Elizabeth City

We left Albemarle Plantation early this morning after we topped off with diesel and pumped out at the fuel dock on our way out. The winds this morning are predicted to be 9 – 11 knots from the north, however after we got out of the protection of the harbor area and out into the Albemarle Sound the winds were 17 20 knots from the north east. Right on our nose, so no sailing and much stronger than anticipated so once again we shoulder into the wind and waves of the Albemarle Sound. Otherwise it was a fairly uneventful passage and we were much more protected once we turned north up the Elizabeth River toward Elizabeth City

Elizabeth City has free docks in town which make this a great stop. However, sometimes you get what you pay for and the dock are really just a extremely short section of dock about 3 feet long and piling that you have to tie your boat to. We are not a fan of these extremely short finger piers which makes it hard to get on and off the boat. Instead, we were told of another free dock in town at the Christian University, so we opted to head there. This is just on the other side/north side of the draw bridge, so the added bonus is we won’t have to wait for a bridge opening in the morning when we want to leave. Here we are on the nicer free dock.

It’s just a little bit longer walk to town from here but really only about 2 – 3 additional blocks. Once we got docked and all settled we headed over to the city docks where our friends Dee Dee and Jon on War Eagle pulled up. Once we got over there, we realized we had several friends there. We found Ron and Sandy on Rockin’ Chair who we last saw in Carolina Beach. We also found the boat Alvin James. We remembered this boat from our time in Manitowoc, WI. Could this be the same Alvin James from Manitowoc? We knocked and ask the owners where they were from and sure enough, they are from Manitowoc, James and Jill. We also unexpected ran into 2 additional boat here Gin Bo and Alexos. Now this is really funny because we haven’t seen these 2 boats since last September on the Hudson River! After they spent the winter down in the Caribbean, they are headed back north. What are the chances of running into them again! After greetings and reunions, we gathered a few of us to head over to the local brewery.

After a beer or two and chatting with a large group of coast guard recruits sitting next to us, we headed to the local burrito place – Big Boss Burrito. Today is Cinco de Mayo so we must celebrate in the Mexican tradition.

This place was hopping for Cinco de Mayo and they had the street blocked off with a live band playing, so it was pretty awesome. Best steak quesadilla I have every had!

We had a blast in Elizabeth City with some amazing friends, but tomorrow it’s time to move on!

After surviving our crossing of the Albemarle Sound, we finally made our way into the Albemarle Plantation Marina. We had been concerned about the depth of the approach into the marina so we had called ahead to ask about the depths, approach and our slip assignment. They assured us that we would have plenty of depth and to keep the red bouy on our right as we come into the marina. No problem, we can do that.

As we came into the marina area, Mark was watching our depth gauge and saw 2 – 3 feet under our keel, it’s all good. We have the red bouy far off to our right. All of a sudden the boat stopped hard and quickly. So quickly that I was thrown forward and had the companionway been open, I might have fallen down the companionway. We are aground within about 20 feet from the marina and the slip we had to get to. I called the marina staff on the VHF and they offer some advice for trying to get free of our situation as they prepare to get into a boat to come out and tow us off. We tried several times to back up to get off, go forward with the wheel hard to one side and then the other. We were not moving. Finally we tried to hoist the jib, our forward sail. Having the boat lean over, even if just a bit, was the trick to get us free of our predicament. Once we finally landed at the end of B dock and tied up we were chatting with the marina staff. They commented, “What were you doing way over there?” We don’t know why we were “way over there”. We were keeping the red bouy on our right. Then they commented, “Why is the red bouy way over there?” Again, not sure we know the answer to the question. The marina staff went out in a small boat to inspect the red bouy. It appears that the chain broke on the red bouy that anchors it to the bottom of the sea floor. The red bouy was not in the place that it should have been, completely unknown to us. Well, we survived our first grounding and lived to tell the tale.

After our tiresome and eventful day of getting to Albemarle Plantation, we think that a happy hour is in order and all the sailing friends old and new agreed to join us. I don’t think we could fit any more friends aboard Painkiller. From left to right, we have Ellen, June, Pat, Mark, Steve, Steve, Joe, Vicki and Jack. I am taking the picture. Of course the couples did not sit next to one another, so it’s Joe and Ellen from La Vida, Steve and June from Sabbatical, Steve and Pat from Calypso and Jack and Vicki from Sojourn. After happy hour we all headed to the clubhouse for dinner together.

