Saturday, June 6, 2020

Free Dock by Great Bridge - at a facedock

Woods to explore - right off the ICW!
We didn't feel like pressing for Hampton so we stopped at the free dock just south of Great Bridge. It was far enough for us today and there was only one other boat at the dock. Later on, two more came in but there was still room for several more. The docks are very sturdy and they are by a wooded area with hiking trails. There is a 24 hour limit on docking and there's no electric or water but otherwise, it's fine.

A nice bottle of wine in appreciation
As has been the custom, several people stopped by to say hello and to meet Bob423. One bought a bottle of wine, the third such person on our trip north. It's all very much appreciated, we do like wine. We have no taste for hard liquor but a fine bottle of wine is always nice.

The docks are sturdy - 24-hour limit
There is a park here with many hiking trails and I took Hoolie along on several this afternoon. We plan on reaching Hampton Sunday night to stage for a trip up the Chesapeake on Monday morning. We are reaching the end of our journey north but I still have a lot of work to do to get Fleetwing ready for a summer layover, Tuesday will be a major workday before haulout on Wednesday morning.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Coinjock - at a facedock, really packed in

Coinjock knows how to pack them in!
The morning was to be relatively mild in wind but it was due to kick up in the afternoon so we got an early start. Sure enough, even though the winds were 8 to 12 going across the Albemarle, it started to increase to 15 to 20 as we entered the ICW off the Albemarle. If anyone was going south today in the afternoon, they were in for a wild ride.

Every other table was not to be used, they were still full
Coinjock texted us along the way to double-check that we intended to dock there. It turns out that they were full and had to turn boats away. We were fine since we made our reservation several days ago. We tied up with the usual Coinjock efficiency in saving space (no gaps between boats on the facedock).

Our treat for the night, a Coinjock prime rib dinner
We treated ourselves to a Coinjock prime rib for dinner, the 16 oz size apiece for each of us. It's really too much but we make it last by having roast beef sandwiches the next day. I always order it rare since it usually turns out medium-rare after it gets from the grill to the table. The restaurant itself had every other table roped off, their form of social distancing but the bar was elbow to elbow, oh well.

A nice bottle of wine from
George and Rachel Lipscomb
In a crowded marina like Coinjock, we tend to get lots of visitors that drop by to say thanks for all the ICW information, some even bring a bottle of wine. The biggest regret is that we can't socialize due to the social distancing we are still practicing. We haven't been in a supermarket since January, just mostly on Fleetwing except to walk Hoolie.

We plan on stopping at the free dock just north of Great Bridge for the night and move on to Hampton the next day.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

Alligator River Marina - at a dock

The familiar lighthouse is still there. That's us on the left.
We had some high winds of 15 to 20 kts but they were all behind us so the going was easy. We have the same forecast for Friday so we're hoping for the best. The roughest part of the ride into Alligator River Marina is always the last part paralleling the bridge. The wind is always either out of the north or south, never across the width of the river, so the waves hit you broadside. That direction induces a lot of side to side rolling, at least on Fleetwing. We always wait until we get across the entrance before putting out fenders, it's too rough otherwise.

It's just a gas station with docks but they are located at a very convenient place on the ICW
The marina changed hands last year but there's been no perceptible change in the marina. It's the same docks, the same dockhands and the same restaurant. One thing they do have is great ice cream cones but we skipped that treat due to the virus social distancing, maybe next year. We used to always get a Christmas card from Wanda, the previous owner but no more. The new owners did not continue the tradition.

The docks are fixed but sturdy. Be carefully when coming in.
Our Friday destination is Coinjock and a prime rib dinner! Tonight we had the last of the lump crabmeat from Dowry Creek marina - outstanding! If you're ever in the neighborhood,  be sure and drop by to buy some, it's very worthwhile.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Dowry Creek Marina - We have Jacques Pepin's crab cakes

Tonight's entertainment
One of the unusual items in the quick market they have on-site is lump crabmeat from a local market. We were offered a 1 lb package to try out and Ann had a recipe we've used in the past from Jacques Pepin's Fast Food My Way book which we loved.

It's the best recipe we've ever found and the crabmeat itself was fresh as could be from a local source.  We only used half of the 1 lb container, it was all meat, no fillers. I had the enjoyment of two crabmeat patties and it was wonderful. I understand the crabcakes will be featured at the restaurant they are building on-site and hopefully to be completed by the fall although that may now be in doubt due to the virus delays.

The docks here are fixed and look very sturdy - very new
We did our wash using the free laundry. They had three washers and three dryers and they looked pretty new. The laundry room was air-conditioned too, always a plus in southern climates. We are headed to Alligator River Marina on Thursday and then Coinjock. We now have formal reservations for a haul out on June 10th, a Wednesday- if the weather cooperates. We plan on driving home the same day.

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.