From E City to the URB
18 May 2019
It was 50 degrees when we left the dock at Pelican marina at 7:15 a.m., but I still had my flip flops on. The Elizabeth City Bridge is on restriction weekdays. We went through on the 7:30 opening. Our new friends on (another) SeaQuel were there for the opening too. It was clear without a cloud in sight. We were first through and SeaQuel follows us into the Dismal swamp. We didn't see another boat until we got to the South Mills lock. There was a sailboat anchored and waiting for the 11:00 opening. We only needed to wait about 5 minutes and the locks opened. After all three boats were inside the lock closed and the water rushed in. We rose 8+ feet and the lock opened at the other end and we were on our way. The guy in front of us was by himself and he was really struggling to keep his boat from hitting the side. It's definitely better to have two line handlers. We followed him through the bridge and to the North Carolina Visitors Center. The Dismal is so beautiful. The birds were singing, dragonflies and butterflies buzzed around us and turtles were sunbathing on the logs. The sweet smell of honeysuckle scented the air. There was no duck weed and we didn't bump anything on the bottom! S/V Liberte kept going and we, along with Sea Quel, stopped at the dock to tie up for the night. We had lunch, caught up with some communications and took a walk to the State Park across the bridge. We could hear Stan playing his guitar as we walked past Sea Quel. Several people stretching their legs at the Welcome Center along Hwy. 17, stopped by the boat to chat about where we'd been and where we were going. One couple we talked to had taught sailing in Deltaville for 25 years and traveled to the Bahamas on their Island Packet. We later enjoyed drinks on the bow of Sea Quel with Stan, Kathy and their cute little mini dachshund, Jasmine. It was a beautiful evening.
61 inside and out this morning. Clear and sunny as we left the dock at 7:50 a.m. We crossed the state line into Virginia at 8:25 a.m. Carl spotted a white tailed deer and we saw a few snakes slithering across our path. At 10:55 we reached the Deep Creek Bridge. There were two boats waiting. South bound traffic held us up. We finally went through at 11:30 for the 11:00 opening. After opening the bridge, the tender hoped into his car and drove to the Lock to let us in. There were four boats this time. Our favorite Lock Master, Robert , who always serenades us with his conch shell, was on vacation for a few days. Once the water level was lowered, the lock opened and we left one by one. We had to wait for an hour at the railroad bridge #7 while they did some maintenance. Then we waited 20 minutes for railroad bridge #5 to open. We said our goodbyes to S/V Sea Quel on the radio since they were stopping at a marina on the Portsmouth side. As we passed by the Portsmouth city docks we saw our friends boat, Wayward Sun. We arrived at Waterside marina in Norfolk at 2p.m. We had a late lunch on the boat and then took the ferry across the Elizabeth River to Portsmouth. The River was busy with tugs, barges, police boats and some small sailboats. We waited for Tim and Michele on the patio at Legends Brewery overlooking the harbor. Stan and Kathy walked by and stopped to join us. We all had a few brews and talked about our winters. Wayward Sun wintered in the Exumas, Bahamas. Sea Quel is going to Annapolis and Wayward Sun is going home to Baltimore. After Carl and I returned to Waterside, we had dinner at the Smokehouse. The ferry horn blew loudly every 20 minutes until 11:00p.m., as it left the dock near us. After that, except for the music coming from Waterside, it was a fairly quiet evening.
We decided to get an early start. There's a chance of thunderstorms later in the day. We were underway before 7a.m. There was a cruise ship at the dock at Nautilus and another one coming in the channel. Tugs were busy with tankers, barges and dredges. The skies were clear and the temps were around 60. The security boats watched us closely as we passed by the warships at Hampton Roads. We left the Elizabeth River into the James and surfed over the Hampton Roads tunnel to the Chesapeake Bay. The waves were rolling from behind. We were riding the tide at 7.5-8 knots. We passed a Menhaden fleet with pelicans and seagulls all around. We put the head sail out to stabilize the boat. There was less than 10 knots of wind. The winds increased to around 15 and were still out of the east even though predicted to be out of the south west. We continued to motor sail until we turned up the Rappahanock River. We furled the head sail and started dodging crab pots. Once the Norris bridge is in sight, we know that we are almost home. As we pass the town dock some of our friends are waving to us to welcome us home. We waved and Carl blew the air horn. We arrived at our dock in Urbanna Creek at 4 p.m. where some other friends are waiting to catch our lines. We have great friends! We are happy to be back!
14 May 2019
We washed the boat down before we left Moorehead City. We were underway by 8:45 a.m. We took the Adams Creek Canal to the Neuse River. It was a short day to Oriental. It is one of our favorite stops. Averaging 6 knots, we arrived at the Oriental Inn and Marina at 12:30. We spent the afternoon walking around town and stopping in some of our favorite shops. Lady Catherine , a 60 foot Trumpy, is here. She is a beautiful old Yacht that we saw in Treasure Cay. We had dinner at M&M's. Carl had the shrimp sandwich and I had the flounder. Yum! It was a nice walk back to the boat. Early to bed.. early to rise.