The next morning we got a golf cart and toured around the property that is the Albemarle Plantation. It’s really a gated community with golf course, pool, club house, restaurants, etc and the marina. The property is quite large so it’s great to have a golf cart to get around. Best of all you can park your golf cart right next to your boat on the dock.

Here are some more pics of the grounds along our little tour.

They even have fresh herbs for all the boaters to take.

The tent is all set up for the pig roast for tonight.

We all had a blast at the pig roast! I thought I took more photos of the pig roast but I guess I was too busy having fun.

After the pig roast we all ended up back aboard Painkiller, but this time everyone brought their instruments. We had 3 ukulele’s, 2 guitars and a trumpet. We had a great jam session butchering a few songs as we all sang along. So much fun!

The next day was a day of cleaning the boat both inside and out. While I was vacuuming the stairs, Mark came inside and I stopped what I was doing for a minute when we both noticed that the cabin was filled with a considerable amount of smoke!! Where did all this smoke come from? We quickly determined that it also smelled like a burnt electrical smell and it was coming from the area of the electrical panel of the boat. We immediately turned everything off and disconnected the shore power and Mark opened up the electrical panel to find this burned up wire behind our panel. That’s not good!

I walked to the marina office to see if they had some information about boat electricians in the area that we can call to come take a look at this and fix this. After a bit of calling, discussion and changing plans to accommodate getting this fixed, we have determined that the electrician can’t come until Tuesday to fix this and today is Saturday. So, I guess we are hanging out here until Tuesday.

We filled our time here with boat chores, laundry, cleaning, blog posts, walking, exploring, dinner and some small sewing projects. All our friends left on Monday morning to head to Norfolk to get there for the America’s Great Loop Cruisers Association Rendezvous. It was really quiet around here after all the boaters left after the pig roast. However, we were eating dinner one night at the club house/restaurant and we met Jon and Dee Dee aboard War Eagle. They, of course, are headed the same direction as we are. They are gold loopers meaning that they have already completed all 5,250 miles of the great loop in the last year and they loved it so much they are going around a second time. After dinner we invited them aboard Painkiller, however a sudden downpouring of rain interrupted our plans as they didn’t want to walk from their boat to ours in the down pour.

The marine electrician came on Tuesday as planned and was able to determine that everything seemed to be ok, just a burned up wire, likely due to the wire being loose and then the current being overloaded. Note to self, don’t turn on the water heater, and the battery charger and then vacuum at the same time. Too much for the 30 amp breaker. We are glad he was able to replace the wire and determine that we shouldn’t have any more issues. We are all set to leave Albemarle Plantation on Thursday morning.

We left Belhaven to head out to the Alligator River. This is a completely new section of the Intercoastal Waterway that we have never travelled before since last fall Painkiller travelled these waters without us aboard. That is when we had a captain take her from Norfolk down to New Bern, NC while we were dealing with medical issues.

There is a really skinny canal portion on our travels today, it’s called the Pungo River/Alligator River Canal. It’s only about a boat length or so wide so it reminds us of the Erie Canal. However this is really rural with no real towns along the way. So tonight we will anchor in a wider spot just after we exit the canal and before we get in the Alligator River proper.

The red line starting at the bottom of the map below is where we anchored for the night at the base of the alligator river. It was a bit windy overnight, but the winds were out of the north and we were a bit protected just to the west of the base of the river.

The sunset was gorgeous however as we snuggled in for the night!

The next morning we left our anchorage to make our way to the Albemarle Plantation Marina. The red line on the map above marks our path that we will travel today.

The Alligator River and the Albemarle Sound are both rather notorious bodies of water that can be quite uncomfortable in windy conditions due to the relatively shallow water. This area behind the outer banks of North Carolina is also affected by land heating and sea breezes that tend to generate instant thunderstorms.

As you can see from the map above, the Alligator River is positioned north/south and today we had the wind out of the north. As we pulled up anchor and came around the relatively protected area at the base of the river, we felt the full force of the north wind at 15 – 22 knots at the bow of the boat as we tried to make our way north. Because the wind was so strong and the water relatively shallow in this area this was generating waves that were 6 to 7 feet in height with about a 1 second wave period.

