May 2007
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Update: May 2007

 

May 1 & 2, 2007 Charleston - After good nights sleep it was time to clean all of the salt that accumulated on the boat while offshore. So while I cleaned the boat Ugne caught up on the laundry.  Willie came by and ran me out to the West Marine store to get a couple of parts that I needed.  While we were gone Partners and Paradise arrived and were assigned a slip up front about a quarter of a mile closer than us to the front gate.  The City Marina has a van that runs hourly to the down town area so we took advantage of that and went into town for dinner.  It had been a long time since Richard and Judy had been to Charleston so on Wednesday we caught the Van for a trip downtown to the Market Place.  Market place is several blocks long with all kinds of things for sale.  It was lunchtime so we had lunch and then walked the market.  Once through the market we walked a couple of blocks to the grocery store to stock up for the next leg of our trip.  Once we finished shopping we called the marina and they sent the van to pick us up.  Willie came by after work and hauled us out to The Total Wine Store. This is a great store with a large selection of wines and beer. We refer to it as the home depot of wine stores.

 

May 3, 2007 We are leaving today but waited for slack current to ease our way out from the City Marina at 0945 and headed across the harbor and north up the ICW.  Only one bridge today and it opened on demand so we were not held up. This part of the ICW winds through a lot of swamp so other than boat traffic there is not much to see. The winds were light out of the south and we arrived at our anchorage in Awandaw Creek  at 1500, anchored in 9 ft of water for very quiet evening.

 

May 4, 2007 0800 we hauled anchor and headed for the Waccamaw River.  We had planned on stopping in Georgetown for a day but changed our minds and pressed on to an anchorage in Though Fare Creek. A very nice well protected anchorage.  The upper part of the Waccamaw is very pretty with deep water and a lot of wild life.  We sighted quite a few Bald Eagles during the day.

 

May 5, 2007 Once again we hauled anchor at 0800, our destination Barefoot Landing Marina at North Myrtle Beach. The first half of the trip is still in the Waccamaw River and we again saw Eagles and Osprey flying and nesting along the river.  The second half of the trip is in a man made ditch with a lot of development on it banks. We arrived at 1400 with a plan to stay 2 days.  Barefoot Landing is a collection of about a 100 shops and restaurants and the dockage us to be free but this past year they added power and water to the dock and started charging a dockage fee.

 

May 6 10, 2007 A deep low pressure system formed off the Carolina coast, the first named storm of 2007 - Subtropical Storm Andrea,  and gave us winds at 30+ knots for 3 days.  Barefoot landing docks were full and boats stopped moving on the ICW for 3 4 days.  So we enjoyed Barefoot Landing and the Myrtle Beach area.  

 

May 11-13 The storm finally abated and we left Barefoot landing at 0800 for Southport, NC. Arriving 1515. It was our plan to move on to Wrightsville beach the next day but that would have put us there on a weekend with the weekend crowd, not a good idea. Instead we stayed at Southport for 3 nights.  Discovered a great Italian restaurant at the marina for dinner Saturday night. Also took a cab into Southport and toured the city.

 

May 14 15, 2007 Departed Southport at 0835 for Wrightsville Beach. The first part of the trip is up the Cape Fear River and the wind was right on our nose again as well as an out-going current so it cut our speed over ground to 3 4 knots. Once we made the cut-over we were free of the current and most of the wind and made it to Wrightsville at 1330.  We had just dropped our anchor and were backing down to ensure a good set and the throttle cable broke.  If had snapped earlier we could have been in deep trouble.  Once settled in I made some contacts in the area and found a mobile service tech that would come to the boat to install a new cable.  He had to order the cable and it arrived the next morning. I picked him up at the dock at1600 for the short ride to our boat.  Thirty minutes later the new cable was installed and we were ready to go.

 

May 16, 2007 Departed the anchorage at 0745 so that we could make the 0900 opening of the Wrightsville Bridge. It only opens on the hour. Once through the bridge we made our way to Mile hammock Bay on Camp Lejeune.  On entering the bay a Coast Guard patrol boat came up to us and ask us to anchor as far west as possible as they were going to be starting a military exercise.  The exercise consisted of 4 boats protecting a port and a fifth boat being the bad guys.  The bad guys would rush the port and the CG would attempt to stop them. Each of the boats had a 50 cal machine gun mounted on the bow plus other weapons. For two hours we were entertained with a lot of gun fire. 

 

May 17 - 20, 2007 We wanted to make the 0800 opening of the Oslow Bridge so we hauled anchor at 0700.  On our way to the bridge several Navy Patrol boats headed north passed us.  After the Oslow Bridge the ICW passes through the weapons range of the marine base. With all of the patrol boats we expected that they were going to close the ICW while live firing on the range.  When they do this the ICW is usually closed for a couple of hours.  We were lucky, the patrol boats were in position but had not closed the ICW.  Just after passing out of the range area we heard the first gunfire and could hear them for the next hour.  At 1330 we arrived at the Beaufort City Dock where we planned to stay for a couple of days. It was low spring tide, meaning low-low water.  You guessed it, we were headed into the basin to our assigned slip and came to a complete stop, hard aground.  We attempted to free our selves but to much mud.  As last resort we called TowBoat US to come get us out of the mud.  It took them about 30 min to get us to our slip where we had plenty of water over 8 ft.

