Leg 3 - Day 8
06/29/2012, Cedar Creek in Adams Creek Canal, NC
Today we had ideal conditions, so we took advantage of it: sunny and a consistent breeze in our favor. So we motor-sailed the entire day....64 nautical miles (our longest distance in one day). Thank God for favorable conditions! We were able to make up for stopping early yesterday and still get to our anchorage to enjoy a swim, a great dinner, and watch the sunset. I had some beers and Jeff had some rum (and ended up running out of lemonade!).
During our trip today, we passed through the Marine Corps base Camp Lejeune. It extends 18 miles upstream on the New River, almost to Jacksonville, NC. The ICW occasionally closes through Camp Lejeune for artillery, small-weapons firing and beach-landing exercises. Luckily they weren't doing any live training exercises today. We did see helicopters flying around in Surf City yesterday as well as near Camp Lejeune today. Jeff didn't realize we were in a live firing range until he saw the sign at the north end of the range that said "Stop Do Not Proceed: Live Firing in Progress When Flashing".
We went through Swansboro, Morehead City and Beaufort. Tonight we're anchored in Cedar Creek off the Adams Creek Canal. Just before we got here, we saw wreckage of a sailboat that had run aground. The Waterway Guidebook also warned of a sunken sailboat in Cedar Creek. We weren't able to see the mast sticking out the water. Maybe the sailboat that was on the shore just before here is the one they are referring to?
Some guys were drag-netting for shrimp in a couple skiffs around our anchorage, of which we and one other boat are here. It's beautiful here.....the best anchorage we've stayed at so far since we started out in Key West. We are starting to get mosquitoes since the sunset, but we put the screens and plastics down and are okay so far.
1. Highway Bridge - 65'
2. Onslow Beach Swing Bridge - 12' (passed through at 10:30)
3. Cedar Point Highway Bridge - 65'
4. Atlantic Beach-Moerhead City Bridge - 65'
5. Beaufort Channel Railroad Bascule Bridge - 4'
6. Beaufort Channel Highway Bridge - 65'
If conditions are right for us, we're hoping to do full sailing in the Neuse River tomorrow and make it to Belhaven which is a 45 mile run. We should get there early so we could pick up a couple things at the local Ace Hardware store before they close, which is two blocks from the marina we'll be staying at. We need to get a GFI outlet and also a couple of bolts for the table because Jeff broke it. :-)
Leg 3 - Day 7
06/28/2012, Beach House Marina - Surf City, NC
We left Southport Marina at 8:00 this morning.
Today was a very relaxing day. We motored from Cape Fear River to Surf City. For the first time this trip, we put one of our sails up -- the screacher. It helped us gain half a knot.
1. Highway 133 Bridge - 65'
2. Snows Cut Highway Bridge - 65'
3. Wrightsville Beach Bascule Bridge - 20' (passed through at 1:00)
4. Figure Eight Island Swing Bridge - 20' (passed through at 1:30)
5. Surf City Swing Bridge - 12' (passed through at 4:00)
Memorable Moments of the Day:
We passed an island that was full of birds and we saw a guy out there with his camera. I got pictures of that in the gallery.
A huge freighter passed us, with tons of large containers on board. It was definitely a sight to see!
We saw a few Southern traditions that we were not aware of: someone was using their golf cart as a pick-up truck in order to haul their boat out of the water; someone converted a skiff into a drag-net trawler
Jeff sprayed himself with the cold water shower on the back of the boat to cool down.
We saw dolphins today!
We almost missed the Figure Eight Island Swing Bridge opening and would've had to wait another hour for the next opening. Luckily the tide was in our favor and helped push us along, plus we had the motors in full throttle. The unlucky sailboat behind us couldn't keep up and missed the opening.
Our destination was Surf City, NC today. In reading our Waterway Guidebook, it sounded like a lot of things were within walking distance (and they are), including a grocery store. We pulled up to the marina to find a dock with an umbrella and food cart table. And that was the entire "marina". In the Guidebook it said this particular marina had a pool, so we were excited about that. No such luck! But the beach is a ten-minute walk away from here. It's a quaint area but also built up for tourists. Unfortunately there is not enough tourism to keep places in business or to help maintain the commercial area here. Most places are pretty rundown.
Nevertheless, we had a fun evening here. We ate dinner at Buddy's Crab House & Oyster Bar, which was right on the ocean and adjacent to the beach. We had a great steamed seafood meal there and also a fantastic view of the water. There is an IGA store directly across the busy street from the marina, so we stocked up on some groceries. There's also a park across the street that we walked through. It's all decorated for 4th of July and the town is having their fireworks show there on the 3rd. It looked so festive and was fun to stroll through.
