Days 22, 23, 24 – Banana Wind – Saint Augustine, FL (M777) to Daytona Beach, FL to Cocoa Beach, FL(M897) – 11/12/13 – 11/14/13

We pulled out of Saint Augustine around 6:45 right behind Kokomo and headed south for Daytona Beach, FL in a caravan with them and a few other boats.

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It was a pretty quiet ride down the ICW and we made good time getting to Daytona Beach (passed a lone crane along the way).

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Our original plan was to spend one night in Daytona and keep moving as we hoped to get to Vero Beach by mid-week.  Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate and the forecast was calling for heavy winds so we knew we would be in Daytona for two nights.

We arrived at Loggerhead Marina in Daytona Beach.  We are staying at Loggerhead’s Vero Beach Marina for the winter season and they have a reciprocal agreement with the 12 other marina’s owned by the same company in Florida.  Meaning, we can stay at any Loggerhead for just the price of the electricity – $10…Yes!  Unlimited power, access to laundry for two whole days…what more can this sailor girl as for.

We got into Daytona by early afternoon, cleaned up the boat inside and out and got a bunch of work done.    I took advantage of the laundry access and did 6 loads over the two days we were there…I have no idea how that is even possible…I didn’t think we had that many clothing items on board, but we managed it.

While we’ve been away, Craig’s sister Kim and her husband Mike have been taking great care of our dog Benjamin.  We got the following pictures from them…Ben is having a great time playing with his cousin’s while we are away (he’s the golden in the middle).  I don’t think he will want to come home.

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We had dinner the first night at Calico Jack’s which is right at the marina.    Great fish and a fun atmosphere with live music.   After dinner we went back to the boat and buttoned down the hatches in preparation of the storm that was coming.  The storm rolled in before midnight and the winds howled all night.  We were on a T dock that was not at all protected and took a pounding from the ICW.  Not an ideal spot to be in a storm, but we were fendered up very well and weathered it just fine.  The winds continued all through the 13th and finally died down sometime in the middle of that night.

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 On our second night in Daytona, Craig’s brother Walt and his wife Daphne drove over to meet us for dinner from the Orlando area where they live.  We had a ton of fun catching up with them over dinner at Ronin’s – awesome sushi place on International Speedway!  Unfortunately, we neglected to get any pix so we stole this cute one from their FB page…-:).

Walt and Daphne

The next morning we got up and pulled out of Daytona Beach around 7:30 and headed to Cocoa Beach.  We passed right through the front of weather that had caused all the winds…it was pretty cool looking.

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We had another easy cruise down the ICW to Cocoa Beach.  We passed an island of pelicans and saw a rainbow and then a double rainbow and arrived in our anchorage around 4:30.

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We anchored at M 897.5.  It was a fairly quiet spot (although right off the ICW) with lots of other boats there for the night.  We made a nice salad for dinner, caught up on some blog posts and enjoyed the warmer weather (finally!) and our last night “on the hook” on this journey.

All told over the last 3 days we traveled 120 NM.  54 more miles to go to Vero Beach tomorrow.  Yeah!!

 

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Days 20 & 21 – Into the Mystic – Fernandina Beach, FL (M716.8) to Saint Augustine, FL (M777.7) – 11/10 – 11/11/13

We cast off at 7:45 am and decided to take the run to Saint Augustine in the ocean…gulp.  We headed out St. Mary’s Inlet with light winds from the North.  We had our sails up a little past 8am.   We were both totally jazzed since most of the trip has been on the ICW and there have been very few opportunities to sail on this “sailing journey”.

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We turned south and had a running wind blowing 10-13 knots.  Sailing with a running wind has (for whatever reason), been our most challenging point of sail.  We struggle with speed, jibes, etc.  (all you Salty Dog’s out there…we’d love to hear from you with any tips/tricks).  Today was really no different.  We started out with our main and head sails out, but quickly decided to pull the head sail back in as it was just blocking the wind and the winds were shifty and we couldn’t maintain wing on wing.

