AFTER THE GALE
April 7, 2012
The storm is gone and today appears to be a ten plus in the making. The harbor had a fairly high wind driven water level yesterday which almost submerged some docks. The clouds parted late in the day and many folks came out to sit on the lobby chairs in the sun.
The motor vessel next to us is crewed by a retired Navy veteran and his wife. He learned that I walked about three miles yesterday to get some cornbread mix for dinner. They left early this morning before we awoke. I found a package on deck with cornbread mix and a boat card. That's the way it is in the cruising community. It is not unusual to see a usable boat gizmo in the laundry room with a "free" note attached.
We will spend the day enjoying the crisp, clear day and perhaps go to the farmers market just a block away. Oh yeah, I will be face down in the engine compartment for a while. Scurv will lobby both of us for frequent trips ashore.
04/06/2012, Oriental Marina and Inn
THE CRUISE TO ORIENTAL
April 5, 2012
The idea yesterday was to move north ahead of a strong weather system predicting gale force winds for the area for Friday. Leave Beaufort, whip up the ICW into Adams Creek thence across the Neuse River and nest comfortably in Oriental, NC to ride out the gale. Total distance, even with our wandering is less than 30 nautical.
We left Beaufort a bit late but early enough to make the short cruise to Oriental, NC before sunset. A quick five minutes after leaving the dock we were slowly cruising around Radio Island toward the turning basin in Morehead City and the ICW route to Oriental. Just then a very loud alarm started sounding. It was the high engine heat alarm. I have been listening to the changing pitch of the exhaust for some time and knew it was only a matter of time until I had to change out the sea water impeller again. We deployed the head sail enough to get out of the channel and drop the anchor. Bear started the timer to see if I could beat the sixteen minute record change from Louisiana two years ago. It took twenty minutes this time. Guess age is taking a toll. Anyway, we were confident the problem was solved. It was not. The engine overheated again even though we had good water flow from the exhaust. It turns out that we have a leak somewhere in the anti-freeze side of the cooling system. I am thinking it is one of the 14 year old hoses on the engine. Fortunately, we have the entire set of spare hoses aboard. Guess that is my new top priority project. The overflow tank showed the correct amount of coolant on my pre-start check but that is a problem. Seems the green dye in the antifreeze has permanently marked the container and there was no extra fluid in it. We added water hoping the leak was small and that did the trick.
The temperature did not top 60 degrees and we were seeing over 25 knots of wind all day. Naturally, it was on the nose. We had one last challenge other than staring at the temp gauge all day. We had to cross a wide stretch of water just prior to making Oriental. It was four miles across and the fetch was very long. Thus we had three feet seas and a wild ride. Scurv had a baptism by waves and spent a great deal of time shivering in my chair. A unique thing is that wind has a greater influence, we are told, on the Neuse River, Pamlico and Albemarle sounds water depth than tides. So, Tow Boat US had a field day.
We made Oriental around 1730 and tied off in a 10 slip marina with hotel. It is "up a creek" and sheltered from the wind and waves. Turns out it is run by a fellow from Louisiana whose family last name is the same as the owners of the famous hot sauce from Avery Island. Some distant ties there.
It is Friday and are we glad we came yesterday. There is a real gale topside and rain everywhere. The high today will be in the high 50s with 25 to 35 knots all day and gusts to 45 knots. Guess we will spend most of the day replacing the hoses on the engine whilst Bear and Scurv enjoy the day with books and chew toys. The crew next to us has been doing this for eight years so there may be some good hints and great stories to be heard. You have heard the old saying "any port in a storm". How true it is. More later-
OUTTA BEAUFORT FOR ORIENTAL
April 5, 2012
No mistake about it, this is a wonderful example of how a harbor town should be designed. The town was designated as the top small city in America, so the signs and locals proclaim. Not only that, they have a very impressive small maritime museum and a Third System fort nearby, Fort Macon. Unlike most of the Third System forts, this one actually saw combat. The curious thing was that after it was built, it was occupied many times due to "Congressional" economizing by a single caretaker. What a concept. A single caretaker was in charge when on April 14, 1861 when the local militia asked for the keys. He gave them up and until April 26, 1862 it was under Confederacy occupation. The Union occupied it until 1876 when they gave the keys back to a caretaker.
Beaufort has a "Burying Ground" which tells its history. Of the residents of that cemetery, there are several Revolutionary graves. There is a grave of a British Officer that asked to be buried standing at attention facing England so that he would look his finest on Resurrection day. There is a grave of a fellow with high military honors that has a 6 pounder cannon on top. The most interesting one is that of a young girl who asked to see England. Her father, promising to bring her home, took her there. She died on the return voyage and her father, true to his word, purchased a keg of rum from the captain and brought her home in it. She was buried in that keg. Today, children still decorate the grave with toys. Old dad was true to his word.
