Monday, November 30, 2015

Jacksonville Free Dock

Returned the Enterprise car in the morning. Once we get back to the boat we see the fuel dock is empty. After we get the boat squared away we head into the marina for fuel, pump out and water. Of course there is now two large power boats on the dock and a sailboat pulling in a head of us. We have to wait a few minutes before we can pull into the dock. The sailboat that pulls in ahead of us is “Antares”,a Lake Champlain, Vermont boat, who we last ran into at Cumberland Island two years ago on our return north. 
By 4:30 we are tied up to the Jacksonville Free City Dock and again are greeted by the sound of “Snapping Shrimp” under our boat. Sounds like we are sitting over a bowl of Rice Crispy's in milk, snap crackle and pop. 

Jacksonville Free Dock
My cousin, Bill drives over for a visit and stays for dinner. We have a nice quiet evening on the dock, except for the “Snapping Shrimp”

Sunday, November 29, 2015


In the morning we drive to the north end of Amelia island to fort Clinch State Park. We have now passed this fort 3 times and I am curious to check it out and learn its history. I decide to drive there without the iPad navigation so we can get to randomly see more of the north end of the island. After a half hour or so, Linda has decided she has seen enough dead end roads and I turn on the navigation.

Fort Clinch was never fully finished. Building started in 1847 and it was used in the Civil war, Spanish -American War and World War II.

For more information

In the afternoon we head back to the mainland to do some food shopping and to get hair cuts. We are both getting rather shaggy., specially me. It must be the humidity, but my hair starts getting curlier as the day goes on. Linda likes to mock my “bozo-the-clown” look when it sticks out from under a baseball cap. I have to admit she is right. We find “Great Clips”, a high production high salon. They must have 6 people cutting hair and a line of people waiting. My name comes up and I sit down and my female “Edward Sissors Hands” fly’s into action. I was half expecting to see an ear lobe or two falling down in the growing pile of cut hair. She asks me if I want my eyebrows trimmed, but before I can really answer she says” they need it” and its done. Well, no more making “Andy Rooney” eyes at my wife. Ah, the problems of becoming an old fart. When we pay the bill, the time it took to cut our hair is printed on the bill. The employees have their hair cutting times tracked. Needless to say, there is not allot of conversation while your hair is being cut.

Saturday, November 28, 2015


Finally the weather system creating all this wind for the last 5 days or so passes and we wake up to a relatively calm morning. We have breakfast and go ashore to grab a coffee and wait for the Enterprise person to pick us up. That afternoon Linda and I drive to my cousin, Jan's house on the Nassau River. Beautiful house and location, with a long dock out onto the river. Lots a current and shoals in the Nassau River, but without local knowledge I wouldn't dare take our boat there. That evening we all have dinner at her brothers home, my other cousin, Bill and his wife Deb on Amelia Island, were Fernandina is located. Linda and I finally get our turkey dinner and a very good one. Although Linda and I do miss our low brow favorite, Cranberry sauce with ribs. Rib's ? not what you are thinking. The ribs are molded from the can that the jellied cranberry sauce comes from.

Friday, November 27, 2015


We have a leisurely breakfast and were planning to go ashore for the morning. After calling Enterprise Rental Car in Fernandina and finding that they close at noontime on Saturday, instead of the afternoon when we plan to rent a car, we decided to get moving. Arriving a Fernandina Friday night would allow us to get the car Saturday morning. The forecast was for a sunny day with a 20% chance of showers. Well, we have rain, wind and fog most of the way to Fernandina.

Green can a little off the mark, Cumberland Island, north
Fernandina Pulp Mills
Fort Clinch
We arrive at Fernandina around 4:30 and get the last mooring which we had reserved. The last two times here the moorings were full and we anchored. Had dinner at the Salty Peligan. The wind was still blowing hard from the north so we had to cross from the mooring to the dock slowly because of the waves to avoid getting wet. Well, 50 percent of the people in our dinghy stayed dry and I was one of them. Linda was not happy with me.