Once we pulled the head sail in and adjusted the main, we picked up to 4.2 – 4.8 knots…mostly in the 4.2 range.  The wind was still shifting slightly and we had an accidental jibe (yikes!), so Craig rigged a line from the boom to a cleat to prevent any further jibing.  This worked well and we sailed along, pretty effortlessly for a few hours, albeit still on the lower end of our speed range.

We decided around 11am to give in to the motor, when we realized based on our GPS position and speed, that it would take until after 8pm to get in Saint Augustine and we didn’t want to navigate the inlet in the dark.  Nor were we ready for our first overnight solo sail.

We motored along in the ocean in 3-5 foot seas.  It was quite nice out there…we saw several fishing boats, and a few motor yachts, but no other sailboats for the rest of the day.

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We arrived to Saint Augustine, just before sunset.  The inlet was challenging – pretty narrow, with rocks and breakers on either side, with a few aground sail boats to remind us to stay alert.

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Craig did a great job navigating in and we picked up a mooring ball in the new Municipal Marina Mooring Field.  We watched the sunset on the back of the boat and a wedding that was happening on a sailboat passing by.

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We headed into town on our dinghy and had a great night.  We stopped for appetizers at the historic Casa Monica Hotel, had dinner while listening to a great pianist at Rhetts and wrapped up the evening with Desert at a little outdoor place across from the Municipal Marina…they had a fantastic guitarist….(Sue if you are reading you’ll notice all I pretty much did today was eat….I have my work cut out for me when I get back…oy vayy….:-)…lol).

We got back to the boat around 11pm and got to bed thinking we would get up and out early.  When we woke up, we both decided, that we really loved Saint Augustine the night before and we wanted to explore the town a little more.  This is one of the coolest cities in Florida…lots of history, beautiful architecture and good food (what more could you ask for).  Great company…that’s what…(more on that in a minute).

So we spent the morning on the boat working and around lunch time headed into town to find a place to eat.  We stopped in the little store at the Marina and bumped into Craig’s cousin Bobby…what!…this wouldn’t be weird if he lived here, but he lives in Sewell, NJ.  He was vacationing with his Mom – Aunt Joanne.  We were all shocked to run into each other and had a great lunch catching up at the Conch House.

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Craig and I spent another great night moored out and got an email from our friend and boat broker Brian Winter that Kokomo – another boat from our marina – was moored two boats over.  Small world!!

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All in all, we had two great nights and a wonderful afternoon in Saint Augustine.  We will definitely be back to this city sometime soon.

Daily Rundown and Lessons Learned

  • Fernandina Beach, FL (M716.8) to Saint Augustine, FL (M777.7)
  • 60.9 NM traveled
  • Always file your float plan before heading out….especially if you are going in the ocean (we did!!)
  • The world is small!!
  • When you find a place you like…take time to explore a little.  We did and got the added bonus of running into Bobby and Aunt Joanne.  If we had left at 6am we would have missed them all together and missed a great opportunity to reconnect.

 

 

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Day 19 – A Pirate Looks at 40 (maybe 80 based on the Pirates we saw today…:-) – Darien River, GA (M651.6) to Fernandina Beach, FL (M716.8) – 11/9/13

We left the anchorage on the Darien River at 7:45.

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We made great time heading to Amelia Island.  Florida at last!!  Yahooo….(sound the trumpets, girls (make that wenches) dancing in the streets…woop woop!!).   We were rejoicing as we called the Fernandina Harbor Marina for a mooring ball assignment.  The water was pretty choppy and I was not very happy with our ball assignment as we were the first mooring in the harbor and there were several boats anchored just a wee bit too close, but there weren’t any other options so we took it.

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First, I will tell you that this city looks pretty terrible from the water.  We sat on the back of the boat and looked at factories and smoke stacks.

