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!