That night with the opposing current and wind at the tide shift we have the mooring ball bouncing against the hull for about two hours until the current over came the forces of the wind and pulled us away from the ball. Kind of hard to sleep with the constant knocking on the hull. One advantage of anchoring, no mooring ball to bounce against the hull at the tidal current shift. With minimal wind this is not a problem, but it is still blowing.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

St. Simon Island

Wind still blowing hard when we leave in the morning. Another day of wind and following seas as we pass between the Georgia sea islands. The autopilot can not handle these kinds of conditions so we have another day of hand steering. Following seas and surfing on waves requires a lot of wheel movement to stay on course. I'm going to sleep well tonight. We arrive at Fort Frederica on the Frederica River on St Simons island, which is a national monument. Prior to the ICW the Frederica River was the only way north or south in this area without going out into the ocean. The British built a fort and town here around 1736 to block the Spanish in Florida from traveling north and making claims on present day Georgia which was then a no-mans land between Florida and British South Carolina.
Fort Frederica

Click here for some interesting history on Fort Frederica

This was not where we had planned on spending our Thanksgiving. We had hoped to make it to St Marys in Georgia for the town's Thanksgiving dinner for boaters heading south, but weather and circumstances delayed our arrival.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Wahoo Island

We leave at sunrise so we can pass through a shallow trouble spot called Hell Gate, a couple hours past high tide. Two years ago we passed through there at low tide and saw depths under 6 feet and passed another boat hard aground. We are now near the full moon and the tides in Georgia are over 9 feet. We gain another 5 feet or so passing closer to high tide. The downside is, the tide is declining so running aground, now would be a big problem. Supposedly this area has gotten shallower. The wind is blowing 20-25 miles per hour and Hell Gate is in the open Ossabaw Sound, so we are getting some significant waves as we motor-sail through this area. It was not a boring passage. We are also back to wearing our foul weather jackets, hard to stay warm with this much wind without a good wind resistant jacket.

Arriving, Wahoo Island

 We reach our anchorage for the night, Wahoo Island, about an hour earlier than planned, due to the speed boost from the high winds. Wahoo Island has tall trees and blocks the wind from the north at this anchorage. We still dance around all night as the tides and wind opposes each other. For awhile our stern is pointed into the wind as the bow is pointing towards the strong current.

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Herb River

Got up early and prepared to leave this morning. Paid up our bill with Steve the marina manager. When we came into Lady's Island Marina 9 days ago we were quite happy that Steve is back with his wife Gloria managing Lady's Island Marina. They make this place a pleasure to stop at. They are the reason this place has been nick-named the “Hotel California” by other cruisers, because it is hard to leave and many stay more days than they had planned on. Steve has a fabulous smart ass sense of humor, which we of course love. After you sign the marina sign-in document at the bottom, which no one actually reads, Steve tells me to look up and read the last line, which is something to the effect “The signer of this document must provide the marina manager with an unopened bottle of high quality rum”. Unfortunately, for him, he did not specify the size and on the office window sill he has a growing collection of 1 oz airline size sample bottles, from equally wise-ass boaters.

Because of the current through the marina we get some help from Steve leaving the docks. Once you clear the slip you have to power up the engine to clear the rest of the docks. Can not be indecisive or slow, can not have commitment issues leaving here. We time it just right to make the 9:00AM opening to the Lady's Island Bridge. We maintain cruising speed all the way through the opened bridge without having to slow down.
Lady's Island Bridge

We manage to avoid wearing our foul weather jackets today. As we get further south on the Port Royal Sound south of Beaufort we pick up a lot more wind. I wear two fleece jacket to avoid the foul weather gear. That evening we anchor in Herb River, just past Savannah, Georgia. Even though it was sunny today, it takes awhile for me to warm up after we anchor and I get out of the wind.
Praire Sloop, Herb River

Moon Rise, Herb River

Monday, November 23, 2015

Lady's Island Marina, one more day

We return the car to Enterprise, but decide to stay another day at Lady's Island. I have work to do on the computer and have good WiFi. Besides it is rather cold and windy and I am determined to not have to wear foul weather gear until we return north. Wish me luck on that one.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Maintenance day

Slept in a little later than usual and after breakfast we got busy the rest of the day on boat maintenance activities. Got the outboard running. Found we were still getting some water into the fuel. I suspect a leaking gas cap on the outboard fuel tank.

