Myrtle Beach, SC to Elizabeth City, NC
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MAY 1 Day 311
WE ARE NOW IN NORTH CAROLINA!!!!
We also finally reached over the 5,000 mile mark for our trip!
We left Myrtle Beach at 8:00 an hour earlier than Jim had planned. The
tide was coming in and we poke along with a good push from the current.
We timed the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge perfectly and only had to wait
15 minutes for it to open. In Holden Beach we hailed looper, "Little
David", Lorenzo and Lois, a couple who just completed the loop and who
met along the way. Lorenzo was aboard and came out to the bow to wave
to us. We had a quick chit chat as we slowly passed, and then at the end
of the dock was "Pearl", a little looper boat from New Zealand who we
met in Daytona as they stopped in for fuel.
The wind has picked up significantly during the afternoon which is hard for us to tell while in the
pilothouse, but it became very apparent when I went out on the deck to get the fenders ready for
docking at Southport Marina. Jim hopped up to the bridge for visibility into the basin when he found out
we would be going into a finger slip. It was VERY tricky maneuvering as he tried to back in at first and
the wind took us. After one more try and one more slip down the basin, he turned around and we headed
into the slip bow first. Even with our strong bow and stern thrusters, it was difficult with the wind and
current going in the same direction. Charlie watched us and learned from us, so he got in his slip in one
shot. Safely tied up, Robert Creech from "C-Life" who lives here and has his boat in front of his house,
loaned us his truck to drive to Walmart. MY DIGITAL CAMERA QUIT TODAY! I needed to buy a new
one as soon as possible. They didn't have too many in stock, so we finally decided on an Olympus...simple
and easy is good for me. We returned the truck to "C-Life's" dock and had a wonderful visit with Kay
and Robert. He gave us valuable information on the next week of traveling north.
Later on, Muriel, Bud, and Shelly from "Sunshine" who just finished the loop and have their boat up the
way on the ICW drove down for a visit. We, along with Highlander, ate at a local restaurant across the
street and had some great laughs and sharing of our trip. It was so good to see them again and were so
happy they came to see us before we headed way north.
The wind is still blowing hard and the boat is moving around and slightly rocking, but in a way that makes
a person feel like the floor is moving. In Charleston the boat rocked heavily, but in a different way
which didn't bother me as much as this. This rocking is every so minute, but it feels like you are slowly
dropping, moving to the left, then right. We had a similar type "rock" in the Georgian Bay at Henry's
Restaurant, and the next morning Jim and I were ready to get out of there before we got sick!
I have no pictures today because of camera. Jim is reading the directions and charging the battery, so
hopefully tomorrow I can get back to posting pictures!
MAY 2 Day 312
The wind blew all last night, and by morning it was topping 25+MPH. To go or not to go was the question,
and finally Jim said it's a go. People on the dock held our lines, and we managed to make 2, 90 degree
turns and push out into the channel against the wind and current. Highlander made it out just after us.
The Cape Fear River was "humming", but we had waited until the tide started to come in, and the wind
was from the southwest. We had beam rollers for about 10 minutes, then a following sea of 2-3 footers
all the way to the beginning of the ICW. Once we entered Snow's Cut, it flattened out and the rest
ofthe ride was smooth. We arrived at Wrightsville Beach, Dockside Marina, total mileage today 25
miles, around 1:30, and they tied us up on the inside of a long dock. The opening was VERY tricky with
a tiny tiny basin as we had to make a fast 90 degree turn. Luckily, they caught our lines and we
fishtailed in, with Highlander tying up behind us. I guess if we got in, we can get out, but it's pretty
tight in here.
I did get to take pictures today, but still have to learn how to view them. I also need to download the
software for the camera into the computer, so pictures will follow.
|Here is a picture of the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge, compliments of Robert and Kay
Creech from "C-Life". This bridge at Mile 337.9 is the last remaining pontoon bridge on the
Atlantic ICW. It has zero vertical clearance, and has to open for every boat. It is now
being replaced by new high-level bridge and construction is in progress.
