Sunday, November 4, 2018

Wrightsville Beach

We leave by 7:15 trying to time a series of Swing and Draw Bridges that open on the hour or ½ hour making it difficult to get through at normal cruising speeds. We have wind on our stern around 23 mph, gusting to 29 making it difficult approaching a closed bridge with a number of boats in a narrow channel. I hang back to time our arrival at the 10:00 AM scheduled opening. The other boats pass us long before then. When we arrive they are doing loops, because the high winds are pushing them towards the closed bridge. Without any sails up and in neutral, the wind is pushing us along at almost 5 mph. I have to put the engine in reverse to slow us down, until the bridge opens. 

Damaged docks and boat

Shrimp boat

Lots of damaged docks

Normally we plan on three hours to the next bridge opening on the hour. The rest of the group takes off and with the wind boost, without sails, and full throttle they make it there in two. Most of our three hour passage was in neutral with the wind pushing us along at over 5 mph. Lost an hour, but we hardly used any fuel. In hindsight I should of popped a partially furled headsail and flew through here. The last bridge was another 5 miles and opened an hour later so we approached that bridge mostly in neutral. Going through the Wrightsville Beach bridge is a zoo, being a Sunday and the fact that there are two marinas immediately to the south of the bridge and many Yahoos see no problem in pulling out in front of boats passing through the opened bridge in a tight area.

We take the Motts Channel short cut into Wrightsville Beach. Many of our friends avoid this narrow short cut, but we never see less and 10 feet under us. The navigation buoys are placed by non-standard norms, so having a chart or chart plotter is essential for non-locals passing through here. Probably the reason the Sea-Tow boat is hanging out in this area as we pass by.

We drop anchor just south of the fixed bridge to Wrightsville Beach. It is still blowing quite hard which causes us to set the anchor quite fast, before even backing down on the engine. We had planned to go ashore to "Tower 7 at Baja" one of our favorite Mexican restaurants, but I was not very excited to put the dinghy down and put on the outboard in this chop with the boat swinging back and forth. So we have dinner on board. No one else anchored here is going ashore either.

By the way, the engine temperature gauge worked correctly all day with the usual 162 degree reading.  The Autopilot worked fine today also, not sure if I can take credit for that.

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