I ran across the street to The Bean to pick up bagels for breakfast before we left Oriental at 7:45 a.m. It was near low tide and the boat was sitting on the bottom. It's is a soft bottom, so we were able to power out. We were back on the Neuse again and then up Goose Creek to the Pungo River, averaging 7-7.5 knots. The bugs can be bad here, but with the screens in we only had an occasional horsefly to find its way in. The winds were 10 knots on our stern and building. It was 2:30 p.m. when we reached the fuel dock at Dowry Creek marina near Belhaven. After we fueled up we moved to our slip, the winds picked up and howled all afternoon. We had planned to stay one night. After checking the weather forecast, we decided that it would be better to stay here for the approaching storms.
We took the courtesy car to town. We had brunch at Spoon River Artworks and Market. We had a lovely waitress named Hannah. I had quiche with a salad and Carl had a huge stack of pancakes with fresh fruit and about a half a pound of bacon! It was a delicious and delightful dining experience. We stopped at the grocery store on the way back for a few things. The wind had picked up again, the clouds were rolling in and the boats were really bouncing around when we returned to the marina.
The storms blew through here yesterday, bringing high winds and tornado warnings. We were ready to go early this morning. We washed the fuzzy bills (bugs) off the deck. The winds were calm as we left the slip at 6:45 a.m. It was a chilly 54 this morning. Steam was rising from the warm water. There was a parade of boats heading up the Alligator Pungo Canal. Everyone has been waiting on the weather and are anxious to make some headway. We were making over 7 knots all day. Dark clouds gathered all around us. They looked threatening, but we only got a few sprinkles. Just as we were headed straight into the darkest clouds ahead, we turned up the Pasquotank River and left the storm behind. About 10 minutes from the Pelican marina, we were stopped and boarded by the Coast Guard. There was one senior officer and 4 officers in training. Two of them boarded our boat and conducted a safety check. They were very nice and said that we had a "very well outfitted vessel". It only took about 15 minutes and we were on our way. We tied up to the T head a little after 5. After we checked in, Carl called an Uber to take us to a little oyster bar just outside of town. Unfortunately, the driver told us that they were not open. He took us to The Grouper on the waterfront just over the bridge in Elizabeth City. While we were having dinner overlooking the water, the same Coast Guard vessel tied up and they came in for dinner. After dinner we walked along the waterfront and stopped to visit with S/V SeaQuel, tied up at the wall. We met them in Treasure Cay and they were just with us at Dowry Creek. We will go through the Dismal Swamp together tomorrow. We walked over the bridge and back to the marina. It was a good day and we got 80 more miles behind us!
Myrtle Beach Days
08 May 2019
We stayed for a mini vacation. Carl has always loved Myrtle Beach and this is a nice marina, so we just decided to stay for a while. We read our books by the pool and took long walks on the endless boardwalks around the three marinas and along the ICW. Myrtle Beach has over a hundred golf courses. Being here always reminds me of my Dad. He loved to play golf and he came here to play with his golf buddies every year. We found a great breakfast place called Sunny Side Grill. We stayed an extra day to wait out some thunderstorms.
We left MBYC at 8:20a.m. and we motored up the Little River to Southport, N.C. We tied up at South Harbor Village Marina at 1:15. We had lunch at the Rusty Hook, a new restaurant here. The wind roared all afternoon.
We had planned for a long day of travel, but we stopped short as the tide was running out and we were running out of options. We stopped at Harbor Village in Hampstead near Surf City. This was a new stop for us. It is a beautiful community of homes and slips. The dock master met us on the first dock at 1:15 p.m. He gave us a ride to the office in a golf cart. After a few boat chores we had the afternoon to relax. I made a pizza and we took a walk around the neighborhood after dinner. It was a quiet night.
We were up early and left the dock just behind our neighbors at 7:30 a.m. We had .2 feet under our keel at the dock and were unsure of the channel depths here. Our neighbors, on an Albin 35 power boat, took and reported soundings for us. No problems as we reentered the ICW. It was a sunny day. We saw lots of military boats as we transited Camp LeJeune. We reached our destination at Moorehead City and tied up at the City Yacht Basin at 4:45.
30 April 2019
It was a very peaceful night. We weighed anchor at 7:30 a.m. It was dead calm in the morning. The water was like glass. There were a few clouds that kept the temperature cool. We've seen alligators here before, so I was on the look out. Carl spotted one crossing in front of us. He was a big one. We were traveling against the current all afternoon only making about 4.5 knots. It was an enjoyable day on the Wacamaw River. It is still one of my favorites with beautiful cypress swamps along both sides. We were in Osprey marina at 4:15p.m. Dinner, showers and time to relax.
We were up at our usual time, 7 a.m. We were still trying to decide between a short day or a long day of travel. We had coffee on the boat and then walked to the captain's lounge for more coffee and complimentary bagels. We lost an hour in conversation with fellow cruisers. That decided our day. It would be a short one to Myrtle Beach. We left the dock at 9:20 a.m. It was a crystal clear day with a very light wind. A nice day for motoring on the ICW. We arrived at Myrtle Beach Yacht Club at 1:00 p.m. We had an amazing dinner at Clark's Seafood and Chop House.
