The Beginning of the End
22.04.2004 - 29.04.2004
We are going to be in Masonboro early. I call and she says she will have someone out on the dock (which are floating docks with only cleats - no pilings), but she doesn't. We find where we are supposed to tie up and I stand on the deck and say HELP. The guy washing his big power boat (which is way up on one of those lifts) comes to get our lines. The wind slams the boat sideways into the dock, and we are here at 1020. The trip was 21.4 sm and took a little less than 3 hours.
In Masonboro Boatyard and Marina we had about 7 feet as it was approaching low tide in the slip (not at dead low). They have a courtesy van and also email capability in the boater's lounge which is on the 2nd floor. The bathrooms are really nice, but we are really still too tired to do much and for me that includes a shower.
We walked up to Trail's End for dinner. This is a very fancy restaurant with black waiters in uniform with cloth tablecloths and napkins. Fortunately it wasn't snooty or too expensive.
They have the marks where the water level came up to in the various hurricanes marked on the deck and door posts. They gave us a bumper sticker (which I have no place to put it on the boat) saying "I found my way to Trail's End."
They had an hors d'oeuvre table in addition to the salad bar (both included with each meal) and it included crackers and toast with cheese spread and shrimp spread to put on them, shrimp and pasta salad, fried clams, meatballs, asparagus vinaigrette, things on toothpicks, and little fancy round things with fluted cream dip on top. Also chopped eggs and various kinds of olives for the tossed salad.
I had chicken and Bob had steak for the main part of the dinner. They both came with a nice quarter slice of pineapple, green beans in a separate little skillet, and we both picked twice baked potato as our starch. I had a slice of caramel apple pie for dessert.
April 22, 2004
After leaving Masonboro, Bob motored slowly up to the bridge intending to make the 0900 Wrightsville Beach bridge opening. I was straightening things up in the aft cabin. All of a sudden I heard him use the S word and he says we were aground. We were in the channel opposite Shinn Creek (which is the outlet to Masonboro Inlet)
and the wind and tide (which is coming in the inlet) have pushed us onto a shoal that is IN the channel on the red side. [The red side is on the left/port side going north]
We try to get off ourselves, and even try to bounce off (reving the engine) when people go by making a wake, but each time the wind pushes us back aground again. Bob is afraid of sucking muck up the engine so we turned the engine off.
[When this happened to us before at the entrance to Queenstown (in the Chesapeake), Bob took the anchor out in our dingy and he winched us off with the anchor winch. But in that case, we could not get the tow boat to answer our radio call.]
I called TowBoatUS, and they were there within 5 minutes. He said lots of people had problems at this spot from 85 to 90. The tow boat operator put a line through the starboard bow hause hole [a reinforced cylindrical hole for cables or lines to pass through] and worked us off gradually.
When he pulled us into the channel it was about 0900, and we had missed the bridge opening. Bob started the engine again, and gave him back his line. Then he came around to the side and did the paperwork.
There was no charge because we were members, although Bob tipped him. Bob was upset because he felt that he was in the middle of the channel where he should have been. He said that it was too stressful to transit the Intercoastal anymore and that after we get home, we should restrict our boating to the Chesapeake.
We now had to wait an hour until the next opening of the Wrightsville Beach bridge. It only opens on the hour.
It was a long wait because we have to stay next to the bridge, but still avoid a lot of little boats that don't need the bridge opened, the big power boats going into the marinas right by the bridge,
and people coming out of the channel from Wrightsville Beach on the other side of the bridge.
We went through with power boats named CAPELLA and BACK T BACK and a red power boat named CHICKEN SHIP came through going south.
Later OLD SQUAW a small black lobster boat from Maine passed.
We also had some wait at the Figure 8 bridge which opens every half hour and is less than 5 miles away from Wrightsville Beach but we can't get there in a half an hour and had to wait until 1100 for an opening.