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We figured there must be more too it, so we jumped in the dinghy and made our way into town.    We were pleasantly surprised…the town is very cute and friendly!!  Kind of a Key West North vibe going.  Not sure if we were there on a special pirate festival day, but there were people dressed up like pirates and wench’s scattered throughout the town.    Lots of cute little shops and we did a little more Christmas shopping.  We found a great Spanish restaurant – Espana and had the BEST meal of our entire trip there…Fisherman’s Stew.  It was fantastic.

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All in all, 65.2 NM traveled today and a fun evening!

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Days 17 & 18 – Georgia on my Mind – Parrot Creek, SC (M521.5) to Isle of Hope, GA (590) to Darien River, GA (M651.6)– 11/7 & 11/8

The Parrot Creek anchorage was great.  We watched yet another great sunset and caught a beautiful sunrise on the hook close to “A Simple Life”.

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We had checked the route the evening before and realized that the Lady’s Island Bridge did not open between 7-9am, so we planned accordingly and arrived just in time for the 9am opening.  We passed through Beaufort, SC and then Hilton Head Island around lunch time.  We saw our first big patch of palm trees (yeah!!…maybe it will get warm soon) and finally pulled into the Isle of Hope Marina around 4:30.

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We got diesel and a pump out (last fuel on the ICW for 90 miles).    Isle of Hope is a very nice marina and has an added bonus of two free cars that are available to reserve to go to dinner, or do grocery runs.  We did both.

We had dinner at the Driftaway which was okay and then did our grocery shopping.  We were back at the boat by 9pm.  All in all a good day with 68.5 NM covered.

The next morning  (11/8)we decided to get underway later in the morning as the Skidaway Narrows Bridge opens on the hour 7-9.  We hung out in the marina until 9:30 to catch up on some conference calls that we didn’t want to be on while navigating a bridge opening.  Turns out that the Skidaway Narrows Bridge has been replaced by a new 65’ fixed bridge, so we didn’t need to wait for an opening after all…Oh well……A little while into our run we ran into this sailboat that had been demasted somehow.  He had assistance from some other boats and didn’t need more help, so we didn’t get the story on how it happened.

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We made good time all day and chose a quiet anchorage on the Darien River (M651.6).  We hung out on the back of the boat and watched another stunning sunset, then cooked a dinner of Creole Shrimp and Rice (recipe below), had a hysterical selfie photo shoot (these are only 2 of about 1000 we took…lol!) and called it a night.  Another good run today with 61.6 NM covered.   Florida tomorrow!!

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Creole Shrimp and Rice

  • 1 3 ½ ounce bag long grain rice
  • ¾ pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • 1 ½ tsp creole seasoning
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup chopped green bell pepper
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 1 tbl fresh thyme
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 cup unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 tbls flour
  • 2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered, or 1 16 oz can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp ground pepper
  • 2 tbls fresh minced chives (if you’ve got em)
  1.  Cook rice
  2. Sprinkle shrimp with creole seasoning and sauté in a little evoo for 3-5 minutes until browned.  Remove from pan
  3. Add onion and next four ingredients (through garlic) to pan, sauté.  Combine milk and flour in small bowl, stirring to whisk.  Add milk mixture to pan and bring to simmer.
  4. Reduce heat to medium, cook a few minutes until slightly thickened.
  5. Add tomatoes and black pepper…cook a few more.  Stir in shrimp and sprinkle with chives.
  6. Serve over rice.

 

 

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Day 16 – Green Grass and High Tides (well …not really…lots of green sea grass but very low tides) – Charleston, SC (M469.5) to Parrot Creek, SC (M521.5) – 11/6/13

We really, really wanted to spend a second day in Charleston.  We didn’t get to explore the city yesterday as it was raining.  But, we decided to keep moving.  We both had a lot of conference calls and work lined up and Craig was still anxious to make up some ground, so we headed out at 7am.

Day 16 Daybreak

We got to the Wappoo Creek Bridge (MM470.8) around 7:20 only to realize that this bridge doesn’t have it’s first opening until 9am.  Urghhhh!  We could have slept late!!!!!!  Oh well…I made a nice breakfast of omelet’s and fruit while Craig circled around in the harbor.  Lesson learned here, was definitely to check the next morning’s route the night before, including bridge opening times.

