10/26/2010, Little River, SC
It's been several days since I have written in the blog. When we left Beaufort, NC we anchored out the next two nights - Mile Hammock and Wrightsville Beach. Both were good anchorages. The Mile Hammock anchorage is right next to Camp Lejeune (military base). They must have been practicing since we heard lots of explosions for several hours. Wrightsville Beach anchorage is right in the town. Popular spot to anchor, there was at least 15 other boats also anchored there. We took the dinghy to the town dinghy dock and walked around, had not very good Mexican food.
After we left Wrightsville we stayed the night at St. James Marina in Southport NC. Problem with not writing for the blog within a day or so of each new location I am starting to forget the details of the places we have been. Don't remember a single thing about St. James!!
We are now in South Carolina at the Coquina Yacht Club just outside North Myrtle Beach. We planned on staying here two nights but have decided to extend for another day to do some boat maintenance projects. Nice marina with reasonable price - $1.05/foot with Boat US members. Sunday night we took a taxi to Fat Harold's. Fat Harold's is well known in this area for what is called Beach Music and Shag dancing. It has been about 15 years since I lived in SC but still love Beach Music and watching people Shag. We came back to the marina early to watch the Vikings play Green Bay on the TV in the yacht club lounge. Yesterday we rented a car and just did the typical touristy walking around Myrtle Beach. It rained off and on all day which gave us an excuse to make several stops to have beers/cocktails (like we need an excuse!).
The last week on the ICW has been a little unnerving (to say the least) due to all the boats who love to zoom by causing our boat to drastically rock and the shallow water areas. The water goes from 15 feet to 4 feet in the blink of an eye, lots of shoaling areas particularly around inlets, junctions of other rivers and drainage ditches. Anyone going through this area I would highly recommend carefully reading the navigation sections of the cruising guides which provides info on the known shoaling areas. We have the ICW Waterway Guide which is very helpful. Unfortunately, one area not noted in the guide is where we landed in 3 ½ feet of water (luckily sand bottom)..........stuck and unable to get off it. We hailed on the radio a passing power boat and for the first time ever actually asked for a wake (hoping it might push us to deeper water). They did give us a pretty good wake but we were still stuck. So, we had two options - wait for high tide or call TowBoatUS. Since high tide was not for another 4 hours we elected to call for a tow. The towing guy was there and had us in deeper water in about a half an hour. I highly recommend having unlimited towing insurance for the ICW. The cost for just one tow ($13/foot and $168/hour) exceeds the annual cost for unlimited towing insurance. For the next 20 miles we will be going through an area on the ICW called "The Rockpile", definitely do not want to go aground there.
10/20/2010, Beaufort, NC
Short day today we are in Beaufort, NC at the Town Creek Marina (nice marina) for the night. Between Belhaven and Beaufort it is like dolphin alley. We saw lots of dolphin today, wonderful thing to see.
Now, for the bad part of the day and many days so far are the sport fishing boats........today I had enough and got on Channel 16 and reamed out a boat called Soul Mates. The guys were probably going 40 knots right behind us right on our ass then swirved around us and cause a huge wake. Everything went flying down below. I do not understand why these guys have no courtesy to other boaters and think they own the road (or I guess I should say water). Enough said, will not spend my energy on people like that.
Mike & Francie on Anam Cara are also here. Free courtesy car here so Francie and I went to the Piggly Wiggly to pick up a few things, when we got back Mike dingied us to town.
The plan for the next several days is to anchor out. It doesn't look like there is much to see in the way of interesting towns between here and Myrtle Beach.
10/19/2010, Orliental, NC
We are currently in Oriental, NC. Can't really say anything positive or negative about it, just an ordinary small town I guess. When we pulled in here Finistere (met them in Portsmouth) and Anam Cara (met them all the way back at the end of the Erie Canal in Waterford).
We stayed last night at Dowry Creek Marina in Belhaven, NC. Great marina - very helpful/friendly owner and staff, well kept, nice showers, great cruisers lounge with TV and book exchange and they even have diesel fuel and a working pump out! Highly recommend this marina.
Today we heard on the VHF radio about two boats that were on the Alligator river and were going at such a fast speed they caused a huge wake and they did damage to a trawler that they passed. Later in the day they both passed us, one at a safe distance the other came right up on our stern then moved to our starboard side and again raced by a huge wake. Luckily we were in a very wide part of a bay and we were able to change position to ride out the wake.
We went to dinner with Mike and Francie from Anam Cara. Had a very enjoyable time along with a good dinner at the M&M Restaurant.
We plan on heading to Beaufort, NC tomorrow, short day only about 20 miles away. We did learn that Beaufort, NC is pronounced Bofort while Beaufort, SC is pronounced Bufort. This in important to know so that we don't offend anyone : )
10/15/2010, ELIZABETH CITY, NC
We left the Dismal Swamp Visitors Center this morning at 10:00 along with two other boats. Ended up having to wait 40 minutes for the South Mill Bridge and Lock to open which is not an easy task at all. The dismal swamp is only about 50 feet wide and we are a 37 foot boat - which means we had to turn around in circles for 40 minutes waiting. We did manage to give a couple of trees hanging over the canal a manicure with our mast and standing rigging. Not fun.
We arrived at the Mariners' Wharf in Elizabeth City at around 3:00. It is a city wharf with free 48-hour docking, no restrooms or electricity but it is right in town. Back in 1986 a man named Fred Fearing started a tradition that continues today of hosting a get together with free wine and cheese and a rose for each lady for all the boaters here at the wharf any time there are 4 or more boats here. It is hosted by volunteers and it is their way of showing that the town welcomes boaters. You can actually see a live webcam of us here at the wharf by going to http://www.ecncweather.com/harborcam.php.
Weather is supposed to be sunny tomorrow but 25 knot winds so we will stay put here until at least Sunday.
10/14/2010, Dismal Swamp, NC
Taking a day of rest today. Based on the weather forecast on the Albemarle Sound (impossible word to say) we decided to stay put at the Visitors Center for a few days. About half the boats left and others stayed here. Sounds like the boats are really stacking up in Elizabeth City waiting for the weather to clear on Saturday or Sunday. We did have a thunderstorm go through here today. Chris and Dean of Rubiayat are in Atlantic City waiting out the weather, I must admit I would much rather be stuck in Atlantic City as well. It is very nice here with very friendly Visitor Center folks. One gentleman took 4 of us ladies to the closest convenience store to purchase up a few necessities (beer, chips, etc.). This area is also a highway rest stop so lots of people stopping here to use the restrooms, etc. This is a very nice location with a center for the history of the dismal swamp.
Last night Jeff, Richard and Richard (AKA Jeff and his two Dicks) aboard Rum Runner invited us over for Chili. Great Chili Jeff! I think the Richard's were happy to have someone else come eat the never ending pot of chili. We met up with them at the marina in Norfolk, great guys. Jeff just retired from the Army National Guard after 32 years. One Richard is also in the Guard and the other Richard is his cousin (with the same first and last name).
10/13/2010, Dismal Swamp, North Carolina
We, along with 13 other boats are tied up to the Dismal Swamp Visitors Center. It is rather crowded with room for only 4 at the dock so all others are rafted to the next boat, 3 and 4 deep. All sailboats except for 2 motorboats one that has had the generator running for hours now, very annoying.
We plan on heading to Elizabeth City tomorrow which is only about 20 miles away. We may be there for a few days due to weather forecast of gale force winds off the coast of the Albemarle Sound.