We kept hearing that the Onslow Beach Bridge was going to be closed until noon for live firing exercises on the Marine base. The waterway (which goes through the base) was apparently also closed. We aren't going to be there today however - that's tomorrow. Anyway the Onslow Beach bridge tender kept having to tell people that he was closed until noon. About 1030, a different voice came on and said that the exercises were over and the waterway was open but the bridge wouldn't open until 1130. Then we heard the bridge tender arguing with someone (we couldn't hear the other person) about whether he was going to open at 1130 or noon. Don't know the outcome.
This stretch has a lot of strange lawn ornaments including a giraffe
We got to Harbour Village after 4.25 hours and a trip of 21.1 sm. (sm stands for Statute Miles as opposed to the more common Nautical Miles used by boats. In the Intercoastal, mileage is marked in statute miles)
Fortunately, this was another short day. A small trawler came in later and said he touched down (draft only 3'3") several times in Lockwood's Folly. We were the only 2 transients. I don't know where everyone is. Of course it is early in the day yet.
Bob cleaned out the strainers and they were full of junk, including a crab which escaped into the bilges. I took the laptop over in the golf cart and did the internet, but I forgot the power cable for the computer.
Harbour Village Marina had only about 6 feet in the slip at low tide and the depth sounder (set at 7 feet) went off coming in the entrance channel. It's a bit buggy and has quite a few no-see-ums. They are building a house near the transient side (we were hoping it was bathrooms, but no luck). We ordered Chinese for dinner from the Panda.
After dinner, I took the golf cart over to get a shower. They have no place to sit in the restrooms, so it is difficult for me to get dressed after a shower. I finally had to go in and sit on the toilet in order to put on my pants. They have a combination on the laundry room now, although they say the laundry is closed after 7. Why I don't know because the combination will open the door even after 7. There is an internet connection (land line) there and in the boater's lounge, but the boater's lounge is closed and locked after the office closes. A Wilmington number works without it being long distance.
Tomorrow - the New River and Swansboro. Severe shoaling has been reported.
Will we make it through?
April 23, 2004
0713 - turned on the motor and motored slowly out of the slip
and up to the Surf City Bridge. Heard someone who was stuck where we had been stuck yesterday, except he had been going 10 knots. Ouch.
When we got to the Surf City Bridge, FIRST LADY was there waiting already, and a sailboat named ARTFUL DODGER from Annapolis was aground out of the channel next to the bridge. They waved, but did not seem to want any help.
Bob and I discussed what the TowBoat US guy said yesterday. Bob thought he said the problems were between ICW day marks 85 and 90. I hadn't heard that there were any problems between markers 85 to 90 which is up past Belhaven
I thought he meant between mile marker 285 and 290 which is behind us and was exactly where we ran aground.
After we went through the Surf City Bridge,
I heard one of the bridges say there was an emergency on the island and she wouldn't be opening (if an ambulance comes over the bridge, they don't want to delay the ambulance getting back to the mainland).
According to the tide tables it will be high tide about 1050. At 0955 around mm 255 (nearing high tide) saw 10 feet in the channel. They are doing live firing exercises off the Marine base again. This time it is Navy Warship 58 (yesterday it was Navy Warship 60). We hear him talking to a sailboat bound for Beaufort.
The tide boards on the fixed bridge over Bogue Sound are completely gone.
The tide boards tell you how deep the water is under the bridge and, more important, how much clearance (air draft) there will be for your mast. If the tide board for a draw bridge says 19 feet (like the Wrightsville Beach bridge) then if you boat is shorter that 19 feet, you don't need the bridge to open - you can just go under it. This is more important for the fixed bridges which don't open. All the bridges on the ICW should have an air draft of 65 feet. But some don't. There is one in Miami that is 56 feet. The joke is that the engineer was dyslexic.
We pass the pink house. I don't remember the large parrot on the south side (and I can't see it in my photos)
The tide at New River is 2.7 feet (out of 3 feet) according to the computer. High is supposed to be at 1100. There is reported to be shoaling to 3 feet in the vicinity of the inlet, so we will need all the tide we can get (we draw almost 6 feet). We appear to be making good enough time to get to the lower part of the inlet by 1040 or so.
