Waccamaw River, SC.
11/04/2010, Charleston, S.C.
October 30-September 3, 2010
10/25/2010, Oriental, NC
The good thing is, no engine troubles. The not so good is traveling conditions.
In the morning we headed off for Charleston, leaving at 4:30 a.m. We sailed along nicely for several hours, and then the wind died. We had to turn the motors on and drive, or we would never get there. Fine Lion did another weather check and found the wind was going to clock around and pipe up and be right on our nose. None of us were too comfortable with 6-8 foot seas on our nose, so- change of plans. We went in the Masonboro Inlet and anchored at Wrightsville Beach. The new plan was to go down the Cape Fear River and out of Cape Fear.
That was a good plan, except there was too much wind and the seas were still too high in the ocean. So we made the turn onto the ICW and planned to go out Little River Inlet. That was a good plan, except we got to the Little River Swing bridge too late and had to wait for an opening. By then it was getting dark and we were not comfortable going out this inlet in the dark. We stopped at Cricket Coe Marina and spent the night.
There were still tales of boats getting beat up on the ocean, so we continued down the ICW. Savage Son blew an oil hose and had to stop at a marina to fix it. We continued on down the scenic Waccamaw River to Thoroughfare Creek to anchor and wait for them to catch up. This was a lovely, protected anchorage. We put the dinghy down and rowed over to visit Fine Lion. When Savage Son arrived, they did the same. We spent a pleasant time visiting, rowed back, put the dinghy up and made dinner.
We left Thoroughfare Creek at high tide and had a favorable current carrying us most of the day at an average of over 8 knots! We saw several eagles on our trip today. We could not quite make Charleston because the Ben Sawyer swing bridge closes from 4 - 6 p.m., so we pulled in to Dewees Creek for the night. This anchorage is a wide stream in the middle of a saw grass marsh. Not much protection and there was a strong current. Nevertheless, we spent a peaceful night.
We left in the morning to make the two + hour trip into Charleston. Savage Son decided to continue on to Beaufort, SC, traveling with Veranda. We and Fine Lion took slips at the City Marina here. We got cleaned up, and in late afternoon we took the courtesy van downtown and walked around for a while. Then we went to Pearlz for oysters, mussels, shrimp, and good times. Pearlz is probably our favorite restaurant here, but they have lots of good ones. We will be here until we have a good weather window to go outside to Florida, where we hope it will be warmer!
October 25-29, 2010 Oriental, NC
We stayed in Oriental waiting for a good weather window to travel on the outside from Cape Lookout to Charleston. We thought we had a good one and left Oriental with Fine Lion, Savage Son, and Veranda. When we reached the ocean, Veranda opted to keep going, as conditions seemed fairly benign on the ocean. The rest of us went into Cape Lookout and threw down the anchors. We had a peaceful evening.
October 25th, 2010 ...Oriental, NC
10/25/2010, Elizabeth City and Beyond
In the morning I transferred fuel from our jugs to the main tank but still need about 20 gallons to fill it. That may be a job for tomorrow. Kathy worked on sanding the companion way while I made a trip to the basement of the boat to check everything down there... mostly the packing gland on the prop shaft.
We had a little left over chili for lunch and then changed the oil, which entails moving the mattress off our berth to reach the filter. I changed the fluid in the transmission as well but it look perfect after a year... and may have been overkill.
By the time I finished and had things back in place, the canvas was dry enough to sew so we set up the machine and Kathy sewed new tops on our winch covers before redoing some seams in our dodger and side panels.
The sanding on the companion way was almost finished, so we worked on that for an hour or so and then applied a coat of Cetol before we could mess up the clean wood.
We are gradually knocking off items on our to-do list and in a day or two should be finished.
Bob from "Savage Son" in the slip next to us, came up with the idea of cooking a meal for Kim and Steve who have been so helpful to us as always. Of course this meal would be cooked in their kitchen so we hiked over to the condo to get their ok. We had decided on a turkey dinner so it would be a major undertaking. With their ok in, had we set up the meal for Monday evening, cooking in the later afternoon.