So let me tell you a few things about waves to put this into perspective. The wave period is the time it takes for 2 successive wave crests (that’s the top of the wave) to past a specific point. The wave period is often referred to in seconds e.g. one wave every 6 seconds. As I mentioned, the wave period with these waves was about 1 second. Waves very close together makes for very chopped and uncomfortable conditions. Now the other concept at play here is fetch. Fetch is the uninterrupted distance over which the wind blows. The greater the fetch the greater the wave heights. Because the wind was out of the north, there was wide open unobstructed water for miles across the Albemarle Sound and the entire length of the Alligator River for the waves to build. This resulted in wave heights of 6 to 7 feet at the base of the river.

As we tried to make our way motoring north, we would be hit by a wave that felt like the boat just hit a concrete wall and our boat speed would go from 5 knots down to about 1.5 knots. Because the waves were so close together we barely felt like we could get any speed up before we were hit with the next wave. We were not make way to the north very quickly at all. The boat was slamming into the waves and water was washing over the dodger and the bimini.

We had 3 or 4 boats, including us that we know are in the area. Most were anchored near us last night and we all left the anchorage this morning to head up the river. We have no cell service in the area at all so we can’t even check weather apps on our phones to get wind or waves updates. A boat named Silly Goose is ahead of us on the river. We hailed them on the VHF to see if we could get an update from them on the conditions ahead. We are hoping the waves will decrease the further north we head as the fetch will lessen the further north we go. There is a swing bridge that crosses the Alligator River on the northern end that we need to have open and pass through. The bridge will not open in adverse conditions such as sustained winds over 25 knots. When we talk to Silly Goose, he is concerned that we might get north only to find that the bridge may not open. We are all too far from the bridge to communicate with them via VHF and there is no cell coverage to call the bridge. After some discussion about the conditions, Silly Goose has decided to turn around and head back to the anchorage. Mark and I discussed, “Should we turn back?” There is another boat named 3rd Dimension that is behind us.

Ultimately Mark and I decided to keep going, it seems like the further north we head that the wave action is settling down bit by bit. However, it also seems like the further north we head that the winds are getting stronger. We still don’t know if the bridge will open. We keep plodding along wiping down the dodger glass with a cloth so we can see where we are going ahead of us through the window. 3rd Dimension has decided to hang in with us and keep heading north. We got to within sight of the bridge and now the winds were as high as 24 to 25 knots. We were finally able to call the bridge on the VHF to see if he would open. YES! He will open. Thank you! Given the waves conditions and the narrow area have to get through to pass through the bridge, I gave the helm to Mark as I was too nervous to take us through. Mark did fabulous! Once we were able to clear the bridge and make our way out into the Albemarle Sound and turn the boat a bit to the west, we were able to hoist our stay sail. With the wind no longer right on the nose of the boat and having the stay sail up, it helped to calm the motion of the boat a bit and helped to make the boat cut through the waves more than slamming into them. Still not a comfortable ride but certainly better than what we have had.

Today was exhausting and as you can image I didn’t take really any photos as we were just busy worrying about us and the boat. We were grateful to be on the final approach to the Albemarle Plantation Marina and put this day behind us.

Belhaven – Storms

We were up early the next morning in Oriental and left the dock around 7 am. We have about 45 miles to go today to arrive in Belhaven. Coming out of Oriental there is big water in the Neuse River and the Pamlico Sound along our route today, so that means SAILING!!! We haven’t had our sails up in quite sometime as we travelled the skinny parts of the Intercoastal Waterway (ICW). So, we are excited to be able to hoist the sails and let Painkiller stretch her sailing legs.

Mark’s pretty happy about sailing!

We arrived in Belhaven in the mid-afternoon and I made an immediate beeline for the laundry facilities. We needed to get some laundry done for several days now and did not have access to laundry facilities at our last few stops. Best of all Belhaven Marina has FREE laundry! That is music to these sailing ears!

