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Log of Calypso
Back on the Neuse
05/04/2014, MCAS Cherry Point

This will be our last blog entry for the summer. With our summer jobs, some traveling overseas, and a long list of boat projects we will be very busy. We have been pushing to get back to our summer dockage off the Neuse River.

Severe thunderstorms and other associated ugly weather was in the forecast and we didn't want any part of it. While getting fuel in Little River, SC we discovered one of our pintails was broken. This solid bronze fitting is one of three supports that attaches the rudder to the hull. We had no idea how it broke or even when. It needed to get fixed, but how and when were questions that didn't have answers!

The closest large yard with facilities to remove the rudder was in Wilmington, NC. Looking at the distance, by the time we got there we could be back at Cherry Point and the yards in Oriental. After a quick phone call to friends Jim & Jeanne, who gave us a shot of confidence, we knew that continuing north was the right action.

We secured the rudder to CALYPSO. This safety was in the event the other two supports broke we would not lose the entire rudder. Although prudent, every time we looked aft it just reminded us that we may be moments from a very serious problem.

It was nice to enter the familiar waters of the Neuse River and head towards Cherry Point. With a major sigh we arrived at Hancock Marina about 1640, Monday. 

Fair winds & quiet anchorages,
US

Time & Tide
05/04/2014, Underway-Waccamaw River

When we stop tonight, Friday 25 May, in our anticipated anchorage we will have travelled 161 miles since Monday. This may not seem like a lot if your thinking about doing it in a car. It also may not be much for some of our cruising friends who routinely travel 60+ miles a day while in the waterway. But, for us it's a lot.

We have been very fortunate using the tides to our advantage. We left Factory Creek,Monday, at dawn. We fought the outgoing and incoming tide most of the first four hours. How is that to our advantage?

Well, we had to go through the skinny Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut, say that three time fast! This is one of the known shallow spots in the area. By fighting the incoming tide we were able to get through without incident. Then, we were able to ride the rest of the incoming tide towards the Toogoodoo Creek, our anchorage.

While anchoring we discovered that our alternator was not charging. We did some troubleshooting and decided the problem was the alternator. The following morning we installed our spare and all was well. Glad we had it!

With the new alternator working fine we headed for Charleston. Again we rode the tides to the Wappoo Cut. The current here can run at 4+ knots at max flood. Depending on the tide and your direction it can be a sleigh ride or it can be like hitting a brick wall. 

We like to avoid this type of interesting if not dangerous experience so, by pacing ourselves we went through with about a knot of current against us. That was perfect! There is a bridge we needed to have open half way through the cut and it has restricted hours, requiring us to wait. CALYPSO is much happier idling ahead facing the bridge as apposed to turning around to head into the current to wait.  We made it to Charleston and anchored off the city marinas Mega Dock.

Yesterday we left the anchorage on and outgoing tide which scooted us along through the harbor with just our staysail up. We made such good time that we had to wait 45 minutes to get through the Ben Sawyer Bridge's morning restricted hours. 

Once through we approached another trouble spot, marker 117A. The tide was about 10 minutes from low when it happened! We touched, but slid through the soft pluff mud. We continued but touched again which we scooted through with the momentum of our 20,000 pound displacement. Then a third time and again we oozed across, just slower.

We had lost some of our momentum and when we crested the forth mud mound, we stuck. A couple vain attempts to free ourselves failed. It was dead low tide so we waited 15 minutes and tried again. Just a little lift from a little extra water was enough to free us and we were off. Last night we anchored in Minim Creek, about 11 miles south of Georgetown, SC.

This morning we transferred 15 gallons of fuel from the Jerry Jugs to our main tank and headed out at 1045. The late start was just what we needed to ride the tide to Winyah Bay, past Georgetown, and into the Waccamaw River.

We Hope to anchor around 1800 in one of our favorite spots, the Oxbow at the north end of the river. Tomorrow we will head towards N. Myrtle Beach with an ETA back at MCAS Cherry Point of early next week.

More Later,
US

Time & Tide
04/24/2014, Underway-Waccamaw River

When we stop tonight in our anticipated anchorage we will have travelled 161 miles since Monday. This may not seem like a lot if your thinking about doing it in a car. It also may not be much for some of our cruising friends who routinely travel 60+ miles a day while in the waterway. But, for us it's a lot.

We have been very fortunate using the tides to our advantage. We left Factory Creek,Monday, at dawn. We fought the outgoing and incoming tide most of the first four hours. How is that to our advantage?

Well, we had to go through the skinny Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut, say that three time fast! This is one of the known shallow spots in the area. By fighting the incoming tide we were able to get through without incident. Then, we were able to ride the rest of the incoming tide towards the Toogoodoo Creek, our anchorage.

While anchoring we discovered that our alternator was not charging. We did some troubleshooting and decided the problem was the alternator. The following morning we installed our spare and all was well. Glad we had it!

With the new alternator working fine we headed for Charleston. Again we rode the tides to the Wappoo Cut. The current here can run at 4+ knots at max flood. Depending on the tide and your direction it can be a sleigh ride or it can be like hitting a brick wall. 

