I am going to try and keep up writing the blog while we are in the states and post more frequently. We left our dock this morning in a dreary nasty mist. By the time we got to Moorhead City, NC it had stopped. Since we did not get a chance to fuel up at home at Northwest Creek Marina, we decided to stop in Swansboro, NC to fuel up and stay the night. We walked the town and ate at a deli. We decided to save our planned meal for tomorrow night. Swansboro is a cute little town accessible from Casper's Marina by walking.
We were up this morning before dawn as were our neighboring boats. Today the sun is coming up and it is clear and cold. It was about 40 degrees. We are thankful for no rain. We made it to the Onslow Beach Bridge (Camp Lejeune) by 8:00 am. The bridge computer had trouble opening the bridge, but finally at 8:06 it opened. We were one of 5 boats passing through. This bridge opens on the half hour which is convenient. The next bridge was the Surf City Island Bridge and it opens on the hour. So we had to wait for this opening as we were early. We counted 13 boats, but there may have been more. Of course the power boaters want to all be first. We found our place in line and passed through working our way south towards the next bridge. After this bridge, I lost count as to the number of boats going through the bridges with us. I know we went through the Figure Eight Island Bridge next and then the Wrightsville Beach Bridge. The Wrightsville Beach Bridge was chaotic to say the least. Southbound after the bridge are many clubs and marinas to dock at. The channel is narrow and all of these boats want to turn around to dock at the various marinas. They should use their heads and go south until all the boats have come through the bridge then turn around and go to the marinas. I am sure the bridge tenders get pretty frustrated with them as to the car drivers wanting to transit the bridge. The other boats coming through have to stop and wait while these boats turn around. Wrightsville Beach Bridge is the last low bridge we had to passage through today. This is the worst stretch along the ICW for bridges. We hit ground in a section right after the Wrightsville beach. Mark thought he was in the middle of the channel, but it is hard to tell when all there is marking the channel is a green can and a dock full of boats. We should have been closer to the docks and we may not have hit. The boat behind us favored the docks and was fine. That was scary. After this episode, we made it about 5 miles and stopped at Carolina Beach State Park for the night. Great place to stay.
We slept in this morning (7:30). We both needed it after being up before dawn the two previous days. We filled the water tank, which wasn't much, but since it was free, we took advantage of it. We met another boater, Jeff Janecek, who we had listened to on the VHF radio that had suggested the park. He was from Minnesota. He and his son are taking their boat from Lake Champlain to Florida. His wife, a pediatrician, was back in Minnesota working. After chatting with him, we readied the boat for moving on. It was low tide and we pushed mud all the way out of the park. We didn't know it was that shallow and had not read anywhere that it was. We know for next time. Today we made it to Bucksport, SC on the Wacca Wache River. This is where the beach meets the wildlife refuge. Very serene. We traveled about 67 miles today, which is quite a distance.
This morning we were up and away from the dock at daybreak. We stopped in Georgetown and refueled and then were on our way again. Right out of Georgetown we saw our first eagle sitting on a channel marker. They are beautiful creatures. Then not too much further down the ICW we were kept company by some dolphins. They are so fun to watch. We stopped in Dewee's Creek tonight and anchored. We set the anchor once, but Mark didn't like where we ended up so we decided to reset it in the dark. The current was really swift and the tide big. The mix made for a lively night.
This morning we had to wait for the tide to change so we could make it through some low water areas to the Ben Sawyer Bridge which also had to be transited during the rising tide. We were one of six boats to go through the bridge. We had to circle to wait on the bridge opening as they only open on the hour. We all went through at the 11:00 am opening. We crossed Charleston Bay to the ICW on the other side to the Wapoo Creek Bridge and made it through at the 12:00 opening. We made great time today even though we started later than usual as the currents were with us. We were warned by some southbound friends, Bev and Arne, that we could only get through the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut at high tide or high water. We knew we could not make the cut today so we got close to it and anchored at Raccoon Island. We had a dolphin swim next to us for quite some time today. There are so many rivers and creeks through here but they all meet up with the Atlantic. So the dolphins are swimming in the rivers. It's amazing. The anchorage at Raccoon Island was great. It had very little current. Today was another 60 mile day.
We were up at 6:00 am this morning to study the tides charts. High tide was late this afternoon and we didn't want to wait that long. So we decided to make a run for the Ashepoo-Coosaw Cut on the ebb tide. As we approached the cut another boat was just turning in so we went through together. Another boat joined us at the halfway point having just left their anchorage at the halfway point. We only saw low water in one area, but not low enough to make a difference. We made it to Beaufort, NC by 10:00 am only to run aground in the inlet to the marina. We called the marina to make sure it was deep enough to get in the marina. They told us we needed to take the turn wider and run up closer to the bridge. We were pretty close already. Mark finally got the boat backed out of the mud and we proceeded on to the marina. Mark did a wonderful job backing into the slip. The slip was right next to friends, Bev and Arne on Scandia. We are here waiting out 30+ knot winds. The marina sponsored a happy hour last night for all of the boaters here waiting out the weather. We had a great time meeting all of the boaters. Some of the states the boaters hail from are Rhode Island, North Carolina, Hawaii (even though they sailed from Massachusetts). The couple, from Hawaii, has 4 daughters ages 3-10. We had passed their 32 foot boat several times and thought he was traveling by himself. Were we wrong!! They are having a great time and we all can't until we get to warmer weather. Hopefully by the weekend.
We did a few errands and took care of some business today. Otherwise we hung on the boat because of the cold weather. We will pull out early in the morning so we can get through the bridge here in Beaufort before they close it from 7am-9am for rush hour traffic. We are having dinner at the Fillin' Station on the recommendation of the marina staff. They offer a hamburger, a hot dog, potato salad, and baked beans plate for $4.00. How can you pass that up? It was great!