November 30, 2013

November 30, 2013  Day 16 South for the Winter
Shelter Cove Marina
Hilton Head, SC

We said goodbye to Port Royal this morning and got underway at 8:45. Shortly after leaving on this bright but chilly morning, we decided to go to Shelter Cove a day early instead of anchoring.  We had a nice comfortable ride and arrived in Hilton Head at 12:20.

This will be our home for eight days as we will visit friends who arrived at their condo this evening.  Joyce’s sister and brother-in-law, Kathy and Paul will arrive Thursday and we look forward to their visit!

We spent the afternoon watching some exciting college football games, especially Ohio State-Michigan and Auburn-Alabama! Joyce also baked two more loaves of pumpkin bead! We had a pot roast with vegetables for dinner and then relaxed for the evening reading and watching television

November 29, 2013

November 29, 2013  Day 15 South for the Winter
Port Royal Landing Marina
Port Royal, SC

Just a short post this evening. We stayed in port as planned and borrowed the marina’s courtesy car to run a few errands – bank, hardware store, and Publix, where we did major provisioning! 

Bill washed the outside of the boat and Joyce put up the Christmas decorations.  We still need to buy Christmas lights and then we will be finished. 

We had pizza for dinner, read and watched the Garth Brooks special on TV.  We will leave here in the morning and go to Hilton Head, or at least anchor nearby. Our reservation is for Sunday, but we may go to the marina at Shelter Cove a day early. We look forward to spending a week there and will visit friends and family!

November 28, 2013

November 28, 2013  Day 14 South for the Winter
Port Royal Landing Marina
Port Royal, SC

Our day started by waving to and talking on the radio to our friends on Sea Hunt IV when they passed by our boat this morning as they headed south on their way to Florida. We saw them in Poquoson, VA one evening and will look forward to seeing them again in Marathon, FL.

We had a very nice Thanksgiving dinner with several boaters here at the marina.  We all had quite a feast! Everyone brought side dishes to accompany the turkeys that the staff prepared for us.  It was nice to be able to meet new people also. Several of them are headed to Florida or the Bahamas this winter.

Bill took the requisite Thanksgiving Day nap this afternoon and Joyce caught up on some reading. 

Tomorrow we need to clean the boat, do grocery shopping and put up our Christmas decorations!  We hope all of you had a very Happy Thanksgiving!

November 27, 2013

November 27, 2013  Day 13 South for the Winter
Port Royal Landing Marina
Port Royal, SC

Last night after we posted the blog, the wind picked up again and we were under a tornado watch! We had a rough evening for a while with very strong gusting winds, but the anchor held and we made it through the night.

We left the anchorage about 9:20 this morning and were faced with more strong winds gusting to 35 mph. We had an uncomfortable ride for the first four hours through St. Helena Sound and the Coosa River and were happy to enter calmer waters as we passed Lady’s Island and the harbor of Beaufort.

We docked at Port Royal Landing Marina at 2:00 and are happy to be here!  We were invited to dinner with Jeffrey and Cathy on Shenandoah who are docked next to us. (They were also anchored near us last night.) We went to a new Mexican restaurant nearby and had a fun evening.

We are looking forward to having Thanksgiving dinner here at the marina tomorrow afternoon. The staff is cooking several turkeys and everyone will bring side dishes to share.   

We will stay here three nights and do some cleaning and borrow the courtesy car to do some provisioning on Friday!
We wish everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2013

November 26, 2013  Day 12 South for the Winter
At anchor Fishing Creek
Near Coosa, SC

What a day this has been. We were expecting rain that we knew was widespread in the southeast. It actually held off until 11:00 when we reached Charleston.  We had little boat traffic so that was a good thing in this weather.  We did not stop in Charleston but continued on to an anchorage.

We reached our (first) planned anchorage on Church Creek about 2:00, but decided it was too early to stop.  So we continued on and the rain and wind intensified. We dropped anchor (site #2) and then decided we did not like the location, so on we went to another anchorage, and the rain (now a storm with lightning) intensified.  By now it is 5:00!  Just as we pulled into Fishing Creek off the ICW, the wind and rain subsided so Joyce could set the anchor.

We had dinner and then relaxed, read, and watched television the rest of the evening.  Tomorrow we will travel 35 miles to a marina in Port Royal, SC where we will stay two or three days.

We did see two eagles today, four or five dolphins, and two deer!


November 25, 2013  Day 11 South for the Winter
At anchor
Near McClellanville, SC

We left our Osprey Marina slip at 8:00 and immediately pulled into the fuel dock.  The price was very good or we might have skipped it in the 28 degree temperature!

