Sunday, July 23, 2017

Finally Arrived in New Bern, NC

WOW what a week.  It has been several days of 60+ miles days and we finally arrived at North West Creek marina yesterday afternoon after one of the best travelling days ever!!

We spent a layday in Charleston on the 17th for weather.  It was a day of several thunderstorms so a good time to relax and provision a bit.  On the 18th we left out Charleston Inlet to run offshore up to Winyah bay to anchor for the night.  Once near the turning point in the inlet we turned towards the heading we would use for the trip and it was too rolly for our testes.  It was a shame because we had a favorable current going out at 7+ knots and now we turned back in at 5kts to return and head up the ICW.  We made the Ben Sawyer bridge right at low tide and there are trouble areas just north of there so I opted to anchor for an our before going on.  One of the reasons I did not want to repeat the ICW.  We made it okay but fought current most of the day and finally arrived at the south Santee river for the night to anchor.

The next morning we headed up the ICW towards Georgetown, SC and on to Barefoot landing.  It was a very long day of more than 13 hours.  The current was against us all day and we averaged only 5.2 knots to run 62 miles and arrived at 7pm.  We took a slip and were happy to finally arrive -- no anchorages here.

We were off the next morning at 6:15am and had a fast favorable current all the way to Wrightsville Beach for a total of 72 miles -- longest run on this trip.  Fortunately they had dredged the inlets this spring.  We hit Shallotte Inlet an hour before low tide and made it across seeing a low water of 7.2 feet.  Then on to the troublesome Lockwood Folly. Hmmm we were going to hit it at dead low tide and today that was .6 feet below the average.  I anchored for an hour before going through.  I wanted to be on the rising side.  We made it through there with a low of 6.2 feet!!  That's close but no bump.  We anchored in Wrightsville beach around 6:30pm and enjoyed another night on the boat.  Well maybe "enjoyed" is not the word.  There are now hundreds of small boat operators here and they have absolutely no respect for anchored boats.  We rocked and rolled from the wakes till dark then had a comfortable night on the hook.  Wrightsville is not one of my favorite anchorages anymore.

The next morning we left about 6am to try and make Swansboro, NC.  normally we would stop at Mile Hammock but we wanted to get home -- like the cows we could see the barn door and picked up the pace.  This was another great run with favorable current.  We made Southport around 2pm and fueled up at the marina just before southport.  Then off into the Cape Fear river for the best run EVER.  We were hitting 9.1 kts at times with the current and had favorable current all day to Wrightsville beach.

The next morning we were headed to Mile Hammock bay and possibly on to Swansboro.  Wow -- another great day of favorable current.   so we would go through as it was going up.  That worked and we saw a low of 7.2 feet across the inlet.  The marker bouys around 72 A nd B are not set right but the updated NOAA charts showed a "J hook" path through the shoal area and we used that rather than the buoys.  We hit Mile hammock around 2pm and kept going to Swansboro.  The wind was favorable and we motor sailed arriving around 5:30pm.  Unfortunately the anchorage is not very good.  I anchored in the White Oak anchorage years before on Luna Sea and wrapped the anchor line around the keel.  It took an hour to clear.  Tonight it would be worse with 20+ kts from the SW hitting us and a very strong current.  However the Rocna Anchor did us proud and stuck on the first attempt and held all night.  It was noisy when the current switched 180 degrees at midnight and we were pushed forward over the anchor for awhile.  In the morning all was fine and the anchor came up with no hitch although I needed boat power to break it loose.  It was really stuck well.

Yesterday was my finest run ever!  We left Swansboro just after 6am and headed for North West Creek Marina expecting to arrive around 7pm.  We fought the current for about 2 miles to the Bogue Inlet then the dogs of hell were unleashed.  We had a favorable current and ran at 7.2 kts + all the way to the Morehead City Turning basin.  Made it in just 2 and 1/4  hours.  We slowed down through the turning basin then went under the Morehead 70 high Rise and the speed jumped to 7.0+ and held all the way to the Neuse.  Unbelievable.

Once on the Neuse with the wind gusting to the low 20s on the nose we ran at 5.6kts  most of the way to the marina.  We  arrived at just after 3pm -- an unbelievable run.  Once at the marina I went to the gas dock to pump out and top my diesel off  and I really didn't want to go to the slip in this strong wind with no lines rigged.  Since they were out of diesel they let us stay the night on the gas dock  and it was welcome.