In the afternoon, once we get all our chores done, we drive over to the town of Bluffton to have dinner at our former neighbors, Roy and Kathy Ferland, from South Burlington, Vermont, who recently moved to the Beaufort area. They very recently moved into a gorgeous new house that they had built. Kathy made us a wonderful dinner, hmmmm, maybe will have to “visit” them again on the return trip north.

Linda, Kathy, Nile (needs a haircut) & Roy
The Ferland's new kitchen

Monday, November 16, 2015


We got our Enterprise rental car and drove straight through to Connecticut and got in around 2:00 AM.

Exert from an email to a very good friend, summed up the week;

“Our boat is at Lady's Island Marina. We got there last Sunday, but rented a car to head to CT to be with my sister who was dealing with my mothers recent medical issues. My mother who was alert and conversational the first day we were there was in rapid decline and was under hospice care her last few days. She passed away peacefully Friday morning. She was in control to the end. She wanted no invasive procedures, she had developed anemia and just wanted to let go. She was 94 and had a life well lived and had an alert mind until her last few days, arguing and joking with the medical staff. Was still telling Linda what furniture of hers to keep and what furniture of ours to get rid of. No one ever had to wonder what was on my mother's mind.”

“We just had another friend about our age who died of cancer last week. Carol who was an avid sailor and Internet geek, so we were in constant touch, she was acting as our weather router until a couple weeks ago. Our mutual friends told me to stay up with the blog, because she checked it every day, even though we emailed constantly, as I did with my mother.  One of these days I am going to hit one of those green or red ICW pole marks, while on autopilot, tapping out emails. I have had a few near hits.”

“We are now heading back to Lady's Island Marina this afternoon” (Saturday, November 21).

In the evening we go to Outback Steak House, one of my mother's favorite places for dinner.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Lady's Island Marina

We get to Lady's Island Marina in Beaufort around 1:30PM. Linda and I were planning to leave the boat there for a week and rent a car to drive back to Connecticut, because my mother had recently been moved to a nursing home. This was the first place since Osprey, Myrtle Beach where we could leave the boat and get a rental car. My sister and her husband had been dealing with my mothers move to the nursing home and my mothers health is rapidly declining.

Lady's Island Marina

Saturday, November 14, 2015

West of Watts Cut

Sunrise on Lynx
We had planned to leave early, close to slack tide to avoid the sometimes considerable current that can rip through the docks here. It turned out the wind was a bigger problem and I erred by tossing the bow line before I had enough speed to neutralize the current on our nose. As we backed out of our slip the wind caught us and pulled us backward. I did not have enough space to negotiate around other boats and the long face dock, behind us. The wind pulled us back and pinned us against the vacant end of the dock. So before I could make the situation worse, we move the fenders to the port side of the boat and tied up to the dock. The wind held us hard against the dock. We considered staying another day until the winds die down. Eventually, I figured out that if I tied our aft port (left side for you landlubbers) cleat to the dock near the middle of our boat the wind would hold us in place with only that line. I then place a bunch of fenders all the way back on our port side. With the help of two dock hands I backed down hard to get the boat to pivot against the fenders. While still tied to the dock with the one line, the bow swings away from the dock, into the wind. With the boat restricted from actually moving backward, by the dock line and the two dock hands pushing the bow, I was able to get the bow away from the dock and pointed into the wind. At that point I powered up the engine forward and as we move forward, away from the dock, the dock hand tosses us the line. We quickly got out of there as another boat was waiting for our dock space.

Leaving Charleston
This was our first cool day in a while, felt like fall, a cool dry breeze from the north. Later in the afternoon we get stopped by the local Sheriff and Coast Guard for a “courtesy safety inspection”. There must have been about 5 people on the Sheriff's boat, being a Saturday I think they were out having fun. Since there were not many boats on the move, we were their entertainment. Two officers boarded us as we were moving and performed the safety check. We passed, but did not even get a sticker to display.

