Beauforts boaters limos

Don't miss the "firing range" sign

Our last few miles coming into Wrightsville Beach

The open bridge at Wrightsville

Living the dream in Southport NC

Love these boats

They call him flipper

Low Tide


November 23, 2014

Wednesday: Briefly backing up a bit, to fill up Tuesday. First we borrowed one of the four marina courtesy cars. Look at the picture. It's your "Grandfathers (or father's) Buick Road Master station wagon" for sure. There are four here. All of them the same style. No formality here, just ask and take one and put a little gas in it. Very informal. Be back in about an hour. We went to the Food Lion, (yep) Dollar General, and the Post Office. Then, after returning the "Road Master" we're off to the Maritime Museum. It was very nice and highlighted the pirate "Blackbeard" and the 1996 discovery of his "Queen Ann's Revenge" vessel outside the Beaufort Inlet. Some very cool displays, and this is another place that you could spend a whole day. To end, we hit a historical cemetery, and some dinner at Clawson's again. Ok, that was Tuesday and now it is the real Wednesday. We have to get going. It is cold in the "ams" big time. We are not too early again. About 9:45 we pull out and have decided not to go ocean bound. I'm anxious to, but there's to many negatives for us. The windy past and the breezy present conflicting the waves, the "overnight run" and the night time temperature of 30 something makes our decision. I see why people might want a crew of four. When you can take long breaks and go "off duty" so to speak you can stay focused. There's only three of us, and Anchor's not pulling her weight, Oh, may be she is! There is a lot of markers to get us around "Radio Island" and through Morehead City and bound down the ICW. It all works, not without some consternation and concern, of course. More shallow areas and spur channels coming into our course coupled with the sun in our eyes, effecting the color of the markers. We made one "loop-d-loop". A nautical move for, "oh jeepers, where'd the water go", and here comes a power vessel very fast. That's good, he's big, so if we nudge ourselves back into that channel he used, we're golden. It works. I'm totally blaming this one on the sun in our eyes. That got us in the grove for the day. Not too far down the line, was our first dolphin sighting. There was at least four. They were jumping all over but never announcing it, so you couldn't get photos. Lisa just started snapping at random figuring she'd get something, and she did. There was a few more shallow spots to negotiate and tidal currents are back looming large again. We are going down "Bogue's Sound". Sometimes, with life at 5 knots, you get 6.6kts and sometimes you get 4.3kts and every number in between as the minutes of tidal change go "to and fro". Hey, you know what else happened today? We saw, I believe, "Osprey" aircraft, with people jumping out, with parachutes. Also very continual "B O O M S". The booms would shake the boat a bit. The Marine base, it is. We had no plan. Wait: Yes, we did, we were going to anchor. But the anchorage I read about had no other vessels in it and this current was making me excited. We saw others heading into "Caspers Marina", at Swansboro, NC. Now I'm on the radio, saying, "got a spot for us?" "Yes Sir, bow in starboard tie for you". In, done, and tied up. But the current was doing some pushing us around. You can't take too much time lining up or your opportunity is over. Don't want to think about what happens next. Except tomorrow, we must get out of here. Oh well. Boat food..poof done asleep. By the way, Lisa has a whole other version of these landings which is colorful too, but as you may expect it is a bit different from mine. Must be our respective locations on the boat. Yeah, that's it.