We finally got underway after the 9am opening and made fairly slow progress down the river.  We were against the tide most of the way.  Later in the afternoon as we were approaching the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut, we started talking to some of the other sailboats around us.  The cut was reporting only a few feet of water and was not passable.  One of the other boats (It’s a Wonderful Life, SC – below) had been through this area before We had a suggestion to take a 5 mile detour up through another river and then out to the ocean and then back up the Coosaw River.  We decided to convoy the shortcut with a few other boats.

Day 16 Wonderful Life

We lost a lot of time in the detour, although it was a pretty ride.  We found an anchorage in Skipper Bob’s just off of Parrot Creek on the Bass Creek.  This ended up being the nicest anchorage of the trip so far.  We had another great evening on the back of the boat watching the sunset and then cooked dinner.  White Bean and Vegan Chorizo Stew…Delicious (recipe below).

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 Recipe: White Bean and Vegan Chorizo Stew

Ingredients:

  • 1 1b. Vegan Chorizo (you could use regular Chorizo if you are a meat eater)
  • 1 large onion, thinly sliced
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely choped
  • 1 sprig thyme or 1/2 tsp dried
  • 2 15 oz cans cannellini beans, rinsed
  • 2 cups low sodium veggie stock (you could use chicken if you eat meat)
  • 5 oz baby spinach
  • 1/2 tsp smoked paprika (optional)

Heat 1 tbsp evoo in large skillet over medium heat and add sausage.  Cook until browned and then transfer to a plate.

Reduce heat to medium.  Add another drizzle of EVOO to the same skillet and add the onion, garlic and thyme.  Cook until onion is softened, 5-8 minutes.  Add beans and broth and cook, crushing a few beans with the back of a spoon to thicken the sauce, 8-10 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add spinach by handfuls and cook until wilted, about 2 minutes.  Add the chorizo back to the stew and warm through.  Sprinkle with Paprika.

Daily Rundown and Lessons Learned

  • Charleston, SC (m469.5) to Parrot Creek (521.5)
  • Cast off 7am, underway at 9am, anchor down at 5pm
  • 51 NM (probably about 5-6 more then this because of the detour)
  • Check for bridges in your route the night before and plan your launch times accordingly
  • Monitor radio traffic for any insights into a local area.  We did not realize the Coosaw Cut was in such bad shape, so hearing about it from another boater really saved us a lot of potential aggrevation and sitting on sandbars again.

 

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Day 15 – The Charleston – McClellanville, SC to Charleston, SC – 11/5/13

We woke up excited today.  Heading to Charleston, SC today and will get to have dinner with our old friend Kris Rocanella tonight.

We caught another beautiful sunrise and then went to pull the anchor up.  The windlass worked then died.  Craig ended up hand cranking the anchor up.  Not fun.  But that was enough to convince us that we needed to do something to get this issue resolved once and for all.

Day 15 Sunrise

Since we were heading to Charleston, SC we called St. Bart’s Yachts, another Beneteau dealer.  I spoke to the owner Chuck and explained the issue we were having.  He told us to come right in and he would have his team take a look.

When we got close to Charleston, we called Chuck and he gave us directions into the marina, had a T open and 3 people waiting on the dock to meet us.  They were on board in minutes and quickly diagnosed the problem as a loose wire on a relay in the engine.  They fixed that, and voila…problem resolved!   I can’t say enough great things about everyone at St. Barts.   They were super accommodating!!

Day 15 Charleston

It started pouring and so rather then head out to explore Charleston, we had time to throw in some laundry and clean up the boat before Kris and her boyfriend Ali came over to pick us up.  We had a GREAT time catching up with Kris and getting to know Ali.  A very fun night and we can’t wait to see them again (soon I hope!!).