A very nice fellow pulled into the marina with a skiff boat and was talking to us. He was on vacation (but lives an hour and a half from here) and had his three kids with him. Jeff was talking to the man about how we bought the boat in Key West and that we're from CT and we're trying to make our way up the coast. When the guy tried explaining all this to his kids, they didn't understand. So I was talking to his kids and telling them about it, and they understood what I was saying. The man thanked me for breaking it all down for them. They were all very sweet and the man even offered to pick up anything we needed. We told him we were fine but thanked him for his generosity. If only people were as polite in New England!
We traveled 40 miles today and plan on getting to Morehead City tomorrow. We've heard there is a heat wave coming tomorrow. We're hoping it won't last long, but we've heard it will be hot and humid for the next week or so.
Leg 3 - Day 6 (No Day 5 Blog)
06/27/2012, Southport, NC
So yesterday we had our relaxing day with Uncle Joe and Auntie Nancy. Nothing like Southern fried chicken, fried okra and Wal-Mart! We also got to see the Sky Wheel and a bit of the Myrtle Beach Boardwalk. We had a blast, even though our visit was way too short! Osprey Marina was gorgeous.....we highly recommend it for anyone who plans on coming down to this area. :-)
We turned our inverter on yesterday morning to charge the laptop and we smelled smoke/sulfur. The inverter was throwing an error code, so Jeff hastily rounded up a new inverter, to be shipped from the West Marine warehouse in CA. Luckily Jeff's curiosity got the best of him and he checked each circuit on the boat and found that one GFI outlet was shorting out. No new inverter necessary!! We just need to get a $12 GFI outlet. Whew!!!!
Today we left around 8:30 after fueling up, pumping out and getting ice. It was a bit chilly on the ICW today, as the wind was directly in front of us. We even had to wear the only long-sleeved shirts we brought with us for part of the day today! It was a pretty average day....the weather was great. We'd take a day like today over a hot/humid or rainy day. We motored 55 nautical miles to Southport, NC.
Here are the bridges we passed through:
1. Highway Bridge - 65'
2. Socastee Swing Bridge - 11'
3. Fantasy Harbor Bridge - 65'
4. Highway 501 Bridge - 65'
5. SCL Railroad Bridge - 16'
6. Grissom Parkway Bridge - 65'
7. Grande Dunes Bridge - 65'
8. Conway Bypass Bridge - 65'
9. Barefoot Landing Swing Bridge - 31'
10. Myrtle Beach Connector Bridge - 65'
11. Little River Swing Bridge - 7'
12. Highway Bridge - 65'
13. Sunset Beach Bridge - 65' (This was supposed to be a 0' clearance Pontoon Bridge....only one of two left in existence on the Atlantic ICW. To our disappointment, it has been replaced. So much for 1960's technology!!)
14. Ocean Isle Bridge - 65'
15. Highway 130 Bridge - 65'
16. Highway 1105 Bridge - 65'
At this point, we are beyond the halfway mark. We think we were already at the halfway point back in Beaufort, SC where this leg began (Rob, you were right on the money).
I checked out tripadvisor.com and found Mr. P's, which is where we had dinner tonight here in Southport. It was a 10 minute walk and we really enjoyed the food. We are having a lovely honeymoon!!
My wrist was better by the next morning (thank God). Thank you everyone for your concern. That's all I needed was another cracked wrist before we even got underway!
Tomorrow's plan is a short day up to Surf City, SC. We'll stay at another marina so we can go out and enjoy the town.
Leg 3 - Day 4
I was hesitant to get up this morning, knowing I had to open the hatchway door and see how many mosquitoes survived the night. A "still sleeping" Jeff didn't realize I was opening the door and unleashing the beasts. There were definitely still a lot of survivors, so we immediately opened all the screens and unzipped all the plastics.
We got underway at 8:00. Our plan was to go offshore today and get to Murrell's Inlet some time this afternoon. We headed to the inlet, but Jeff checked his weather radar and it called for rain late this afternoon, and there was a nasty weather system over Jacksonville, FL heading towards us (remnants of Tropical Storm Debby). So we decided to stay on the inside and had to back-track about 30 minutes to get back to the ICW.
We made it past Murrell's Inlet today on the ICW side.....about 35 miles. An easy day -- arrived at Osprey Marina at around 2:30 this afternoon. It wasn't easy though: we got poured on. Good thing for plastics!! It didn't help though because the leak we thought we had fixed was still there........
