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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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Broad Creek Anchorage
Winds ENE 23 knots, waves 3-4 ft, T: 60o, P: 30.12 at 7am;
11/04/2008, depth 8 ft at anchor (N35*05.424 x W076*37.594)

Well the anchor alarm didn't go off until this morning, so we shifted position and dragged about 254 ft - not to bad. After resetting our anchor and dropping another (calling for gale force winds this evening) I made breakfast and tried to get online to find out what's going on in the world. Sometimes I don't mind being out of touch, others I do... No cell coverage - but I didn't really expect to have any. Depending on where I am, I can sometimes get my broadband to work - it comes in and out then gives me an error message. At least I can still charge my computer battery from our boat batteries though even if I can't quite connect, once we come back into range my computer will be ready J. Plotted a course on the chart plotter from here to Adams Creek, then from here to Oriental. Not sure exactly where we're going. We'd like to take to Carol & Ashley over at Whittaker Creek to see if they know of anyone that can look at our battery charger in Oriental & if so, we'll pull in there, if not then we'll move on to the next large port. We're thinking that Oriental is probably the place to go, and as I remember it's a nice place.

This is the first time I absolutely do not have a clue as to how the campaigns went during a presidential election - and a historic one at that. We had a woman vying with a black for president during the democratic primaries, and we will either have our first black president, or our first woman vice-president chosen at the end of the day today. Election day and we're sitting here at Broad Creek with no news. I feel out of it, but that's not all a bad thing. Tried my hand at making pork meat pie for dinner tonight with salad. I didn't like it as well as the beef or ground sirloin but Wayne liked it. This time the crust came out terrific though

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.

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