May 3, 2016

April 29-May 3, 2016  Days 25-29  Spring 2016
Dudley’s Marina
Swansboro, NC

The adventure continues! Friday turned out to be a very long day. We departed our anchorage in Charleston and had a nice cruise past Isle of Palms at 10:00, and eventually past McClellanville, at 2:00. Dredging had taken place since we were last there, so we did not have to be concerned with low tide. At some point after we passed McClellanville, we spotted an alligator swimming at top speed across the ICW. We had never seen one move so fast and could not get a picture.

The ICW takes a 90 degree left turn to join the Waccamaw River. Just prior to this, we heard a knocking sound coming from the starboard side.  Joyce stayed at the helm while Bill went down to check it out. We had a shaft and rudder issue!  We were only able to cruise at 4.8 mph to avoid the knocking sound. We called a marina in Georgetown but they were full. One of their workers did suggest we call a diver and have him remove the prop.  We continued on at our very slow speed, to an anchorage at Butler Island at 7:30pm!  Bill decided to tie down the shaft with heavy rope to keep it from moving and to enable us to travel at a normal speed the next day.

We got an early start on Saturday and continued north on the Waccamaw River.  The rope that was on the shaft slipped and we had to anchor in the middle of the river so Bill could re-tie it.

Joyce stood guard at the helm, but only one boat passed us. We were soon on our way again.  We decided to stop at Bucksport Marina in Conway, SC to get fuel since their price was good and they had a floating dock we could get into easily on one engine.

We made a reservation to go into Barefoot Marina that afternoon. They also recommended a diver who was waiting for us when arrived at 1:45.  He was going to remove the prop, but when he emerged from the water, he was hauling up about 100 ft. of 1 ½ inch stainless steel cable that we had been dragging!  The drama never seems to end!  After an hour passed he could not get the prop off, so ultimately we so we decided to continue cruising with the shaft tied down the rest of the way home.

We departed Barefoot late Sunday morning and cruised to Carolina Beach, NC to an anchorage we have used in the past.  On the way we passed Southport and then entered the Cape Fear River, which did not live up to its name and stayed calm for us!  We arrived at our anchorage at 6:45 pm. We are glad for late sunsets!

We left Carolina Beach on Monday at 7:15, knowing we needed to time four bridges today. Our first was Wrightsville Beach Bridge which only opens on the hour. We made the 9:00 opening with no problem.  We arrived at the Figure Eight Island Bridge at 9:52 and at low tide, we were able to get under it without an opening.  We made the Surf City Bridge opening at 12:00 and the Onslow Bridge opening at 2:30.  A successful day!  

We arrived at Dudley’s Marina in Swansboro, NC at 4:00, happy to be tied up after our long day.  Our Looper friends, Tom & Melesia live nearby and picked us up at 6:00. We went to their lovely home for dinner and had a very enjoyable evening. Tom took us to a grocery store on the way back to pick up a few items.  Shortly after we returned Joyce heard scraping noises on the starboard side.  After ruling out a few things, Bill decided it was shrimp eating off the bottom of the boat. Our neighbors on the boat in front of us confirmed this and were having the same experience! 

The plan was to depart this morning (Tuesday, May 3) but we woke to warnings of strong storms.  We decided to stay another day, relax, and get some things done on the inside.  We had our boating neighbors over for a visit and enjoying sharing stories with them.

We will head out tomorrow and update the blog as soon as we can. We are on a rather tight deadline to get our boat to Portsmouth, VA to get repairs started.

Sunset on Butler Island

Sunrise on Butler Island!
We were dragging this cable!!