Lessons Learned and Daily Rundown

  • McClellanville, SC (M430) to Charleston, SC (M469.3)
  • 39.3 NM covered
  • Anchor’s up 7:30 and tied up at 1:30

 

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Day 14 – Come Monday – N. Myrtle Beach, SC to McClellanville, SC – 11/4/13

Wow…14 days “at sea”.  The time is going quick and it feels like we are making progress.  South Carolina!!  Between the slow day on Saturday because of sandbars, and the shopping break yesterday, we wanted to try and get as far as possible to make up a little ground.

We pulled out at 6:30am (I think that is an all-time record).   Craig drove most of the day and I worked down below.  Cell coverage has been very good and I am able to maintain a pretty consistent internet connection now.  The stretch we were on was pretty uneventful.  Craig got to model his new hat that he purchased yesterday.

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We had planned to stop in Georgetown, SC (M403), but we got there so quickly we decided to keep going.  We thought we would try to get to Leland Marina in McClellanville, SC.  Unfortunately, we arrived at low tide and weren’t able to navigate the cut into the marina.  It was getting late, so we had to find another place quick.  We settled on an anchorage across the ICW in Five Fathoms Creek.

When we got to the spot we wanted to drop anchor, I hit the windlass and it didn’t move.  Uh oh…this gosh darn (actually I said much worse…I’m starting to sound like a sailor) thing is driving us crazy!!  I finally got it to work and we got the anchor set.

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We had an easy dinner of Spaghetti with Marinara and Salad and got to bed.

Lesson’s Learned and Daily Rundown

  • N. Myrtle Beach, SC (M354) to McClellanville, SC (M430)
  • Cast off at 6:30 and Anchor down at 5:30
  • 76 NM covered
  • Now that it is dark early, we really need to be in our stopping place well in advance of dark.  The last minute change in plans set us back and we were anchoring while it was getting dark.  Not a great idea.

 

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Day 13 – A License to Chill – Gibbs Creek (Shallotte Inlet), NC to North Myrtle Beach, SC – 11/03/13

After the drama of the evening before, we let ourselves sleep in a little and got up around 7am.  We are finally starting to become morning people…yeah!

We pulled the anchor up and were on our way at 8am, right in the heart of high tide.   The weather was beautiful and we had a nice cruise down the river and into the Rock Pile (M347-355) aka Pine Island Cut.  Per our Waterway guide, we had read that this area can be a very worrisome segment of the ICW trip (great, just what we needed after last night…ooy vay…:-)).   We listened to 13 and 16 to see if there was any tug traffic , we didn’t hear any so Craig did a securite call on the radio advising concerned boaters that we were entering the Rock Pile.

A few minutes later a sailboat that was a few miles ahead of us came on the radio and informed us that there was a tug & barge, with a second tug following just ahead of us.  Both tugs had been quiet on the radio when he had passed them earlier, so we were thankful for the heads up.

We proceeded through the area with caution and in the middle of the channel.  Since it was high tide, we did not notice any particularly shallow areas.

As we approached the Barefoot Landing Swing Bridge , we called ahead for an opening and the bridge tender advised that the tug was approaching on the other side.  We switched over to 13 and talked to the tug.   He instructed us to proceed through the bridge opening first and fast doing a one whistle wide pass around him.  We switched back to 9 and talked to the bridge tender and informed him of the plan, he opened the bridge and away we went.

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The tug stayed in good communication with us and he asked us to speed up even more as he needed to keep moving.  Craig said “I’m giving her all she’s got Captain” and we all cracked up.  Fellow Trekky’s on the water…:-).  We made the pass safely.

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Just on the other side of the Barefoot Landing Swing Bridge is North Myrtle Beach.  There is a large shopping area with restaurants and a few marina’s.  I declared Mutiny on the Bounty at that point….I needed a break and the draw of a nice restaurant and an afternoon of shopping were strong.  Craig agreed after some minor hesitation and we pulled into Barefoot Landing Marina and tied up right in front of the Greg Norman restaurant.