We ventured out into the Waccamaw River and were glad we had the current with us this year! We like going 10 mph at our normal rpm of 1300!  This is a winding, scenic river lined with cypress trees.   We did not take any pictures because it was too cold to open the windows on the fly bridge.

We saw very few boaters today and most of them seem to be driven by delivery captains who passed us in a hurry. We passed the entrance into Georgetown, SC about noon, but did not stop this year.  This is where we purchased Carried Away so we will go back again another time. It is a lovely, historic town.

We entered the ICW again and worked our way south in the narrow channel.  It is primarily lined with marshland win this area.

We chose an anchorage at Harbor River Inlet, near McClellanville and immediately saw our third dolphin of the day.  We had this spot to ourselves and spent a quiet night here.

Tomorrow we will go beyond Charleston without stopping this time. It is a marvelous city which we had visited many times but our schedule requires us to keep going. We also have a very rainy day forecast!

(Note: posting this on Tuesday morning, 11/26)

November 24, 2013

November 24, 2013  Day 10 South for the Winter
Osprey Marina  
Myrtle Beach, SC

Since we just had a three hour trip (not tour!) we waited until 10:30 to leave Barefoot Marina.   We left under a bright sunny sky and a very cold wind!  We practically had the ICW to ourselves.  We passed one sailboat and saw one motor yacht in the distance.  Everyone else stayed put today!  Even though it was windy we were fairly well protected on the narrow ICW that was lined with either trees or houses.  It was actually a beautiful trip.

We arrived at Osprey Marina and went into a slip.  When we went in the office to pay, we were given a nice gift bag filled with food and other gift items! What a nice treat!  We enjoyed being here early and having nothing to do.  Bill played Christmas songs on his banjo and also worked on his bird carvings.  Joyce wrapped Christmas presents. It was very relaxing!  We had dinner on board and then watched television and talked to friends and family on the phone.

We will get fuel here tomorrow when they open and then head south to an anchorage about 60 miles from here. That will be a long day!


November 23, 2013  Day 9   South for the Winter
Barefoot Marina  
North Myrtle Beach, SC

We woke to a light rain which lasted much of the morning, so chores were relegated to the inside of the boat. Joyce continued to reduce the laundry load and Bill worked on chart plotting.  We were able to make some decisions and reservations for the remainder of this week.

Bill and Diane came over for docktails at 4:00 (it is five o’clock somewhere!), and we had a great time catching up with each other since we saw them last spring. Their home is a short drive from here. We went to Luigi’s Trattoria for a wonderful Italian dinner in Myrtle Beach.  Then they were so kind enough to take us to a grocery store to pick up a few things.  The two “Bills” stayed in the car and chatted while Joyce and Diane did the shopping.  We look forward to seeing them next spring or sooner if they come to see us in Florida this winter!

We will depart Barefoot Marina tomorrow and go a fairly short distance to Osprey Marina and spend the night. Their fuel prices are so much lower that it only makes sense to be there.  Add to that the drop in temperature forecast for Sunday night and we do not want to be anchored!

(note: posting this on Sunday morning 11/24)

November 22, 2013

November 22, 2013  Day 8   South for the Winter
Barefoot Marina  
North Myrtle Beach, SC

As planned we pulled anchor early, at 0710 and left Carolina Beach, NC continuing south.  The Cape Fear River was calm today and that is a good thing! By 0900 we passed by Southport, a nice town on the ICW where we stopped last spring. 

Nice house for sale on the ICW
We timed our arrival at Lockwood Folly perfectly at high tide and had no problem getting through the area.  Same story for Shallotte Inlet!  We only had one bridge that needed to open and we did not have to wait for it.  This was a good travel day with calm water under a sunny sky most of the day!
Fishing boat with a following of birds looking for their share

We decided to stop at the Barefoot Marina and spend two nights here, instead of going farther down the ICW to an anchorage. We have some chores to do and we will also meet Bill’s cousin and wife tomorrow night for dinner.

November 21, 2013

November 21, 2013  Day 7   South for the Winter
At anchor  
Carolina Beach, NC

This was another early morning as we pulled anchor at 0730. We were the fifth of the eight boats to leave the anchorage in Mile Hammock.

