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 has gone up to $40/night, it used to be $20 but then that's in the past. On the plus side, 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. 

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

St James Marina at Southport, NC - at a dock

The restaurant is closed due to the virus
We came through Shallotte and also Lockwoods Folly today without a problem. You needed the USACE survey charts on Aqua Map to find the safest path. It has started to turn cooler and with more rain. We will be sitting out Wednesday with the prediction of rain all day long. We don't mind a little light rain but a steady downpour is not to our liking.

Nice houses in the area - but look at the next photo!
The marina here is the one where we rode out Hurricane Matthew. The harbor area is surrounded by a 12 ft high mound from the harbor dredging and on top of that, they built three-story houses. Boats on the docks are very protected from the winds, it's a real hurricane hole. When we were here during Hurricane Matthew, the eye passed right over the top of us. We went outside during the passage of the eye, very eerie!

Nestled in among all the nice looking houses was this thing... Nice or not? 
It looks like we will be here on Wednesday riding out a day of rain. We're hoping that the next day will just be some light rain that we can travel in. There are no thunderstorms predicted, just some messy misting.

Monday, May 25, 2020

Grand Dunes Marina at Myrtle Beach, SC - at a dock

You had to watch out for downed trees on the Waccamaw River north of Georgetown
We had intended staying at Osprey Marina but they were full on Memorial Day. Our next choice was to stay a little farther north at Grand Dunes Marina. We had stayed here after Hurricane Matthew when the Socastee Swing bridge was closed due to high water.


The marina personnel were in full dress for the coronavirus - masks and gloves with a window for signing you in
It's an okay marina, nothing special but it has one redeeming factor - the closeness of a Publix supermarket. We had taken advantage of the two week free delivery offer last week and we took advantage of the same offer today. Publix has an app that you can download from the app store that's made just for ordering groceries for delivery. Ann and I sat around the table and picked out what we wanted delivered. We placed the order at 2:00 and by 2:45, we had the groceries in hand! They were delivered to the parking lot and with a cart, I took the load to Fleetwing. I could get used to this. No worries about renting a car or putting gas in for the trip or finding a parking space for the rental. The groceries were delivered in less time than it would have taken me to rent a car to shop. Once again, we are fully stocked - no more groceries needed for the rest of the trip north.

Not everyone took the No Wake signs seriously with "Make More Wake Please"
We will be in St James Plantation Marina on Tuesday and maybe stay an extra day due to the forecast for rain all day on Wednesday. The forecast will govern our plans for moving north the next day. I think we are entering a rainy period but we'll move whenever we can.

Sunday, May 24, 2020

Georgetown - at a dock

Lots of shrimp boats in Georgetown - unfortunately, all the fish markets are closed on a Sunday
We've been inundated with flies the last few days and today was no different. We are going north about a month later than usual and that time delay apparently makes a huge difference in fly power. We've taken to running with the enclosure all zipped up but with the screens open. It's hotter but better with fewer flies. They still get in but not as many. Now I know why I prefer April to May for transiting the ICW.

Harborwalk Marina has very nice docks, diesel was only $1.80/gallon!!
We're in Georgetown, SC for the night and you wouldn't know there's a pandemic about. No one is wearing a mask and the marina office has business as usual, no separate office window like in Titusville and points south and even when inside, there's no plexiglass between customers and the cashier for the dock. The use of a window office or plexiglass was the "de rigueur" up until we reached this far north. We stayed on the boat except to walk Hoolie and then were careful to keep the recommended 6 ft away from everyone else.

 We would have liked to stay in Osprey Marina but they are full so we're moving on to Grand Dunes a little farther along. As long as the weather holds, we'll keep moving every day.

Saturday, May 23, 2020

Awendaw Creek - at anchor

Hoolie's favorite part of the trip - going ashore
It was a very long day for us on Friday so we treated ourselves to a short day on Saturday. Since it was a weekend, the Wappoo Creek bridge was on demand. It's very restrictive during the week but fine on the weekends. On the other hand, the Ben Sawyer swing bridge is restrictive on weekends (only opens on the hour) but opens on demand during the week. So you can't win if you need to pass through both bridges.

BoatUS came by later and the captain got the boat off and immediately took off
Pulling into the anchorage, we saw a powerboat up on land. We don't know the story but the anchorage is excellent but the holding is not as good as most anchorages. You really must be sure the anchor is dug in. At high tide, I had to return to the ICW at a beach that is accessible at all tides, a long ride but straight forward.

There were two other sailboats in the anchorage, lots of room for more
On Sunday, we have reservations in Georgetown for the night and we hope to reach Beaufort, NC  by Thursday. The weather is nice and we want to make time northward whenever the conditions are right.