North Carolina heading north

Trip Start May 05, 2010
Trip End Oct 01, 2010

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Where I stayed
At anchor

Flag of United States  , Virginia
Saturday, May 15, 2010

With the fuel problem hopefully behind us, we no move directly north. The intrecoastal here is no longer a race to make timed bridges and avoid as shallow bottom. Now, it’s more interesting and perhaps less exciting. The sights are better and the waters wider.

Heading north from Beaufort takes us up the Adams creek. It’s a fairly narrow but not shallow creek susceptible to heavy currents. Chose the wrong time and you wont make over 5 knots. Chose a good time and life is good. We asses by looking at the tide prediction for Beaufort and see a flood. This will send water up Adams creek carrying us at the breakneck speed of 9kts if we are lucky.

The time we left appeared to position us well for a following current or ‘lift’. We hit the bridge at Beaufort for its first open at 0800 and we begin the trip north enjoying a run at over 8kts.
In about 2 hours we exit Adams creek into the open waters of Pamlico sound. From here a vessel can head east to the outer banks or continue to follow the ICW north. We have been out to Okracoke Island and it’s a good place to visit. But we continue our drive north under fair skies and pleasant temps.

We see only a few boats. Since the economy tanked, we see notably fewer migratory vessels. Most are either sail boats or substantial yachts. Smaller power vessels like First Forty are less evident than before. It’s likely due to fuel prices and all the folks who have had to become more frugal. I think about that too and we never know which season will be our last. We travel on a budget too, but since our vessel only uses 1.5 gal/hour of fuel, we can run a whole season at a reasonable price. So for now, we are good to go.

Running is easier now. Sue starts in the morning when I do other chores, look at stocks (now going down) or write this log. Then I take over at about 11 and run to mid afternoon before I get some relief. I prefer to find an anchorage by 4pm or so but often on this trip we run 11 hours. We have been making 70-85 statute miles a day. That’s hard running. Once we get father north, we will stay in a place for several days or a week. But for now, we drive on.

We anchor out two nights on this part of the trip. The only part we have to pay close attention is a very shoaly area north of the Alligator River bridge. We ran aground their last fall. But this time, we were prepared. We went outside the channel and passed over the shoal with plenty of water to spare. Other than that, its just putting in the hours and enjoying the ride. This area can however be a dicey, rough area when winds kick up. Small boats often don’t do well here, but First Forty is a robust, blue water boat and we have never had to stay in during our transits.

On Saturday May 15, we make our last run north. We didn’t know if we were going to make a stop at the marina at Coinjock. It’s one of the most popular on the east coast and we normally stop for the famous 36oz prime rib at the restaurant, but today we decide not to go in at 5pm and see if we can get a bit farther. So we run by and pass some of the bigger, big buck yachts heading north.

The only adrenalin rush came just past Coinjock when we hear about a tug/barge heading south and we were going to have to pass. This is a very narrow area and its very disconcerting when you are in a small boat looking at a 300’ barge full of steel coming at you. We hail the tug captain and discuss our strategy. In about a half hour we see him….”this is the worst place to pass on the ICW….”…great. So we coordinate and make a safe pass with about 50 feet between us. Very tight,, but we are safe.

By 7:30 we find a small place to anchor. It was not great. Sue and I both agree we should have had the prime rib 20 miles back. For you non-boaters, you just can’t anchor anywhere. You have to look for appropriate depth, assess swing room based on the amount of chain needed , make sure we are safely out of traffic and look for wind/wave protection. Sometimes, we anchor, look around and find it not workable. Then we move. This place took two tries to find and it was very shallow and not very protected. But we settle down. Tomorrow, Norfolk and milepost ‘zero” on the ICW. We will be back in the Chesapeake. This will be First Forty’s home waters.

Oh, for those of you who wondered, we have had no fuel issues at all. Problem solved.

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Alan B. on

Nice update. Glad to see you are traveling some more. Makes me envious, and anxious for retirement. Keep it up!

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