Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cruising the Inter Coastal Waterway III Coinjock to Beaufort NC

After a torrential rain and gusts in the high twenties crossing Abelmarle Sound, it cleared off and Voila!
Typical view in N. Carolina on the ICW, subtle but lovely
View through the dodger window - new chartplotter!
We left Coinjock at dawn. The day promised to be stormy and we had the dreaded Abelmarle Sound and the Alligator River to cross. Some boats stayed for another day but there was no assurance that the weather would be better. Our boat is heavy and has a large engine (135 hp) so we don't frighten easily. Actually the waves weren't bad at all although the visability at times was tough. It poured and the wind stayed in the 19 - 26 knot range. It was a huge relief when the it cleared off later. The Middle Passage so discussed on the internet chat groups was not problem as we'd been forewarned about the changes.
We share the ICW with a variety of boats!
The trawler ahead of us evidently didn't know but we called him on the VHF and received his thanks as he turned around. At the end of the day we turned into the well known anchorage at Tuckahoe Point. We've stayed here every trip up and down the ICW - this is our fifth time! It's a quiet spot a short ways from the channel in the middle of no where. Military jets in formation have always passed overhead at cocktail time in the past, but not today. As soon as we stopped moving the boat it became quite warm and comfortable in the cockpit. It was a spectacular sunset! The next morning we didn't have to rush off for a change. We had only 30 miles to go to Bel Haven. We usually stop here as well and anchor off the town. This is a good spot to do some provisioning. We found a small channel on the right side of the bridge for some work boats. It's possible to tie up the dinghy at the old dock and walk only a few blocks to the supermarket. This was the first time we used our dinghy this fall and the outboard conked out several times. Luckily we made it back to the boat with our groceries. People are so nice here by the way. Two cars stopped offering rides. If you come from the Marina in town, you'd be very grateful for the lift.
It's hard not to take a million photos of the sunsets! This is at anchor at Tuckahoe Point, NC
Next evening in Bel Haven
We hit a snag or submerged log at one point but bumped over. Often people will warn each other of these obstacles and so did we. The talk on the VHF is constant during the day and often very funny. I should have written down a lot more but here's three examples. One boat was throwing big wakes at all the other boats and causing a big commotion on the radio as he passed. One fellow said: "Wake makers knoweth not their fathers!" And another; "I already had my shower this morning thank you!"
Another one other; "Thank you for giving me a little of the channel." to a boat passing too close.
Some times these logs float in the channel!

A touch of fall color occasionally livens the greens
Sunset the next morning
Mostly it's very polite motor boats asking if you "Want a slow pass?" The response is either to throttle down and he will too, or say "Bring her on" and take the larger wake. We usually fall in the Bring Her On category but in a narrow spot will power down.
The next was a really long day - 68 miles - so we were off by7 AM. Scott was able to reach a mechanic to look at the outboard at Beaufort, NC the next morning so we resigned ourselves to an expensive stay at Beaufort Town Dock Marina for 2 nights.
Those are two bald headed eagles in upper right but too small

Dolphins love to play beside our boat!
The currents were one minute 2 knots is your favor and the other, all too often, the opposite. It was a rather gloomy day, cloudy with showers but still fairly warm. We saw pods of dolphins four times today! What fun to watch them play next to the boat. One stayed right beside me, peering up at me every time he surfaced.
We were tied up by 5 PM and hooked up to not only electricity but cable. Unfortunately the TV that we haven't used for ages only was able to receive broadcast stations. I can't believe that the same programs we watched in Trinidad and Panama are on here; House, Two and a Half Men, Grey's Anatomy and How I Met Your Mother (?) Of course the game shows too, and LOTS of commercials. They seem to go on for ever. We soon lost patience with that. Did manage to enjoy the Shrek and Charlie Brown Halloween specials though!
Our day off was a real treat! We've been moving every day since leaving Herrington Harbor. Scott got the outboard engine fixed and installed the new battery monitor. I did loads of laundry at the laundromat and we both used the courtesy car from the Marina to do three errands, all in the one alloted hour.
We had a long walk and ate at the Beaufort Grocery Restaurant twice - once for lunch and again late that evening for dessert. Love that place. This is such a pretty town. We have walked both directions up and down the river and also the streets of the historic district. There are so many lovely homes.
You get 2 free beers with your $2.00 a foot price and we still had our them from our last visit so we stopped in the bar and used them up. That's the only reason to visit that place. We had a chance to talk to Ed and Benia several times and they are only one day ahead of us now. We should catch up to them in Charleston. We're off tomorrow morning early towards Southport. To make two somewhat even days it's necessary to stop at another marina mid way. We'd hoped to go to the Beach House Marina, a favorite spot of ours and cheap, but it was full, so we made a reservation at the Harbor Village Marina.

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