October 2004
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October 1, 2004 - We headed out of St. Michaels at 0715 for our trip to Solomon's, Md.  dropping the hook off Beacon Marina at 1530.  It was a long day as the bay flat with no wind so we had to motor.  Solomon's has one of the largest sailing fleets in the Chesapeake Bay as well as many power boats in the marinas and at anchor.  The town is small with a few restaurants scattered around.  While we were there the harbor was extra full as the fall Trawler Fest was taking place at the fair grounds across the harbor form our anchorage.  We stayed for 3 days walking the town and just enjoying the anchorage. 

    

October 4, 2004 - We hauled anchor 0655 for an early start to Deltaville.  Again the winds were light and we had a long day ahead of us so we hoisted the sail but kept the engine running to make better time.  It was another long day as we pulled in Dozier Yacht Basin 9 hours later.  We opted for a marina as a polar cold front was due to arrive during the night.  Our friends, Harvey and Mimi, from Atlanta were on their boat at Dozier so we hooked up with them for dinner at Taylor,s Restaurant in Deltaville.   The front came through about 2 a.m. with strong north winds gusting over 30 mph. Tuesday night the temperature dropped into the mid 40's. 

October 6, 2004 - The forecast for the day was north winds 10 - 15 with 2 foot waves on the bay.  We left Dozier Yacht Basin at 0740 for the trip to Portsmouth.  Once out in the bay we found the wind to be north 15 - 20 with higher gusts and 3 - 4 foot lumpy waves.  The raising sun was brightly shinning right in our face and we had a hard time seeing the crab pots while heading out the Rappahannock River to the bay, so Ugne had to go sit on the bow and point out the pots so I could take evasive action.  Once out of the river the pots disappeared and we headed south putting the wave aft of beam.  It made for a rock and rolling ride to the mouth of the Elizabeth River, however we did have a favorable current so we made good speed, 7 knots over ground, making the trip go by more quickly.  We arrived at Ocean Marine Yacht Center in Portsmouth at 1510. We will be here a couple of days as I had scheduled the 600 hour check-up on our engine.

October 7 - 11, 2004 - As it turned out the technician was not available until Friday and did not finish the job until Monday afternoon, so we ended up having to stay the weekend.  The weather was nice so we walked around Old Portsmouth and took the water taxi across to Norfolk.  The weekend went by quickly.  

October 12, 2004 -  The weatherman had forecasted another cold front coming through so we wanted to stay a couple more days at Ocean Marine however they did not have any space available  so at 0845 we headed out of the Marine to start our trip down the ICW.  Our goal was to make it to Coinjock, NC if we could make the bridge openings.  As it turned out our timing was perfect as we traveled with a pack of 5 power boats and 4 sailboats we made all of the bridge openings and arrives at Midway Marina to 1645.  The lock at Great Bridge was interesting as we locked through with 17 boats.  As we were traveling across Currituck Sound we discovered that our batteries were not charging. 

October 13, 2004 - I checked out the problem with the battery charging, turned out to be that the technician had not tightened the nut holding the battery cable to the alternator. 

October 14 - 16, 2004 - The forecasted front came through with heavy storms and rain followed with strong 15 - 25 mph winds.  So we stayed at Midway Marina as it would not be a good time to try to across Albemarle Sound.  There is not much to do in Coinjock, 2 marinas, each with a restaurant.  That is it.  Boat watch is very interesting as the large yachts, over 100 ft come through each day usually docking at one of the marinas for the night.  

         Yachts at Coinjock Marina across the ICW

October 17, 2004 - The forecast looked good to get across Albemarle Sound.  The sound is only 15 - 18 feet deep and can get kind of nasty when the winds pick up.  The forecast was, winds 10 -15, waves 1 - 2 feet, so we left Coinjock at 0745.  The trip from Coinjock to the sound is about 15 miles. The winds were almost calm when we left the marina but by the time we got to the sound the wind was blowing 15 to 20 from the west with higher gusts but we thought we could get across the sound before it got to rough.  As we headed out the North River into the bay the waves increased to 3 - 4 foot and close together almost on the nose.  We hit one wave about half way out that the wind picked up threw around the dodger and right into my face.  Enough, if we continued it would have been a rough ride so we turned around and back tracked 5 miles to an anchorage in Broad creek.  A very nice anchorage that was well protected.  By sunset 15 other boats had joined us. 

October 18 - 20, 2004 - We awoke to calm winds and an almost flat sound so we headed out at 0715. We made great time across the sound and down the Alligator River. We had planned on anchoring at MM107 but it was  only 1300 so we decided to continue on through the Alligator/Pungo River Canal to an anchorage at the head of the Pungo River.  We anchored at 1700 just in time to ride out a couple of small thunderstorms.  By morning the storms has past and we hauled anchor at 0815.  The winds were light in the morning but picked up to  15 - 18 in the afternoon. Again we passed on the anchorage we had selected to push onto Broad Creek near Oriental, NC arriving at 1630.  We had anchored here on our way north and really liked it.  Again the winds were light in the morning which was great for sailing across Pimlico Sound.  We hauled anchor at 0730 for our short ride to Morehead City arriving at Morehead City Yacht basin at 1300.

