I love the ICW, Rick hates it. I love the beautiful anchorages, lovely homes and scenery. Rick hates, the skinny water. He would much prefer going out any cut into the wide open waters and skipping all the drama of the tides, channel markers and shifting waters. However, he has grudgingly, agreed to stick with the ditch. Unfortunately in the last 13 years of cruising - memories of the bad crossings have stuck with me - unfortunately the good ones have not. Unfortunately Rick remembers every shallow water along the ditch, he now calls it "The brown spot run" and he's not talking about dirt.
Anchoring at mile #487 - Church Creek, South Carolina. Izzy is either watching for ducks, or thinking there must be a way to get to land - we think both. Nice anchorage, 5 star for us.
The temps are warming up into the 70's - we finally got to sit out on the front deck with a glass of wine and watch the sunset on Church Creek. As soon as it set, we walked around to the back cockpit and saw this beautiful site.
Moonrise over Church Creek.
The next morning while pulling anchor - Moon set over Church Creek
The two mile long, Arthur Ravenel, Jr bridge in Charleston, SC. We have been through here several time before so hard to keep posting pictures of the Fort, The Battery, etc. Charleston is a great stop - we highly recommend it.
Anchored and traveled most of the day with "Basil B and Me"
We took a detour at Beaufort, SC and stopped at Ladys Island Marina, again, for two reasons. Let Izzy stretch her legs and rent a car and move our car further south. The marina was rated five star by Active Captain and who could turn down $1.00 a foot, free pump out and free laundry. The manager, Steve, bent over backwards to make us happy and we are now a believer in Ladys Island Marina for your Beaufort, SC stopover.
Leaving the marina the next morning spotted these two Bald Eagles
fighting over a fish one of them stole from a blue heron.
Friday morning at mile #600 - Breakfast Creek, Georgia. Another 5 star anchorage.
The "Low Country" - I love the anchorages. I neglected to say we had to stop early here yesterday because the next area we go thru is called Hell Gate - only to be done on a rising tide - the Captain has a head ache. One thing about heading south is the afternoon is always into the sun. We'll both have blistered eyes when we get to Florida.
Tonight anchored at mile #665 - approximately 49 miles to the Florida border, but who's counting. We aren't even going to talk about the "Little Mud River" "Front River" and mile #660 - we need to have some wine and things will seem better.
So lets see. We last left this post leaving Swansboro, NC and happy to report we made it to mile 278.2 despite the cold front that blew through. Lucky to make it thru Onslow Bridge - they shut it down 1/2 hour after we passed through it because of high winds. They debated letting us through the Figure Eight Island Swing Bridge due to high winds, but offered to open, if we could proceed rapidly (this we cannot do) they were not sure how long they could hold it open, whew we made it. Next day the current was with us and we had good speeds averaging 10 MPH. We had arranged for a part to be delivered to Barefoot Marina, North Myrtle Beach, SC - so while waiting on the arrival of the UPS package we decided to get a rental car and retrieve our vehicle from Oriental and bring it further south.
Our UPS package was to arrive on Wednesday the day of our arrival at Barefoot Marina. Needless to say UPS screwed with us and the package did not arrive until Friday at 4:00. For the moment we have lost faith in the UPS system.
Bright Orange house along the waterfront. Love the fun colored houses in the area.
More sights along the way - thanks to one of the hurricanes in the area.
Barefoot Marina, North Myrtle Beach - a great place for Izzy and I to stretch our legs.
We have seen lots of dolphins playing along side the boat - still not growing tired of them! Last night we anchored at mile 395 behind Butler Island. Severe weather with rain and strong winds gusting to 30 MPH blew through, but we survived the storms and our anchor held tight.
Our Christmas Tree is up and......
Stockings hung with care.
We cannot seem to satisfy Izzy's energy level when we go a few days without touching land - everyone is exhausted. For every one's sake we are taking more land breaks this trip. Tonight we we are just north of Charleston above the Ben Sawyer Bridge and all is well (despite the skinny water most of the way here). We saw a lot of 6 feet or less - lots of bun puckering for the Captain.
Sunset at anchor - Mile 461 Inlet Creek Just the idea of being in South Carolina makes us feel warmer.
And that is what we are doing now after the prop, rudder and bottom fix. As promised Sailcraft Services splashed us on Saturday and we have to say we could not be more pleased with the job and their entire crew. In the past 13 years of cruising - this is our first 10 Star boatyard. The owner, Alan, allowed us to stay on the wall plugged into 50 amp service and water until the cold front blew through the area. Both Saturday and Sunday turned out to be hang onto the dock days so we took advantage of the "free" offer and stayed until Monday.
We completed a few more projects including hanging our Christmas lights and digging out our decorations.
Monday morning looked like a low wind good day to head out of Oriental, NC.
However, no wind means the conditions are right for fog and of course it won't blow off. Coming thru Morehead City with radar working and a series of zig zag bouys/markers and fog so heavy we couldn't see the pulpit, we finally decided it was time to pull off the channel and anchor for an hour waiting for clearing.