One of many large homes that line the ICW
This seemed like “bridge” day and three of them needed to be opened for us to proceed. By 0830 we passed under the 65’ Topsail Beach Bridge – if only they were all that tall.  North Carolina still has some swing bridges and our first encounter was a badly timed one at Surf City.  We had to wait 45 minutes because it only opens on the hour. Joyce decided to use the time to do some baking and made an apple cobbler!  We also waited a short time for the Figure Eight Swing Bridge.  We knew we could not make the hourly opening of the Wrightsville Beach Bascule Bridge at the rate we were going, so we pushed up the speed to be able to make it.  Good decision!  A Catamaran that was farther behind us did not make it in time, and the bridge operator would not hold it for him.

We had a good day at any rate with a sunny sky and fairly calm water.  This portion of the ICW is dotted with homes and we enjoyed looking at them as we passed by.  We also saw a few dolphins today (and they eluded our cameras) – still always fun to see them!

We arrived at our anchorage for the night at Carolina Beach. This is a different view from our usual anchorages – we can see houses and condos everywhere as they line the ocean front. 

This is our last night in North Carolina and tomorrow we will need a very early start. There are definite areas of shoaling and we need to be there at high tide. Boats run aground here frequently. We will go to another anchorage south of Myrtle Beach, SC tomorrow.

November 20, 2013  Day 6   South for the Winter
At anchor, Mile Hammock
USMC Camp LeJeune, NC

We left our comfortable marina in Oriental at 0700 under an overcast sky and a cold wind!  We were bundled up in fleece jackets and blanket throws trying to stay warm on the fly bridge.  The sun eventually came out from behind the clouds and we were finally warm the rest of the day.

Once again we were in several bodies of water - the Neuse River, Adams Creek, Bogue Sound, Bogue Inlet, and the ICW.  We passed by recognizable towns such as Morehead City, Atlantic Beach, and Swansboro, North Carolina.

We watched this Marine helicopter practicing
picking up cargo in its sling
as it made several passes by us. 
We are in the midst of the Camp LeJeune Marine Base and could hear the firing on their range long before we reached the base.  Fortunately they were not firing in the direction of the water and we could pass by with no problem.  That could have been a long wait!  We had to wait a few minutes for the Onslow Beach Swing Bridge also operated by the Marine Base. The bridge opens on the hour and half hour.

We arrived at our anchorage at Mile Hammock at 5:15 and anchored with seven other boats in this basin that is also Marine Corp property.  As it got dark we could still hear the helicopters flying overhead!

We have another long day tomorrow with Carolina Beach, NC our likely destination.

(Note: we did not have a good signal to connect last night so this is being posted on 11/21)

November 19, 2013

November 19, 2013  Day 5   South for the Winter
Whittaker Pointe Marina
Oriental, NC

Just a short post this evening.  We stayed in port today as planned.  We borrowed the courtesy car after lunch and did provisioning in nearby Oriental.  It was a beautiful sunny day but chilly and windy. A small craft warning was in effect all day and we were happy to be here.  Joyce also did laundry and Bill installed new speakers on the fly bridge. 

Joyce prepared chicken corn chowder for dinner we and relaxed this evening.  We will depart very early in the morning for our 60 mile trip to an anchorage in Mile Hammock.  We have enjoyed being here and will definitely stop on our way back next spring!

November 18, 2013

November 18, 2013  Day 4   South for the Winter
Whittaker Pointe Marina
Oriental, NC

What a difference a day makes!  We left our anchorage at 0730 and headed back down the Alligator River.  The morning was overcast but the sun soon came out and we had a beautiful calm day!  We were in several bodies of water today from the narrow Alligator River-Pungo River Canal, to the Pungo River, the Pamlico River, and eventually the Neuse River.  We did see another pair of bald eagles today. This is the third pair we have seen on this trip. 

The Alligator Pungo River Canal

Shrimp boats all in a row!
We traveled 9 ½ hours and increased our speed the last hour so we could arrive at our destination before dark.  We chose the Whittaker Pointe Marina, just north of Oriental, NC, based on reviews in Active Captain. What a beautiful, peaceful setting!  We will stay here two nights and borrow the courtesy car tomorrow to do provisioning.  We did not have time to take any photos yet since we arrived at the end of the day, but will try to take some tomorrow.

We have had four long days and will use our extra day here to get some things done and relax before continuing south on Wednesday

November 17, 2013

November 17, 2013  Day 3   South for the Winter
At anchor
Alligator River, NC

Dr. Seuss, “Oh the Places You’ll Go”

“I’m sorry to say so but sadly it’s true that bang ups and hang ups can happen to you.”
Well not “bang ups” today but definitely “hang ups”.  We had hoped to leave our anchorage by 7:30 but our port engine did not start until 8:30.  Add a heavy fog to that scene and that started our day on the North River.  We entered the Albemarle Sound at 9:55 and were quite happy it was calm.  We had enough to deal with the fog!  By 11:30 we entered the Alligator River and the fog which had lifted slightly now became much worse.  We were 100 feet from the red and green markers before we could see them! 