We had lunch at that restaurant.  The atmosphere was great, the food, not so much.  We shopped for a a few hours.  There are about a hundred shops here…mostly souvenir type stores, then we headed back to the boat.  I took a much needed afternoon nap and Craig worked on the boat and did some more shopping.

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We had a nice dinner at an Italian Steak/Sushi house (I know that sounds weird, but it was good) and then called it an early night.

All in all a very nice, relaxing Sunday afternoon to help us recharge our batteries for the second half of the trip.

Lesson’s Learned and Daily Rundown

  • Gibbs Creek, NC (M329.5) to N. Myrtle Beach, NC (M354)
  • Anchor up at 8am and tied up at 11:30am
  • 24.5 NM traveled
  • This is a long trip…take a break and recharge your batteries when you think you need it!
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Day 12 – Stranded on a Sandbar – Wrightsville Beach, NC to Gibbs Creek, NC (11/2/13)

It poured overnight but the storm cleared out before dawn and we woke up to calmer water, light winds and partially clearing skies.  We started out today around 7:30 am leaving Wrightsville Beach, NC with the intention of getting into South Carolina today.    We snapped a few pics of the marina below (does not do it justice) and the non-sunrise before we left.

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We cruised down the ICW through a succession of marshy sloughs for about 12 miles to Snows Cut at M295 where you need to make a hard right.  We followed Snow’s Cut over to the Cape Fear River.

We headed down the Cape Fear River with the current running hard against us – 3-4 knots, making it a very slow go.   We made it to the Lockwoods Folly Inlet (M321) just as dead low tide was approaching (the pic’s below are unbelievable but accurately depict the state of this inlet.  It is in dire need of attention by the Army Corp of Engineers or this area will be impassable soon).

Day 12 Approaching Lockwood Folly Day 12 Lockwood Folly Inlet at Low Tide

We had heard that a sailboat was pulled off of some shoaling in the channel just inside the inlet before we arrived.  We were taking it very slow and sure enough came to a halt on a healthy bump of sand.  We were able to back ourselves off and retreated down the river to check the charts and decide what to do.  Just then another sailboat heading south (The Aurora) who we have seen off and on throughout the trip came along.  They have the same draft as us (5 ½ ft) and decided they would try to hug the reds and make a go at it.

They got stuck in the same spot we had rubbed on, but they were hard on the ground.  So, while chatting it up with them on the radio we decided to make some sandwiches and take a break while we waited for the tide to come in.  They finally got off the bar so we started heading down just to get stuck where they had been a few minutes before.  We hung out there (this is why there are so many pictures of this area) for a while and then got bounced off by the wake of a shrimping boat.  My advice to anyone that is heading down the ICW in this patch is to time it so that you go at high tide.  At low tide the depth is about 5 ft at the highest spot we could find.  No matter what time you go, HUG the reds.  (that guy is walking his small boat through the channel on the green side below…yikes!)

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By the time we were moving again it was getting late and there was no way we could make it to the anchorage at Calabash Creek so we started to look for overnight options.  There aren’t many in this area.  We tried to get onto the dock at The Provisions restaurant, but our depth finder was reading under 5 ft.  We kept heading down to Hewett Marina.  Turns out Hewett Marina is closed and is now the Inlet View Restaurant.  They have very nice looking floating docks.  We made an attempt and got stuck on a sandbar that is directly in front of the docks about 30 ft out.  We sat for a while (enough time for a few selfie’s) and ended up  calling Tow Boat US as it was getting late.

Day 12 Selfies Day 12 On a sandbar at Shallotte Inlet

Before they could arrive to give us a tow, we floated off.  Took a run at docking, but the current in this area absolutely RIPS and it was pretty breezy.  The restaurant does not have any assistance on the docks either.  So after a few passes, we checked the Skipper Bob guide for alternate anchorage sites.  The book lists the area west of R 76 at M329.5.  We called the Towboat US folks to discuss and they confirmed that would be a good spot.

