Monday, April 29, 2013

Good protection, nice fuel dock and the only stop near here since Surf City closed its marina

We awoke to the sound of a heavy rain on Fleetwing, this is not good we thought. We really didn't want to burn another layover day since we knew we would need them on the trip up the New Jersey coast. We used up a whole week last year waiting for weather for the outside trip. Looking at the radar, it appeared that we would get rain in the morning but that it would clear in a couple of hours. Based on that belief, we headed out in the light rain - boy, were we ever wrong!

Entering Cape Fear river, we had the tide with us for a combined speed of a little over 10 kts! If you don't hit it right, the river can flow out at speeds of up to 4 kts! However, we had planned ahead and timed out passage with the tide. The rain subsided somewhat as we made our way up the channel.

At least they have floating docks - narrow getting in though
In the river there's a narrow passage between the river and the ICW cut to the coast. It's only about 200 ft wide with shallows on either side. Well, that's where the heavens opened up! Thunder and lightening commenced and visibility was cut to 50 yrds or so. We couldn't even see the next mark. Luckily, the chartplotter still had our crumb trail from the fall stored and displayed on the chart so we just followed the path we had taken in the fall which we knew was good. Thank goodness for modern technology! The heavy rains and limited visibility continued for over an hour and now the windows in the cockpit were fogged in from all the humidity. Ann wiped the windows every few minutes and we finally resorted to unzipping the top window so I could see out - which let in a lot of cold air (low 70's, burrrr).

After forever, the rain finally stopped and I wiped everything down, opened up the cockpit and we could see. We were never in peril but it was disconcerting not being able to see along with the thunder and lightening even though we had the radar going and the chartplotter for navigation. I found about 2 inches of rainwater in the dinghy that I pumped out while waiting for the Wrightsville Bridge which only opens once an hour, talk about inconvenient! Now we're safely at a dock in Harbor Village Marina. another condo complex but it can't hold a candle to the one we just left, St James Plantation Marina. Still, any port in a storm...

We'll be anchoring out now for the next six days, reaching the Zeisings on Thursday as planned if the weather holds.