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The First Mate's Journal
Where to next?

Great Lakes to The Bahamas
Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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Gassing with the big boys
Winds E 10-15 in morning, 15-20 towards evening; waves 2-3 ft, showers in the afternoon
11/03/2008, Pungo River Anchorage depth 10 ft at anchor (N35*33.608 x W076*28.258) to Broad Creek Anchorage depth 8 ft at anchor (N35*05.424 x W076*37.594)

Started out foggy about 52 outside. We calculated our gas consumption and compared it to the reading on the fuel monitor and decided we'd better stop for gas. It's rough when you're not sure how much gas you have. Unfortunately the gas stops are few & far between right here but there was diesel at a place called RE Mayo Co. near the Hobucken Bridge. They appear to be a fish/shrimper facility where the shrimp boats dock and load supplies and unload their catches. When we pulled in, there were several large shrimp boats tied at the dock but there was nobody around at the dock. We circled and called out and someone dragging a bushel heard us "do you have diesel?" "yup over there" so we pulled in. The guy dragging the bushel was sorting fish into bushels, hosing them off and putting them in a big warehouse building that looked temperature controlled because it had those long plastic curtains separating the building from the outer concrete area that he was working in.

It was an interesting setup there and the gas was for the commercial fishing boats. They made sure that we had a commercial I.D. before they'd sell to us, then we had to watch how many gallons we put in and report back to the office to let them know how much we took. According to Skipper Bob's manual they also have dockage if you need it, but probably ONLY if you really NEED it. The major focus here is on fishing/shrimping commercially (I'm thinking). Definitely worth a stop and it gives a local flavor for the shrimp industry here. Nice folks. It was odd that while I was calling out to see if anyone was here originally nobody was here, but as we were leaving, 4-5 guys appeared out of one of the shrimp boats. Later in the day while we were fighting larger waves one of the shrimp boats caught up to us and passed us. It came pretty close, I figured for a look see at us, and rocked the heck out of us, but I got a picture of it anyways.

We pulled into Broad Creek around 4 and anchored in 7-8 ft of water towards the back of the creek near a boat called Blackfoot (Pam & Frank). They motored over to say hi before going to meet some friends on shore and to tell us about a new marina here (River Dunes Marina) that they were going to be going to the next day along with an Island Packet that's anchored nearby. Everyone is putting in for the next couple days due to the weather that's heading our way. There's now a small craft advisory in effect until Thursday morning so we're going to leave the chart plotter on to use its anchor alarm.

Travel area notes
T 43* P 30.29r, Dpt 42, W NE 5-10, Hi T 70
11/02/2008, South Lake/Little Alligator River (35*55.052 x 075*54.548) End 4:15pm Pungo River Anchorage depth 10 ft at anchor (35*33.608x076*28.258)

What a beautiful traveling day! It started out on the cold side with our foul weather jackets on, and we ended up in t-shirts. What beautiful scenery along the cut here. There's a variety of trees, bushes and marsh grass but the most distinctive thing that I couldn't seem to keep my camera off of was the bald cypress and dead stumps in the water. The light color of the wood just stood out from the dark green evergreen bushes and yellow/greens of the grass. Throw in the dark brown/red water that they stand in, and Patti was snapping pictures left and right. Rob asked me to send pictures but lordy I wouldn't know where to start...

Speaking of the water here - The dark coffee color comes from tannin. It's released from the roots and decaying leaves of the juniper and bald cypress trees along the water and gives all the boats a mustache on their bow that come through the ICW. While the water looks dirty, it's not. Per the Doyle's in "Managing the Waterway" the old ships used to seek out water with tannin as it wouldn't spoil as easily. It increased the acidity of the water they stored in their scuttlebutts (wood barrels) so it wouldn't become buggy as quickly as water without it. I found that fact interesting and somehow comforting. Before reading about the color, it felt like we were traveling through dark muddy water...

The rivers, sounds, oxbows and cuts all seem to have their own personalities/ecosystems. The bald cypresses along here intrigue me. Their gnarled branches and roots look so old and fragile but the wood is a type of redwood that is resistant to rot. It's seldom harvested now because it's so slow to grow, but was liberally harvested in the past for use in hulls, coffins and as fence posts. These and other pines and conifers are good judges as to the amount of salt present in the water in the areas that we pass through. They're not salt tolerant so the more skeletons of cypress that we see, the saltier the water is. It's interesting to note how in some areas, you'll see the dead trees, then grasses teeming along the shore with the pines standing way further back or further uphill. As I recall, this area also has floating bogs (per my MS State fieldtrip to the Carolinas). I wish I'd have brought my field notes from 2 years ago now (I totally forgot them). I'll have to go by memory but it's good to see that it's still in my thoughts too.

Oh oh... I hope this isn't a sign of things to come for November
40, at 8:00am 70 at 5pm
11/01/2008, Midway Marina Coinjock, NC (36*21.132 x 75*56.842) to South Lake Anchorage, NC (35*55.052 x 75*54.548)

At 4:30am we heard an arcing sound and a click. Not a good sound, and one that definitely woke both of us out of our sleep. Got up and looked at our electric panels and discovered that the battery charger had kicked off - so we checked the readings on the batteries. Seems like they should have been about fully charged but were reading 12.39 for battery 1 and 12.53 for battery 2. We had to wait until daybreak to see anything in the battery compartment (Bill's little room on the boat) so dashed back to the warmth of the covers until morning broke. After Wayne emptied out the battery compartment of fins, life vests, and miscellaneous things like generators, we flipped the battery charger on again so he could see if anything was causing the arcing but didn't see anything. We heard the arcing sound again and a "pop" then the switch kicked off again. Sigh...Good way to start November - shivering and no battery charger! We kicked on the engine to make sure the engine would charge the batteries and it looks like it is - the batteries came up to 12.6 and 12.7 so we should be able to get to Oriental and hopefully have someone look at it/fix it there. That appears to be the next large port that we come to which is roughly 4 days travel for us from here...

Left at close to 9:30 and headed south down the ICW through Albemarle Sound (15 miles of shallow open water) until just where you tuck back into a cut. We headed for South and East Lake to anchor for the evening. It was tricky getting in, a lot of shoals, and we're anchored in 6.5 ft. Grilled pork chops, made coleslaw & biscuits and had pork & beans with it all for dinner.

There was one other boat here when we pulled in so we gave him a lot of space and went to the other side of the lake, then another boat came in while we were eating dinner and anchored next to him. I pulled out the binoculars to see who it was - it was Rafiki. We keep crossing paths with them - they were in the anchorage where we pulled up the anchor, then at Bluewater Marina. We're going to have to meet these people - we keep bumping into them.

Wayne's pretty sure it could be one of several things - the capacitor, a thermistor or varistor or diodes or it could be the charger itself. It's tucked behind the refrigeration unit so not easily accessible soooo, we'll definitely have to find somewhere to look at it.

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