Boarding Party

Around 3:00 PM we pass through another shoaling area that had lots of dire warnings on Active Captain. Unfortunately we were passing through at low tide and I expected we would run aground and have to wait and hour or two for the rising tide to allow us to continue on. One of the most reliable observers on Active Captain listed the lowest point corrected to low tide at 4.4 feet. The lowest we saw was 6.9 feet, actually at low tide. The most useful comments on Active Captain are from people who actually pass a problem spot at low tide, because if you make it through, you have to find the deepest channel for your particular keel depth. At any higher tides you have a much wider channel to get through on, but not necessarily at the deepest point of the channel. I hate it when people on Active Captain, comment “I went through here at high tide without at problem” - BFD! Don't waste my time with stupid, useless information.

Late in the afternoon we anchor west of Watts Cut away from the ICW in a very remote area. Very calm protected area. With no wind and a bit of current the boat hardly moved. I could take time lapse night photos of 10 seconds or so without the boat moving enough to blur the picture.

Night time glow of Charleston in the distance

Friday, November 13, 2015

Charleston, Day 2

We take the first, 9:30 AM water taxi to the other side of the harbor to tour the Aircraft carrier, Yorktown and a World War 2, diesel submarine. 

Yorktown, Sabrina & Nile
We get back to our marina by 1:30 PM to meet with Claudia and Larry, Sabrina's ride back to Myrtle Beach. We all go to Lunch at the Hominy Grill. The ladies get the Chicken Livers, which are very good, if you like chicken liver. I don't, but if I had to eat chicken liver, this would be the place. We say our good byes at the Hominy Grill and Linda and I have a leisurely walk back to the marina through some interesting neighborhoods.

Nile & Linda
Sabrina & Linda

Thursday, November 12, 2015


We get up at 6:00 AM for an early start so we can get through the badly shoaled area behind the Isle of Palms, just north of Charleston. High tide is at 7:15 AM and we want to make the first opening of the Ben Sawyer Bridge, just after the shoaled area at 9:00 AM. I don't mind going through a shallow area at low tide or a rising tide. A little time and the tide will correct any close encounters with the bottom. A declining tide going hard aground could be a much more significant problem. Since we are so close to high tide, I need to pay attention to the published information on how to navigate this area at low tide to avoid the bottom all together. The lowest depth we see is 9.6 feet. Since we are 5.6 feet above low tide, the depth at low tide would be 4 feet. Our 4'-8” keel depth would not get us through then. There are about 8 boats that make it through this area, but we all have to wait for the bridge to open closer to 9:30 AM 

Ben Sawyer Bridge
Dodging shipping traffic, heading to Marina
We make a reservation at the Maritime Center Marina on the east side of Charleston which is within walking distance of most of downtown. We tie up around 10:30 AM. A nice warm day, feels like summer, temperatures in the high 70's, warm breeze. 

Arthur Ravenel Jr,. Bridge, Charleston Maritime Center in foreground, Manana third boat from left

Fleet Landing

We later head to Fleet Landing for lunch an old Navy facility over the water on a pier and get a table outside. Just a beautiful day. The food not so much. Linda and Sabrina get fried oysters, which are not much bigger that the smoked ones that come in sardine size cans for hors-d'oeuvres. I have a shrimp stew that was very good.

"Lynx" our dock mate
Car Carrier ship, there are a number of car manufacturers in South Carolina
In the afternoon we go on a bus tour of Charleston, but our monotone driver sends Linda to dream land and she has a rather restful tour. She does fail the final exam, before we depart the bus.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Capers Island

We leave before 8 AM and head back south on the Waccamaw River to Winyah Bay and make a 90 degree turn on to the Estherville canal by Cat Island. Here the ICW bisects and connects a number of rivers though the former South Carolina rice country, now mostly marsh and the Cape Roman National Wildlife Refuge. There are a few areas that are still raising rice. Very remote area, no houses in sight.

