Leg 3 - Day 11
We left Alligator Creek Marina just after 8:00 this morning. It was a pleasant day sailing and cruising across Albemarle Sound today, although the winds kicked up the waves a bit and it was a little choppy during the morning and some of the afternoon.
The day was mostly uneventful, although we did see some desolate structures that looked like they once were houses and habitats along the edge of the Albemarle Sound. We weren't sure what that was all about, but you can see the pictures in our photo gallery. I tried to look it up on the Internet but didn't find anything.
We're at Coinjock Marina and Bar tonight. A very quaint place with some friendly down-to-earth locals.
Tomorrow we plan to get to Hampton, VA if we leave early enough in the morning (6:30-ish).
Hampton, VA will be our final destination on this leg of the trip. We will continue to post our blog as our trip goes on.
Thank you for continuing to read and keep up with our trip!
Leg 3 - Day 10
07/01/2012, Alligator River Marina in Columbia, NC
We left the Dowry Creek Marina this morning around 8:30 after fueling up and getting more ice. It was already getting hot before we even left! It was hotter than any day that we have ever experienced......ever! Jeff said it felt like his feet were touching the sun. We had to rinse off with the outside shower five times each during the day and it still wasn't enough. We've also gone through ice every two days or so because it won't stay much longer than that in our marine grade cooler.
We went thru Alligator Creek Canal, which is 18 miles of straight, desolate canal with nothing around except for the promise of a black bear or deer. The whole way through we didn't see any bears, but we did spot a fawn at the edge of a residential backyard. A bald eagle flew next to the boat but unfortunately I was not fast enough with the camera and I missed a great photo opportunity. We had a couple of power boats pass us on the narrow, stump infested channel.
When we got to Alligator River, we saw a cumulus cloud that appeared to be a pop-up thunderstorm. We received a warning on the VHF radio for severe thunderstorms expiring at 8:00 PM this evening. We went on the internet to find out if there were any thunderstorms near us on the radar, and sure enough it was the beginnings of one. It was directly in our path, so Jeff steered us behind it and we waited for it to pass over us.
So we got to the Alligator Creek Marina at around 3:30. It was the second good decision we made today. About an hour later, we had severe thunder and lightning that lasted two hours. There were some crazy lightning bolts out there! Luckily we were hiding out in the marina clubhouse in the ice-cold air conditioning (the heat index was 106 all afternoon), so we were out of the storm. We also had a brief period of heavy rain. The boat was fine and thankfully didn't get struck by lightning. We cooked some dinner on the boat after the storm let up.
We were sitting on the boat having dinner when we saw this BAB (big ass boat) pull in for the night. Seafarer -- the 100-foot yacht -- is from Santa Barbara, CA, so of course I was thinking it must be owned by someone famous....LOL. I saw a couple people from the boat go into the gas station, where you go to pay for your dockage, fuel, etc. I didn't recognize any of them, but they were probably deck hands. Jeff looked up the boat name online and found out that you can charter the boat for $45,000 a week. Pretty crazy!!
During our run today......
Jeff drilled holes in the table and fixed it so that it no longer wobbles.
We went through three bridges:
1. Walter B. Jones Bridge - 64'
2. Fairfield Bridge - 65'
3. Alligator River Swing Bridge - 14' (the guy operating the swing bridge stated on the VHF radio that he saw wind gusts of 55 knots at the peak of the storm that we had late this afternoon)
I made a mistake in last night's blog in saying we would be in VA today. We'll be there some time on Tuesday. Tomorrow we have a short run to Coinjock, NC (about 30 miles), where Jeff can change the oil on the motors (they need it desperately). We still do not have cell phone coverage, until possibly tomorrow when we get to Coinjock. We did about 45 miles today. This brings us exactly to the 400 nautical mile mark for this trip!
Leg 3 - Day 9
06/30/2012, Dowry Creek in Belhaven, NC
After a great night's sleep (no issues with bugs), we were off and cruising around 7:00 this morning. After leaving the anchorage, we realized we had a stoway.....a huge beetle on one of our plastic screens! We ended up looking it up online and found that it was an Eastern Hercules Beetle -- the heaviest beetle in North America. See our pics of it in the photo gallery.
We got out of Adams Creek Canal and went into the Neuse River. For the first time during this trip, we were finally able to put the sails up and turn off the engines. We sailed through the river for about an hour and a half before we had to turn the engines on again to help us get in the specific direction we needed to go. Today we did mostly open water boating (less of the creeks) which made for a much more enjoyable day.
We pulled into the "marina" in Belhaven, but it was not much more than what we had in Surf City. After docking there, we realized how freaking hot it was! When you're cruising on the boat the breeze makes it seem 20 degrees cooler. We hadn't paid for the night yet, so we decided to cruise about 5 miles up the river to get to a marina that had a newly renovated pool. Definitely a very wise decision, considering it was 101 degrees (felt like 106) here in Belhaven, according to weather.com.
So here we are at Dowry Creek Marina for the night. It cooled down quite a bit as the evening rolled around. What a great place this is! Not only do they have a swimming pool, but they also offer a courtesy car with air conditioning. We borrowed it to go pick up a few things and then put some gas in it on the way back. This town is very small, so all the stores we had to go to (Ace Hardware, Food Lion, and the gas station) were right near each other. What a lucky find!! :-)
Although it didn't seem as long as the other days, we made 46 miles today. We are over 350 miles at this point of our trip!
We still have no cell phone coverage since leaving Surf City, so if anyone was expecting a call from us today we have no reception.
Tomorrow we sail to the top of Alligator River and will be anchoring out there for the night.
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.