MAY 3 Day 313
We still have not had time to install the software for my new camera. I did take one picture today, so
I will insert it when we finally get things working. There wasn't much to take today. The ICW is mainly
water, low trees, a few houses and docks, so there isn't much to really see.
Today was "bridge", "current", and "wake" day. We started out by leaving the marina and having to wait
about 10 minutes for the bridge in Wrightsville. We didn't know it opened on demand before 7:00 AM,
and only thought it was on the hour, so we left the dock in time for the 8:00 opening. By the time we
got out there, 7 more boats lined up behind us. There was the absolute worst current we had
experienced. Jim tried to turn the boat in the other direction since we were slowly being pulled toward
the bridge. The channel was narrow, but the current against us when he tried to turn the bow into it.
He really had to use the engine and thrusters to finally get turned around. The bridge finally opened at
8:00, and we were on our way.
Quite a few boats went zooming by, creating wakes, but bearable. Finally I peaked out the back window
and saw this fast boat zipping ahead of the boats behind us. Highlander rolled where his rub rail looked
like it was touching the water. The other large boats also rolled seriously. The boat kept coming fast
and he was about 10 feet from our port side. Jim got on the radio and yelled for him to slow up. He did,
then came on the radio that he creates more of a wake than when he's on plane. That wasn't true
because he rocked the boats big time behind us. Jim called him and said he needs to be aware of his
wake and how it affects people's boats. He yelled back that if we didn't like wakes, we shouldn't be on
the water. Jim then said that he IS responsible for his wake, and he finally came back with..."Nah,
Nah, Nah, if you don't like wakes, get off the water", and he drove on. The two men on the boat must
have been in their late 50's at least, and they had two ladies in the back with straw hats, and fancied
all up for their day on the water. At least on channel 16 EVERYONE heard him and what he said,
including the Coast Guard. Most of the people we meet on the ICW called in as we do to do a slow pass.
This is the first person we have met who is a danger to others on the water.
Well, we all survived that incident, then we had to contend with the Surf City Swing Bridge. This is
another bridge that only opened on the hour. Jim timed our trip very slowly so we would get there just in
time, which we did. We now had 7 boats in back of us with the same idea. Then a sailboat called in and
asked if they bridge could wait another 5 minutes for him to catch up. Normally that's not a problem,
but we had 25 MPH winds behind us AND a nasty current that was pushing everyone around. Not a fun
time at all, but we finally got through that one.
We arrived at Casper's Marina in Swansboro which is about 25 miles from Morehead City/Beaufort, NC.
By the looks of the chart, we thought it was in a protected area, but NO WAY! It's just off the ICW
but in a large open area and boats coming flying around the turn leaving LARGE wakes on top of the 2-3
footers we had coming in at us from the 25++ MPH winds. Being at a fixed dock and tied tight, we are
not rocking too much, but I'll be sleeping in the salon because the wave slap is way too loud for sleeping,
and the bow is popping up and down.
Jeannette, Charlie, and I walked to the grocery store which we were told was .6 miles. It was more
like a mile, maybe a tad longer. Charlie had his cart, but they bought more than they thought, and I
had 4 bags. We called the marina for a ride, but they must have all left. A woman overhead us, and
being a boater herself, offered us a ride back. How nice!!!
The wind is supposed to continue blowing all week, and there's a small craft advisory out for tomorrow,
but we are leaving anyway. We only have a small part that is more open toward Morehead City. We plan
to stay at a marina there rather than the busy city of Beaufort at the town docks because of the
current in there, plus the winds form the south do not protect the docks as much. T-storms as also in
the forecast all week, but hopefully we will go the 25 miles tomorrow early in the morning. We don't
know how long we will wait at Morehead City for the Pamlico Sound and Neuse River, but will certainly
wait for a calm day, not a day with the winds we have been having.