so STEEL MAGNOLIA has to leave first, and they don't want to leave until we leave.
Riverside

Riverside


We took the courtesy car to Riverside Restaurant for dinner after first saying hello to the owner's scarlet macaw which was sitting out on the railing in front of the store. We both had ribeye, which was good, but was too much to eat. They had sweet potato muffins. The waitress brought us both sweet tea. Bob has decided that he likes to put his own sweetening in, so we were both unhappy. We were driven back to the marina by a young guy who looked as if he'd been working as a dishwasher. I got an orange popsicle from the store.

We are going to Oriental tomorrow, and so is almost everyone else except FARAWAY who is going home to New Bern. I'd like to get there ahead of the group. So we want to leave early. We didn't use the heater as it wasn't cold.

Tuesday 10 April 2001

A work boat named CAPTAINS TABLE came in in the wee hours of the morning and tied up to C dock face dock, but left the engine running. They left about 6:30 It woke Bob up. He went up to the bathroom about 6:10, and we started the motor and cast off. Bob yelled at me because I turned out too quickly and ran the dinghy into the pilings of the pier.
Swing bridge

Swing bridge


He put the dodger up because it was full of condensation and we couldn't see anything. There was an almost full moon high in the sky, and the sun was very red in the east, behind clouds. When we got about to the fixed bridge, CHANGE OF HEART passed us. We both have our running lights on because the sun is up, but not very authoritative yet.

I cooked bacon for Bob for breakfast, but he likes it dry and tasteless so he says I haven't cooked it enough. I cook myself a potato from last night with cheese. STEEL MAGNOLIA passes us about 8:20. I see other boats behind us, but can't identify them. We have the headsail out sometimes, but the wind is light and flakey.

BUENA SUERTE apparently hit something, and went into Schooner's Creek to see what the problem was. SEA BONDS said they heeled over and stopped. Got into Morehead City about 10:30. An Army landing craft came out of the back inlet of Morehead City about the time we were going up the channel, and then apparently turned around and went back in.

KNOTTY GIRL passes us in Adams Creek, and then stops and we pass them. Then they pass us again and they go off down the Neuse River. I later hear them on the radio talking to the CG - they are in some kind of trouble where the CG is asking them about having their PFDs on, and what the wave height and visibility are.

SUNCHASER is tying up in Beaufort NC.

We hear the CG on the radio advising that the Alligator Pungo Canal is being closed for April 10 to April 12 to allow the removal of an old bridge. The barge is going to be across the channel. People are discussing what to do about this. We would reach that point on April 12. Some people decide to go out and around in Pamlico sound. Maybe that is what KNOTTY GIRL was doing. In any case, where there is plenty of water there is a bridge that is only 47 feet, and where there is a 65 foot bridge, the water is skinny. So that's not really an option for us.

GOOSE CHASE and STEEL MAGNOLIA are going to Whittaker's Marina where we went last fall. THey've made arrangements to meet at M&M's Cafe for dinner. There is a little trawler named FANCY FREE behind us, and she passes and goes into Oriental. We follow. As we get into the harbor they call and ask for a slip. We wait until they are tied up and then we go into our slip.

We are OK as long as we are out of the end of the pier - closer to shore it is less than 5 feet. We have TV and phone at the slip. We are tied up by 2:10 after 829 nm. 48.9 miles at 6.5 mph. Max speed of 8.4 mph
M and M Cafe in 2002

M and M Cafe in 2002


I have the radio on (we have TV and phone in the slip too), and hear that someone has gone aground in Adams Creek. They tell us there are no moon tides here, just wind tides. Bob walks up the grocery store to get salt. SEA BONDS comes in about 4. I go up to get a shower and test the water in the pool - it is cool.

Wednesday 11 April 2001

We ate dinner last night with George and Judy from SEA BONDS. They were supposed to meet up with the folks from GOOSE CHASE at the M&M Cafe, but since it was closed, they didn't do that.

