11/01/2009, Charleston, S.C.
October 29th and 30th, 2009 Wrightsville Beach, NC to Charleston, SC
11/01/2009, Wrightsville Beach, SC
We had a leisurely morning and made sure that everything was lashed down before weighing anchor at the prescribed time of 9:30....It was a little later than that really because we had a misaligned mizzen halyard that needed fixing before we could raise the mizzen (which we like to do before raising the anchor).
Anyway, we left Wrightsville Beach in the company of "First Edition" and "Fine Lion" around mid morning. The Masonborro Inlet was easy, dodging fisherman was the worst of the issues but nothing like Beaufort where they jockey to make sure that passage is a trial.
The wind was basically behind us out to the cut in Frying Pan Shoals- about 35 miles away and sailed ... and sometimes motored, our way out into the ocean. The pass through the shoals is interesting in that it is about a ¼ a mile wide with minimum depths of around 18 feet. The interesting aspect is that less that 200 yards away there is water 2 feet deep.......35 miles off shore.
From there was around 100 miles to Charleston on a heading of SW. With a NE wind of 20 knots and above, it proved to be a slip sliding night surfing down 8 footers. Good speed but not lots of sleep. I went below at about 7 and returned to watch at midnight. Neither of us could actually get to sleep for the rolling around on every wave.
It was a long night, but the moon was out and it was not scary in the least. An adolescent sparrow flew in about 40 miles off shore and made a home for the night in the cockpit, departing as we entered Charleston Harbor around 9 am the next day.
We anchored off the Mega-dock, took showers, got some food, and promptly fell asleep.
Later in the afternoon I dinghied over to "Fine Lion" who had taken a slip at the City Docks and spent the afternoon replacing their anchor rode.... the old rusty chain was just not working like it should in the gypsy.
We had a nice supper ... pork chops again, watched some video and hit the sack ...way early.
October 28th, 2009 Mile Hammock to Wrightsville Beach, NC
11/01/2009, Mile Hammock Bay, NC
At about 4am the wind woke me and I went up to the cockpit to see if we were holding firm in the soft mud here in Mile Hammock. We were fine, but it appeared that "Fine Lion" wasn't so lucky. They were slipping backward toward another boat and had to re-anchor. After watching the GPS for a while it appeared that we were ok so I set the anchor drag alarm and went below. It was too late to go back to bed so I worked on the computer, occasionally popping up to check things.
The New River Inlet is just around the corner from here and always seems to be a problem, with shoaling changing from month to month. I read the most recent reports on the Cruiser's Net about the area and checked out the Corps of Engineer's survey of the area.
Finally it was light enough to take off and we were on the good old ICW by around 7:30.
Besides the shoaling we found ourselves in the old..."Will we make the next bridge?"game. The first was 15 miles away and only opens on the hour. One of the functions of the new GPS is that we can mark a spot ...such as a bridge in the distance, and it will calculate our arrival time given our speed over land. It works well- today the only problem was traffic. There were times that we needed to go faster but couldn't get around the sailboats in front of us.
As it turned out we made all the bridges including the 1:00 opening at Wrightsville Beach. We both filled up with fuel and then anchored next to "First Edition" whom we had met a couple of years ago and are good friends. Probably better friends with Kim and Steve.... but it really doesn't matter.
We chatted most of the afternoon and then went to shore to a Mexican Restaurant where I had my first fish taco two years ago. Everyone had a good time and we all made plans to weigh anchor at 9:30 am for an overnight to Charleston. We should have lots of wind from the right direction.
October 26th, 2009 Oriental, NC to Cape Lookout Bight
I woke up at about 3:30 am and stayed in bed awake until sunup. It happens sometimes. I just could not get back to sleep. We finally got up about 8 to a dreary dark morning with steady drizzle. I worked on getting ready to cast off ... but there was really no rush, it's 5 hours to Cape Lookout and the winds on the ocean (the last 6 miles) should be easing some in the later afternoon.
I returned the 50 to 30 amp splitter to Jerry and walked back to the Condo with Steve to steal all the ice in their refrigerator. Back at the boat, we wasted more time... ( it was hard because both Kathy and I were ready to be gone) until about 10 am. Jerry came over to help us cast off and we were gone. We sailed slowly across the Neuse River on our staysail while "Fine Lion" made a trip to the gas dock. There was nice wind and it pushed us up Adams Creek until we ran into some oncoming barge traffic and doused the sail to be able to maneuver if necessary.... (the channel was narrow there).
After lunch we heard "Inspiration" calling the Beaufort Docks and hailed them a few minutes later. We spent a few days with Bill and Betty last year and wanted to touch base. They are heading to the Bahamas so maybe we will see them in the future.
The wind was more east than had been predicted and we didn't really know the state of the ocean but decided to stick our noses out at Beaufort to see if the hour trip to Cape Lookout was possible. As it turned out, the ocean was much more comfortable than the Intracoastal and we had a nice sail the rest of the way to our anchorage.
I cooked some shrimp that we purchased off the boat in Oriental and Kathy put together a salad.
With a 5 am date with the anchor ... we didn't stay up too late.
We were up at 5 and on deck at 5:30 weighing anchor in the pitch dark. It was cloudy and seemed windier than the forecast called for. Outside the Bight we were in the ocean running southwest into southwest seas. It was so dark that we couldn't see the waves that hit us. In an hour or so there was enough daylight to see that the seas weren't all that big. But our course ... which was dictated by Frying Pan Shoals, took us almost dead into the wind and seas. The forecast was for northwest winds ... which we could have worked with, but the out of the SW.... motoring into them was not worth it. We turned back north and in about 2 hours we in Beaufort where we headed south on the ICW.
There are very few places to stop along this stretch of swamp and scrub. In the afternoon we entered Camp Lejune, where they often stop traffic in the ICW for live fire exercises. We were lucky and only had a short wait for the bridge there.
We pulled into Mile Hammock Bay, which is a dredged area on Camp Lejune property that has a very soft bottom. There were lots of boats there ahead of us but we found spaces between them to anchor for the evening, which called for storms.