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 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.