Sounds of the Carolinas
11/10/2013 - 11/17/2013
|From north to south: Manteo Island (1), Pungo River near Belhaven (1), Morehead City (2), Wrightsville Beach (3), Little River (4), Charleston (7)|
|Sailing into the dawn, from Elizabeth City into Albermarle Sound|
Fred liked the, uh, symmetry of this photo:
|Dorothy's bike on bike path toward aquarium|
|You don't often get to see the underside of a ray!|
|Guitar fish in the ray petting tank|
|Sand tiger shark, largest shark in the shark tank|
On the boat we are trying to be conservative in acquisitions and expenditures, but the aquarium had the greatest gift shop! But we have to learn how to cook some of our favorite seafoods and better understand beaches, right??
|Souvenirs of the North Carolina Aquarium|
|Sunset in Manteo, just inside the Outer Banks|
We headed back out to Albermarle Sound, and then into the Alligator River, soon reaching the Alligator River Swing Bridge. Those of you who know Dorothy may know that she does not care for Walmart because of the obscene wealth accumulated while underpaying employees, as well as the price undercutting that puts neighborhood stores out of business. She could not help taking some small pleasure in holding up a Walmart truck while the swing bridge opened for us.
|Slowing the unrelenting march of Walmart by 10 minutes|
|Alligator River swing bridge|
|Spinnaker run down the Alligator River|
|Dorothy stuffs the spinnaker|
As the spinnaker was stuffed, the Alligator River - Pungo River Canal came into view, and in we went ... we were down to the wire to make it to the Pungo River, where we planned to anchor, before dark.
|Entrance to the Alligator River - Pungo River Canal|
|Alligator River - Pungo River Canal|
|Sunset anchorage at the headwaters of the mighty(?) Pungo River, near Belhaven|
|Sunrise at the Pungo River with morning mist, as we get going early|
|Parallel tell tails on our jib let us know the sail set is just right|
|Another cruiser headed southbound across Pamlico Sound. They passed us, but they were power-sailing!|
|A barge in the Neuse River (pronounced 'noose' river down heah...)|
|Giant ship crane in Morehead City, NC|
|Wind speed after docking in Morehead City|
Being in a slip meant we would have shore power, which in turn meant we could run our little space heater. The temperatures had dropped sharply ... we had sleet overnight. The next day was freezing cold and very windy -- we were happy to be snugged in. Dinner at Mythos Waterfront Grill, right on the waterfront ... highly recommended!
|Our slip at the Morehead City Docks|
Fred had an interesting pedestrian experience:
|The main drag in Morehead City - - notice the freight train coming down the middle of the street...|
|Freight train stopped for about 30 minutes in the middle of the street - -making left turns a bit of a wait...|
|And leaving this pedestrian wanting to cross with the prospect of hopping over the|
train cars - - and really hoping the train doesn't start up just then...it didn't...
Thursday, Nov 14 -- From Morehead City to Wrightsville Beach, NC
The wind was uncooperative ... 5 knots ... we'd try to sail, then have to motor, then try again ... oh well. About 10:30, Fred gave a shout -- he saw a dolphin leap completely out of the water! It was one of a LARGE pod of dolphins, some of which came and swam at our bow -- "bowriding" is a common dolphin behavior -- so exciting! They come to the surface and tip to the side -- they appear to be looking up, trying to see what's up there. You can see the edge of our anchor in the photos below, showing how close to the boat they were. These dolphins were very speckled -- they appear to be Atlantic Spotted Dolphins, which are also known for their acrobatics.
|Atlantic spotted dolphins "bowriding"|
|See the tiny one? A baby!|
That was the big excitement for the day ... other than that it was very quiet! A great time for a nap!
Around 3:30, not only was there still not enough wind to sail, but the ocean became a glassy sea, so smooth it was almost eery:
|Masonboro Inlet jetty|
|Sunset in Masonboro Inlet|
Friday, Nov 15 -- Wrightsville Beach to Little River, SC
The plan today was a mix of ICW and coastal sailing. The Frying Pan Shoal between Wrightsville Beach and Cape Fear sticks out so far that we didn't want to go all the way around it. Instead, we could cut behind it by taking the ICW down to Cape Fear, then going out. We encountered some amazing currents as we traversed this stretch during ebb tide. We passed a number of inlets, and each time, since the waters were flowing out the inlet to sea, the current was in our favor as we approached the inlet, then against us after we passed the inlet. Finally, once we were on the Cape Fear River, which flows out the Cape Fear Inlet, the current was like Hell Gate in NYC. See below our "speed over water," or speed relative to the water, of 5.7 knots:
|Speed relative to the water = 5.7 knots|
At the same time, our VHF showed a SOG (speed over ground) of 9.1 knots, a "push" due to the tidal current of 3.4 knots!! In fact, we got as high as 10.1 knots!!!
We had a generally nice sail down to Little River ... a broad reach in about 15 knots out of the ENE, jib only. By around 3:00 the waves had gotten big enough that the jib was not sustainable, so we rolled it up and motored the rest of the way.
Below is a good look at one of the many fishing boats we've seen, with long arms extending out each side, off of which their nets hang:
|Typical fishing boat|
Here was an amusing buoy ... probably a weather buoy:
The waves breaking in the Little River Inlet, with the waves a'rockin', were enough to make your hair stand on end (haha!):
|Little River Inlet, waves breaking on the jetty|
Overnight in Calabash Creek, near the town of Little River.
We decided we'd do another overnight passage, our first and only so far this fall being from Sandy Hook to Cape May, NJ. We gassed up at Cricket Cove Marina in Little River, but no pump-out available, to our dismay, and headed out around mid-day -- we did not want to head out too early, lest we arrive in Charleston before daylight. It was a BEAUTIFUL day! We had been so cold for so long, it was a huge treat!!
Not only was it warm, we got to see some sand! We have actually been swimming not at all (Fred) or once (Dorothy), and we have been on one beach so far (Cape May). We are very eager for warmth -- warm air, warm water, warm sand!!! In any case ... we sailed past the sand below!
|Little River Inlet -- sand!!|
As we got well outside the 3-mile line and our holding tanks were nearly full, we decided to try macerating. No luck -- nothing came out of either head's macerator! They had worked before ... what could it be?? Another boat project!
Looking at the log for this overnight, it reads like so: sails out, can't carry sails, engine on, sails out, engine off, slatting, engine on, furled jib, motoring, motoring, motoring, motoring. Sigh. Sometimes passages are more idyllic than others! It was a beautiful sunset, though!
Beautiful moonrise, too!
To cap off a night of sleep-deprived motoring, as we were preparing to head into Charleston in the morning, the main sail jammed (would not roll out of the mast), and we drove around in circles pulling it in, out, down, slatting, and everything else, until we got it unjammed, but we did get it cleared!
We entered Charleston on the Ashley River side, and anchored, but as we swung around, we were too close to another boat. Since the depth in the anchorage was 30' (requiring a lot of chain), the anchorage was crowded, heavy winds were coming the next day, no slips were available, AND there was no pump-out to be had in the area, we decided to go over to the Cooper River side where we could get a pump-out and a reservation for the next night when the winds were to be heavy. There, we got a pump-out at Charleston Maritime Center, and ended up staying there that night, too.
Charleston ... well, that will be the subject of the next blog entry!
BTW we passed the 1000 nautical mile mark on the passage from Morehead City to Wrightsville Beach!!! Remember, this is at a speed of around 6 mph!!!