Today my crew -- Jill and Wayne Poston -- left me to return home.  They wanted a Budget Rental car and the closest that was available was in Richlands, NC at the Albert Ellis Airport or about 62 miles from here.  It was a pleasant trip  through the most remote areas of NC top\ get there!!  They are off on the way home and I'm back on Temptation offloading all kinds of stuff and planning to leave here on Tuesday for a trip home.  Wow I've been gone since June 5th!

Sunday, July 16, 2017


Yep we be outsiders. Yesterday we ran inside from Beach Marine marina to Cumberland Island where we anchored for the night. We tried to buy fuel in Fernandina but the gas dock there is still out of order since hurricane Matthew last October! Damn we need to modify the plan. After a discussion we decided we had enough fuel on board to run outside to Charleston, SC the next day.

It was a pleasant evening at Cumberland then early in the morning - first light- we left out the L O N G St Marys inlet and headed for Charleston. Conditions were pretty good although we did have some roll. Later the wind piped up to 10 - 15 and we had a lot of roll. We reached the Sea Buoy at Savannah River just after dark. Man it was busy with anchored boats and 4 going in and one out. These are not small boats but large 500+ freighters and container ships. The one coming out was headed for us. I checked his name on AIS and he hadn't seen us yet, We negoitiated that he would pass my stern -- all is well now.

We just headed for Charleston in this rolly motion all night. Wasn't dangerous but very uncomfortable however we knew we were shaving 6 days off a passage up the ICW and numerous white knuckle shallow areas.

Wayne and Jill were able to get some sleep but I was up all night with just 4 - 20 minute cat naps. I took an hour nap after tying up this morning and will get the rest tonight.

The mega docks are not so great anymore. It was not crowded but it took 20 minutes to get a dock hand to catch our lines for a transient slip. With lots of rain expected this afternoon and tomorrow we will spend a couple of days here then it is back to heading to New Bern.

Ohhh I feel good to be bypassing all of Georgia and southern South Carolina. Man the ICW is very poor in those areas as well as several areas in NC.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

Making Tracks

Ohh boy we have had a couple of good days cruising.  Tuesday we did 60 miles from Titusville to Daytona, Wednesday was a half day to Palm Coast Marina for food and laundry and fuel and a pump out.  I really like Palm Coast marina.  So friendly and helpful.  I like it so much -- I bought the T-shirt!  Don't think I had an easy day though.  I found my fresh water pump leaking at the pressure switch I repaired and then replaced it with the old one. I retied the spring line while leaning on a lifeline and it Broke big time sending me to the space between the dock and boat.  Like a cat I reclaimed my balance nearly instantly at the expense of several pulled muscles.  Damn getting old is a bitch.

After a temporary fix to the lifeline and a slightly less leaky switch on the fresh water pump we went to dinner at an India restaurant at the European village.  Food was very good and I found a beer I need again.  It's  Indian and called Kingfisher.

Today we left at 7am and made the Mantazas inlet area about 2 hours after low tide.  It is notorious for shallow water.  It was good to it's reputation.  As I started across it the depths dropped to 6.2 feet!  Then came up.  We didn't ground but got real close.  The rest of the trip was with good depths and a favorable current all the way.  WE blew past St Augustine and made it through the bridge of lions at 11am.  Up around Pine Island we had to cruise through very dense smoke from a wild fire.  We pushed on to Beach Marine Marina as the tide was following.  We took a slip there because the next anchorage was 12 miles away and we were 1 hour from low tide and those anchorages are no good then.

I stopped in this marina 12 years ago on my first trip to the Bahamas.  It is much larger now but about half is still damaged from hurricane Matthew last fall.  We are just here tonight and then will press on tomorrow.

Sorry but no more sharing of the plan forward.  Every time I have indicated that plan it has changed.  From now on you will hear only about what we have done.

Overall today was a GREAT cruising day, and note ---- we are now in North Florida!!

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Pleasure Boaters

We are pleasure Boaters!