Thursday: Up early. Hardly light yet. All of us on this dock are trying to get out. There's about five boats and one is our friends we met in "Solomon's Island", Scott and Sally in their "Pacific Seacraft". Yesterday, after landing there was much concern about the marine base and the "Onslow Beach Bridge" not opening because of the military training exercises. They take precedence over boat traffic, so be prepared to wait up to three hours. Really, three hours? Every boater here has their version of the bridge opening, or not. Going all together, may be there will be some strength in numbers. Getting out: not so easy for us. The current was moving. Reverse and using spring lines to angle us around was not working. We could get the boat to back, but the current angled so that we got pressed up against the dock. By inching our way backwards and our friend Scott pushing the boat to port, the stern began to swing. It wasn't pretty but it worked and we're underway. Fast forward: all this worry was unwarranted. The bridge opened perfectly for us at the described time of the "odd hours". We went through at 9am. But there was some excitement just before the bridge. Two big sailboats are sideways in the ICW. I first think they are waiting for the bridge, but no, the bridge is two more miles down. As we approach, the lady on the radio announces, they are aground. A surprise shoal had captured them. Well look, there is a "green" way out of place. She says be sure to honor that green or you'll be like us. We have to zig-zag to almost a grassy shore to make it. A power vessel with more mobility and shallow draft is coming to help them, or may be it was tow boat US, our friends. We move along several course changes and all is well. Lisa is using her "Bowditch Bay" skills and telling me every course line necessary to get to the next aid. Sometimes you can see them and sometimes not, so having a compass reading to guide you can be so comforting. The intra-coastal back north was a little different. This seems a bit more treacherous. Around one corner, while we are still adjacent to the marine Base, here comes a large Marine Corps inflatable boat being accompanied by about seven little ones all filled with marines in "camo-gear. There was seven or more guys in each little inflatable all screaming towards their destination, which we figured was a place we had just passed called "Mile Hammock" that was described as a good anchorage. It was a big government looking launch facility, but private boats are allowed to anchor but not go ashore, the guidebook said. Don't forget your USPS 60-d-street on this trip. The next bridge is "Surf City" and it opens (get this) every hour on the half-hour, where the "Onslow Beach" bridge opened on the odd hour. Lisa looked up some more on this bridge and we discovered it really opened every half hour. May be I read it wrong. It says every hour on the half hour. (?) Jeez. Surf City is five miles down the line from the "Onslow". We can figure that out but it's going to have to be a sliding scale because the current keeps changing our speed from one time period and turn to another. I utilized the "Semi-WAG" method. Alright we're twelve minutes too early. I can kill twelve minutes. This becomes not so easy, as boats begin to accumulate around the entrance to the "Surf City" bridge. Did I mention the current was still pushing us (and everyone) towards the bridge, and some gusty winds too. It's a long twelve minutes but no ugly incidents and no fending off. Were through and onto, where? This time it's the "Harbour Village Marina" in Hampstead. A very country looking place but a very clean, orderly place, and here comes some more folks we know, Scott and Theresa in the catamaran. Met these friends in Belhaven, with their two dogs, "Spanky and Bo". Anchor dosen't like them, you know. Done, boat food again tonight. First night was quesadillas and tonight is chicken stroganoff. Great stuff. POOF.

Friday: We are not pushing to make long days, as I guess you can tell. A comfortable distance has proven to be about 25-35 miles for us. A "Seneca Lake" a day, so to speak. I'd love anchorages too, but not swampy, muddy ones for the "Anchor". Don't want to anchor near these flying current areas either. I guess we're doing okay. So I only want to get to Wrightsville beach today and that will leave Saturday to get onto and down the Cape Fear River through this "Snow's Cut" area. It's only 16 miles to Wrightsville and then it will be 26 to Southport, at the end of the Cape Fear River. It is a really nice sunny day and ending in Wrightsville was easy, as it is exactly after the "Wrightsville Bridge", a draw bridge. Sixteen miles put us there at !:30pm, so we had some time to look around. It was nice being at the bridge to see boats going through. Since we are at the "Bluewater Grill" we decide to eat there and it is good. Anchor stays in the boat awaiting her restaurant treat and all of us are poofed to the maximum. Done.