 

Beaufort is a very friendly town and caters to the boating community.  One of the perks of staying here is the City Marina and the Museum have a dozen courtesy cars that can be borrowed to run to the store.   As in the past we enjoyed Beaufort and the surrounding area for a couple of days.

 

May 21 24, 2007 - We waited on the tide to be on the rise so we would not run aground leaving the basin so at 0910 we left Beaufort for a short trip to Oriental, NC.  We had not stopped in Oriental on our past trips but always heard good things about the town.  We arrived at 1415 and took a slip at Oriental Marina & Inn.  It was a very quite place with not much to do.  Another front pushed through and the winds had Pamlico Sound kicked up so we stay a couple of extra days.

 

May 25, 2007 Winds were down so we left the Marina at 0715.  Several boats were anchored in the channel so I attempted to pass in front of them. Bad idea, ran aground again.  Fortunately, Partners-n-Paradise was behind us so they tossed us a line and pulled us off the mud.  The rest of the day was smooth sailing to the top of the Pungo River where we dropped anchor for the night.

 

May 26 27, 2007 A long day ahead of us so hauled anchor at 0700 for the ride up the Alligator/Pungo River Canal and then up the Alligator River to the Alligator River Marina.  We had just exited the canal and had slowed down so a motor yacht could pass us, as I engaged the throttle something felt strange so I had Ugne take the wheel and I went below to check things out.  I opened the engine compartment only to discover the bilge full of water to the bottom of the engine, Not Good.  I told Ugne to pull out of the channel while I attempted to find out the problem. I pumped out some of the water and was relieved that the level did not rise back up when I stopped pumping.  So we dropped anchor while I continued my diagnostics.  While I am checking things out Ugne came below to fill her water bottle and discovered that we had no water and that the water pump was running.  I checked the water tanks and they were empty.  We later found that a fitting at the water heater had broken and the water pump pumped 175 gals of water into our bilges.   With the situation under control we headed to the marina where we spent two nights.  The next day was spent removing all of the things we had stored in the bilges, drying the bilges and then re-storing all of the items.

 

May 28 - 29, 2007 Today we cross the Albemarle Sound.  We always try to cross the sound in calm weather.  Because the sound is shallow, 15 to 18 feet, it can kick up quickly especially with a strong west or east wind.  Our forecast S-SW winds at 5 10 mph going S 10 15 mph in the afternoon.  We departed the marina at 0700.  The first hour out is still in the Alligator River before reaching the Sound. Once we hit the sound we found the winds out of the west at 15 to 20 mph on our beam. The next 3 hours were very uncomfortable with 3 4 ft waves rocking us 20 30 degrees all the way.  Once we got to the Pasquotank River it calmed down for the trip to Elizabeth City.  We arrived at Elizabeth City at 1215 and took one of the free slips on the City dock for two nights.

 

The dock was full for the night that made for a good gathering at the Rose Buddies House a couple of blocks from the dock.  The Rose Buddies, only on left now, have been greeting boaters to the city dock for over 30 years.  In the past they would greet the boats as they came in and gave a rose to the lady on-board. And then they would serve wine and snacks to the boaters. The remaining Rose Buddy, 94 years old, still comes down to dock several times a day in his golf cart but the evening get-together is at his house a few blocks from the city docks.

May 30, 2007 We really enjoyed our stay in Elizabeth City but are looking forward to our first trip up the Dismal Swamp.  Several of the cruisers that we met here are also headed up the swamp and we planned on meeting up with them at the visitor center.

We departed the city docks at 0925 to motor up the Pasquotank river to South Mills were the southern lock to the swamp is located.  The lock opening was scheduled for 1330.   It was a beautiful ride up the river and we arrived a little early so we dropped an anchor to wait for the lock.  Once through the lock at 1400 it was a short 4 miles to the Dismal Swamp Visitor Center.  The center has about 100 ft of free dock space by the time we got there the face dock was full and boats were starting to tie up on the outside.  We ended up with 10 boats some 4 deep to the dock.  That evening most of us met on shore at one of the centers picnic tables for cocktails and snacks.

    

                                Pasquotank River

                    South Mills Lock to Dismal Swamp

            Ready to go Up

                                In the Swamp

May 31, 2007 The swamp has a controlling depth of at least 6 ft.  In real dry weather the route is closed if they cannot maintain the 6 ft level.  The draft on Vilkas is just under 6 ft so our trip through the canal kept us on the edge most of the day.  In the end it was a good trip touching bottom only a couple of times.  We departed the visitor center at 0805 for the 18-mile trip to the north locks 1100 opening.  Another beautiful day with lots of wildlife sighted.  The Lockmaster at the north lock is quite the character.  Over the years boaters have brought him Conch Shells that he has displayed around the control shack. He has made horns out of several conchs and plays them for the boats locking through as the water drops the 8 ft to Elizabeth River. Once through the lock it was a short ride down the Elizabeth River to Portsmouth where we had reservations at Tidewater marina.

                    Virginia Lock

                Norfolk Skyline 

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