Going Ashore In Carolina Beach, NChumid, but otherwise nice
14.5 miles from anchor up to anchor down today. Carolina beach is not as upscale as Wrightsville Beach, at least not according to the view of it I saw. Cheap motels, touristy shops. But the basic concept is the same, an incredible beach on the Atlantic side with "beach" houses fit into every nook and cranny along it. Some basic homes, some extravagent villas. This is where the Carolinians have their beach houses - their Coronado (Coronado, San Diego is where my family goes). There was hardly anyplace to put the dingy ashore. I came into one condo building with a beach in front and asked someone on the balcony if I could come ashore for a little while to walk the dogs. They actually said no and watched as I turned around and headed off. But that is the exception. As I've said before, NC people seem naturally dog friendly. The man at the convienence store came out after we were done and brought the dogs biscuts. Many people have done so on this trip (remember the ladies walking in the mornings in Oriental). It seems to be the norm in these beach towns to pass ordinances restricting dogs completely from the beaches during the summer months. Pity. We go anyway, but only for short leashed runs to and from the water. I found this little put-in not far from tonight's anchorage. It was so nice out this evening that we tried to sleep out on deck, but it became just to muggy out there and now we're back inside before heading off to sleep in the more cozy cabin. It is cool out tonight, which keeps things more comfortable. There's definitely an art to cruising a sailboat long distances. One has to find comfort in all types of environments; most of all, one has to find comfort in one's self. That's why Jake does so well. Anne and I go through happy times and homesick times but we're happy to at least be together.
Doing Dishes (these are clean ones)Keith, hot and humid
08/01/2008, Wrightsvills Beach Just Before Taking Off To Carolina Beach
I'm learning low water use methods of washing the dishes. I've got 80 gallons of water and I've not filled up since I left Whitaker Creek in Oriental. I've got the forward 35 gallon tank turned off from the supply so that I will know when I'm running low.
Most Of The Contents Of The Fridge After Grocery Shopping And Cleaning And OrganizingKeith, getting hot and humid
08/01/2008, Wrightsville Beach, NC
I went shopping, cleaned and vaccumed the inside of the boat, pulled up the dingy, stored the outboard engine, and was just about ready to head off. It was beautiful. That's when things go wrong. And surely as I was windlassing the chain it got stuck in the device evidently designed to prevent the chain from getting stuck. To make a long story short and not too detailed, I got the anchor up and made it 14.5 miles southward to Carolina Beach, where I'm posting this entry.
Morning Sun On Wrightsville BeachNice, even though no dogs are evidently allowed on the beach during the summer
When we awoke, it was sunny and calm again. We dingied into shore and took a long walk through the beach town. Knowing that I had misread (perhaps purposely) the signs about when dogs were allowed , I only brought them far enough to take this picture. The rest of the walk was far enough to tire them out nonetheless.
Wrightsville Beach Sunset ThunderstormKeith
We traveled a short 22 miles (4-5 hours with one long wait for a broken bridge) to this happening beach town, though the beach town scene is starting to become a bit routine. What made things interesting was a fat thunderstorm that came through shortly after I took the dogs for a walk on the dog restricted beach. I was about to dingy back to town by myself to do some grocery shopping when I saw lightening in the distance. I've taken to letting out a lot of chain to give the anchor enough scope with the tidal currents that frequent this region. Even so, I went up and let out a total of 90 feet of chain. I would have let out all 100, but that would have put me too close to another sailboat. It held no problem. But what a show. Lightening all around us - long strikes that seemed not to stop as quickly as one would expect. I battoned up the hatches and made macaroni and cheese and a hebrew national hot dog sliced in (I know) while the water was sheeting off the windows. Anne stayed close, Jake seemed oblivious. When the storm finally ended, the air was cool and moist and we all had a great night's sleep. This morning is clear and calm again (for now). We took a great hike through town and I went and got those groceries. I've got some good pictures from that which will get posted this afternoon or evening. The boat is sparkling from the hard wash. Turns out my procrastination in not scrubbing the decks since we started paid off.
The Afternoon Walk Leads To The Atlantic SideKeith, warm and muggy by day, cool and muggy by night
07/31/2008, Topsail Anchorage
We landed the dingy about 200 yards from the sailboat on a little beach (formerly a launching ramp) surrounded by docks. There was even a little post to tie the dingy to so I didn't have to pull it up the beach. Jake and Anne are great ambassadors of good will. It's like everybody knows them already and many people come right on over and say hello to us. The dogs get pet by strangers every day. North Carolina people, I must say, appear to be true dog lovers. Anyway, its because of the dogs that I feel ok landing pretty much anywhere. People see that I've got animals that need to get off the boat and do their thing and walk around. We clean up after ourselves and don't stay for long. One woman commented that she sees a lot of goldens on boats. I'm not surprised. A mature golden retiever does great on a sailboat if they are taken on land walks regularly. The dogs are great at hanging out while sailing. They don't get uptight at all the little things and they enjoy just being all together. It was only a short walk from the landing spot to the Atlantic, where we walked along the beach. The waves were high and the surf was dangerous, so I kept them on leash. Returned to the boat, made a nice dinner of steamed rice and the rest of the chicken in a stif-fry with fresh vegies. We may take off later tomorrow as our destination is only 20 miles away.