Saurday: Lest I forget, our friends Scott (there are two Scott's) and Sally come right into Wrightsville an hour after us. They had done a short day anchoring at "Mile hammack" and then a long day here to Wrightsville" and now are planning on Southport Marina, just like us. We decide to leave around 9am for the 26 mile run. This will have some spunk to it becasue we have to turn at "Snow's Cut", angling through a narrow channel (but big wide open area of shallow water) and finally into the mammath Cape Fear. Just the sound of the river makes me nervous, right? Out we go, Lisa spending half her time at the chart reassuring me that I'm looking at reality and, likewise, she's seeing a respresentation of the same reality. Snow's Cut is something. I felt like a down hill skier a bit. It's narrow and water was rushing at us, fast. It was an ebbing tide, but it must be running up the cut as the Cape Fear water runs down. To boot, there is a little slalom course to run here and warnings of rocks to run into. Again, I say Jeepers. For spice, there is an "Amry Corp of Engineers" working vessel in this cut. I thought it was stationary but as we went by, I see it's not. It was just going so slow it seemed that way. Good thing. The two of us would not fit under that bridge we had to transit just now. It was a 65 foot verticle bridge but horizontal only 100 foot. Not an issue now, I guess. Snow's Cut, we will remember well. As we got towards the end, with some intense communications about what I am looking at, and what Lisa tells me I should be looking at, we emerge into, yes, the mammoth "Cape Fear". Oh, how wonderful to see your depth gauge reading 32, 39, 41 feet of water, instead of 5, 6, and 7 feet of water. It's wide and deep and has some real personality, like the Hudson River did. We get ourselves into the main channel, and we have some 12 miles to go. However, now look at us "go". It really is ebb tide and we are setting new speed records. Moving along at 7.8 knots, we will be at the end of this in less than an hour. That worries me a bit, as our stop is at the intersection of the River and the start of the continuing intra-coastal. So, we don't really want eight knots of speed and then come screaming into the ending. We want slow. Slow gives us time to process our stimulating surroundings. It also gives us time to prepare lines, fenders and radio to see exactly what we may be doing as we come to a stop somewhere. Not a problem. At the "red 2a" turn into the marina. Lisa says that's a red "2" not "2a". Ooh. Okay. May be the "2a" is next. It probably is, lets keep going. Yeah, look at that big face dock with the fuel pumps and I planned on getting fuel, so can we land there. There are a couple employees there too, so we're done. 'Just need to get our spot and get settled in. Hey, here comes Scott, but he's yelling out something..."lost his shifter". He's coasting in under momentum not motor power. He's coming in perfectly and as we grab his lines, all is well. A pair of vice grips gets him into gear again and off the gas dock over to the same dock we are on. Hey, look, it's Stacy and Mike from Michigan who we were neighbors with in Oriental. They have the thirty-two "Downeaster" which reminds me of home and the "Dirkster". We're all tied up and the "Ankie-Pankie" is ready to scout out the grass and we want to check out the town. Oh, there is a six o'clock weather seminar at the office. May be we should attend? Yes. Southport is neat, so we decide to stay another night. Not leaving until Tuesday. We also attended the seminar and it was very informative. Not only was it about the weather tomorrow and beyond, it was also an informational about the ICW further down the line. That...sounded scary. More shallow water? Some say not to worry, it won't be any different than the first 309 miles of intercostal. However, we've always heard the ICW in South Carolina and Georgia is to be avoided if possible. We'll see. I like seeing these towns along the way. The weather seminar is every night at six pm, so we'll do it again before we leave. Whenever that is. So it is Sunday, the weather is grey, foggy, rainy, and we are listening to the howling wind out of the southeast. Last night we could clearly see the four blinks of the "Oak Island" lighthouse every 10 seconds, which is 169 feet tall and visible from sea for 29 miles, but not now. Not at all. A few boats have passed by on the ICW, but they look miserable to me. I'm happy here. You can see we're happy here by the picture of us holding the umbrella over our heads in the rain. What's one rainy day! Enjoy. Oh, yes, Lisa just reminded me. Dennis called and he sold his 37 foot C&C and bought a "Hunter". I can't remember what footage exactly but he was a happy guy when he called. We hope he's catching up to us soon and we'll find out.

Stayed tuned for the adventures and "limited" misadventures of the LeeSeaAnne

Terry

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