Thursday, November 22, 2018

Continuing to Move South, Wondering What to do on Thanksgiving!

With the saga of the boat repairs behind us (we can only hope that lasts), Friday, 11/16 dawned as a blue sky day, cool but not frigid so it was a great day to untie and take off.  It was a special day because it is Erik’s birthday and this one was his 30th!  We had friends from the Firestone days who live in Mount Pleasant, SC that we wanted to visit along our way.  Problem was, we got stalled for so long that we only had 3 days to get to that area before they were leaving for Nashville for the holiday.  So we put on the push and ran 64.5 miles to get to Osprey Marina in Myrtle Beach, SC.  All done with North Carolina!! We were armed with updated information about the shoaling areas that plague the ICW in South Carolina from a packet we got in Southport and added that to info on Active Captain.  Tide and current didn’t cause problems for us so we made good time.

We came across a channel marker that had recently been damaged and took this shot to send it to the the guy in Southport who passes on traveling info to the next boaters down the line.  It is so helpful to have updated reports on shallow areas as we watched a boat go aground by getting too close to a marker with a known shoal.  Not all boaters read Active Captain warnings and it’s too bad for them! 

Also on the way, we passed Barefoot Landing where we had hoped to stop and meet up with our buddies on California Lady but our slow schedule messed that up as well.  They are off the boat and at their “dirt house”.  Cal Lady can be spotted on the inside of the larger yacht on the face dock.  Osprey was about 10 miles more and we got in with time to walk in the daylight.  Osprey is a great little marina that is a good price, has very nice facilities, gives all transients a goodie bag and even provides bagels/ bread/ donuts etc. for a light breakfast!  We indulged in the donuts!  

Continuing down the Waccama River on Saturday, we spotted these two Ospreys sitting atop a mangy old  tree.  We got a good start to our day and were happy with a push from current along the river.  It was another perfect travel day with sun and a blue sky.  The only complaint is that the sunny days create glare on the water which is hard on the eyes.  The fall sun is low in the sky.  The tide was in our favor as we left at low tide and rode a rising tide all day.  That was a big help as we passed through McClellanville, SC which is a long time area of severe shoaling.  Again, with the updated information we had, cruising through the shoals was only a tiny bit stressful!  We ended another 64.5 mile cruise in a great anchorage on Awendaw Creek.  Not far from Charleston so we will make it to see our friends!  Yea!  On Sunday, we waited a bit to leave because we needed the tide to rise enough to pass severe shoals on the waterway along our 27 mile cruise.  We came to a full stop several times when the water under the keel got to 2’  and even saw 1.8’ twice. 

We got into Toler’s Cove Marina in Mount Pleasant (just across the harbor from Charleston) in plenty of time to walk over to Sullivan’s Island for a beach walk.  Love those hard packed beaches! 

We crossed the Ben Sawyer Bridge on foot which we cruised under before turning into Toler’s.  

And our push to get to Mount Pleasant was paid off by a very fun visit with Donna and John Baratta! They not only took us out for a delicious grits and scallops dinner,  but they patiently took us to 2 grocery stores so we could stock up and have what we needed for Thanksgiving!  Well worth the 2 longer cruising days!! 

We took our time and walked again on Sullivan’s Island because the tide was lowering in the morning and we had more known shoals on our way further south.  Plus we had to pass through Elliot Cut which can have serious currents and we timed it for slack current.  We cruised only 43 miles, after leaving late morning and stopped at an anchorage named “west of watts” because it was after a shoaled area called Watts Cut which is being dredged presently.  This was our spectacular sunset in the anchorage which we shared with only 2 other boats.  

Later during the sunset, the sky became even more dramatic!   So that evening we pondered what we would do for Thanksgiving.  I had been trying to figure out a plan for several days and just couldn’t set a plan.  Then we looked at tides again along with known shoals and put it together that on Tuesday 11/20, we could only go 30 some miles until the tide would be too low to continue on.  That took us to Beaufort, SC.  When we up anchored early on Tuesday, we thought we would just use a mooring ball at the Downtown Marina but as the morning progressed, we decided to take a slip, knowing we had not given Beaufort a chance to show us her beauty last time we came through here.  And it is so much easier to check out a town when tied to a dock.  

On the way, close to the Ladies Island Bridge, we passed a large group of loons likely using the Beaufort River as a stop over on their way migrating further south.  There had to have been 15-20 loons on all sides of our boat!  We pulled into the marina by noon on Tuesday and soon decided to just stay put for the holiday!   The ladies in the office told us of a local church that provides a traditional Thanksgiving meal to anyone who wants to enjoy their hospitality and they provide “take out” plates. That was enough to seal the deal and we signed up for a 3 night stay!  

We have enjoyed lovely walks along the water and through the historic district and I have done lots of Christmas shopping so this was a stop well timed!  Our dilemma of what to do for Thanksgiving was answered by tides stopping us and a giving church feeding us!  

Last night we were surprised by the arrival of a cruise ship coming into the marina. 

Tonight’s sunset looking south into the mooring field was beautiful . 

And today, Thanksgiving Day, was sunny, a bit chilly but so lovely to be in this historic town.  We thoroughly enjoyed our “church lady” meal and are thankful for each other, for our chance to travel by boat, for our son and family members and for great friends, both old and new.  We are blessed! 

Boat Repair Issues But We Are Fixed and Traveling!

It has been over 3 weeks since this blog was last updated because it just isn’t interesting to report about boat repairs that seem to take forever.  We also have moved south, far enough that the shallow waters need help from tides and currents, so there is a lot of planning before each day of travel and lots of concentration while cruising.  The good news is, we have our list of boat problems repaired for the most part and we have traveled just under 600 miles with under 500 miles to go!