This morning, the inverter that powers the computers off of 12 volt refused to supply any power, and also the GPS is suddenly not sending signals to the computer. Bob ignores the problem, thinking that I am not doing it right, and we get underway anyway. SEA BONDS has left ahead of us, but we are faster than they are and soon are ahead of them, heading out into the great unknown with no computer charts.

After trying to fix it in the cockpit, I take the computer down and put in on the nav table and try it there. Eventually, I try the dead reckoning function, but it is not as good as real time.
No wake - CG station in Hobucken

No wake - CG station in Hobucken

Fixed bridge in Hobucken

Fixed bridge in Hobucken


We cross the Neuse River and go up the canal and down Goose Creek. We see a CSY walk-through on a side tributary of Goose Creek. It has a blue stripe and bimini cover, but it won't answer our hail on the radio. JANET ANN passes as we exit Goose Creek. SUNDANCER and GOOSE CHASE pass about 1 to 1:30 in the Pungo River. GOOSE CHASE goes to Dowery Creek Marina, but SUNDANCER goes on ahead hoping to be able to get past the point where the Fairfield bridge is being removed.

We go into Dowery Creek also, but SEA BONDS goes up to the head of the canal to anchor so that can get through early in the morning. We have done 51.9 miles at 6.4 mph for a total of 874 nm.

Also in the marina in addition to GOOSE CHASE is a power boat called OLIVER'S TWIST - named after the owner's race horse. They have a nice lounge with satellite TV like Rob and Barb have. The only problem with that is that the weather channel doesn't have any local weather. There is a pool, and a pay phone, and they let me do e-mail in the office.

Two couples (us and Charlie and his wife of OLIVER'S TWIST - she doesn't make anything for dinner but reservations) took the courtesy car in to the Helmsman to have dinner. The directions only go one direction - they assume you can get back. We couldn't. We saw a lot of deer in the fields at dusk. Charlie, who drove, wanted to get gas for the car, but we couldn't find a gas station. So another couple who wanted to go to the market (a trawler named KAREFREE) had to do it. Charlie stays most of the winter in Daytona and says he likes bike week even tho it is noisy (motorcycles), and race week, but that black college reunion week has the greatest concentration of cops he's ever seen. THey truck in 400 state troopers from all over the state he said.

Thursday 12 April 2001

We left early, but GOOSE CHASE, OLIVER'S TWIST, and KAREFREE all left first. Bob pulled out the jib, and I made breakfast.
Speed boat going the other direction

Speed boat going the other direction


12-0800.jpgAlligator Pungo canal

Alligator Pungo canal


We got to the Fairfield swing bridge barge before 10, and went through after a workboat crossed in front of us. I took photos. A man standing next to the crane whistled or shouted at me and I looked over and he gestured to indicate that the crane operator was a women.Old Fairfield bridge

Old Fairfield bridge

Looking through the dodger at the old bridge

Looking through the dodger at the old bridge

Crane against the sun

Crane against the sun

Looking back at the new and old Fairfield bridge and construction crane

Looking back at the new and old Fairfield bridge and construction crane

Alligator Pungo canal with the end of the old bridge in 2003

Alligator Pungo canal with the end of the old bridge in 2003


New Fairfield bridge 2003

New Fairfield bridge 2003

Fairfield canal anchorage

Fairfield canal anchorage

Reflections

Reflections


Bob insisted on pulling out the main and jib, and rigging a whisker pole. JANET ANN passed while he was going this, and a catamaran named ALGERNON. As Bob gave up on the whisker pole, a dive boat named DEEP ADVENTURE passed and rocked us violently with their wake. I called ALGERNON on the radio to warn him (not that he needed it as a catamaran doesn't rock that much - really more to complain to DEEP ADVENTURE). We see several planes that Bob IDs as F16s and wonders where they are from that would be local.