We anchored and the proceeded to grill dinner and had a very nice evening watching another beautiful sunset and relaxing on the back of the boat.  We got to bed early as the clocks were going back that night and we would need to start our day an hour earlier to take advantage of the daylight.

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Craig got up a few times to check our anchor line and all seemed well until midnight when we heard a sound that woke us both up.  Craig jumped up out of bed and fell as soon as he tried to stand up.  I jumped up and was like “holy sit we are on our side”.  We ran up to the cockpit and we were sitting on a 35 degree angle, on the ground in about  two feet of water.  Uh oh…what to do now…we sat and pondered the situation.   We finally decided to call the Coast Guard to get some advice.

The Coast Guard suggested life jackets (oh yeah…good idea) and they called Sea Tow.  Sea Tow came out …. And said “Damn…we figured the Coast Guard was exaggerating when they said ya’ll were sitting on the ground at 30 degree angle…but we think it’s actually 45 degree”.  Then he said “oh man…sorry about that recommendation…I sure do feel guilty now”.   I was actually very calm at this point still, until he said…”ya’ll probably want to stay in your boat as there have been some pretty big 16 ft great whites tracking around this area”….WHAT!!!  Holy crap, now that hadn’t even entered my mind as a concern until then.

Anyway, what to do now?  First suggestion was to close all the sea cocks.  Thank goodness that Captain Andrew Seligman had made certain in our first ASA course that we knew where every sea cock on this boat was.   (Thank you again to #The Sailing School, Captain Gary Thomas and #Captain Andrew Seligman again for the great training we received!!)  The water was already filling the galley sinks.  Fortunately the boat was on its port side and most of the openings are on the starboard side.  But we closed them all to be safe.

The next choice was to either have Seatow attach a line to our mast and try to pull us further onto our side and then into deeper water, or wait it out.  We chose the latter.  We collected cell numbers from the Sea Tow folks and then hunkered down to wait it out.  The pic below is me sitting on the wall, with my feet extended onto the ceiling.   I fell asleep for a little while and when Craig woke me up at 3am we were sitting right side up in the water again….Phew!

Journey to FLA 010 Journey to FLA 014 Journey to FLA 015

We went back to bed and got up around 7am to head out.  Everything was totally fine with the boat.  Not even a scratch.  Fortunately the water receded and came back very gently and the boat laid down without a jolt.  We love our #Beneteau and feel very, very safe in it!!

All in all it was definitely a “High Drama” day as Captain Marcus would say but we made it through.  As my girlfriend Sue once said to me…”Buck up little sailor!”.  We live and learn…on to sail another day.

Lesson’s Learned and Daily Rundown (lots today)

  • Wrightsville Beach, NC (M283.2) to Gibbs Creek/Shallotte Inlet (M329.5)
  • 46.3 NM traveled
  • Cast off at 7:30am, anchor down at 6pm
  • Go through Lockwoods Folly Inlet area at high tide if possible
  • Hug…no, kiss….no, trade paint with the reds in Lockwoods Ferry and also in Shallotte Inlet areas
  • I would not recommend docking at The Provisions unless you draw 5ft or less and plan to leave before low tide.
  • I would not recommend docking at the Inlet View Restaurant at all – to harry between the big sand bar,  (that is apparently expanding by the day), the tide changes and the strong currents that rip here.  Not too mention the tidal change from low to high.  I’m not really sure what would have happened if all the water had left and we were tied up at the dock….we probably wouldn’t have gently laid down.
  • No matter what the guide books or local knowledge tell you about an area, you should ALWAYS check the tide tables.  In our case if we had, we would have realized that it was a new moon and there was a greater than 6 foot tide differential called for.
  • Before you head out on the water you must know every inch of your boat and especially where all the sea cocks are.  You never know when you will need to close them, and when you do, you can bet it won’t be in a “low drama” situation.  Fortunately, we did know where they were and were able to close them before any significant amount of water got into the boat.
  • Cool heads always prevail.   After your initial shock in any situation….calm down and figure out a plan.
  • No harm in calling the Coast Guard or Sea Tow…even if only for moral support…:-).
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Day 11 – Blowin’ in the Wind – Swansboro, NC to Wrightsville Beach, NC (11/1/13)

The winds howled through the night and we woke up a little late thinking we would need to spend the day in Swansboro.  Right around 8:30 in the morning, the winds died so we quickly pulled the lines, said our goodbye’s and moved along.