October 20th, 2010...Deep Creek, Va to Elizabeth City, NC
We left the Dock at Deep Creek around 9:40 and headed into the Dismal Swamp. It was cloudy and cool but as the morning progressed there the sun popped out occasionally to give us a little heat. Sapphire ran at about 4 knots, which would put us at the South Mills lock for the 1:30 opening. The trip was uneventful. There was a reported shoal at a feeder ditch but we slowed and never touched. A dredge was on site so they may have already fixed the problem, however there was a half knot of current in the canal and water was rushing out of the feeder ditch which drains a lake in the swamp. I assume the shoaling will continue until they get the water level in that lake down to the point where is supposed to be at this time of year.
We pulled out of the exit lock at about 2 p.m., which was early by about 30 minutes, and headed through the Turner Cut to attempt to make the bridge in Elizabeth City before it closed at 4:30. I powered up and Sapphire was running at about 7 knots when the bilge pump came on and didn't go off.....a bad sign.
I jumped down to the engine room and found water pouring out of the connection where the exhaust water enters the system at the exhaust elbow...(where the hot water from the heat exchanger meets the engine exhaust) Kathy shut down the engine and I turned off the thru hull fitting which sends water to the engine. Then it was her job to keep us in the middle of the 100 foot wide channel while I sorted out the problem.
We ended up anchoring in the middle of the road (so to speak) and in about 30 minutes we had things patched together for the run into Elizabeth City.... now aiming for the 5:30 bridge opening.
I spoke with the boat we'd been following all day to find that there was still some wall space to tie up and just before dark we were safely moored for the night. "Spinwalker" and "Motu" (new friends from Deep Creek and Deltaville respectively) stopped by for a glass of wine and chatted for a while before we buttoned up for the evening.
October 21th...Elizabeth City, NC to the bottom of the Alligator River.
In the morning I removed the hose that was leaking yesterday to find that it was almost completely clogged at the exhaust elbow end .... which easily may have been the cause of all or our recent circulatory problems.
Kathy looked up the nearest auto parts places and I took off to find a replacement. After 4 shops and a 5 mile walk, I was back and had the new hose in place. At about 10:30 we cast off and headed out the Pasquotank River toward the Albemarle Sound. It was a late start, but with luck we could make the trip before dark.
The wind built all day and it was gusting to 30 in the sound. Sapphire took a few waves over the top but it was a pleasant sunny day and without engine problems.... we had a fine day, arriving in time to have some left-over chili for dinner as the moon rose in the east.
October 22nd...Alligator River to Oriental, NC
We were up early waiting for the sun to get high enough to see the marks leading into the Alligator-Pungo but the moon setting in our eyes was a problem so we waited until about 6:45 to weigh anchor. After a long day of driving (72 nautical miles), we arrived at the dock in Oriental just before 5 p.m. in time for a party at Steve and Kim's at 5:30.
Present were "Fine Lion", "Veranda", "Savage Son" .... we'd seen all these folks in the last month but it's always fun to get together. Everyone is looking for a weather window to scoot over to the Atlantic (about a half a day from here) and head south. Unfortunately, it looks like there are south winds in the offing for the next few days, which will hold us up...
There is a long list of boat jobs so a delay is fine with us.
October 23rd...Oriental, NC
After coffee I washed a couple of layers of salt off "Sapphire" and then removed the first reefing line on our main. We've decided that if we're thinking about reefing, a double reef will usually be best. Then I worked on the roller furling system ,which hasn't been working well since our mast was hauled. Finally, I tried to stop some leaks around the mast that also were caused the mast work.
By then Kathy had our laundry together and we walked over to the condo to deliver things to Steve and Kim that we picked up for them in Annapolis...and to sneak in a load of laundry. We hung out there waiting for Steve's quiche to cool and by then it was almost time for the MSU-NW game, so I ran back and collected the remainder of our laundry and watched the game as Kathy washed a few loads.
In the evening we walked over to the Tiki Bar for a charity Bar B Q dinner.... had a good time listening to a local band and then returned to "Savage Son" where I changed the strings on my guitar and played a little before calling it a night.