We pull out the sails again and sail down the Alligator - actually turn the engine off. Finally have to turn it on again and pull in the sails when we see the bridge.
Tug and Dredge on the Alligator River in 2003

Tug and Dredge on the Alligator River in 2003


We see SEA BONDS ahead of us, and he goes through the Alligator River swing bridge.
Alligator River Swing Bridge

Alligator River Swing Bridge


We are going to the Alligator River Marina, but SEA BONDS is worried about the weather tomorrow - supposed to be thunderstorms, and he is worried he won't be able to cross Albemarle Sound. So he goes on across, while we stop. We get 35 gals of diesel, and tie up after 49 miles at 7.0 mph. Our max speed was 8.8 mph.
Alligator River Marina from the river

Alligator River Marina from the river


I called Rob and told him we were at a truck stop, and that's what it was. The bathrooms and showers were nice, but the washers only had cold water so we will wait until tomorrow to do the wash, and the lights were on a timer so Bob was in there taking a long hot shower and they went out leaving him in the dark. They have a data port for 800#s.
Aerial photo of the marina on the wall of the restaurant

Aerial photo of the marina on the wall of the restaurant


We had dinner here at the truck stop. The menu was limited but the food was good, and the promised riverfront dining actually did have tables that looked out toward the bridge so we could watch the river, and also the people coming in to the marina, some of whose docking maneuvers provided a lot of amusement for us. One guy in a small trawler with two engines AND bowthursters couldn't turn around to get fuel and was stuck across the channel keeping a catamaran sailboat from getting in. I thought for sure there's be a collision. But there wasn't.

The water in the river outside the marina breakwaters was really rough, but all was nice and calm where we were.

They also give you a morning paper, and they have real ice cream for cones (about 8 flavors). I had one when we got in and one after dinner.

Along the side where we were spaced a couple slips apart was a small motor boat named AUGUST MOON from Galesville, which was there for 3 days, and then a trawler came in named LADY MARU, and then the incompetent guy with multi crew and engines and bowthrusters named FIRST TEE, and then us, and then the catamaran that came in behind FIRST TEE, named FIRENZE, a Packet Cat from Norfolk. He really rocked and rolled much more than I thought a catamaran would. There was another power boat at the end. The big yacht named MOVIN ON was on the face dock.

Friday the 13th.

FIRST TEE, and MOVIN ON were underway early. FIRENZE pulled out ahead of us. Bob unhooked us and brought the paper they had delivered off the dock, and we pulled out before 7. SEA BONDS had worried about forecast thunderstorms for this afternoon, so I worried too. We heard him on the radio, and apparently he anchored in Broad Creek. He had about a 10 minute rainstorm this morning.
Crossing Albemarle Sound to Coinjock

Crossing Albemarle Sound to Coinjock


Bob pulled out the jib, and then the main (breaking a piece off the furler), and we sailed across Albemarle sound. The front did come through, and Bob failed to take in the sails as we were going pretty fast. Then when we got across, it was hard to get them in.

It spit a little rain, but not much and there were some dark clouds, but the weather wasn't really too bad. The wind was gusting up to 26 knots in the river, but after we got across and into the upper reaches of the river it died down. I saw a (presumably) male osprey fly in and sit on top of a female osprey on top of a nest.

We got to Coinjock and tied up at the marina in front of SEA BONDS by about 12:30 after 36.4 miles at 6.4 mph.

At Coinjock, FIRENZE was at the marina across the way. We signed in and had lunch at the restaurant. Judy of SEA BONDS was doing a wash, and Bob did one after her. They were painting the ladies room/shower, so none of us ladies could go. I went and downloaded e-mail in the office. They had a table and a place for a connection. While I was sitting there the owner started to talk about the fact that he had a $90 (or $900 - don't remember which) citation for selling tobacco to a minor. The state police used a 17 year old woman recruit, and he was particularly upset about the fact that she was taller than some male acquaintance, and had 'big tits'. I'm guessing he was distracted by that so he didn't ask for ID. Serves him right
Coinjock docks

Coinjock docks


A big power boat was on the dock ahead of us, and one behind SEA BONDS, and then a really big one behind that. We had dinner at the restaurant, and had the 32 oz prime rib for two, which of course we couldn't finish. It was $29.00. We saved it and had it for lunch the next day, and I had it the day after too.
Coinjock Restaurant

Coinjock Restaurant

Prime Rib from the restaurant website and inset of the leftover box

Prime Rib from the restaurant website and inset of the leftover box


We had cable here, but it didn't have a lot of channels. Couldn't get the weather channel at all.

