Saturday, October 11, 2014

Carolina Beach State Park Marina - at a dock

Blockade! Where to go to avoid everybody??
There are good days and there are not so good days on the ICW. Today was one of the latter. It started out with a rush after getting up early for the long day at 6:30 and then discovering that we had 12 miles to go to make the first bridge which only opened on the top of the hour! If you miss that opening you have an hour wait. We finally got off at 7:15 and I rev'ed the engine up to 2500 rpm and made 8 kts in the water. Unfortunately (of course!!) the current was against us so we only made 7.4 over ground. We   barely made the opening time but then we had passed several  sailboats on the way to the bridge and they called ahead asking if the bridge tender would delay the opening for them. Well, he did and so he denied us the opportunity of making the next bridge which also opened only on top of the hour  which gave us an hour and 45 minute wait!!

So we did circles forever and finally the bridge opened with the boats that were originally  behind us now in front (they had motored past as we circled). So we finally made it through the bridge only to be greeted with a Coast Guard blockade due to a swimming event of circling the island held once per year (lucky us!)

It really is a nice marina - just not making any money at the rates they charge
So picture an area about the size of a football field with three sailboats, two powerboats, 20 small power boats, one dinghy sailboat, four paddleboards, five kayaks treading water while swimmers from who knows where slowly passing in front - for 1/2 hour!! Oh, and don't forget to throw in the 2 kts of current pushing us into the Coast Guard blockade, the very large powerboats at dock lining both sides of the narrow passage and the 10 to 15 kt winds blowing from left to right. So I spent most of the time in reverse, trying to avoid the 20 small powerboats (outboards) that never seemed to understand why I was intruding on their space (much horn honking...) One sailboat finally ran into a dock, another clipped a boat - all in the name of allowing swimmers to cross the ICW. Nevermind that the bridge operator could have opened the bridge before the top of the hour to let us through before the swimmers came through - oh no, regs are regs!!!

I forgot to mention that we had been trying to make the bridge opening but had run into an adverse current, which turned into a current from behind when we found ourselves in the football size area trying to kill time (of course!) Furthermore, once the blockade was lifted we expected to enjoy the pushing current to speed us on our way to Carolina Beach - No, no! As soon as we cleared the blockade, the current suddenly turned against us again to the tune of 2 kts! How can this be? The current was against us when we wanted to make good time to the bridge, was behind us when we wanted to tread water for the Coast Guard blockade and was once again against us when we wanted to make good time to Carolina Beach?? It seems against the laws of physics but it obeys the higher law of being just ornery.

End to a busy day
So we went through Snow's Cut on the way to the state marina with a 2 kt current against us and yet the tide was dropping (let's see, water flowing in but the level of the water dropping....)  You figure that one out. So we're now in the Carolina Beach State Park Marina which is beautiful facility. It was just renovated and so the state raised the rates (to pay for the renovation?) which drove away the customers to less expensive facilities which means it's now empty for us to enjoy. Apparently nobody in whatever department is responsible for the marina ever took a course in Economics 101. I would not  be surprised if their response, upon review of the financial results from 2014, would be to raise the rates once again to pay for the shortfall!

We'll be here one more day to get a favorable ebb tide and leave Monday morning for Barefoot Landing Marina for a three day stay. Time to relax. 


Unknown said...

The sunrise and the shot of Miss Kelly were just awesome! They are my favorites so far, two in one spot! Your blog is grand, my only way of traveling the ICW. We head south this Wednesday. Happy trails, oops that is a landlubbers phrase.