SouthwardsKeith, hot and muggy but comfortable as I've adjusted to the weather and the breeze is cooling - wouldn't want to be stationary digging ditches in this weather
07/31/2008, Southern, North Carolina
When it got light I pumped Lil' Dreamer with air and.... it held. Boarded the dogs, put back on the outboard (not in that order), and headed to the town dingy docks, this time choosing a parking spot much more carefully. Walked the dogs, headed back to the boat, prepared her for cruising, and we left. Yesterday's cruise was 32.35 miles. The wind was against us pretty much the whole time so it was just cruising and no sailing. Again we are traveling through shallow waters with a narrow channel that runs about 10-12 feet deep. Tropical Dreamer draws 4.5 feet. My depth meter alarms at 4 feet below the keel, or 8.5 feet of water. There were several alarms yesterday as I inadvertently drifted out of the channel. Fortunately, I only grounded once. It was a pretty serious one right at the end of the day. I was trying to decifer the directions to tonight's anchorage and I took a left after the marker instead of before it. I could feel the boat ride up onto the sandy shelf. I was sure I was going to have to call the tow boat to get me off, but after several minutes of back and forth thrusting, I gradually reversed myself off and floated away. I couldn't believe it. Tonight's anchorage is on a wide channel about a mile off the intercoastal waterway. On one side of me are beautiful marshes and on the other the beach houses that line the Atlantic shore. The cruising guide sent us to anthor spot near this small marsh island in the middle of the channel, but that didn't make sense to me since there are dozens of nice landing points for dingy exploration all along the channel. The anchorage's bad point, though probably all anchorages in these parts have this problem, is the tidal currents. They change direction and if the wind is going one way and the tide the other (like now), its confusing for the boat. It circles the anchor chain and scuffs the bottom of the boat. Sounds even worse sitting on the inside of the boat. But I don't think there's anything that I can do about it so I check that we are still holding and go back below.
Morning Sun At Swansboro Anchorage07/31/2008
A Thank You To The CommentorsKeith, cool breezy night
07/31/2008, Top Sail Anchorage
I am so taken by the kind folks who leave comments on this blog. The advice, the encouragement, and the questions mean a lot to me. I've cruised in very social environments where one is with friends all the time. I've cruised in lonely far off places where there's nobody around. This trip so far has been on and off people-wise. Not too many fellow travelers on the road less traveled leading south in the heart of the hurricane season - for good reason I suspect. The comments have been particularly appreciated this past week. Thank you and keep it up. I've taken to looking at the comments before each blog entry to see if anybody out there cares what we're doing. It's nice to know we're not alone. Jake and Anne send their hello and thanks to the commentors too.
Another Dingy DisabledKeith, windy with fast current
07/30/2008, Swansboro, NC
One nice thing about being an armchair sailor is one is separated from all the unpleasantries of living on a sailboat. The dampness. The smells. The worry that one's anchor might be dragging - or that it will drag if that thunderstorm comes our way. I actually pulled out the emergency second anchor this afternoon when a squall threatened. I think I will keep it handy from now on. It seems like true sailors either don't mind these things, or they relish them. I don't know yet whether I am true. I guess time will tell. I'm not giving up the "great" for the good just yet, but the thought may have crossed my mind when we returned from a long hot walk to the Walgreens and Post Office to stock up on prescription meds and candy to find the dingy 1/2-way deflated and filled with water. This happened once before at the Whitaker docks in Oriental. I filled it up and it held air without trouble since. This time there was a gash about an inch long towards the bow right around the waterline. I didn't know this until my inspection later on. I knew I didn't want to camp out on the dock with the dogs so I pumped out the water, pumped up the deflated chamber, and made a run for the boat with the dogs as the tube became flacid (did I just use that word). Got everyone on Tropical Dreamer and pondered my situation. I was not having pleasant thoughts. I figured I better get the engine off and stored on the sailboat so I didn't lose it overnight if the dink sank. It was an awkward exercise, but I did it. Then I unloaded the rear cabin of the sailboat, obtained the patch kit for the zodiac, and reloaded everything back in its place. This brought back the memorable sensation of being exhausted while covered from head to toe with sweat that Matt and I shared every day during that refit month in Oriental. I was not having pleasant throughts at all. I tied the bow of the dingy up out of the water where I could reach it and proceeded to install the patch. The space around the gash didn't allow as much patch material as I would like, but its decent considering the circumstances and conditions. I'll let it dry overnight and see if it holds air in the morning.
Singer Family Adventures
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