Saturday 14 April 2001

We left about 7. Bob decided to have me drive, and he would push the bow out and then have me drive out into the channel while he cast off the stern lines. That way we'd just go out around the power boat ahead. SEA BONDS started his motor, and cast off before us, so the first glitch was that he was out in the channel where we were going. The second glitch was that Bob didn't need to push the bow out because the current pushed it away from the pier without him doing anything. So I yelled at him not to push it, and he yelled at me not to hit SEA BONDS.

The marina gave us a list of the bridges and how far they were. Unfortunately, the list, and the chart mileages weren't too accurate either. We got to the first one - North Landing Bridge in time for the noon opening. Actually, if we had known that it was closer than 30 miles, we could have speeded up and gotten there at 11:30. A power boat called DOUBLE DIPPER went through ahead of us. The next bridge (the Centerville Turnpike Bridge) was supposed to be 5 miles, but was really only 3 and a bit.
1058652-001.jpgCenterville turnpike swing bridge

Centerville turnpike swing bridge


We could not make 5 miles in half an hour, but we could have done 3. However, all the charts said 5 miles, and so we didn't try and went through on the 1:00 pm opening. Saw a CSY Walkthrough named HOMEFREE tied up on the free docks before the bridge.
Homefree

Homefree

14-1253.jpgHomefree

Homefree

Our next obstacle was the Great Bridge Bridge and Great Bridge Lock. THe lock did one locking an hour and the GBB coordinates with it. There were 3 of us sailboats, a catamaran called CADENZA, us and SEA BONDS, who had caught up with us at the bridge (George of SEA BONDS said - the tortoise catches the hare to Bob and laughed). I wasn't quite able to see how the lock could just open once an hour and still do both south and northbound vessels. The way it actually worked was that the bridge called the lock and told them what was coming north, and the lock told him who was coming south. When all the southbound vessels got there, the bridge opened
Great Bridge Bridge

Great Bridge Bridge


Then the northbound vessels went directly into the lock.
14-1107.jpgGreat Bridge Lock

Great Bridge Lock


CADENZA was in front, and then us and then SEA BONDS. All the various power boats were on the port side. The port side is the only side with fenders built in. This lock
Us behind CADENZA in the lock

Us behind CADENZA in the lock

SEA BONDS behind us

SEA BONDS behind us


Opposite side of the lock

Opposite side of the lock


only goes up about 2-3 feet though so the fenders weren't stressed that much.
Leaving the lock

Leaving the lock


Highway bridge

Highway bridge

Sign showing opening times

Sign showing opening times

Sign for Dismal Swamp entrance

Sign for Dismal Swamp entrance

Mothball fleet?

Mothball fleet?


Now we had only 3 more bridges - Steel Bridge, Gilmerton Bridge and the Jordon Lift bridge. All 3 of us sailboats went through the Steel bridge with no problem. CADENZA didn't want to go first, and Bob decided that since we were all going to wait for whoever was slowest (i.e. SEA BONDS) that we should stay behind him. So Bob took up station beside him and was his wing man.
Old Navy ships in Norfolk

Old Navy ships in Norfolk


Because it was Sat. there were no restricted opening schedules for rush hour, so we didn't expect any problems. However, when we got to the Gilmerton bridge, the tender said they were having problems with the bridge, and there was a barge coming our way.

So we circled for about a half an hour. I think the problem was the traffic gates, which were down and traffic was being held. Then the gates went up and traffic went. He didn't open the bridge until the barge was ready for it. In addition to us, SEA BONDS, and CADENZA, there was a boat with a green hull that had been tied to a dock near the bridge and some power boats.

