We left the River near Mosquito Creek (ICW Mile 513) headed for Beaufort, SC. This leg of the trip includes one of the skinniest, water depth, sections on the ICW.
We pulled the anchor up at the half rising tide and crossed through the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cutoff with only a foot or two below us in spots. We certainly would not want to do this area on a falling tide. The added benefit was we now rode the incoming tide another 12 miles to Beaufort.
The Lady's Island Swing Bridge crosses the ICW at mile 536. It's restricted opening times do not allow any openings during rush hour, 1600-1800, even to include commercial vessels. Regular openings are on the hour only, so guess when we got there? 1415! The next opening was 1500 guess it could have been worse.
We circled with other boats chatting as we passed back and forth, first in one direction, then the other. The only frustrating part was at times there was no traffic on the bridge at all. Oh well, more forced relaxation!
Once through the bridge, we anchored in a lovily little shoal area in the Beaufort River across from the Naval Hospital. The next morning before sunrise and while the Marines at Parris Island did morning PT & target practice, we were underway heading off shore. Destination, St. Augustine from Port Royal Sound.
It wasn't one of our calmest off shore runs. In fact it was lumpy and wet including rain, fog, mist, pretty much yucky! As the 6-12 knot forcast winds increased to 20+ at times and what was suppose to be 2-3' seas built to 4-5' we could just imagine a weatherman like Larry saying," it should be wonderful tomorrow!"
To maintain a comfortable ride we were pushed further and further offshore. This seemed ok since we believed the winds would eventually turn southerly allowing us to angle back inland. At one point we were 22 miles off St. Catherine Sound when we spotted an object. At first it looked like a half sunk boat but it was a medal container. Yaks!
We estimated it to be a standard 30'x8'x8 steel box with a large portion of the lid ripped open. Hit that at night and you would be like Robert Redford in that horable sailboat movie, ALL IS LOST!
We called the Coast Guard and Sector Charleston responded. For the longest time the little girl on the radio seemed to think we were in the ICW not 22 miles offshore. Finially, "is it a hazard to navigation?", she asked. "It's 30' long, steel, floating 2' above the surface of the water, ya!" was our reply. Soon after that they released a Security Call Notice warning off shore Mariners about it.
Our good deed of the trip completed it was time to find dry land! We could go another 50 miles to St. Augustine or angle in and go 20 to Cumberland Island. So, here we are!
We will spend a couple days here before heading to St. Augustine. Once there we will get a mooring which are by reservation only this time of year. We will also do laundry, get ice, visit friends, and pick up our mail. Until then we will spend time exploring not only the island but an oil leak that developed while underway.
Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages,
After hiding from strong south winds in Thoroughfare Creek, near Georgetown SC, we were ready to get moving again.
On Thursday, August 29th, we planned to ride the outgoing tide and anchor in Winyah (Win-ya) Bay. While pulling up our anchor it seemed to be stuck on something. Oh-oh! A couple more cranks on our manual windlass' low gear brought up the culprit. It was a tree stump with our anchor chain wrapped around it. No worries, after a couple of pokes with the boat hook and some odd contortions with the chain while laying on the bowsprit, it was gone. Had the stump caught our anchor we would have been in big trouble had we not rigged a trip line.
We got underway and anchored in calm winds behind a spoil bank on Winyah Bay. The current was ripping at nearly 2 knots. Between the astronomical high tides and the flood water still receding a lot of water was moving under us. At 0400, the tide shifted to outgoing and we prepared to get underway but, one last look at the buoys showed little to no wind and 4' seas. Humm, what is this going to feel like for 36 hours?
How about a new plan, which included crawling back in bed until sunrise, we'll take the ICW to Charleston. We spent the next two days riding favorable tides crossing fairly shallow spots at high water. What a treat not to bump along the bottom for nearly a mile, especially north of the Ben Sawyer Bridge!
Charleston is one of our favorite cities but this time we must have set a new record for how much we could do in how little time. After anchoring and launching the dinghy we, got 10 gallons of fuel, 20#'s of ice, went to the Coast Guard exchange to pick up some essential items, then to Harris Teeter, on the other side of town, for more FF&V (Fresh Fruit & Veggies), and went to church Sunday morning. All this in less than 24 hours!
At 1145 Sunday (November 1st), after bringing up the dinghy, we were underway. Why the big rush? We wanted to catch the last of the incoming tide &the noon opening of the Wapoo Cut Bridge . Current in this cut can run at 4+ knots at times and waiting for a bridge to open in those conditions is NOT fun. So after clearing the cut we rode the last of the incoming tide about 15 miles to Church Creek, another new anchorage.
This morning the tide was, not so much, in our favor but, we made good time anchoring in the river near Mosquito Creek. We are poised to pass through two well known shallow cuts tomorrow on an incoming tide. We should have enough push to make it to Beaufort, SC. Only tide & time will tell!