1102 - we have 8 feet as we turn the corner. By the two floaters - 72B we have 7 feet and by 72A, we have 9 feet. [Floaters are buoys which can be moved - kind of like marine traffic cones] The tide charts say the tide is high and falling.
We had the current against us south of the river and with us north of the river which would make sense for the tide to be coming in. Also the tide does not appear to be high yet. [If you run aground on a rising tide, you may be able to get off as the tide rises. If it is a falling tide, you will have to wait - there are two high tides and two low tides a day in this area]
No dramatic pictures this time, as we did not run aground.
I always wondered about the name Snead's Ferry. So I looked it up.
Who Was Snead, and Where Was His Ferry?
The traditional fishing village of Sneads Ferry is located on the New River near the northern tip of Topsail Island off NC Hwy. 172. Access to the Atlantic Ocean is easy. A very active commercial fishing community, Sneads Ferry takes in more fish than any other Onslow County port. We pass the shrimp boats in New River Marina at 11:30
In 1725 Edmund Ennett was granted the first license to operate a ferry in the area. Ennett's "Lower Ferry" as it was originally called, was an important link for postal delivery between Virginia and South Carolina, and for news of Revolutionary War battles in the 1770’s. The village is believed to have been first settled in 1775, making it the oldest settlement in Onslow County which is one of North Carolina's oldest counties, established in 1734. The ferry operated for more than 200 years. In 1939, it was replaced by a wooden bridge. Today, the bridge is a new high-rise span.
Attorney Robert Snead moved to the area sometime during the 1750's to operate a tavern. When he became the new ferry operator in 1760, the "Lower Ferry" was renamed "Sneads Ferry" in honor of Robert Snead. Snead himself has an interesting history. He shot and killed revolutionary war hero George W. Mitchell in the heat of a political argument. After being tried and convicted, Snead received a full pardon from Governor Richard Dobbs Spaight. There was speculation that the pardon was achieved dishonestly. Life hummed along quietly until World War II when Camp Lejeune was established just north of Sneads Ferry.
Three little navy safety boats passed going lickety split south.
CHATEAU LA MER from Tampa passed going north. The live fire exercises are over.
We are approaching the Onslow Beach bridge.
I can see people picnicking and playing volleyball etc on the ocean side - young men with no shirts - presumably marines.
CHATEAU LA MER is there ahead of us standing well back from the bridge as if they know that it opens towards us (which it does).
A boat with the name SHARON ALAYNE on the back, but which Bob says is calling themselves KINGFISHER passes us and CHATEAU LA MER and gets right up next to the bridge. This bridge is run by the Marine Corps personnel.
The bridge rings the bell for about 2 minutes before it opens, and then opens very very slowly. KINGFISHER (or Sharon Alayne) has to back up a bit for being in such a hurry.
This part of the ICW runs through the Camp LeJeune Marine Base. It is quite swampy and the marines use it to practice various assault techniques. The waterway is littered with used equipment.
Now we hear Navy Warship 58 has a fouled bore and is trying to keep folks away from him 15 nm while he proceeds out to sea. As we go by Bear Inlet, a small red official looking RIB whizzes past.
When they are conducting Live Fire exercises, they have people in spotting towers to tell the gunners where their shots landed.
If there is Live Fire, these lights would be flashing and the waterway would be closed
There is an anchorage called Mile Hammock Bay off the waterway which we used the first time we came down the ICW
There was dredging going on in the waterway.
1335- there is a barge along side the channel with pipes, and a dredge and another barge ahead of us. I have had the radio on scan, listening to the Navy Warship with the fouled bore and other conversations, so I don't hear if the barge says anything to us, but I observe a shrimp boat coming south opposite the barge, and see with binoculars that there is a little tug pushing the barge out of the channel.