There are several boats here that we have met and travelled in a pack with over the last several days. There are also people such as Bruce and Maggie aboard their Ranger Tug that we haven’t seen since we met them in Charleston and finally have crossed paths again here in Belhaven. There are several boats in the area that we know are headed to Albemarle Sound like us for the pig roast. There are also several boats that are in a pack headed north to Norfolk for the American’s Great Loop Cruisers Association Rendezvous that is occurring the first week in May.

Because there are several boats here in Belhaven, we had a cruiser’s happy hour on the deck of the marina and chatted with everyone and got to meet some new people as well. We all exchanged boat cards and we added all the ones we gathered to our growing library of boat cards.

After happy hour, we walked into town with Bruce and Maggie and found a restaurant called Fish Hooks. Belhaven is a pretty small town with a small town feel, so just a local place to grab a bite. As we were sitting in the restaurant we could see the storm clouds were building outside the window and it was getting darker by the minute. We have about a 1/2 mile to walk to get back to the boat, so we quickly paid our bills and got out of there and walked swiftly back to the boats to see if we could get there before the storm. I did take a moment to snap a few photos however.

We made it back to the boat just as the wind was picking up and a few raindrops had started…PHEW! The marina staff at Belhaven Marina are top notch, they came out to all the boats to ensure everyone was tied up well and had enough fenders, etc to ride out the storm. They helped several boats put on an additional line or two and were busy putting away the lawn chairs and anything else that could get launched in a wind storm. Based on the sky, this looked like it was going to be a doozy!

We did get quite a bit of wind and rain from the storm but it actually moved through rather quickly and most of us were either in the cockpits of our boats watching the storm under the bimini or came out as the storm was ending.

We were so glad we made it back from the restaurant timely! The rest of the evening was a peaceful one and the excitement of the evening was over. Tomorrow we head further north.

We left Swansboro after an evening of strong winds. We were happy that the winds had calmed down by morning as we made our departure from Swansboro to head to Oriental today. The Intercoastal Waterway (ICW) is still narrow as we make our way from Swansboro towards Beaufort. This time through this area we decided not to stop in Beaufort and keep on going right to Oriental. In total the trip today is about 50 miles, so about 10 hours today, if we maintain about 5 knots. However, there are some strong currents through the Moorehead/Beaufort area and the tide is in our favor today and pushing along at a much faster rate than 5 knots so we were able to get into Oriental at about 2:30 pm.

As we approached the Beaufort area, there was another Island Packet that passed us going in the opposite direction, of course we waved hello! Just as we passed each other we heard someone hailing us on the VHF. It was the owner of the Island Packet 40 calling us on the radio. We chatted with him for about 15 – 20 minutes and exchanged contact information and stories about where we were headed, where he was headed, etc. He is headed to Florida to have some work completed on his boat down there. Nice chatting and “meeting” people along our journey.

As we came through the Beaufort area, I took this photo. I thought it was a great photo showing the contrast of a small fishing boat against the large tanker. We see boats of all shapes and sizes.

As we pulled into Oriental, our friend Ed met us on his dinghy and guided us into the harbor. He followed us to our slip at the Oriental Marina and Inn and helped us tie up. It is so good to see Ed. You might recall we met Ed and Evelyn last summer on the Erie Canal and then they stored our boat for us for 4 months behind their house in New Bern, NC when we had to fly home unexpectedly. Ed brought his boat up from New Bern to spend sometime with us in Oriental. Once we got settled, Ed went a retrieved his boat that he left in the outer anchorage and moved to the free dock closer to us. We called Evelyn who drove the car up and joined us.

The Oriental Marina and Inn is a great property that has an awesome grassy area just in front of the slips that overlooks the water with the town near by. It’s a great place to sit in the lounge chairs on the grass and have a beer and chat with our friends and other sailors.

Here’s the view from our boat.

Enjoying a cocktail on the grass.

The 4 of us had dinner at the restaurant right at the marina and inn and had a great evening catching up and creating new memories.

Sadly, we are only in Oriental for one night and we have to move on tomorrow. We are trying to get to Albemarle Sound Plantation for the pig roast.