The oldest house in town was occupied by various notable folks. Of them, Blackbeard often stayed there. It is on the ghost tour list. Many homes were built by ship builders and that may explain why they still stand after 300 years. Technology almost destroyed many when folks started to insulate them. Seems the old framing allowed air to flow through the walls. When insulation was added with no vapor barrier, the walls started to deteriorate. We saw a house that was being renovated and the studs were ships framing with stud spacing about four feet on centers. They showed the signs of hand sizing.
We leave here today bound for Oriental. It will be a short day of only 26 miles but puts us in another historic city. It is supposed to be a nasty day tomorrow so we either go today or Saturday. Today is the day. More later.
Scurv note: Scurv needs a day aboard to let his sniffer recover. The waterfront is a favorite walk for local dog owners and young Scurv had lots to do.
04/03/2012, Beaufort, NC
ONE OFF THE BUCKET LIST
April 3, 2012
To some a bridge is just an obstacle to clear in the AIWW. To me one particular bridge was on my bucket list and yesterday we passed it. That's one off the list as we sailed to Beaufort, NC. It was very windy and most likely a good day to be in the ditch. We touched bottom twice in the channel. Seems shoaling is changing so rapidly that it is impossible to mark each.
We reached Beaufort Town Docks at 1645. Wow, what a nice waterfront. Seems this is a favorite "jumping off" point to the Caribbean Islands for northern boats in the fall. I am thinking we were right about being ahead of the northern migration although we did see two other sailboats heading our way yesterday.
This town has claim to a very rich history. At this time, salvage operations are ongoing on Queen Anne's Revenge just offshore. That was Blackbeard's ship. Methinks a couple hundred years ago this place might not have been so welcoming. Seems old Sir Henry Somerset, Duke of Beaufort thought this place would make a good spot to set up a convenience store and in 1713 he surveyed it then it incorporated in 1722. It has been fighting hurricanes and pirates ever since.
Scruv has now learned a bit more about our little moving water world. He has yet to learn not to bark at folks walking by and since he is somewhat camouflaged on the boat he is successful in waiting until they are near to give them a bark. Some like it and some would rather teach him to fly. We are still getting questions as to how a Texas boat got here. No, dangit, we did not truck it here.
Enough of the dreamy stuff, back to reality; more work on the forward head today. We tried a chemical cleaner that must have damaged a seal. Now, I get to overhaul the whole thing. I am starting to consider a simple solution: a bucket. Then again, Bear and I are joined at the soul and methinks she might just object. So, she gets to spend the day with her e-book in the cockpit soaking up sunshine and I get to deal with the monster. Then again, it is simply messing about boats.
Picture of the Town Dock Beaufort, NC
ARTILLERY AND TOO MUCH INFORMATION
April 1, 2012
As we sit here at anchor not far from Camp Lejeune, NC we can hear artillery impacting near enough (several miles) that it must be big stuff. I have been listening to a few rounds at a time landing somewhere waiting for the Fire For Effect salvos. Methinks they are getting some really good night practice in. Just then athe FFEs started hitting. I am guessing about six at a time. Someone is having some serious trigger time.
The other thing occupying my attention is a new app for the Iphone that tracks anchor dragging. Before this app, I did not concern myself with such unless the winds piped up. This program is perhaps too sensitive. It tells me that we have something like a 10 feet difference between when I set it and now. Unknown at this point is whether or not is has now gone deep enough to move no further. The winds are only 14 knots. So, armed with that information, do I spend half the night up watching the instrument or do what I would have done without it? Relative bearings to land objects seem to remain unchanged. Are the technogods working on my psyche?
04/01/2012, Topsail Sound
ACTUAL START OF PHASE VII
April 1, 2012
We have been aboard for over a month but today was a milestone. We left Wilmington, NC and after 39 nautical miles we are now anchored in Topsail Sound near Sloop Point. Scurv was the story of the day because he did not know what the heck we were doing. He got one dirt trip ashore before we left but has not done so thereafter. For him, the day started quivering in Bear's arms and ended with a full enthusiasm for being on the moving boat. For us, it is a question of security as to how we keep him aboard on an ever changing movement. We left him hooked up with his extendable leash and that seems to work were it not for the fact that he manages to hang us from time to time as he moves about the cockpit. We'll all go through a quick learning curve.
It was absolutely great to sail into the Cape Fear River through Snow's Cut into the AIWW. Though we motored the entire way (again wind direction and traffic being the determining factor) it was good to be back into the migration. We met and sailed among four boats, three sail and one trawler. All of them were heading home up north. We met but did not know well, two boat crews in the Bahamas. One crew lived in the Bahamas for several years but now are going home to Canada. Small world huh?
The picture is of Figure 8 Bridge just north of Wrightsville Beach NC