We knew a boat which had passed us was waiting at the Alligator River Bridge because we saw him on AIS. We slowly approached the bridge and finally saw the boat as we got very close.  We got in line to wait for a bridge opening (this one opens on demand).  However, the bridge operator would not open the bridge because of the fog, so the cars continued to cross and we became the spectators.  About two hours later, the fog lifted.  However, the gate that stops the cars was stuck!  By now it is 2:00 and an electrician has been called (yes, on Sunday).  The line of boats has increased to at least eight (although two or three bailed out and went to the Alligator River Marina nearby).  We had already set the anchor and several others followed suit!  At 3:40 the bridge opened and we quickly pulled anchor and hurried through the opening.
We continued on the Alligator River racing against the clock as sundown was approaching all too soon.  We arrived at our anchorage thirty minutes after dark!  Joyce had to use a flashlight to see the painted markings on the anchor chain to lower it to the right level.  

The rest of the evening included dinner on board and watching television.  We hope to get an early start tomorrow because the weather forecast is for rain and wind. We have to cross the Pamlico Sound!  Let’s hope there are no bridges along the way!


November 16, 2013

November 16, 2013  Day 2   South for the Winter
At anchor
Lutz Creek off the North River, NC
Total miles to date: 91

Our day began by making the 8:00 Great Bridge opening which is important since it opens on the hour.  As soon as we cleared the bridge we pulled into Atlantic Yacht Basin for fuel. It took over an hour to fill the tanks and dispose of oil from a recent oil change.  (Our port engine started fine today so we did not have to deal with that as expected!)

A noble pair of bald eagles!
At 9:30 we were on our way again heading down the Virginia Cut (also called the Albemarle-Chesapeake Canal).  It is mostly narrow and is lined by trees with roots protruding into the water.  We were rewarded by seeing a pair of eagles perched high in the trees, and a half hour later we spotted another pair!

Our view much of the day on the Virginia Cut
The Virginia Cut eventually widens in the Currituck Sound but the channel is still narrow.  We passed Coinjock Marina at 2pm, a popular stop for boaters, but wanted to go farther.  We chose an anchorage in Lutz Creek, off the North River at 3:30.   We have enjoyed the calm water today and the peaceful anchorage. We had a nice dinner on board and then watched “Camelot”, one of many musicals we enjoy.


November 15, 2013

November 15, 2013 Day 1    South for the Winter
Great Bridge Lock Wall
Chesapeake, VA
Total miles to date: 46

After spending three and a half weeks docked at Whitehouse Cove Marina in Poquoson, VA, filled with boat projects and maintenance, provisioning, taking care of doctor appointments, celebrating Joyce’s birthday, and visiting family and friends, we are heading south!  

Cold weather has settled in (as it should in November in Virginia) and we left the dock at 0900 warmly dressed in turtlenecks, sweatshirts and jeans.  Our travels today took us out of the Poquoson River and into the Chesapeake Bay. From there we entered the Hampton Roads area and the Elizabeth River.  This is a very busy area with the Norfolk Naval Base filled with many types of warships.  They were just guiding a submarine out after we passed but we could hear stern warnings on the radio to all boats to maintain a distance of 500 yards.  There were many tugboats on the river today as well. 

Our big “unknown” was the status of the Great Bridge Lock. It has a broken valve that controls the water level and the lock can only be open at certain times.  We were able to transit the lock (we were in the last group of the day), but we made it at 4:15pm!

There is a free lock wall just south of the lock and we made a last minute decision to tie up to it for the night. It was starting to get dark and we were tired, so it was a good decision.  We are less than a quarter mile from the Atlantic Yacht Basin Marina and we will stop there first thing tomorrow for fuel. We are also having trouble with the port engine starter, so we will check it out while we are there. 

We have a long day tomorrow to cross the Albemarle Sound and enter the Alligator River in North Carolina. For this we need a calm day! 

It is good to be back on the water again. Our plans are to spend much of the winter in Florida with Marathon as our destination for February. If we like it there we may extend our stay into March.  We have not ruled out the Bahamas or the west coast of Florida either for March and April.  Stay tuned…

As Dr. Seuss says in his book,
“Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”
“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.”