We were up bright and early this morning to head from Carolina Beach to Swansboro. It’s about 60 miles so that will take us the majority of the day. Keep in mind we go about 5 miles per hour so that’s about a 12 hour day today. We were up at sunrise. Yes, that photo is the sunrise, not a sunset. We left Carolina Beach at about 6 am. There was a heavy dew this morning but no fog thankfully. Part of our morning routine includes wiping off the plastic/glass of our dodger which is the canvas on the front part of the cockpit. This is our equivalent of our windshield and we don’t have windshield wipers, so if we want to see where we are going we have to wipe it down. Seeing where we are going is pretty important!

My favorite time of the morning is right after we get going and Mark goes below to make coffee while I take the helm. He will come up about 10 mins later with a nice hot cup of coffee for me (makes me smile!) and I enjoy my time at the helm steering the boat as the morning evolves enjoying my nice hot cup of coffee. There is nothing more peaceful!

We are trying to put on some miles now because we have a goal to get to Albermarle Plantation Marina by April 29th for a pig roast that is being put on by the marina for cruising who stop by. We have a few friends we have met along the way that are headed there as well. We have a bit over 200 miles to go to get to Albermarle Plantation in the next 4 – 5 days, so have to get a move on if we want to get to the pig roast.

I previously talked about the inlets that come from the ocean into the Intercoastal Waterway in a perpendicular fashion. This photo does a good job of demonstrating the current effects of incoming water from an inlet and the switching of the tide due to the inlet. I drew in the direction of the current with the red arrow. This is currently a flood tide; the tide is coming inland from the ocean. As we were traveling up from Pleasure Island to where the arrows converge at Carolina Beach inlet we suddenly had a strong cross current coming from the right that was coming in from the Carolina Beach inlet with a strong current behind us as well.

Here is a great photo that captures what that looks like on the water. You can see the calm water on the top part of the photo with a very distinct line and then the water gets more turbulent. This photo was take from the stern of our boat as we pasted through this area. The distinct line and the turbulent water is the strong cross current effecting us as it came in from the Carolina Beach inlet.

We saw this pretty boat along the way today.

We arrived in Swansboro at Casper’s Marina and pulled up to the fuel dock to top off our tank after a long day of motoring. The wind and current were strong in the afternoon in Swansboro as it typically is so we made the decision to stay on their fuel dock overnight since we would be leaving first thing in the morning. Tomorrow we are off to one of our favorite places – Oriental, NC.

This is our second time stopping in Carolina Beach. We stopped here on our way south to Charleston, however we were pretty tired that day and we were only staying for one night, so we didn’t go ashore to check out the town. So, we opted to stop here again and take the dinghy down so that we could go into town and check out what is here.

We took our time this morning leaving Southport to head to Carolina Beach. We only have about 15 miles to go to get to Carolina Beach and we wanted to wait for the tide to turn from an ebb tide to a flood tide as we are leaving Southport. The majority of our trip today takes us up the Cape Fear River for about 10 miles before we have to turn off the river into Snow’s Cut to get to Carolina Beach. Having a flood tide will cause us to have the tide with us as we head up the Cape Fear River and make our travels that much easier and quicker to not have to buck the current. So, we didn’t leave until about 10 am. Lots of nice scenery along the way.

We got to Carolina Beach at about 12:30 pm and grabbed a mooring ball just off the shore. We had made reservations to be on a mooring here for 2 days. We decided to get the dinghy ready and head into town. Now the our dinghy on our boat is like the equivalent of your car at home. We use our dinghy to get from the boat to shore when we are at anchor/mooring and use our dinghy to get from place to place at times even in a marina. It takes a bit more work to get the “car” ready than it does for you at home, where you just grab the keys and open the garage door. We have to unsecure the straps that hold our dinghy in place while we are sailing. Grab the lines that are attached to the pulleys that lower our dinghy into the water. Don’t forget to put the plug in the dinghy otherwise water will start to fill the dinghy! Once the dinghy is in the water then we need to lower the outboard motor which has it’s own separate pulley lift system. One of us lowers the dinghy and the other is in the dinghy below ready to catch it and secure it to the transom of the dinghy. Then we have to attach the hose from the gasoline tank to the motor before we can pull, pull, pull to get the motor started. Then we can gather our items that we are taking to shore such as the handheld VHF, camera, money, etc before we take off. We also have to do a little research on our maps or exploring to find where there might be a dinghy dock that we can land at and leave our dinghy while we go off exploring. Here’s the dinghy dock at Carolina Beach.