We like to avoid this type of interesting if not dangerous experience so, by pacing ourselves we went through with about a knot of current against us. That was perfect! There is a bridge we needed to have open half way through the cut and it has restricted hours, requiring us to wait. CALYPSO is much happier idling ahead facing the bridge as apposed to turning around to head into the current to wait.  We made it to Charleston and anchored off the city marinas Mega Dock.

Yesterday we left the anchorage on and outgoing tide which scooted us along through the harbor with just our staysail up. We made such good time that we had to wait 45 minutes to get through the Ben Sawyer Bridge's morning restricted hours. 

Once through we approached another trouble spot, marker 117A. The tide was about 10 minutes from low when it happened! We touched, but slid through the soft pluff mud. We continued but touched again which we scooted through with the momentum of our 20,000 pound displacement. Then a third time and again we oozed across, just slower.

We had lost some of our momentum and when we crested the forth mud mound, we stuck. A couple vain attempts to free ourselves failed. It was dead low tide so we waited 15 minutes and tried again. Just a little lift from a little extra water was enough to free us and we were off. Last night we anchored in Minim Creek, about 11 miles south of Georgetown, SC.

This morning we transferred 15 gallons of fuel from the Jerry Jugs to our main tank and headed out at 1045. The late start was just what we needed to ride the tide to Winyah Bay, past Georgetown, and into the Waccamaw River.

We Hope to anchor around 1800 in one of our favorite spots, the Oxbow at the north end of the river. Tomorrow we will head towards N. Myrtle Beach with an ETA back at MCAS Cherry Point of early next week.

More Later,
US

Happy Easter
04/20/2014, Lady's Island Marina

After two days on the hook in Factory Creek we moved to the dock at Lady's Island Marina. 

With several days of wind and rain forecast it seemed like a good idea. Also, Jeff's brother was planning to stop by and see us while on a trip to NC. What would be more fun than having company ride out to the boat in a rain storm with 30 knots of wind blowing? So, a marina turned out to be a good option.

This is a very nice marina! Reasonably priced it also offers several grocery stores, a hardware shop, as well as several restaurants and churches. We have been coming here since we started cruising in 2010 and have enjoyed it ever since!

After a record 2.7" of rain on Friday and more yesterday we were ready for a break. It wasn't until 1400 today that the sun appeared. The strong winds are still holding us to the dock. The forecast is for them to lighten overnight and we hope to be heading towards Charleston in the morning.

More later,
US

Hiding in Factory Creek
04/14/2014, At Anchor

After our offshore run to Port Royal Sound we were pretty tired. The winds offshore had been light, less than 10 knots. The swell was 2-3' coming from the SE on a long interval. There was just enough wind that we were happy to keep a sail up to steady out the roll.

Trying to sleep underway while motor sailing is a challenge. A nearly full moon was great to help with navigating, but lit up the cabin quite a bit. So, the best we could do was take short cat naps.

Once safely at anchor we set the alarm and headed for bed. The one hour "Power Nap" refreshed us. After tending to a few misc tasks and as darkness fell we had dinner and were down for the count!

"Dawn comes early on a boat", Captain Ron says. This morning at 0642 we were underway, headed for Factory Creek. We rode the last of the incoming tide the nearly ten miles to downtown Beaufort.

We stopped at the city marina to pick up fuel. Also there were replicas of the Niña and Pinta at the marina. These museum ships go from seaport to seaport were they give tours and possibly rides.

They were underway from the marina minutes before we finished paying for our 25 gallons of diesel. We were all getting in the que for to 0900 Lady's Island Bridge opening.

We let the two ship pass ahead of us as we made a sharp right hand turn after the bridge and into Factory Creek.

After anchoring we launched the dinghy and rowed to the Lady's Island Marina. It has always been very cruiser friendly even if you are anchored. In the past we have used their docks to tie up the Trinka while doing some grocery shopping. In return we alway buy several bags of ice, it works out well.

We were skeptical about continuing this arrangement after hearing the marina had new owners. After a brief phone call with the new dock master we were pleasantly supposed to hear the this is still a very friendly marina.

After our trip to Food Lion and lunch at Rancho Grande' we met Dockmaster Steve. Another surprise!

He looked familiar and soon we found out that Steve had been the Dockmaster of the Capital Yacht Club, in Washington DC, when we were there in 2010.

We also met Steve and his wife Gloria in Key Largo when they were cruising there, in 2013. they had just left the DC area and were cruising the Florida Keys aboard their 40' Island Trader. Cruising sure makes the world smaller.

Our plan is to stay anchored in Factory creek while the most recent front blows thru. We have been here for several bouts with sever weather and it offers very good protection.

More later,
US

Cowen Creek (ICW Mile 544)
04/13/2014, At Anchor

After twenty eight and a half hours we anchored at Cowen Creek, just south of Beaufort SC.

It was a great trip. However, the last four hours against a 2 knot outgoing current were the hardest as we made slow progress to our anchorage.

More on our offshore adventure later,
US

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