Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Dowry Creek - at a dock

The view from the swimming pool
The winds were light on the Neuse River. It can be a really nasty piece of water with high winds but today it was tame. We had intended staying at RE Mayo for the night but when we reached the docks there at 1:30, we figured we might as well go on to Dowry Creek Marina. We made a whirlwind stop for fuel, just like a pit stop in a race and took on 40 gallons - a lot for a sailboat.

And the pool is inviting too
The wind picked up as we headed north but the run across Pamlico Sound was short and not too bad. We were headed for Dowry Creek Marina which had changed hands since the last time we were there. There are many new docks now and they look very sturdy. Ann glided us in and we were secure within minutes.

Dowry Creek has added a 7/11 type store with supplies of milk, eggs, butter, ice cream and other stores. For refreshment, they offer beer and wine, it's quite a complete shop. They have three dryers and three washers and recently renovated the showers and restrooms, all air-conditioned. Throw in the heated swimming pool and a refilling station for propane tanks and you have a great stopover for boaters. Of course, they sell fuel and pump outs are available at every slip, not just at the fuel dock. I'll cover more of what they have to offer in tomorrow's blog.

We will probably stay another day before heading to the Alligator River Marina to rest up from today's long run. We"ll get north eventually.

Monday, June 1, 2020

Homer Smith Marina - Lift bridge is gone!

Home Smith has become very popular
The lift bridge is gone between Home Smith and Beaufort. In fact, it was gone last year but we still like the "backdoor" entrance to Homer Smith. We were hoping for shrimp but the shrimp boats had not gone out yet this week due to wind. I guess the shrimp nets don't work too well in windy conditions. They will probably go out Tuesday but we will be gone by them.

Matt and Tony are here to make sure your stay is enjoyed!
Today I had to wash off all the salt that accumulated on your trip through Bogue Sound with the occasional wave over the bow. I was also hoping to finally get the parts for the genset but alas, they were not here. In a call to Hinckley, I found that they had just arrived today there. I told them to hold the parts until I can find a place for shipment, it's been a long story on the genset.

The most beautiful sight for a sailboater - a lift bridge that's been removed! It used to be right here!
We will head down the Neuse River to RE Mayo on Tuesday and hopefully, find a dock there. I'm looking forward to some shrimp and fish, although it will be frozen but it's still very good. After that, it's onward to Dowry Creek the next day, we're moving steadily northward.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Home Smith Marina in Beaufort, NC - at a dock

Social distancing at G65A, north of New River. That sand bar is encroaching into the ICW channel!
We had a long way to travel today so we left at 6:45, early for us. It was a Sunday and everyone was out enjoying the warm weather. The great thing to do here on a weekend is to take the family out and find a sandbar for the day. At least in this area, there was no crowding, plenty of room.

G65A must to be in deep water! Only 7 MLLW through there (on this side of the buoy)
We hit all the shallow areas at dead low water but still got through provided you knew the path (New River, New River approach, Browns Inlet, and others). We overhead one captain advising another captain to use Bob423 tracks on the ICW. It's kind of strange to hear yourself talked about over VHF.

Beautiful docks, as always
Homer Smith Marina here is a great place. The docks are all new with long fingers, easy to get into. The dockhands are first rate and there's no current to contend with. I need to replace my 4D batteries here and I'm hoping to buy them locally for delivery on Monday. I'll call first thing Monday and see if they can do that. I was supposed to get the parts for my genset sent here but so far, they have not arrived. It looks like I'll be completing the trip north minus the use of a genset but hopefully, I can get the deep discharge batters replaced.

Doesn't everyone have this setup?
We will be here one more day and they head north again on Tuesday, stopping over at RE Mayo for some frozen seafood for supper.

Saturday, May 30, 2020

Harbour Village Marina - at a dock

The scourge of the Canadian geese reaches even this far south!
We had wanted to reach Harbor Village yesterday but it was full. Furthermore, all the marinas in the area were full too. I guess the summer boating season has officially begun. With that we had settled for a mooring at Carolina Beach which I reported on yesterday. Even the mooring field was full by 5:00 that evening and that was with a fee increase from $20 to $40/day!