Day 11 Sunrise Day 11 Sunrise 2

We motored down the ICW along side of Camp Lejeune.  There can be ICW closings here from 1-4 hours for various military exercises.  We got lucky as they had just completed 3 days of exercises and so we had no delays here.  We saw several heliplanes  doing maneuvers.     We found several very shallow spots by Browns Inlet.  G63 and G 65 were VERY shallow (those seagulls are standing in the water, not floating).

Day 11 Shallow Area Day 11 Heliplane

It was somewhat confusing in the area of the New River Inlet and also very shallow.  Be aware of a lot of shoaling in this area (very pretty stretch of the ICW).

Day 11 Scenery

There were four bridges along the stretch from Swansboro to Wrightsville Beach that needed to open.  Onslow Swing Bridge at M240.7 opens 2x/hr on the ½ from 7-7, Surf City Swing Bridge at M260.7 opens on the hour from 7-7, Figure Eight Island Swing Bridge  at 278.1 opens 2x/hr on the ½ 24 hrs and finally Wrightsville Beach Bascule Bridge at M283.1 opens on the hour.  We got very lucky and timed the openings perfectly today, waiting no more than 5 or 10 minutes for any one bridge to open.

We got to Wrightsville Beach around 5pm (home of the mega fishing yachts) and decided to anchor out.

Day 11 Big Fishing Boats Wrightsville Beach Day 11 Big Fishing Boats Wrightsville Beach 2

The Skipper Bob recap for the anchorage is not great.  I have loved this book and would highly recommend it in general, but if you plan to anchor in Wrightsville Beach you should also check your cruising guide.  By the time we got over to the anchorage, the winds had picked back up to 35 knots, with bigger gusts and the anchorage was pretty full.  We found a spot, went to put down the anchor and the windlass wasn’t working again.    It would start to release the anchor, then die, then slowly inch along then die.  The whole time I was trying to get the anchor to go down, Craig was trying to keep the boat in place and yelling at me to put the anchor down (thanks Craig…I thought I would file this nail, then try to put the anchor down…jeesh)…anyway,  I kept up the struggle, but finally determined that I better pull the anchor up if possible and head to a dock to trouble shoot as it was too windy and getting dangerous.

This began our second major “debate” of the trip.  Craig was insisting that the windlass would work.  I was insisting that it wasn’t.  He very dramatically ran to the front of the boat to “fix” things and quickly came to the conclusion that it wasn’t working, (Hmmmm….imagine that….thanks Craig!) and that we should go to a dock…(good idea…wish I had thought of that)…J.  Anyway…I digress (this blog is sort of like marriage counseling…although I can see a second blog in the future…www.hereandnowrebuttal.ws…LOL)… we ended up pulling up to the gas dock at the Seapath Yacht Club.

We got diesel and made arrangements to stay for the night.  This is a very nice marina and they have the best service/staff of anywhere we have been.  Very nice and accommodating, dockage is $2.00 per foot.  They have convenient laundry and a shuttle service into town until 7pm.  They offered us use of the car for the evening so that we could do some shopping and go out to dinner.  There is a West Marine and Grocery store about a mile away.  Best grocery store on this trip since leaving NJ.  We had a very nice dinner at a Thai place right down the street from the marina.

Daily Rundown and Lesson’s Learned

  • Cast off at 8:30 and tied up at 6:30
  • Swansboro, NC (M229.3) to Wrightsville Beach, NC (M284)
  • 55.3 NM traveled
  • I don’t even know what to say about this windlass…we definitely need to diagnose this issue and fast!

 

 

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