So we pass by going north right after the shrimp boat passes going south. Later I hear KEG AND I talking to the barge, and the dredge saying that they will drop the cables so KEG AND I can go past. Oops - I guess we lucked out by going by when the shrimp boat did. I saw the cables -- just didn't know they had been or had to be dropped.
Each of the shapes (round, diamond etc) or combination of shapes on this barge has a meaning. They are called Daymarks. At night the same meaning will be transmitted with lights. (Red over red, the Captain's Dead is a mnemonic that indicates a vessel "not under command." In other words, don't expect this vessel to move or do anything regardless of what the rules of the road say.)
KEG AND I (from Solomons) passed us (they called on the radio, and Bob tried to answer and picked up the wrong mike - we have two radios) and went into Dudley's Marina in Swansboro first.
1431 - We tied up after scraping our port running light off on a large piling. We did 38.7 sm today and it took us a little over 7 hours. Dudley's Marina has some amenities that we like (courtesy truck to go to the grocery store, and free lift to local restaurants) and the deficiencies don't really matter to us (rest rooms are minimalist). You can also walk across the bridge (now that they've finished with the re-construction) up into town to the gift shops. Dudley's Marina is also a BP station (the station is open 24 hours) and boatyard with fixed docks. There are floating finger docks off the north side of B dock, but the water there is too skinny for us. The marina building houses the dock offices, ship's store and tiled HOT showers (although they don't look particularly luxurious). $.75/ft for a slip with no extra charges, and the fuel is also a good price. But Dudley's docks appear to have the pilings eaten almost through below the waterline, and some of the piers are sagging. Bob wonders if they will hold us.
Later heard an Egg Harbor (a power boat) that draws 3 feet wants to come in to Dudleys and have a diver look at his prop. I talked to him later in Oriental (he's flying a big Canadian flag although I don't ever see what his name is) and he says he tried to come in to a New River marina to get fuel and was blown sideways onto a sand bank by a big gust of wind. It IS quite windy.
We see the dog at Dudley's (a big hound named Elvis) and the macaw too.
Also use their computer to do the internet.
Swansboro's main street, Front Street, runs through the historic district; and is lined with shops, some housed in historic buildings. The broad waters of the White Oak River border Swansboro to the east and northeast. This stream was once deep and much-used but is today shallow and quickly filling with silt. Swansboro History from Claiborne S. Young's Cruising Guide to COASTAL NORTH CAROLINA
The Swansboro region has long been inhabited. Archaeological evidence indicates that Algonquin Indians occupied the surrounding countryside from about 500 a.d. to colonial times. Settlement of the surrounding lands by English colonists began around 1730, when Jonathan Green built a house at the mouth of the White Oak River. Green soon died, and his widow married Theophilus Weeks, who is credited with being the founder of Swansboro. Weeks was appointed inspector of Bogue Inlet and later operated a boardinghouse in the area. About 1770, he began to sell portions of his large property holdings, at which time the town's development began. Swansboro was incorporated in 1783 and named in honor of Samuel Swann, former Speaker of the North Carolina legislature. Thanks to its proximity to Bogue Inlet and the White Oak River, which were quite navigable in those days, the town soon became an important port. During the Revolutionary War, a number of patriot privateers operated from the harbor, and several saltworks were built nearby. By 1786, Swansboro had assumed such importance that it was declared a separate customs district. Captain Otway Burns, naval hero of the War of 1812, was born and grew up in Swansboro. In 1818, Burns brought national attention to the port town by constructing the first steamship to float in North Carolina waters. Today, a small park overlooking the water just northeast of Captain Charlie's commemorates this historical figure. The park's star attraction is a bronze statue of Burns. Swansboro continued to prosper until the Civil War. Shipbuilding and the export of naval stores were the mainstays of the local economy. The Civil War brought an end to the port's boom days. Swansboro was twice occupied by Union forces, in 1862 and 1864. After the war, the naval-stores trade fell off. Eventually, the town's sole industry was commercial fishing.