29 April 2019
The confederate jasmine is blooming profusely in Beaufort, S.C. The sweet smell is almost intoxicating. The hydrangeas are loaded with blooms in the neighborhood by the marina where we walked. We borrowed the courtesy truck to run some errands. Carl got a hair cut and I had a pedicure. We always meet nice people here and this year is no exception. Friday night was a potluck dinner at the marina. We joined about a dozen people gathered on the deck. Most were people who live in the houses surrounding the marina. Someone caught a Wahoo and cooked it on the grill. It’ was delicious! We had a great time. The people here are so warm and friendly.
We left Port Royal Landing marina at 7:50 a.m. It was 56 this morning. The skies are Carolina blue and the sun is warming us. We are traveling behind M/V Sea Venture, a couple that we met in Marsh Harbour. While we wait for an opening at Lady Island Bridge, Sea Venture has gone under the bridge and out of sight. This is one of a few swing bridges left. A piece of history. They are being replace by 65’ fixed bridges. In the afternoon, we were surprised by a small cruise ship, American Star, passed us going south. We arrived at St. John’s Yacht Harbour near Charleston at 5:30 p.m. We covered 65 miles today. The wind was blowing 20 knots. We bounced around on the end of the dock until after dark. This marina has beautiful facilities and a salt water swimming pool.
We decided on a departure time of 10 a.m.,after Carl did some calculations with tides and bridges. It was Saturday and as we crossed Charleston Harbor, we watched a regatta and then we saw a “parade” of eight shrimp boats. The shrimp boats were loaded with people and all decked out with flags. We heard on the radio that they were going to a “Blessing of the Fleet” ceremony in Charleston. From Charleston, we traveled 52 miles to a beautiful anchorage on the South Santee River. The winds had picked up again to around 25 knots. We were anchored by 5:30. Once again the winds died down as night fell.
Oh....The Food Y'all!
24 April 2019
We enjoyed our two nights in Jekyll. We had dinner at Zachary's Riverhouse on Saturday night. A cold Corona tasted good with the delicious fresh steamed shrimp and crab cakes! Easter Sunday we had to do some chores to get ready to leave the next day. Carl gave Bay Breezin' a bath, again. I washed a load of laundry. We took the marina golf cart the long way around the island to take in the sights and to pick up a few provisions. We picked up some lunch ( chicken and waffles) from Dairy Queen's to take back to the boat. After lunch, and all of the laundry was dry, we took two of the marina bikes for a spin. There are bike paths all over the island, through the nature preserves and the historic district. In the historic district we got some ice cream at the Sweet Shoppe, and walked over to the hotel to watch a game of croquet. After riding the bikes around the beautiful old homes on "millionaire's row" we headed back to the marina. Our friends Lisa and Billy came out to see us. We met them here our first year cruising on Bay Breezin'. They had the same kind of boat. They have since sold their boat and now live in a condo on the island. We shared a few bottles of wine and some great stories. We enjoyed reminiscing and catching up.
We left the dock at 9 a.m.After fueling up and pumping out, we were off by 9:30. We passed the dredge in the middle of the channel at 10 a.m. We are glad to see this long overdue dredging through Georgia. It is clear, sunny and buggy! I put all of the screens in before we left in anticipation of the bugs. The noseeums just about ate us alive at the fuel dock. Once we were moving, we started to see bigger flies, then biting flies, then horseflies. Thank goodness for the screens! We had a nice day with a cool breeze, motoring back and forth and in and out of the rivers of Georgia. We made good speed, even when the tides turned. We stopped at 5:20 p.m. and anchored on the Wapoo River. A sweet, calm anchorage.
I could've sat in the cockpit all morning watching the dolphins play. This is the best part of traveling on the ICW. I love the anchorages. We must move on, so we weighed anchor at 7:50 a.m. There were 4 other boats in the anchorage. There were surprisingly few bugs this morning. It was a gorgeous day. We were averaging around 5 kts. with the tide against us. When the tide turned, we were humming along at 7.25 kts. Carl spotted a bald eagle on the shore. I tried to take a video of some dolphin, again, without success. We pulled along side the face dock at Thunderbolt marina in Savannah at 3 p.m. We took an Uber to Paula Deen's Creek House for dinner. We had oysters and fish with cheese grits and sweet potatoe casserole. It was really yummy! We have been enjoying some beautiful weather, but another front is on the way, so we will push ahead to South Carolina.
We left Savannah this morning at 8:30a.m. Thunderbolt delivered Krispy Creme doughnuts to our boat this morning. Just what we needed! Ha! We are moving slow, timing the opening of the next bridge at 9. There are three trawlers traveling the same way. They can all get under the bridge and don't have to wait for an opening. The bridge was having issues with one span that would not open. We got through, but it was a little tight. We crossed the Savannah River before 10 a.m. Yay! We are in South Carolina. We motored past Daufuskie Island just as a ferry unloaded a boat full of people. There were people parasailing off of Hilton Head. We arrived at Port Royal Landing marina near Beaufort, S.C. At 3 p.m. We will spend a few days here. It is a nice marina with a courtesy car and bikes for us to use. Dinner will be a salad onboard tonight!