The docks are very nice and well protected
We had a leisurely breakfast since we could not arrive before 3:00 or so in order to keep the fuel dock accessible for those wanting to refill their tanks. There are a number of shallow areas north of Snows Cut but if you paid attention to the USACE charts, you could negotiate them with depths to spare. However, if you just went straight through, you had better do that with a high tide. I my tracks for the day, I always followed the deepest path possible, even when I had plenty of tide. I figured we ought to have the most leeway we could in case shoaling continued, as we know it would.

After two short days, we have a long day Sunday with a trip all the way to Homer Smith in Beaufort, NC. It is a milestone of sorts since from there we start heading due north. l hope to be able to replace my three 4D batteries at Homer Smith and perhaps reassemble the genset provided Hinckley sent the genset parts as promised. I'll find out when I arrive on Sunday.

Friday, May 29, 2020

Carolina Beach - on a mooring

They have nine moorings, they were all in use by 4:00 pm
We had intended reaching Harbour Village but it was full so we settled for a mooring in Carolina Beach. Not much of a run but we did get the Cape Fear River behind us. We hit it at slack tide and less than 10 kts of wind so it was calm.

They must expect high water now and then
The trip through Snow's Cut involved a lot of quick turns to avoid the shallows, it was like a slalom course down a ski hill but we had plenty of water on the track. As we approached Carolina Beach, we made one last call to Harbour Village but to no avail, they were still full. With that, we took a mooring. There are nine moorings here and we had our pick at noon but by 4:00, they were all gone. The price remains at $20/night and the moorings have been improved with new pennants that store on top of the mooring in a well so they don't get all covered with sea gunk, nice and clean. There's a close-by dinghy dock for shore access and you pay by DOCKWA so there's no interaction with the dockmaster onshore which is good for social distancing.

Remember that the yellow icon takes precedent over the color or shape of the buoy.
This one was on the Cape Fear River where "red right returning" takes precedent over the ICW.
Saturday is supposed to be raining all day long but then that's been predicted every day this week, all completely wrong! Rather than listen to a forecast that has been consistently incorrect, we'll just look at the weather radar in the morning and make up our own forecast and then proceed.

Thursday, May 28, 2020

St James Marina - Waiting until Saturday morning

I think North Carolina is behind in boat traffic, not much here
It was actually a beautiful day today, we could have left northward but we stayed. Fleetwing will have a home for the summer at Deltaville and it seems that the marina has too many boats up on land for us to have a spot right away. Launching has been delayed by actions related to the virus but they think that will change by the first week in June. With that, we are aiming to arrive at Deltaville by June 10 or thereabouts. Leaving here on a Saturday would be to that schedule.

Not exactly and encouraging name (II no less...)
Meanwhile, Ann is catching up on her painting and I'm doing Waterway Guide updates with the info from my trip north of the last few weeks. We've no end of work to do. It's supposed to rain tomorrow and the next day but only a light rain. No matter, on anything less than a downpour, we're leaving Saturday morning to catch the incoming tide up Cape Fear River.

Also not encouraging...
We hope to overnight at Harbourtown and then on to Home Smith, we'll see. The forecasts have been notoriously unreliable so far.

Wednesday, May 27, 2020

St James Marina - at a dock

Every home is landscaped nicely
Tropical storm Bertha formed and is headed inland just south of us. Mainly, it's pushing a lot of rain into the area, us included. With all the raining weather and winds, we decided to sit out the weather here in St James. It's a very reasonable area with a dockage of only $1.25/ft with BoatUS membership. 

We liked the flower bed out front
Ann is doing her pastels during the day and I'm working on Waterway Guide posts. I also have a new issue of ICW Cruising Guide due out July 15 and I'm trying to get a head start on that too. The area here has beautiful homes. They are all custom designed with no two alike once you get into the single-family homes area of the complex. They are immaculately kept up and the whole community is gated with only one entrance and it has a guard. 

None of the houses show any side of wear - they all look fresh
We will continue to watch the weather but we will probably not leave until Saturday if the forecasts remain as they are today. We have to catch the tide when it goes up the Cape Fear River.