We left Ft Pearce Sunday morning and motored to dragon point for the night. Fought a terrific squall for about an hour. Rain so heavy we couldn't see marks and had to slow down and run on instruments. All clear at dragon point and went behind the swing bridge there and had the whole anchorage to ourselves. The area before the swing bridge is full of mooring balls now. It was hot, we were hot, so we ran the genset and had pleasant AC all night long for the cost of 5 gallons of diesel. Remember we are pleasure boaters.

Left early yesterday morning for the Canaveral canal. Along this we had to negotiate 2 bascule bridges and a canal lock. Once through all that we stopped at the Point Marina for fuel. Then we had to wait while a large cruise ship came in and turned in the turning basin to dock -- quite impressive. We had lunch aboard and left around 12:30pm and headed to sea. Conditions looked good. Wind under 10 knots with 2 feet seas mainly on the nose. We had to go 7 miles before we made the turn to head north. Now the seas were 2 - 4 feet with wind between 11-15. So much for the forecast 5 - 10 kts. . Once we turned the seas were mostly on the beam and rolling us miserably. We had 15 miles to go before we altered course again and the forecast was for more wind tonight. The stuff down below started making a lot of noises. We lasted 10 minutes then unanimously decided to go back in and head up inside to St Augustine and try this again. Remember pleasure boaters!

The ride back with the wind and waves just quartering on us gave a very smooth ride. Boy we could go like this for days but we had to get in. There was an adventure too with a large tanker coming in behind us. He was way out there then right on top of since he could go 16 kts to our 6 kts. The Pilot negotiated a passing scenario with me and all went well.

We got to the first bascule bridge and it was on a schedule now. We had to wait 40 minutes for it to open, then we did the lock and it was on demand but it is SLOW to operate. Then the last Bascule bridge was still on a schedule and we had to wait 25 minutes there. Now we were back in the ICW and it was 7pm. We ran for another hour up to Addison point bridge and anchored behind the causeway just as it was getting dark -- 8:15pm.

Wow a 13+ hour day and we had gone nearly 62 miles but in actuality only went 22 miles on the ICW.

The plan now is to go to Daytona today and anchor, then Palm coast marina tomorrow arriving at noon so we can do laundry and a grocery run, then onto St Augustine Thursday and either try the inlet and go offshore or maybe continue up the ICW.

Ohhh I like running the AC on anchor except for using 5 gals of diesel but it's worth it to pleasure boaters. We are sleeping like babies. I know sound like it too -- waaa waaa.

Just as I was feeling a little sorry about the new change of plans this morning I was sitting in the cockpit sipping my coffee and looking at all the cars on the NASA parkway heading to work. I felt better after that.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Happy 4th of July!

WOW -- they really know how to do up the 4th of July here in Ft Pierce.  Fortunately for me the marina park is the center of the celebration.  I can just walk there.

They set up a stage with a big band doing all kinds of music -- Jimmy Dorsett to Amy Winehouse.

The local power company came and set up a HUGE snorkle truck and flew one of the largest American Flags I have ever seen.  You couldn't feel more proud being an American with that waving in the Palm trees.

I celebrated by putting up my festival flags to dress ship.  Surprisingly I was the only boat decorated in the marina.  It looked GREAT

They had all the street food vendors from the Farmer's market here too.  The crowds just built all day with probably more than thousand here at night for the Fireworks.

The fireworks were very good but not GREAT.  There was a distraction... a drone was flying above the fire works with flashing red and green lights.  I'm sure he got some great video but we all waited to see if one of the fireworks would knock it down -- I know morbid.  He did fine took a lot of video then came down to change batteries for the grand finale.

Sitting on the boat I had a great seat and very comfortable.

The plan is to leave here probably on Sunday to head North to New Bern.  Jill and Wayne from Born to Cruise should arrive here on Saturday then it's off to the races.  And it is a race a !#$%& tropical something may be threatening us by the mid to late next week.  Hopefully we can run 2 days offshore to make Charleston ahead of that event which may not occur at all.  Let's hope.

There are hundreds of pigeons here and they are well feed an smart.  Look at these that are sitting on a dolphin fountain patiently waiting their turn for a drink.

Enjoy my pics today from the celebration.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Still Here!!

Yep - still at the Fort Pierce City Marina. Sorry for the long delay since last blog.

I needed time to sort out our new direction since our plan to leave the boat at Brunswick Landing fell through and my desire to not move the boat north along the ICW through Georgia and Southern South Carolina.