Once the fog burned off we had good weather and found a lovely anchorage at Swansboro,NC - sunset on Bogue Sound.
Anchorage at Swansboro, NC Tuesday morning. Tidal current was very manageable and no wind made it a comfortable stay.
View across the sound from our anchorage. We woke to fog and enjoyed a cup of coffee while waiting for it to blow off. Looks like a go - start the engine.
Oops - it's back. Looks like a second cup of coffee.
Just some sights along the way. Hope to make Wrightsville Beach, NC tonight. Another cold front coming thru today - on the backside NW winds gusting to 25. Hope the three swing bridges we need to navigate thru will cooperate with the winds. A half hour after we went through Onslow bridge it shut down due to mechanical failure, whew. We pulled into a small anchorage, mile 278.2, just after the third bridge, Figure Eight Bridge, at 1630 and knew we could not make the 1700 bridge at Wrightsville, so pulled in sharing the anchorage with a southbound sailboat.
As mentioned in the last post, we had a good crossing of Albemarle Sound and anchored in a beautiful anchorage called the "Pungo River Anchorage" at about mile 127. Next day up and out early hoping to make Oriental, NC at about mile 182. Due to shortened daylight hours and our snail pace we don't expect to make it much farther than that. Oriental was one of the areas we had researched as a possible place to get the bottom painted.
Early morning fog as we are leaving the anchorage.
Sights along the way - R.E. Mayo Seafood dock. At mile 157 on the canal-like Hobucken Cut.
And now you know where this story is heading. Broulee in the well at Sailcraft Service, a boat yard, up Whitaker Creek, Oriental, NC. The captain couldn't take it anymore (vibration from prop, slower speed per RPM)- a decision was made to haul out and check the prop, scrape it and put the boat back in and move on, planning to haul out again somewhere in Florida and paint the bottom. That was plan A. After further discussions we decided to haul out, scrape prop, and have the bottom repainted. Rates are much cheaper here and the weather is predicted to be in the 70's for the next few days. And Active Captain reviews has Sailcraft with 5 stars and glowing reports, so, good ratings, lower pricing, 4 days above average temperatures, boat needs some work, sounds like it was meant to be.
Early haul out on Tuesday morning - if all goes well we will be back in the water Friday morning.
A yes, here's the culprit. This picture is taken after they had already scraped off some of the crusty critters - the prop and rudder were covered with them. The captain has some work to do. The bottom of the boat looked pretty good, just a little bit of scum - the paint job actually still looked pretty good. Last done at River Forest, Moorehaven, FL in fall of 2011. Lesson here is 14 months at Atlantic Yacht Basin, while they call it fresh water, more likely brackish, is too long. Now don't take this wrong. We liked Atlantic Yacht Basin and may return, but not so long in brackish waters.
Oh the boat yards, such a major part of the boat life. So this will be our home on stilts for the next few days - should be fun getting Izzy on and off. One of the reasons we decided to have the bottom re-painted here was they had a stair of sorts that might make it easier for Izzy to get up and down which allows us to stay on the boat versus having to live in a motel.
Whaddya think? Can she do it?
Of course she can - with a little help from a friend.
getting down, not so good. Rick is getting his daily workout carrying her down the steps. She puts her faith in his care just draping her front legs over Rick's arm and patiently waiting for the last step.
All fresh and shinny - ready for it's paint job.
As long as we are here for a few days we rented a car for a day and drove up to Atlantic Yacht Basin to move our vehicle further south (a three hour drive) plus it's nice to have a vehicle here.
Took this picture for our grandson Cooper. A few days before we left Minnesota he was asking us how does cotton grow. Well here you go - just happened to pass a field of cotton.
Wednesday turned out to be a rain day - it was supposed to quit by 10:00 A.M. - it didn't. We are now a day behind - looks like a Saturday splash.
Today, Thursday, started out not so good - "they" claimed that the fog would clear by 9:00 - and it did! Back to work for everyone.
While the yard was getting a second coat of paint on the bottom, Rick got to the buffing of the hull - some days it is better to not have a bigger boat.
Fresh paint on the rudder and prop. As mentioned earlier, River Forest had done the bottom paint in 2011. They sanded the rudder to bare metal and apparently put a primer on it and the prop and then bottom anti-foul paint on both. Rick did not like the painted prop, but it was done. On this haul out the rudder primer was failing as multiple areas were blistering and falling off. Made it very easy to scrape off the rest. In past haul outs Rick used Viny-Lux on the rudder, an Interlux etching primer, with good results, so did the same thing this time with anti-foul paint over that. And on the prop Rick has always used Cold Galvanizing Compound, an aerosol spray of zinc compound by Rust-Oleum. OK, don't laugh, it works and is only $7.00 per can at Home Depot. The crew put the second coat of bottom paint on today and tomorrow they will move the stands and paint those spots. So far we are really impressed with this place, a full service or DIY yard. Updates to follow.
