Here are some notes I wrote the other day to put into the blog. I’m just too lazy today to rewrite everything into a different set of notes. But, it gives you an idea of my thinking a couple of days ago versus today.
We departed early yesterday (Election Day, 8 November 2016) morning from Coinjock, at Midway Marina.
We dropped anchor at Tuckahoe Point, directly in front of the Alligator River-Pungo Canal entrance about 1525. JoAnne wrote “Anchor Down” at that time. We found 7-9 feet of water moving out of the channel to that particular spot. We spent the night on a quite anchor, occasionally hearing engines coming through the canal (I believe for the most part they were barges being push by tugs.
This morning (9 November 2016) we up anchored at about 0700. We went back down to the spot I’d entered the anchorage and we turned into the channel right after a barge went through past us in the channel.
Through out the trip we saw birds and occasional fish jumping. Did not run aground (that’s a good thing!) and managed to remain mostly in the center of the channel.
We were passed by mostly power boats, the majority of whom did not call us and ask, just usually blew past us leaving a large wake shaking us up pretty hard and usually before I get get the bow into the wake. A few called us. Every sailboat that passed (three I think) called us and requested permission, and asked which side to pass. A couple of power boats did the same thing, but generally the power vessels ignored us like we weren’t there.
One guy, who passed me as we entered into the very large area just out of the canal had been calling sailboat behind us all day, requesting permission to pass, and was polite all the way through. His boat name was “Trixie”. When he passed us, we had a very wide area and he didn’t need to call me, but I called him and told him to pass, and I’d slow for him. He thanked me and went on around with no wake. He was the largest boat we’d seen in the canal moving.
At Coinjock Marina the morning we pulled out, there was a very HUGE cruise ship sitting there I think called Independence. It was taking up 50% of the docks and honestly, I have no idea how they got in there or where they came from!
I have been checking the engine carefully either the night of the stop or morning before we pull out, and adding a tint bit of oil to keep it at the right level, and checking the belt, the bolt on the alternator, coolant levels and the fuel.
Tonight, we’re at about a 1/2 tank of fuel on one tank. Full on the other. We have good coolant. I’ll probably have to add a tad bit of oil in the morning.
I put up the enclosure tonight, cleaned the deck (mud from anchor), added gas to the generator and fired it up a bit ago so I can run the shortwave, and do this blog. We have no internet or phone service at all here, therefore I’m writing this “ahead” of being posted. I’ll post it as soon as I have service again.
Tomorrow, we will be doing a very short day and stopping in a small creek or river across the Neuse River (away from the “magenta line” and away from the crowd for the most part. A lot of people are heading south and the marinas and anchorages are getting filled quickly (the standard and well known anchorages). We’ve been looking for things slightly off the beaten path because then we don’t deal with dragging anchors and loud noises haha.
Tomorrow, we’re looking at two places. Either a very short run of about 25 statute miles or a 40-something run. I did not find a good anchorage at shorter distances.
I’ll write more later.
Now, is later…. so.
With plans to be out of here this morning I woke up early, and made coffee, JoAnne was putting things away and I went outside to take the trash and visit the head. And then got to thinking.
Tonight it is supposed to rain. And tomorrow, it’s supposed to rain all day where we will be on anchor. And it’s pretty chilly and JoAnne is getting cold and can’t stay warm. So, debating about getting 25 miles south of here to an anchorage where we sit all night and all day tomorrow in the rain with no internet connection, versus sitting on the dock an extra two days with electricity, wifi, access to showers, head, town (and I need to replace a propane tank) caused a quick discussion, and a go-over of the weather reports.
The final decision? We didn’t leave. We will wait out the chill and rain here on a dock until Tuesday.
Tuesday through Friday should be 60s (warmer than the frost last night for sure), no rain, plenty of sun, light winds (for crossing the next two large bodies of water) and we will have North West Winds on Tuesday for the Neuse River which should be pretty ok, since we will be motoring anyway. The winds will be too light for us to sail starting today for the next week anyway.
So – comfort has been a major determining factor for us. If it’s kicking up and good sailing weather, we’re ok with that, as long as it’s kicking up in the right directions. Why go out and get our asses kicked trying to hold a course under sail when there are channels to worry about?