Sabrina, relaxing
By noontime we approach one of a few notorious shallow sections of the South Carolina ICW at McClellanville. We approach around noontime, close to low tide. At one point our depth sounder is reading 4'-5”, our keel is 4'-8”, so with a soft bottom, we are plowing mud for a short period of time.

We bump on the bottom twice attempting to anchor near Capers Island. The chart shows more depth in one area than there actually is. We anchor for the night. Can hear the waves breaking over a mile away at the mouth of Capers Inlet after the wind dies down after dark. I had planned to go ashore at Capers Island, a state owned barrier island, but our outboard was not running well and I did not want to chance having to row back in a strong current. I need to drain the carburetor. I think I may still be getting some water in the fuel. I suspect the cap on our fuel can has a leak and is letting water into the fuel.

Sunset, Capers Island
Sunrise, Capers Island

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Georgetown, South Carolina

We get one last rain shower at 6:00 AM and the weather radar shows we are done with rain for the day. It is suppose to get sunnier as the day progresses. We leave around 8:00 AM. 

Leaving Osprey
Cypress trees laden with Spanish moss lines the ICW. With in two miles we are on the Waccamaw River which we will be on to Georgetown. 

Waccamaw River

Within two hours the current is in our favor. The river widens and the wind picks up. We put out the Jib and throttle back on the engine. We occasionally are moving over 9 mph. This makes for a much faster trip to Georgetown than planned. We arrive at Georgetown around 12:30 to the “Dry Stack” Marina and head into town for a late lunch.

Sabrina and Linda, Georgetown

River Walk, Georgetown

Monday, November 9, 2015

Another rain day at Osprey

We had planned to leave this morning, after I returned the Enterprise car, but it was raining hard and is suppose to rain most of the day. Not a very good day for motoring through the scenic South Carolina swamps of the ICW. I make the decision to stay another day and leave Tuesday morning. We head to the movie theater to see “The Martian”. I had read the book last year and this was the first opportunity to see the movie.

The water in the marina has risen almost 2 feet since we arrived and the local rivers are at flood stage.
Two boats that arrived a couple days ago, with 64 foot masts, would not be able to pass under the bridges that they did a couple days ago.

The “Sail to the Sun” rally group leaves in the morning and the “Snowbird” rally group arrives in the afternoon. Now the marina is quite full.

Sunday, November 8, 2015


Overnight it started raining, heavy at times and is raining most of the day. More heavy rain in the forecast through Monday. There are flood warnings for the next two days. Glad our home floats.

Although this has been a much warmer trip down the ICW than our trip two years ago, it has been much wetter.

3 or 4 weeks ago they had severe flooding in South Carolina. The water was 8 feet higher in the marina we are currently in. So much water was moving towards the coast, currents were not reversing on the ICW with the tides. The currents stayed in the same direction, just varied from fast to less fast.
Police were patrolling and enforcing a no wake policy since water was lapping against many homes along the waterway.

Chef Larry

We go to Larry and Claudia's for “Thanksgiving” dinner. Larry does a deep fried turkey. It takes less than an hour to cook, but since it is raining he has to cook it in their shed. Very moist, not greasy, it is very good.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

82 degrees and Humid

Early morning fog at Osprey Marina
Today more of the “Sail to the Sun” group arrive at Osprey. The second ICW Rally group, “Snowbirds” is a day or two behind. They arrive on Monday. We have been trying not to be at the same place as either group, but they are getting hard to avoid.

Two years ago we saw a lot less cruising boats heading south, but because of weather delays and being earlier in the migration period this year, we are in a bubble of boats passing through the ICW. I call to make a reservation at a Georgetown marina, our next stop, with Linda's sister, and find the first two marina's are full on Monday, booked by the “Sail to the Sun” group a day ago. We get a spot at the third marina. Georgetown is an historic maritime town in South Carolina, but we by passed it going south and north on our last trip.

Today is warm 82 degrees and very humid. We run the Air Conditioning on the boat, more because of the dampness than the heat.

Linda's younger sister Sabrina arrives in the morning from West Virginia and in the afternoon we all go over to visit her older sister, Claudia and her husband Larry.