They take us up to Capt. Charlie's for dinner and we have a very nice and cheap dinner (only costs $28 for the two of us.
and then when we were finished eating, the dishwasher at the restaurant drove us back to the marina
Then we spend a very windy night. I didn't sleep too well.
April 24, 2004 Saturday
I heard the Notices to Mariners on the radio last night. The marines are doing live fire exercises for most of the month of April and a bit in May. Talked to the folks on KEG and I - they just bought this boat. We left Swansboro shortly after seven - after KEG AND I.
and turned northeast through Bogue Sound.
The enclosure curtains (which are plastic) have dew on them so we have them spread out on the lifelines to dry
I saw a big dock reserved for state boats. A Carolina fisheries boat (looked like a shrimp boat) and a blue hulled research vessel were there. The Duke research vessel SUSAN HUDSON passed us.
Approaching Morehead City, we saw a Southport to Morehead Ferry. I have been unable to find anything about any ferry service between Southport and Morehead City.
As we turned the corner into the Morehead City turning basin, we found again there were lots of little fishing boats,
including MYSTERY which advertised scenic harbor cruises on the side, but was probably being used as a head boat. [A head boat is a fishing boat where you pay to fish from it per person/per head instead of chartering the whole boat]
As we went north from Morehead City, we saw a tow boat pulling a trawler off the shoal in Gallant's Cut. He apparently doesn't know that this channel has shoaled in and can no longer be used.
We went up Core Creek, observing the boats on lifts and the houses.
We go through the Adams Core Creek Canal and into Adams Creek.
It is quite windy - the wind has picked up to 19-22 knots and it has gotten cloudy.
I suggested that Bob put out the lines for docking in Oriental while we are still in Adam's Creek before we get into the Neuse River where it will be less protected. GLORY DAYS passed as he was doing that, and stared in astonishment. I don't know whether they were surprised that he was out on deck, or whether they couldn't figure out what he was doing.
There's a sailboat race in Adams Creek,
and another one at the entrance to Adams Creek in the Neuse River. It is very windy. I overheard some of the racers at dinner, and they had a very boisterous race.
There are big waves in the Neuse. I saw a kayak paddle drifting past as we went into the Oriental channel.
The marina at the breakwater - Oriental Harbor Marina - is having a big boat show and the town is full of people.
There's even a big Greyhound type bus.
We tied up at Oriental Marina (which is farther in the harbor) after 48.7 sm at an average speed of 6.2 mph. Oriental Marina has a free wireless network but it doesn't go as far as the boat although i can get it out on the deck.
I had trouble on VirtualTourist getting the name of Oriental to come up in the database. The town of Oriental was named after the Sailing Steamer Oriental. Built in Philadelphia in 1861, the ship was used as a Federal transport ship in the Civil War. She met her fate a year after being launched, run aground in May 1862, when she was wrecked off Bodie Island, 33 miles north of Cape Hatteras. Her passengers and crew were saved. The United States Post Office Department established a post office in 1886 in what had been called Smith's Creek. Lou Midyette was named postmaster. Postmaster Midyette's wife, Rebecca, thought the village needed a better name. One story says that she had found the nameplate from the wrecked sailing steamer "Oriental" on the beaches of the Outer Banks and thought that name was more suitable. Another version of the story says she just saw the nameplate in a Manteo home. Either way the name "Oriental" made an impression on her. The village became known as Oriental a few years after the post office was established and was incorporated in 1899.
We talked to another CSY owner who came down for the boat show,
and then we ate dinner at M&Ms.
I was afraid that it would be crowded there, and indeed it was, but we went to dinner pretty early - about 1700 (5 pm).
April 25, 2004 - leaving Oriental
We pushed away from the dock at 0655 and managed not to hit the guy who was crossways on the free dock.