Fair Winds & Quiet Anchorages
We left Wrightsville Beach Thursday, the 22nd, in the morning at low tide. In the past leaving with low water would be a guarantee of running aground. But, with recent dredging we saw nothing less than 4' under Calypso's keel.
As the tide started coming in it also gave us the gentle push we needed to pass through Snow's Cut. Unfortunately, once out of this narrow and potentially hazardous cut, we would have 4 knots of current against us in the Cape Fear River.
So, we pulled in at the Carolina Beach State Park Marina. What a wonderful, quiet, and secure marina. Their reasonable slip fee of $30/night included power, water, trash, and head/shower facilities. We took a wonderful 2 mile hike on one of the parks trails looking for the elusive Venus Fly Trap Plants. We had heard this was one of the few spots in North America they grow naturally. No luck, but it was a good hike anyway.
The next morning we got underway and rode the outgoing current down the Cape Fear River. Humming along at 6.3 knots we planned to sail offshore to Little River, at the NC/SC boarder. Our plans changed when the forecast NE wind was really coming from the West, the way we planned to sail. So, we took a right at Southport and headed south on the ICW. With few choices of anchorages in the Little River area, we tied up at Cricket Cove Marina.
On Saturday, with the threat of bad weather coming early next week we stayed on the ICW and anchored at a favorite Oxbow in the Waccamaw. This morning we travelled another 11 miles to Thoroughfare Creek. This creek, well off the ICW, has great holding for our anchor and trees that offer good wind protection from the forecasted 40 knot wind gusts.
We plan to stay here until we can continue heading south, in calmer weather.
Fair Winds and Quiet Anchorages
If after two days at anchor in Taylor's Creek (Beaufort, NC), with evening temperatures dipping into the low 40's didn't make us think of heading south, nothing would! So, on Tuesday at 1447 on the outgoing tide, we pulld our 60 pound CQR anchor out of the semi-clean bottom and headed to sea.
After dodging a freighter, several commercial fishing boasts, and a dredge we were in the clear calm waters of the Atlantic. We raised Calypso's sails, shut off the engine, and set the monitor self-steering wind vane to a course of 250. This would take us on a Rhumb Line across the 70+ miles of Onslow Bay to Masonburo Inlet.
After a peaceful hour of sailing we checked the chart plotter to see how long this leg of our southbound trip would take. WHAT? 27 hours! We knew we were going slow in the light winds, but really! Ok, back on went the engine at ahead slow. This added push would give us an ETA of 0900 Wednesday.
At 1800, Wendy was working up a mean batch of rice & beans topped with some of Larry's Salsa she canned over the summer. Then the VHF radio boomed, "Calypso, this is the 110' USCG Cutter to your stern, over!" We saw them make a large turn in our direction and suspected that they wanted to chat. The friendly but professional voice on the radio asked his litany of questions about the boat us, and where were we coming from and where were we're we going.
Then the BIG One, " Have you been boarded by the Coast Guard for an inspection recently?" Gulp, but we were prepared and told them that we just had our USCG Vessel Curtesy Inspection last month. They seemed happy and wrapped up our conversation quickly and disappeared. Thank you, Owen!
The rest of the trip was not nearly as eventful. Nothing broke, no one got hurt, and even the wind filled in and we were able to turn off the engine and sail. Napping during the off-watch is so much more civilized without the drone of a 50HP Diesel engine.
At 0954 we anchored at Wrightsville Beach. What a pleasure it was to see only three boats in an anchorage which normally holds 30, this time of year. We were easily able to get our favorite spot.
Fair winds & Quiet Anchorages
It's been a while but we actually went sailing Friday and did a good shakedown. We returned to Cherry Point and tied up at the T- Dock. Boy are we rusty, but it really felt good to be underway again.
Then, yesterday at 1027 we left. We started out with a nice light air sail to test our Monitor Self Steering wind vane, but soon the wind died off to nothing and our quiet sail was interrupted by the sound of our engine, the faithful Yanmar.
Entering Adams Creek we felt as if we were leading a parade of boats. Our lead soon diminished as the faster power & sail boats passed us by on their way south. Most notable was a small heard of Krogen Trawlers. The annual Trawlerfest in Annapolis must be over!
At 1755 we anchored in Taylor Creek, Beaufort, just before dusk. We sat in the cockpit enjoying a successful day, colorful sunset, and a wonderful bottle of "Apothic Red" wine. We hope to have more of all three in the future!
Overnight the wind blew hard, as forecast. Still gusting this morning and not predicted to settle down for a day or so we spent the day finishing various little projects and getting ready for passages south.
Fair winds & quiet anchorages,
Although not hit as hard as friends in Charleston & The Bahamas we too have had our fill of this crazy weather.
Gotta love a north wind for heading south but enough is enough!
The good news is, not only do we have a ladder which is a loaner, but the rain stopped!
Hope we can recover some of our excess lines & the 20H Danforth anchor tomorrow and leave this weekend.