Friday, November 6, 2015

Myrtle Beach

We have an Enterprise Rental car pick us up in the morning for their weekend car rental. A good deal, Friday, Saturday and Sunday, return Monday for $10.00 a day. Plan to do the weekend rental frequently when we get to Florida.

Linda has an appointment at Carolina Orthopedics to get her sore shoulder checked out and hopefully a cortisone shot. Lots of old farts in varying stages of decrepitude here at this popular retirement spot. Looks like an AARP convention here. When we leave there is this one 20 something, looking somewhat out of place, waiting his turn, in a room of gray.

In the afternoon we decide to head off shore.

Myrtle Beach

But then we get to the end of the pier and walk back.

Some of the members of the “Sail to the Sun” ICW rally arrive at Ospray Marina

Thursday, November 5, 2015


It is quite foggy when we pull the anchor. It takes a couple hours to clear.

Near the Calabash River, Casino boats head off shore, outside the three mile limit, for gambling.

Today we have three draw bridges to past through, all open on request, instead of on a schedule. You would think it would make for a faster passage, Wrong ! We are about ½ hour out from the first bridge when a group of boats leaves a marina 10 minutes from the bridge. By the time we reach the bridge the operator says we will have to wait since he just let a group of boats through. After about 10 minutes I see another sailboat coming behind in the distance, so I tell the operator I will wait for him, although he never contacts the bridge himself requesting an opening. Finally after ½ hour the bridge opens. He leaves the bridge open longer for a 3rd boat coming along.
We pass through and area called the “Rock Pile”. For about two miles the ICW is quite narrow here with rock ledges on both sides sticking out from the shore. This is not a section you want to be passing an oncoming barge.

The "Rock Pile"
In about 8 miles is another open on request bridge. These two boats pass me after a couple miles and at the Barefoot landing swing bridge they pass around the curve in the ICW to the bridge. I forget to switch the VHF to channel 9 (the channel for the swing bridges in North and South Carolina) and by the time I round the bend and call the bridge they are through. The bridge operators usually ask if anyone is behind, to group the boats, obviously they did not mention us. Oh well, no good deed goes unpunished. I am told we will have ½ an hour wait. By then a boat that was two miles behind us gets in range and calls on the VHF and we have another 15 minutes to wait for them to catch up. Arg!

Our last Bridge just before the Ospray Marina, the Socastee Bridge is our last open on request Bridge.
I call them about 1 mile out at 1:25 PM and the operator tells me the next opening is at 2:00 PM.
WTF ? Do they not understand the concept of open on request ? So we wait another ½ hour. Arg !
As we approach the bridge we see a whole bunch of people working on the part of the bridge. Then it dawns on me they are doing some sort of maintenance and a limiting the bridge to hourly openings. The bridge operator should of informed us and the Coast Guard should of made occasional announcements on channel 16. As it turns out we were lucky, the bridge was closed a couple days prior due to its problems.

So anyways the “open on request” bridges add another 2-1/2 hours to our day, aside from having the current against us most of the day. This trip, I much prefer the bridges that open at schedule times which you can plan for. By mid-afternoon we pull into Ospray Marina. Ospray is surrounded by a Cyprus Swamp and in the evening we can hear owls and crickets like it is still summer. When we go to bed it is still 72 degrees.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Calabash Creek

We get up at 6 AM and are on our way by 7. Lots of boats leaving after waiting out the rain. We have a few light showers during the day, but mostly rain free. A couple hours later we catch the current down the Fear river all the way to Cape Fear. Then we get back into the ICW at Southport. Since we get to Southport at low tide we catch the flood heading west on the ICW. Good day for us, down hill in both directions. By noontime we are 10 miles further than I expected to be at that time.

We pass through Lockwoods Folly inlet, one of the infamous shoaling areas on the North Coralina ICW. 