October 21 - 23, 2004 - A low developed offshore late on October 20 and created a tight gradient resulting in strong and gusty north winds.  It was our desire to do an overnight offshore sail to Charleston. With the strong winds we decided to stay put for a couple of days.  The marina has a courtesy car so we used it on Thursday to  do some grocery shopping and on Friday we caught up on the laundry.  Saturday the winds continued to howl so we stayed put another day.

October 24, 2004 - The winds of the last couple of days had the ocean really kicked up with waves being 6 - 8 ft with a NE swell so we opted to stay inside and at least make some progress south.  The morning was cloudy with a light rain, some fog and cold.  We left the marina at 0800 and motored down the ICW to a popular anchorage in Mile Hammock Bay in Camp LeJeune marine base. We dropped anchor at 1415, 17 boats anchored there for the evening.

October 25, 2004 - An early 0745 start again.  The trip on this day was all about timing as we had 3 bridges to negotiate, 2 of them opened only on the hour with the bridge in-between opening on the half hour.   The next two legs of this trip had us worried.  We had to cross the New River inlet and an area called Lockwoods Folly both of which were shoaled meaning that we had to cross at high tide following the temporary markers to avoid running aground.  Fortunately, we heard that the New River inlet had just been dredged and we had 12 feet all the way across.  As we started the current was against us and slowed our progress to the first bridge, Surf City, to the point that we would miss the opening by 5 minutes meaning that we would have to to wait around for the next opening.  We slowed to a walk to waste time so we would not have to do donuts at the bridge.  We had just slowed down when we overheard the bridge tender  talking to a northbound barge that was approaching the bridge.  Bridges open on demand for commercial traffic and if other vessels are waiting you can get through on the opening.  I called ahead to the bridge to inform them that we were approaching from the north and would like to get through on the opening.  We were told that if got there in time we could get through but he would not hold the bridge open.  The pedal to the metal we dashed towards the bridge getting there about 5 min before the barge.  There were 3 southbound boats so the tender opened the bridge to let us through ahead of the barge.  The next 2 bridges went very smoothly with little wait time.  Once through the last bridge we headed to the harbor at Carolina Beach for the evening.  Today was Ugne's birthday.  We had a nice meal and a quiet evening to celebrate. 

October 26, 2004 - Today we had to negotiate Lockwoods Folly.  Over the radio net we heard that a dredge was on-site but we did not know how that would effect us.  Again we lucked out as the dredge was close to finishing the dredging project and we had 12 - 14 feet across the area.  We arrived at Little River, SC at 1500 and planned on anchoring in Calabash Creek but found the anchorage full.  It turned out that the Little River bridge had construction work going on and they had the bridge closed for 2 days so southbound boats were piling up north of the bridge.  I called ahead to the Coquina Yacht Club where we had stayed when going north.  They happened to still have space so we took it.  The dock master had us dock behind the m/v Venerable. The small world of cruising, We had spent 3 days moored next to Venerable at Tidewater in Baltimore. It was good to see Jeff and Lisa again.  That evening I took Ugne to one of our favorite Italian restaurants, Umborto's overlooking the yacht club to celebrate her birthday. 

October 27 - 28, 2004 - The Little River bridge was scheduled to be closed on the 27th.  The only way to get through was to get to the bridge before it closed at 0700.  That meant that we would had to leave the dock at 0630 in the dark and then negotiate a tricky section of the ICW just after the bridge in the dark also.  Many boats hauled anchor and made the opening.  We opted to hang around for another day and do some boat maintenance. 

The next morning we had heard that the bridge would be open until 0800 so we left the yacht club at 0730 to get through the bridge before it closed, wrong, the bridge was already closed and we had to do donuts for an hour waiting for it to open.  Once through the bridge we had a good trip down the Waccamaw River with a favorable current the entire distance.  We took a mooring at Heritage Marina just north of Georgetown, SC. 

October 29 - 30, 2004 - Another chilly morning got us underway at 0730 for the trip down the Waccamaw River and then back into the ICW to our planned anchorage at Five Fathom Creek.  We had a favorable current and made good time so we proceed onward to Dewey Creek 15 miles north of Charleston.  We anchored in the marsh and had a delightful evening.  The next morning we slept in a little and then proceeded slowly towards Charlestown so we could make the 1100 opening of the Ben Sawyer bridge.  Once through the bridge we sailed across Charlestown Harbor to the Charleston City Marina on the Ashley River where we had a reservation for the week.  Our son lives in Charleston and we has planned to spend the week visiting and enjoying Charleston.

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