There was a barge coming up behind us, which I saw, but Bob didn't. Someone called us on the radio, and I heard it and Bob didn't - so I yelled at him to move over.
Looking up the tower of a Lift Bridge in Norfolk

Looking up the tower of a Lift Bridge in Norfolk


I had called Waterside for a reservation, and after we went through the Jordon Lift Bridge, they said to come into the first port slip. I had figured incorrectly where the marina was, but we did find it and get tied up. SEA BONDS was one slip over with a power boat between us.
Our boat in Waterside

Our boat in Waterside


Waterside is a big mall type place and they have Hooters, and a food court etc. I took that rather than Tidewater Yacht across the way because I thought TY was too big and too far to walk. Waterside is more compact, and a little cheaper too. We came in about 4:30 after 49.3 miles at 5.6 mph (maximum 7.5 mph) for a total of 991 nautical miles.

It was pretty hectic. Lots of power boaters partying on the docks behind their boats. Drinking and loud music. The cable didn't work. They gave us ice for free because the bags had melted the cubes together - or maybe he just didn't want to bother collecting change. THey let me download email in the office.

We had dinner at Gillians, which is apparently one of those video games places. Bob said it was too cold to sit outside. I had barbecue meatloaf and he had ribs.

Sunday 15 April 2001

I was worried about the weather on Monday because afternoon thunderstorms were forecast, so we only went as far as mile 189.0. We went to SOUTHALL MARINA, which is in the same inlet as Salt Ponds.
Marina is on far side of channel #28 in map

Marina is on far side of channel #28 in map


We went in almost at low tide, and the depth sounder went off a couple of times, but nothing serious - just a little under 7 feet. I picked this marina because it was closer to the inlet than Salt Ponds, and I thought it would be cheaper, which it was. They have a pool (which isn't open yet) and a sauna in each bathroom. They have a courtesy car and a free internet connection. We tied up there by 10:30 after 18..8 miles at 7 mph with a maximum of 9.3 mph. We passed 1000 nm - were at 1008 nm total when we stopped.
Where we were going to eat

Where we were going to eat


There is a restaurant at Salt Ponds, across the way, and we were going to dinghy over, so we put the dinghy in the water and put the motor on it. But it started to rain so we ate on the boat. The wind did pick up, but there were no thunderstorms.

Monday 16 April 2001 - A Storm Not Forecast

Winds were forecast to be 15-20 knots decreasing to 10 with 2 foot waves. We could deal with that. But, when we got out into the bay, it was indeed 20 knot winds, but instead of decreasing the winds got stronger. Bob cooked bacon for himself for breakfast, which made me nervous because I thought he would burn himself.
1242135.jpgLeaving Southall Marina

Leaving Southall Marina

Leaving Southall Marina

Leaving Southall Marina


Later, I saw one gust up to 31 knots. And the waves got bigger and bigger and were very close together. I estimate 8 feet. We were only doing about 2 knots over the ground against the wind. The boat was rearing up, banging down into a wave trough and green water was washing back with considerable spray back to the dodger. We had the dinghy on the davits with the motor on it, and the solar panel mounted on the brace between the davits. The solar panel was torn off with the brace and disappeared which made the dinghy bang around because the brace was gone. Bob kept having to go back (clipped to jacklines) to re-secure the dinghy.
Track when we lost the solar panel

Track when we lost the solar panel


Anyway, we had been going to go to the Windmill Resort (whose answering machine message said they were open at 7, but I called them on the phone at 7:20 and was on hold for 5 minutes and no one answered), but I lobbied for going in the York River instead. So we did. But it took us 4 hours to get into the York RIver enough for the waves to decrease.

The closest marina is COOK'S LANDING. It is five miles closer to the Chesapeake than the next marina in Sarah Creek.
Sarah Creek (#25 on the map)

Sarah Creek (#25 on the map)


I tried to call them on the radio but they didn't answer. Finally called on the phone. He assigned us a dock, and said he'd come out to help, but he didn't. The directions to the slips are posted on the end of the first pier (closest to the York River). We had gone 25.8 nm at an average speed of 3.5 knots and a maximum speed (probably while going downwind backwards while Bob was doing the dinghy) of 9.5 knots.
RosalieAnn when it had two solar panels

RosalieAnn when it had two solar panels


COOK'S LANDING is easy to get into from the York River but they don't cater to transients at that time of year. It is very protected from all directions of weather with water depths of up to seven feet. They have a pool (not open yet), showers (open all the time - not locked), fuel, ice, marine supplies and snacks. There's nothing else here and they are very casual. The distance is too great and the roads are too narrow (without any shoulders) to even ride a bike to somewhere else to get groceries. The only place to eat near here is the bait shack, but currently there is a guy and his wife running it who make everything from scratch, including subs, (Philly cheese steak, meatball etc) and they also do hamburgers (ground round) and chicken with dumplings. The problem is that we could never tell when they would be open
Chart of our route to COOK'S Landing marina

Chart of our route to COOK'S Landing marina


We will probably not leave until Thurs as weather is going to be bad until then.

