Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Skull Creek Marina – At a dock

The opening looks much bigger after passing thru
Starting out this morning the boat was buzzing with gnats again. They sound harmless, after all how could anything that small be a problem? Well, the problem is that they Bite (with a capital “B”)! We’re both covered with red welts, the remnants of “feeding time” at the zoo where we’re the main meal. We had to leave this morning so we were out casting off to go to the fuel dock for a pump out in the hoards. We opened everything up and let the winds blow and it took about four hours before we got rid of most of them.

Meanwhile the rains came as we followed the magenta line (the ICW recommended route as it appears on the chartplotter) which was lucky since the visibility was poor for seeing all the markers. We came to a bridge and asked for an opening and the operator said, “Keep on coming” (they always seem to say that, must be in the manual). As we got closer we could see the bridge starting to lift but then one side stopped and it swayed up and down. Humm, seems to be some sort of problem. Sure enough, the bridge operator came back on the VHF and said to stand off for now, he couldn’t raise the bridge – he was going to call for help.

Skull Creek Maina - No gnats!
So with the gnats, the rain, the thunderstorm – we were not happy campers as we marked time in front of a non-operating bridge (these things are usually not solved in an hour – where to anchor? Hours, days?). Looking back we noticed a tugboat coming with a barge and he got he same message. So I went to circle back behind the barge who then called the bridge operator again and said he could make it through with only one side of the bridge open. With that we volunteered to follow the barge. Now the bridge was not only open on one side, the side that was up was not straight up as is usual. The up side leaned over into the narrow channel I had to pass through. It didn’t bother the barge, he wasn’t that tall – but with a 55 ft mast, we were concerned. So Ann stood on the bow to get a better perspective as I idled towards the bridge aiming to miss the down span but get close enough to the center to miss the slanted up side. Slowly we went through, whew!

The rest of the trip was uneventful and we made it to Skull Creek Marina around 3:00pm. It was a joy to sit out in the cockpit and not be a feast for the gnats! In fact, we didn’t see any gnats at this marina – so far. Wednesday we plan on anchoring out and then arrive in Charleston Thursday afternoon for two days.


Anonymous said...

Keep your eye open for our next door neighbor.....Ron and Susan McDaniel on a PDQ power cat.....TK IIor III. They may have left Jacksonville on Sunday and should be running concurrent with you up the ICW. They hope to be back home in the next 2 weeks.....Gnats???...We starting to get Fuzzy Bills!!!...LIz