The sun warmed up the colder days up on the Chesapeake and the trees were just beginning to make us think of fall as we sat in the Zimmerman boat yard trying to be patient.  Our refrigerator failure lead to the ordering of a new thermostat and when it was being installed, it broke.  So it had to be reordered and the second one was installed on November 1st.  Still no refrigerator cooling so some wires that had been respliced at Pleasure Cove Marina were tested and found to be crossed, rewired those and voila, the refrigerators started working.  But the freezer didn’t cool to a low enough temperature because the wrong thermostat was installed!  (Hind sight: we likely never needed a new thermostat anyway!) Oh My!  But the battery chargers were good, the engine oil leak was fixed and we were at the end of the work week by the time we determined the freezer was not right.  So we chose to take off and get another thermostat at another Zimmerman location in Southport, NC.

We were stalled in leaving by one more day due to high winds and waves on the Chesapeake Bay.  We finally took off on Sunday, 11/4, dressed in our winter clothes in layers!! The time change got us up at the crack for a nice early start and we went 56 miles, past Norfolk and were finally into the Atlantic ICW.  Our stop was at Atlantic Yacht Basin for the night.

Off we went on Monday, only to reach the first bridge to be told the next bridge was closed for an undetermined amount of  repair time. On the way we scooted over to let this big girl go by slowly.   So we turned around and tied back up at AYB and had a lovely walk followed by a lunch out.  Lemonade, not lemons for us! 

We do find great places to walk!  This was across from AYB and easy to access.  On Tuesday we had a smooth cruise with some wind and current to our next stop at Coinjock Marina in North Carolina.  All done with Virginia and the temps are getting somewhat warmer during the day.  But we had a little mishap while parallel parking along the marina wall in front of the mega yacht in the next picture.

The current was strong and pushed us back toward the yacht ‘s bow and Al could not bring our boat forward fast enough or our bow would have crashed into the dock.  

So part of the rail on the stern got knocked off and the yacht ‘s bow had a paint scrape.  It was a low point for the captain who, just the day before, was given an “attaboy” for the great parallel parking job at AYB.  Can’t be perfect all the time.  Luckily the captain of the yacht was gracious and took it all in stride along with our contact information for future notice on his boat repair!  The good news is the next day was beautiful with minimal wind so we had an easy crossing of the dreaded Abermarle Sound and went another 55 miles to a nice anchorage in Tuckahoe Point.  


We had plenty of boat neighbors that night as the trek south is the way for boats to go this time of year!

On 11/8 we up anchored to find thick mud on the chain and anchor and it was a cold, brisk morning for getting hands all wet and muddy, but that’s just part of the adventure!  We had a slow trek with lots of sailboats to pass along the narrow Alligator/Pungo Canal.  But it was an uneventful day for another 54 miles.  Our stop was on the fishing dock of R.E.Mayo Seafood company.  

This dock is a bit scary to walk on because some boards are cracked and rickety, but the benefits are seafood to purchase, a road to walk on, and its right on the ICW for easy access.  Scallops for dinner and tuna and grouper for the freezer, yum! Next stop was Moorehead City, a neighbor to Beaufort, NC. Nice marina in Moorehead City with a courtesy car to get some groceries and local streets for the walk.  On the way there, we crossed some wide water that had waves but nothing that we couldn’t tolerate except for a brief period, just when I went below to fix breakfast!  We rocked and rolled, making my stomach do flips while toasting bagels as fast as possible.  Just when I had it all done, and thought I would not recover, we turned into the waves and all was good again!  Bad timing for me. 

On 11/10 we woke to strong, cold wind and wondered about continuing the cruise.  After consulting with the dock master, we decided to venture out and the nice protected ICW was nothing but calm water.  We did experience crossing some shoaling areas, so had 3-5 feet below the keel at times on our way to an anchorage at Camp Lejeune.  We also began to see the severe effects of Hurricane Florence. And on 11/11 saw many boats where they shouldn’t have been.

Blue tarps on roofs were abundant this far past the storm.  

Hard to imagine the day of the storm when our day was calm with a blue sky. 

 This was a day of seeing too much damage while dealing with currents that would not cooperate.  We had several low bridges that had to be opened for us and they were on a schedule that would have been doable if the current against us let us go our normal speed. Then just when we didn’t need the speed the current would give us a push!  

One more boat on the shore instead of on the water.  So our long day of stopping to wait for bridges and slowing to not get to bridges too soon, got us to a mooring field at Carolina Beach late in the afternoon; no time to dingy to shore for a beach walk.  That was 15 miles from our destination of Southport, NC which took the direct hit of the eye of Florence.  We pulled into the Marina a bit before our part was delivered so had time for a walk and a lunch out.  Then our one night at Southport turned into a 4 night stay!  The thermostat was easily installed but in that process, it was noted that the refrigerant level was low and we needed a refill.  We were aware of a tiny leak so were not surprised with this news.  The bummer was, no one was available in Southport to fill us with refrigerant and it took until Thursday 11/15 to get someone to come to us!  In the mean time, we had been searching for an annoying, tiny leak somewhere in the fresh water system for months that reared up and sprayed lots of water so I tracked it down and we had that repair done while waiting for refrigerant; one for the plus column.  So bottom line, by Thursday 11/15, all repairs were finally done, we had enjoyed walks in Southport and I did some Christmas shopping in the lovely town.  The next post will take up where this leaves off when we finally could start cruising once more!