We have not been boating on Broulee since September 2012 (after our trip to Maine). It was a little nerve wracking to finally pull the plug and pull away from the dock, but at 6:30 Saturday morning we finally did just that. You know, trying to remember how to operate all the systems that were second nature before, are now a seemingly "new" event. And then we're off and it feels like home again. Well, almost. We'll check-in on that later. The winds for the day were predicted to be 15 out of the northeast, with gusts to 20, but diminishing to 10 by afternoon. Our plan was to transit the Albemarle Sound if indeed the winds laid down a bit.
However, they did not.
Saturday morning several boats jockeying for position for the 7:00 opening of the Centerville Bridge just south of Great Bridge.
We soon realized (due to our slower than normal slow speed) that either the prop or the bottom of the boat must be covered with zebra mussels or some type of small crustation. When Rick pulled our "over-board" sacrificial zinc, the one hanging off the swim platform - it was encrusted with a million small clam shells that look a lot like zebra mussles. We are losing close to a mile an hour off our normal cruising speed. Now debating where to haul out and check things out. We planned on doing a bottom paint anyway but had hoped to make it to Florida somewhere. These trawlers are not that "fast" to start, but it's mildly embarrassing when even the sailboats are passing us.
Anyway we stopped at around 2:00 at an anchorage just before the sound and tucked in close to shore. The winds did not calm down till around 4:00, much too late for a crossing. This allowed us to spend some time re-introducing Izzy to her potty/poop tray. It didn't take long - we are now all happy campers.
Sunday morning heading for Albemarle Sound - much better conditions. Winds 5-10 out of the Northwest, seas 1 ft. Glad to report the crossing was uneventful and we are now safely anchored at the Pungo River anchorage (with 4 sailboats), about mile #127.
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving - we sure did. Looks like a go for tomorrow (Saturday) to start our trek south to warmer temps. Awoke this morning to ice on the river and we know we need to get out of here so we don't get stuck here all winter, like last year. Next few days are predicted to be in the 50's so this may be our next chance.
I took this photo around 9:00 am Friday morning and a few boats passing thru had already broken up most of the ice.
We are still seeing about 10 to 15 boats heading south everyday, so hopefully we are not the last ones out.
Just some interesting traffic heading south. We saw him last year heading north - MV Sea Quest a Romsdal, what a beauty.
Some people have other ideas of how to spend their Black Friday - maybe he did his shopping on Brown Thursday - I'm thinking not. We stayed clear of all the shopping areas except Walgreens for some batteries. We have fueled 550 gallons @ $3.45 for diesel. We bought groceries and wine - $600.00. Some parts and pieces needed $300.00. We think we are ready to go - it is what it is. Again, it may happen and it may not - it is boating.
Actually we already had our family Thanksgiving - November 2nd. Debs parents were leaving for their winter home in Arizona and we were getting ready to leave for Broulee. Amazing how much you have to pay for a turkey prior to the Thanksgiving sales. Turkey behind us, we will have a crock pot pork roast with potatoes, carrots, celery and gravy. Our plans are to leave in the next few days - it is cold and blowing and nice to be connected to power (heat).
Happy Birthday to our granddaughter Georgia - Happy #13, Love Pops and Nana!
After getting our annual "Smith Family Pheasant Hunt" accomplished we packed up the car and headed for Broulee.
Four hours of hunting in the rain proved to be a challenge, but we managed to get our six birds and everyone, but mostly Izzy, enjoyed the day. She is not taking her eyes off of those birds.
Because we hunt at a game farm, we are allowed to hunt hens. These six birds made for a very tasty meal of Pheasant roll-ups (breast meat, stuffed with stuffing and wrapped in bacon), and Pheasant Pot Pie.
Izzy and Georgia checking out the birds.
Hard to believe we could wear out Izzy, but here she is the day after the shoot. Dog tired, but making sure she doesn't miss the next hunt. Rick had just finished re waxing his hunting chaps and I guess she figured if she slept on them she would know if we tried to go hunting without her. That is her orange vest on the right, pretty much tore to shreds and drying out by the fireplace.
Monday we packed Jabby, Leggie and Izzy's favorite treat (donut holes) in preparation for a Tuesday departure. Our kids are now in charge of the "Smith Compound" and we look forward to wintering somewhere warm. We are now back at AYB, getting organized, trying to remember how everything operates and getting provisions.
Also trying to figure out where all this stuff will go.
Anyway good to be back on the water. Will be here through Thanksgiving and then start heading south. On a side note - the Great Bridge Lock is broken, again. This time it will be needing a serious fix. Right now they are only locking boats thru on low tide so boats arrive at AYB in herds.
Sunrise on Great Bridge. Friday temps reached 72, today as I post this our high will be 32 - Time to get moving!!
Breaking news from the Smith Compound:
Introducing our new Granddog - Riley. Oh, My Gosh - adorable!!