Carolina Beach is like the Coney Island of North Carolina. It’s a bit of forgotten in time with older carnival rides and the vibe of it having once perhaps been a popular beach vacation area that has lost it’s luster. We wander around town and made our way toward the beachfront and ate at a restaurant called Hurricane Alley. It was a nice place the overlooked the beach. Here are some photos from around Carolina Beach.

When we got back to the boat from our excursion, our boat neighbors came by in their dinghy and introduced themselves. They are on a sailboat called Rock N’ Chair. Their names are Ron and Sandy. We invited them aboard and we spent a couple of hours chatting about where each of us has been and where we are going. Ron and Sandy are doing America’s Great Loop, so we gave them lots of good information about points north that included the Delaware River, the Hudson River and the Erie Canal. We had a great time swapping stories and experiences. We love meeting people along our journey! Here’s a pic of Ron and Sandy’s boat next to ours.

The next day we spent the day aboard the boat doing some minor repair jobs and general boat jobs. Mark has been working hard to troubleshoot the XM radio that doesn’t seem to want to work consistently and we put more varnish on the toe rail of the boat. Tomorrow we are leaving Carolina Beach, headed for Swansboro.

Southport, NC

It’s about a 42 mile journey from Grand Dunes Marina in Myrtle Beach area to Southport which is on the banks of the Cape Fear River. The overnight temps have been in the upper 40’s so it’s still a little cool when we leave the marina in the morning but quickly warms up during the day with the sun. Today we have 9 fixed bridges and 2 swing bridges to go through. Both the swing bridges open on demand, so it should be a fairly easy day today.

As we approached the Southport marina we had a bit of a flood tide that would push us sideways as we turned to enter the marina and as we approached the slip. Once we entered the marina area off the ICW the effect of the current was much less and we were able to get into our slip without any issues. Once we got settled another boat was heading into the marina and it was a Mainship 390 with green canvas and at first glance we thought it might be our friends aboard Calypso. As the boat neared we determined it was a different boat and was not Calypso. However, we met the people aboard and helped them tie up as they approached. They are people who are on vacation and local to the area and traveling on their boat for about a week or so. However, they are looking to do the Great Loop so we chatted about the route and shared information and some laughs.

Mark and I explored Southport since this is the first time we have been here. On our way south we didn’t stop in Southport so this is all new for us. There are some cool historic homes in town and we always love looking and admiring the local architecture.

We decided to get a bite to eat and walked over to a restaurant called The Frying Pan. This restaurant is located on the waters edge overlooking the Cape Fear River. The views from their dining room was spectacular!

When we left Southport to keep heading north, we were able to snap a photo of The Frying Pan from the water.

We are spending a couple of days in Southport since we have some boat chores to take care of. One was laundry and we quickly got that task out of the way. We were also in need of some additional provisions, so a trip to the grocery store was in order. Earlier in our walking tour of town, we noticed the Southport Market which appeared to be a small boutique kind of market/grocery store. However, it was closed when we walked by yesterday evening. So I had it in mind to walk through and do some shopping. Once I entered the door it became clear rather quickly that it wasn’t a grocery store but a variety/touristy store. So back the boat I went empty handed in the grocery department. I got online to search for grocery stores near me and found that there was really nothing within walking distance and I needed to get an Uber to take me to the nearest grocery store. Generally Mark and I go to the store together however this time I made the trip alone since Mark was busy doing some boat projects. He was working on getting a few coats of varnish on our toe rail before all the varnish was gone and it would really need to be redone.

Here are some photos from around the marina as we walked around later after our jobs were done.

Tomorrow morning we are headed to Carolina Beach.

We left Georgetown about 7:15 am today and it was 45 degrees this morning. We are headed to Grand Dunes Marina in Myrtle Beach. It’s about 40 miles today. We tried to make reservations at Osprey Marina and they were full, we called a few others and they were also full so this was our 3 or 4 choice and ordinarily we might not have stayed here simply because the price here is a bit more expensive than most. We have caught up with the great loop crowd of boats and I guess I need to think about reservations about a week out now instead of just a day or two. So I already made reservations for Southport for the next several days after Grand Dunes.