Nothing a lot of towels couldn't fix! It turned out to be a beautiful day after we arrived. The rain quit and the sun came out.....nice breeze.
The hot showers were welcome after two days of roughing it. We hung out on the boat and four sea turtles came up to us looking for food. They seemed to like the Cape Cod potato chips...... :-) Uncle Joe and Auntie Nancy came by to see us and our boat. They took us out to Spud's in Murrell's Inlet for a delicious dinner and then we walked the boardwalk and enjoyed the beautiful sunset and the nice view of the restaurants.
Tomorrow we're going to enjoy a day out with Uncle Joe and Auntie Nancy. Wednesday morning we shove off and head for an ICW trip to Cape Fear, NC.
Leg 3 - Day 3
06/24/2012, Minim Creek, just south of Georgetown, SC
Last night we had an interlude with a mud wasp. Jeff found a nest starting on one of our lines in the boat, so he knocked it off. The wasp that had been inhabiting the nest decided to start to make a new nest on our bed! Jeff got in bed to a rude awakening. Needless to say, there was some screaming to be had. We finally threw our Waterway Guide Book on top of the wasp and proceeded to beat our book to death with our fists. Well, it did absolutely nothing for the wasp. We ended up wrapping all the sheets up (book still on top of wasp) and shook them out overboard.
Today we pulled up our Bahamian moor without any issues. We had to wait until 9:00 for the first opening of the Wappoo Creek Bridge. We made our way up to the Ben Sawyer swing bridge on the north side of Charleston and had to wait for an 11:00 opening. So we got fuel and ice at the marina next door.
It was pretty uneventful on the ICW today. We saw a lot of boats on the water: fishing boats, people out with their families, tubing and water skiing. And many dolphin sightings again. In fact, right after we got to our anchorage, we heard a sound. I thought it was a horse, but there are no houses or farms around where we are. We're in a desolate area and can only see one house in the distance via our binoculars. Jeff said it was a dolphin that made the sound, but I didn't believe it. Then we saw the two dolphins coming through the creek. They hung out for a while (probably feeding -- there are a lot of fish jumping out of the water around here).
Speaking of our anchorage, it is infested with mosquitoes and horseflies!! We were dealing with the horseflies part of the way up the ICW today. When we anchored in the creek, we still had some buzzing and biting around us. Just as the sun was setting, the mosquitoes started coming out and they were brutal. Jeff put the plastic sides on the back of the boat and we already had the screens down on the front, but the wind was blowing the mosquitoes right in every nook and cranny that they could get in. After swatting and smacking the walls and ceilings for a while, we realized we were not going to win the battle. So we went down in our hull and put the hatchway door up so we could get the heck away from those bloodsuckers. The place looks like a war zone and we have a lot of cleaning up to do!!
We have some serious advice: Beware of anchoring in marshy areas in South Carolina!!
Leg 3 - Day 2
06/23/2012, Wappoo Creek, south of Charleston Harbor, SC
We started our journey at 8:00 this morning, leaving Beaufort behind. Before leaving the marina, I was walking to the restroom to take a shower and ended up slipping and falling as I stepped off the metal dock onto the sand -- not a great way to start things off! I fell on my bad wrist (the one I broke two summers ago) and scraped my right knee (oh, the reminders of grammar school!). Staying positive, I made a great breakfast: burritos with chorizo, green bell pepper, onion and cheddar scrambled eggs, and salsa!
It's definitely hot down here. We looked forward to the cool breezes when we could get them. Along the way, we had several porpoise sightings -- 3 or 4 in a school. They surface so quickly that it's tough to get nice photos of them (we have a few good ones so check out our photo gallery). But of course, I was squealing every time I saw them! :-) I took control of the helm and helped Jeff with some of the driving. I expect it will be that way each day, which I don't mind. It's helping me become more confident with the navigation and maneuvering of the boat.
Only two bridges were passed through today:
1. McKinley Washing Jr. bridge - 65' fixed
2. John F. Limehouse Highway bridge - 65' fixed
We're anchored tonight at Wappoo Creek just south of Charleston Harbor. I let the anchor out, but Jeff put out a stern anchor as well.......it's called a Bahamian mooe. We did it this way due to the tide change. A couple other boats are anchored out here, too. After the anchors were set, we took a quick dip in the water and then rinsed off with the sun shower....ahhhh!!! We probably won't get a "real" shower until we get to Myrtle Beach on Monday afternoon. :-)
We motored 54 nautical miles and had pretty much an uneventful day. Still, we had a very enjoyable day. Tomorrow we plan on making it just south of Georgetown.