I had to investigate several options which all take time because requests for information in the marine industry is a slow slow process. Phone calls not returned for days, emails not responded to for days if at all, etc.

I investigated getting the boat hauled out till the fall here but all the yards are already full. I wanted to see what that would do to my insurance but still no response. I could leave the boat here at the marina till October 1st but I am uncomfortable leaving the boat here during hurricane season. This marina did fine last year with hurricane Matthew and no boats here suffered damage. This marina is very well built (rebuilt in 2014 to FEMA standards).

We decided to take the boat back to North Carolina. Karen is not aboard right now because of the grueling heat and humidity. I don't really want to travel alone in this big ol boat but could if need be. I investigated hiring a delivery captain and of those that responded all were busy till mid July. The prices ranged from $200 a day to $550 a day with an extra crew at 100 - 150 a day plus food and provision and all travel expenses. On a trip that could take between 4 days and 14 days that could get very expensive.

Fortunately I reached out to old cruising friends Jill and Wayne from the Born to Cruise sailboat and they said they could help out. Thank You! It will be fun running up the east coast with friends. They too are not available until the second week of July so here I stay entertaining myself by doing all kinds of odd jobs on the sailboat.

Changed the main engine oil and filter, washed entire boat (free water here)and then waxed both top sides and hull. That took a few days because the sun is just too intense from 11am till 4pm. Lots of other miscellaneous stuff done too. Started cleaning and greasing the winches yesterday. No end to little jobs in site so I'm not bored.

There is also a good book exchange here so if I do run out of work then I have a lot to read.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Brain is squirming like a toad!

Aaaack my plans to leave the boat at Brunswick Landing Georgia have been dashed. No room now. They had space in early May but it is all gone now. Now I need a new plan.

I decided to go into the Marina at Vero Beach City and leave the boat for a month to look at options. I do NOT want to go up the ICW entirely. It is a mess in several places now. So what to do, what to do. They said I could stay til September 1. They put me on a face dock with weak, missing, loose cleats. I do not like leaving the boat only tied to a face dock with daily thunderstorms or worse expected. What to do, what to do. Hmmm go to the Publixs and grocery shop that's what. Got to eat. I've only been away from USA grocery store for a week and half but I acted like a kid in the candy store. Man I bought too much.

Thursday was a surprisingly rainy day -- all day. I did some boat projects - replaced the pump seals in forward head, cleaned aft head, and worked on diverter valve, read, and chatted but still no resolution on what to do. I kind of want to go back to NC but not up the ICW. A couple of days offshore is really too much for just 2 intrepid sailors and the weather is not good for the next week offshore. I could have the boat hauled out here but I don't like leaving a boat out of the water for an extended time. Maybe put together a team of three to return the boat to NC. What to do what to do.

Time to eat some crow and take Marks suggestion to go to the Fort Pierce City marina. He wanted to do that when we crossed into the Inlet Tuesday but I wanted Vero Beach. Fort Pierce City marina had great reviews on the docks there but there is a mean cross current in there. So I decided to go there and leave the boat for a month. I'll either have the boat hauled, stay at marina, or take it back to NC --- brain is squirming like a toad!

Today we left early to get to Fort Pierce at slack tide. Ohh boy now I have a favorable current all the way and even slowing the engine down 200 rpms and we still arrived about 45 minutes early. Still a current running but not bad then again it is nearly low tide. Ohhh man I can't win.

We worked our way through some confusing marks and the lowest water we saw was 6.7' -- I draw 5.5' so close. We made the marina which is much larger than I expected and the dock master guided us into a great slip. Only one slip away from all the amenities -- showers, office, laundry and the famous Tiki Hut. Wow the facilities are GREAT. Floating docks on massive pilings, thick concrete walkways, massive firmly attached cleats, and everything is super nice. All commercial washers and dryers. However in the check-in process every thing is printed on a dot matrix printer -- ever heard of one? 1970s technology. After lunch it was laundry time and the machines I used were just FINE. Unusual for a marina.

Temptation had one surprise for me. The fresh water pressure switch failed. It would not turn on the pump until all pressure ran out. Fortunately I had an extra and replaced it -- working fine now.

WOW this place is nice -- it is right downtown in Fort Pierce and all has been revitalized. We are going to have some fun exploring this place.