A friend asked me the other day, “In a do-over, would you chose a different boat?”
I believe at this point the answer is a resounding “YES”.
To travel the ICW in a full keel, deep draft sailboat isn’t fun or easy, and nothing about it has been simple. I’ve had more white knuckle moments than sitting in a Jungle in Central America getting shot at caused me. I could at least shoot back. I can only adjust the sails in changing winds – which is great if you’re not constrained by the channel….
I’m certain that, somewhere down the line we will wind up sitting on an anchorage, in the wind, rain and hail or something and waiting out another weather condition. So, why bother putting yourself in that situation? When it comes right down to it, we’re honestly not in a huge hurry to go anywhere in particular. We just want to eventually get someplace warm.
What is funny is, when I ask “Where are you headed?” to the other cruisers, all have the exact same response, “Someplace warm… south….”
We have met some very nice people so far along this part of the trip. All of them save one or two are like us, first timers. Many have only been at cruising for two or three months. One person has been sailing forty years, but this is his first trip down the ICW. Another retired a few weeks ago and started down.
In general, ALL of them have had almost the exact same thinking processes as we have. Make a plan, get the plan in motion, move the boat south – and every one of them have had the same thoughts of “quitting”, going back home, the boat was wrong for the journey, and a host of other tid bits about this trip.
In other words, all of the people who’ve gone before us who had no issues probably had the same issues and they didn’t consider them to be “issues”, or just problems to be solved. I think that is perhaps the best attitude. Everything is a problem to be solved, and solving it is what comes to the forefront when dealing with moving the boat.
Whether it is plumbing, engine issues, alternator issues (as in our case), fuel problems, electronics malfunctions or simple failures, we all have the same problems with which to deal. In my case, it seems like there are more problems to solve at once probably because I let them get to me and worry about them too much.
One problem we had was the charts we have. For some reason, I don’t even recall why now, I picked up ALL the charts for the east coast. And yet, did NOT pick up all the charts for the east coast. I was missing a rather important set. Florida and the Keys. How I did that, I’m not sure. Perhaps because I took one of the chart titles at it’s word and didn’t actually open it up and look inside until much later.
That chart (Maptech) says “Norfolk to Florida”. I made a dumb assumption I suppose and thought it contained Florida charts. Nope. It should really have said “Norfolk to Florida: Not inclusive of Florida” haha. Anway, I mentioned this and Judy Long and Stephen who were in Washinton offered to come and bring the chart. When I said I didn’t want them to make a special trip, they said they were coming anyway.
Turns out, and I had not quite put the puzzle pieces together yet, Bentana, their boat is sitting nearby! So they were coming to deal with some problems too, on their ship. So we had a get together on our boat, with some wine and nibbles. And they brought the missing chart for me.
I still need the one for the West Coast of Florida, but apparently Maptech is phasing them out now. Everything is going digital. Mark my words, that’s a BAD idea…. but that’s another discussion for another time.
Alright, time to get going to get some propane. The hardware store opens at 1300 today. I’ll take a golf cart into town (it’s four blocks, long ones, but I don’t want to carry that tank back all the way)!
Lastly, I’ve uploaded some images of things along the way. Hope you enjoy the image dump!
Here’s some pictures of places along the way:
Sunset over Cole’s Point Marina before departure
Norfolk Naval Station
Two very large ships… Aircraft Carriers (Don’t know which ones)
The same A/C carriers in the above picture, from Willoboughy Bay. Adventure in the foreground. We were aboard the s/v Acadia visiting and going over charts with Marcia and Jon
Behind us somewhere a couple of days ago
The Sailing Ketch Adventure in the back, Sailing Schooner Adventure in the front
Sailing Schooner Adventure
(Our neighbors one night)
The Great Bridge Lock
Great Bridge Lock, looking back
Taylor, from Atlantic Yacht Basin, Great Bridge
(Thanks for everything, Taylor!)
Me, JoAnne and the USS Sequoia – Presidential Yacht, Fishing Bay Marina
Some Right Piraty Looking Rigging
A visit to the Reedville area, and we discovered this ketch waiting for Kurt to come and get her in the water 🙂