Today we have 6 fixed bridges, which we don’t worry too much about since we just motor right under these with just a quick verification of the water level and the actual height of the bridge. Most are 65 feet and we need about 58 feet to clear so these are straight forward. We also have one swing bridge today. We have to radio to the bridge operator to have the swing bridge opened for us.

Here we are going through:

Grand Dunes is a very upscale area in Myrtle Beach. There are many expensive and lovely looking homes along the ICW in this area.

The marina was very nice and we were along long face dock with one other sailboat. There was some space between us and the other sailboat behind us. Just after we got settled we saw another sailboat entering the harbor and it appeared the dock hands were standing at the ready to have this boat squeeze in between us and the boat behind us. We kept looking at the length of the boat approaching and the length of the open spot on the dock. It looks like it is going to be a tight fit. The sailboat was called Rhapsody in Blue and we heard him on the VHF today in our travels. He pulled in rather well and then the stern of his boat got a bit too close to the boat on the dock behind us. His wife had to push away from the boat behind us and as she did, she reached for the only thing that she could get her hands on which was the boats anchor. As she pushed away the back of the anchor lifted out of the anchor locker and when she let go, it slammed back down and made, I am sure, I loud bang. The owner of the other boat was aboard and down below when he heard the noise and popped his head out to see what was going on. I assured him his boat was fine, it was just his anchor that moved up and down. So all was good and Rhapsody in Blue made in the space with just a foot on either end of his boat.

Along the way to Grand Dunes marina we had a boat pass us and as soon as the boat was along side of us, we were like, ooohhh….what kind of boat is that? We have been thinking about someday when perhaps we might no longer own a sailboat and what we might want to do in the future. We have had thoughts of eventually buying a trawler and taking up the canal systems to Lake Champlain and through the Trent Severn canals into Canada and the trip is not well suited to a sailboat with a mast. The boat that passed us was a Mariner Orient 40. We have never seen one of these boats before. As it turns out they also pulled into the Grand Dunes Marina and we were able to chat with them about their boat. The hull was made in Taiwan and the finished and fitted in the Chesapeake area.

There is a great little restaurant at the marina that we checked out for dinner called the Anchor Cafe at the end of the pier.

We are here for just one night and then we are moving on to Southport tomorrow.

Heading North

We decided that Charleston was as far south as we will go this season and we are headed back north to spend the summer (hurricane season) in the Chesapeake Bay. We left Charleston about 7 am and are headed north back to Georgetown. 58 miles today. Now that it’s not so cold in the morning and evening we are better able to leave earlier and run later in the day and put some more miles on. Not that we are in any hurry. We left Charleston on the Saturday before Easter Sunday and we were able to get one night in Georgetown but we could not get reservations at any marina anywhere close to us for Easter Sunday. We thought we might anchor out in Georgetown however there is some weather coming in for the next day or so as well and we aren’t really excited about being on anchor in high winds. So once we made it into Georgetown to stay Saturday night, we noticed all this dock space at the dry stack marina next door and knowing that it’s Easter weekend, we asked if we could dock there on Sunday night and then Monday night we would move right back to the first marina. They agreed so we moved over there for Sunday evening.

We had a friendly cat come visiting our boat again in Georgetown. She came walking down the dock and climbed right aboard and wanted some love and attention.

The next day the cat came back just as we were leaving the dock to go back to the first marina to spend Monday night. Literally just as we were back away from the dock, the cat jumped aboard the boat and there was a small moment of panic as I scrambled to grab the cat and throw her back on the dock before we got too far away from the dock. She was like “Take me with you!” We were able to get her back on the dock but just barely.

I won’t go into detail about Georgetown again since I just told you all about it in a previous post. We just hung out on the boat in the rain for about half our time here and I made some yummy Shrimp and Corn Chowder.

The looper boats heading north from Georgia and Florida are starting to catch up with us. This is an annual/season migration just like the birds. We are learning that we need to start making marina reservations at least a week in advance right now rather than a day or two in advance. So one day was spend calling ahead to the places we know we want to stop. The weather is starting to become a little bit more predictable so I think it’s getting easier to decide how long we will stay at any given place.