Green line is our track. There buoys are further north than shown on the chart

Two years ago going south we passed a couple boats aground there. That winter it was dredged and coming north in the spring it was a non-issue, deep water all the way through. Well, two years later it has filled back in. The buoys have been moved to show the deepest water which is way off from the charted channel. The charts can never keep up with the buoy changes. Boats that follow their chart plotters and not the buoys will plow into a two foot deep shelf of sand filling in from the inlet to the south here. Tow BoatUS hangs out near inlets like this because of the frequent groundings. Other shoaling inlets have missing buoys taken out by barges, making it more difficult to figure the optimal passage. Reading recent accounts online is very helpful.

By mid-afternoon I call the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club to make a reservation, but they are full. I call a couple others in the same harbor, but no one answers the phone. I leave a message at one of them. At that point I give up and decide to anchor in Calabash Creek. Suppose to be only room for a few boats, but there are 7 boats there including us with plenty of room. Nice quiet anchorage in a creek with a strong current, but good holding. Once we get anchored I get a phone call from one of the marinas telling me they have space for us. Since we are comfortably anchored, I tell the woman, not to hold the spot for us.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Wrightsville Beach - Rain Day 2

It rains even harder overnight and most of the morning, so we sleep in. Have a late breakfast of Popovers. Spend another day at anchor. Watch the rest of a TV series and a movie that I have on a USB drive. All round a pretty much useless day. We have over 7 inches of rain.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Wrightsville Beach - Rain Day

It is raining when we wake up. Decide to stay at Wrightsville since it is suppose to rain most of the day. We have a laid back day. Late breakfast, pancakes. Lots of reading. I find a local hotel that has free low bandwidth WiFi that I can pickup on our WiFi booster. They charge for higher speeds to stream video, but the free version is plenty fast for email, surfing the web and even Youtube. We make pizza for dinner.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Wrightsville Beach

Most boats leave early in two groups. There are three swing bridges today and timing the opening is not always easy with hard to predict currents and thus boat speed on the different creeks and estuaries we pass through. We get lucky and make all three scheduled bridge openings as planned or I should say hoped for. Fortunately, we have the current with us and against us an equal amount of time, so our average speed is adequate to make the openings. Some cruisers like to race ahead and spend considerable time waiting in front of the bridges. I like to get there with the least amount of fuel used and not spent much if any time drifting in a narrow channel in front of a bridge, especially when the current is trying to push you into the bridge. 

Surf City Bridge, the line up. These boats passed us two hours ago.

Our favorite ICW,  Lawn Ornament

The last bridge is the Wrightsville Beach bridge (opens on the hour) which is 5.1 miles down from the Figure 8 Bridge (which opens every ½ hour). I plan on motoring 5.1 miles per hour and take an hour between. No way can we motor 10.2 miles per hour to cover that distance in ½ hour. One of the boats we see quite often “Mar-a-Lago” a Catalina 42 goes through the Figure 8 Bridge at the “Bottom of the hour”. He is too far ahead of us to see him, but I can track him and monitor his speed, from his AIS transponder. As soon as he gets through the Figure 8 Bridge, he floors it to 8.4 to 8.6 knots. Not quite enough to cover that distance in ½ hour. But at the “top of the hour” his speed does not slow down, apparently he talked the Bridge operator into delaying the closing a few minutes. At 5 minutes past the top of the hour I can see his speed settle back down to normal cruising speed, after he must of cleared the bridge. That must have cost an extra gallon or two of fuel. They are traveling with “Mighty Fine” a trawler from Charlotte, Vermont who has no problem with going that fast. 

Just another warm day in North Carolina on the ICW
We pass through the Wrightsville Beach bridge mid-afternoon on a warm sunny day and there are boats all over the place, many hanging out in the channel at the bridge, oblivious to the line of boats coming through the bridge opening. We head into the anchorage at Wrightsville beach and the place is a zoo. The water is very choppy from all the boat wakes. You would think it was the middle of summer.  By sundown the water calms down and we have a quiet evening. We head into a Mexican, Surf themed restaurant “Tower 7 Baja Mexican Grill” we like for dinner. We were last there two years ago with our friends Dan and Dawn. Only this time it is much warmer, still in the high 70's after dark. We go to bed around 11:00 PM and it is still 73F.