A Party and a Problem (fixed)
06 November 2007 | Little River, SC, Mile 347
Beth - in socks in the mornings
On Sunday, after waking up to dawn at a new time (Clocks fell back last night) we continued our trek along the ICW, covering Miles 244.5 (Mile Hammock Bay to 295.2 (Carolina Beach), traveling past many waterfront homes and hundreds of little fishing boats, each carrying two or three people casting their lines. It seems to be the Sunday thing to do. No sign of fish though!
We pulled into Carolina Beach - just full of condos and docks along both sides, but with a roomy anchorage nestled amid the hustle and bustle- in the late afternoon, followed rapidly by Sea Duck, Wind Drum, and Sulis. It seemed time for a party so we invited them all over for happy hour. Jim went next door to give Sward on Dream On a couple of extra hands in some work she was doing - but she was too involved in her fix-it job to join us. Just as we were gathering, Friendship came circling in so we invited Seldon and Jackie to join us. This made the biggest crowd we have squeezed into Madcap's cockpit - 11 of us in all! It made for a wonderful few hours as we shared stories and plans and tips, and food and drink of course. As I told Sharon, I left my community of friends behind, so I'm building a new community. It feels like a very fine community too!
Everyone made early starts in the morning - in fact we were among the last to go at about 8 am. We quickly moved out into Snow's Cut with its lovely golden coloured banks, and then into wide open Cape Fear River. We were fortunate that we were moving on an ebb current, and the wind was behind us so we made great time, and the water was smooth. It seems that in most places where we are warned that the water could be rough, we luck into calm conditions. We didn't go into Southport, but cruised on by to try to make the 2pm opening of Sunset Beach Bridge. For awhile it looked really good - we were moving faster than we should have been - we had the engine cranked up - it wasn't doing its power up/power thing - the current was helping us. But then, the tide changed and we slowed down. We also ended up being careful not to push the engine as much because it was making different noises. Our tachometer isn't working so we have to guess at our rpm's by listening to the sound. We ended up making the 3pm bridge after a verrry leisurely trip. It did give us time to see goats roaming along the banks, and to say hello to the fisherfolks as we passed.
We pulled into the Calabash River anchorage along with 4 or 5 other boats to do the usual ICW anchoring thing. It's been said that watching boats anchor is prime entertainment for the folks who are already there and I have to say that is true. Some boats are quick to find a spot and drop; some circle and circle; some drop and haul/drop and haul. Some use hand signals and some use loud verbal communication between cockpit and bow. Jim and I have the hand signals down pat, and we are usually quick droppers although we've done our share of circling if the space is crowded. Everyone usually finds a spot.
We read that some cruisers have had bad experiences here because of wake from the working boats out of the Calabash town dock. We had no trouble, but I would be sure to anchor out of the channel. But then again that is only common sense.
After a short conversation with the folks on Arcadian and plans to meet up with them soon again, we set off in the dinghy for some calabash style seafood. It was a little disappointing. We expected hot, crisp deepfried seafood and we got warm limp deep fried seafood. Oh well! The ride back under the stars was lovely.
On Tuesday morning, we set off for the Buckport area - we thought. But we were hardly out of the anchorage when the engine started with the noises again - bigger and louder. Jim opened the engine compartment for about the 15th time to see if he could identify what was causing it and this time he saw sparks. That really helps identification! It was the alternator. We slowed to a crawl and pulled in at Anchor Marina, just a few miles down the way.
The folks here have been just great. Guy and Don caught our lines as we rafted up to Enchantress, whose captain, Tony, graciously said we were welcome to do. (Space is tight here). Guy, Director of Operations acted as mechanic and diagnosed that the bearings had worn on the alternator. He pulled it out, got new ones on and put it all back together again within a few hours. He also changed the secondary fuel filters to see if that is the cause of the power drops and surges, and thinks there was some water in one of them. Laura - or Miss Laura - as women are known in these parts - (the Service Manager) was also great to meet. She spent lots of time with us, welcoming us to the area, helping us reposition the boat, to the floating dock. We had time to chat with Don from Shadowfax out of Toronto and also here for a repair, and Ken a local gentleman who came by to chat.
We decided to stay here for the night and make an early start in the morning because we'll be able to make Georgetown in one day. So - much as we regret seeing a kazillion boats go by us, we know we'll still get there, and we will go safely.
It was Ken who encouraged us to go up to the bar this evening because we will have a chance to hear some South Carolina Beach music.
So we are off to clean ourselves up a bit and go absorb some more atmosphere - and a beer or two! Lucky Madcap sailors once again.