Finally

There have been a few complaints because I didn't email the last bit of the trip. So here it is.

We didn't go on Tuesday 17 April We were too shaken, and the weather was still not good. I got an email that we have a new granddaughter who was born today.

On Wednesday 18 April, even in the marina the winds were 20 knots, and a delivery crew came in because they were getting beat up in the bay. (Delivery crew never stop for anything - their job depends on them going as fast as possible.)

Wednesday night was cold, so when Bob got off the boat to go up and shave, he slipped on the ice at the dripping water connection, and his foot went off the edge of the dock, scraping all the skin off his shin and almost falling in.

Thursday April 19, 2001

We cast off, somewhat nervously, hoping to get to Deltaville. Actually, we made good time, and bypassed Deltaville (called on the phone to cancel) and went to CHESAPEAKE BOAT BASIN doing 39.9 nm. It is up Indian Creek off Fleet Bay. Very convenient to the Bay and easy to get to with 12 feet approach depth at low tide. We had 9.5 ft in the slip at low tide. You go in to marker #12 and the marina is on your port. There are grain silos behind the marina that you can see from down the creek. The distance in to the entrance to the creek is 1.7 nm and the distance up the creek to the marina is 2.8 nm. The bathrooms/showers are gorgeous - sparkling clean and newly decorated. There is a lounge with cable TV and an internet connection and a marine store which is pretty well stocked.

They will call a restaurant who will pick you up for dinner. The town (2 traffic lights) is about a mile and a half down the road if you want to walk. There is a little museum there. We went to the Chesapeake Cafe, and the marina guy was having dinner there too (I think an Elks meeting or something) and he brought us back.

The guy who bought the marina is much nicer than the grumpy old man who used to be here, and is upgrading the marina as fast as he can - putting in new docks etc. (fixed docks).

Friday 20 April, 2001

We left very early in order to get around Smith Point before the weather deteriorated again. When we tied up in our old slip we had gone 1110 nm since we left Miami.

We borrowed the marina truck - got most of the cars started - one had to have a charger put on it for 20 minutes, and one for longer. The furnace started right up. Don't know why it went off.

When Bob turned the water back on, he forgot that he'd left the washer hoses off and he had water shooting up at the ceiling. Also the toilet downstairs cracked and has to be replaced, a faucet in the kitchen leaks badly, and an upstairs pipe came apart.

We've picked up the mail, renewed prescriptions, turned the phone back on, paid bills and mowed the lawn twice.
Bob with our new granddaughter

Bob with our new granddaughter

New granddaughter - 4 generations - my mom, me, my daughter and granddaughter

New granddaughter - 4 generations - my mom, me, my daughter and granddaughter


Also seen our newest granddaughteer who was born while we were weathered in at Cook's Landing and taken pictures,
Mothers Day - my mother and my sister

Mothers Day - my mother and my sister


visited mother, went by my office to show off my tan, put a new attic fan in for mother, mailed a calendar to Bob's brother and sister-in-law gotten a doctor's appointment, cleaned up the boat in preparation for an insurance survey Tuesday, and a bunch of other stuff.
RAtravellift0.jpgRosalieAnn in the travellift

RosalieAnn in the travellift

Bob supervising the travellift

Bob supervising the travellift

Keel from rocks in Georgia

Keel from rocks in Georgia

RosalieAnn getting washed off

RosalieAnn getting washed off


We have to get a new staysail and another solar panel.

Setting the Stage for The following year (2002)

Posted by greatgrandmaR 14:12 Archived in USA

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