Saturday, November 3, 2018

Mile Hammock

Spooner Creek and the dredged ICW

Wake to a beautiful sunny day, but cool and still windy. The wind will be on our nose for the day as we head west. The temperature gauge is still telling me the engine is running too hot, but the temperature is jumping all over the place, convincing me that the problem is with the sensor or display. The Autopilot which worked for the day coming to Spooner Bay is not working again, telling me it is not receiving data. Another day of hand steering. The rain at Spooner Bay had cleaned any salt off the boat, now heading into the wind the chop is spraying up over the boat. We spend the first couple hours traveling on the ICW channel dredged on the north side of the shallow Bogue Sound. The south side of the channel is very shallow and with man made islands from the material dredged from the ICW channel.

We increase the engine RPM’s and the temperature needle is bouncing all over the place. I pull off the engine cover and check the thermostat with my IR gun and it is running at the normal 160 degrees F. So I conclude the engine is fine and ignore the gauge.

Bob Sherer's track in red, our track in purple

Today is the first day that I down loaded the tracks from Bob Sherer from the Poughkeepsie Yacht Club who has done this trip for the last nine years and has extensive experience navigating the trouble spots of the ICW. I load his tracks from when he passed through this area about two weeks ago. I also download additional tracks for a couple problem areas that the Army Core of Engineers survey frequently. So today I just follow Bob's electronic bread crumbs. Amazing how much more information is available to navigate the ICW than was available on our first trip. I have 4 different Navigation apps on our iPads aside from our built in Raymarine plotter. We have Active Captain (Trip Adviser for boaters) and ICW Facebook groups. It amazes me thinking about people we know who did this trip 30 years ago with paper charts and no GPS.

Camp Lejune

We reach the eastern side of Camp Lejune, the Marine Core training base and enter the “Camp Lejune Live Firing Area”. The ICW passes through here for about 10 miles. If the lights are flashing the area is closed for live fire training and we might have to wait a couple hours to pass. We heard explosions, sounded like thunder, two days ago at Spooner bay 20 miles to the east, which we assumed was a training exercise. 

Onslow Bridge

We approach the Onslow Swing Bridge on Camp Lejune and have the pleasant surprise of finding that it is open all day. Never had that happen before.

It is still early as we approach Mile Hammock on the western boarder of Camp Lejune where there is a large basin that the Marines allow cruisers to anchor overnight. Sometimes you get a show of Marine aircraft during the day and at night or Marines on amphibious vehicles. At this remote point on the ICW there few anchorages or marinas so this remote waypoint is quite popular. We arrive at 3:15 and only two other boats are their. The other boat we spent two days with at Spooner is here. By sunset there are 22 boats and its getting crowded. We relax the rest of the afternoon. I investigate the temperature issue and find a potential electrical grounding problem from when I installed a new sensor a couple years ago. I try to improve the ground. Will see what happens tomorrow.

Boat on the ICW viewed from Mile Hammock

Panoramic shot of Mile Hammock

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