Heard ANOTHER person who went aground in Gallant Channel - he was quite indignant as he said he was following his chart plotter. (His chart plotter was WAY out of date. That channel was closed before we made our first trip in 2000) He called a mayday because someone on his boat fell when he ran aground and cut her head and suspected back injuries.
We were crashing into the waves all the way up the Neuse River. Bob put the main and staysail up and we were all the way up to 7 mph. The Hobucken Coast Guard got a report of a dinghy adrift (with life jackets in it) near the Oriental entrance channel, and we saw their boat go after it.
As we turned the corner into Pamlico Sound and then into the Bay River, Bob put the jib up.
Going to Belhaven
There are 4 sailboats behind us.
We go through Hobucken. That's spelled right. "Goose Creek Island" was formerly part of Beaufort County. In 1874, Hobucken and Lowland citizens voted to become part of Pamlico County. There is only one stop light in the whole county. In 1871, the mail came to Goose Creek Island Post Office by boat across Goose Creek from the village of Oregon, now known as South Creek, in Beaufort County. The mail was carried by horse and buggy to Jones' Bay Side, now known as Hobucken. Around 1880, Mr. Wiley Mayo of Hobucken, realizing the need for better mail service, started trying to get a Post Office and a name for the village of Jones' Bay. After submitting two names that were rejected by the Post Office Department, due to other places in the state already having been named that, Mr. Mayo sent in the name "Hobucken", which he had changed from Hoboken, New Jersey, and it was accepted. The name Hoboken, New Jersey, came to his attention from a letterhead he had received with returns on white potatoes that had been shipped there. Mr. Mayo became the first Postmaster of Hobucken in July, 1886. The Mayo name is still prominent in Hobucken as the docks along the waterway largely belong to R.E. Mayo.
Hobucken is remarkable for the shrimping fleet, with a cheap dock, and the Coast Guard Station. Coast Guard Station Hobucken is located right alongside the Atlantic Intercoastal Waterway where they can keep a watch on people who don't obey the 'No Wake' zones. According to their website: "The unit is equipped with two 41 foot utility boats and a 21 Foot Rigid Hull Inflatable. There are 22 active duty personnel assigned to the Station. The Officer-in-Charge is a Chief Boatswain Mate (E-7) and the Executive Petty Officer is a First Class Boatswain Mate. In addition to 22 active duty personnel, the station is also augmented with reserve and auxiliary personnel. The station's primary duties are Search and Rescue and Law Enforcement. Station Hobucken runs approximately 100 SAR cases and does 300 Law Enforcement boardings per year." Coast Guard Station Hobucken, is located on 7.5 acres of land in Pamlico County. The town of Hobucken, NC is approximately one mile from the station.
Behind us there is a power boat out of fuel and he wants to know where he can get some. He eventually ties up the R.E. Mayo docks to wait until they open Monday (tomorrow.) As we come toward Belhaven,
We hear CAPELLA on the radio asking Robb's Marina for fuel. River Forest tells them Robb's is closed and they get fuel there. They would have done better to go to Dowry Creek where fuel is cheaper.
When we go in the Belhaven channel we see CAPELLA and WILDFLOWER both anchored inside the breakwater. This is not a good place to anchor, and they are very uncomfortable here.
We tied up at the Belhaven Waterway Marina
after a trip of 47.8 sm at an average speed of 6.4 mph and a maximum speed of 8.4 mph. (Really fast for us - that is 7.3 knots and our "hull speed" or displacement speed is 7 knots. This is a kind of a benchmark speed for a sailboat such as ours.)
We tried to get dinner at the Helmsman, but they close at 2 on Sunday. River Forest is not open either. So we eat on the boat. The marina has a wireless network which is free,
but it only extends out to the deck by the hot tub, and not out to the docks.
Tomorrow it is supposed to be rainy with lightening and thunder and high winds.
April 26, 2004 - Lay Day in Belhaven
We stayed another day in Belhaven because the weather report was bad. Originally named Jack’s Neck, Belhaven was once a bustling industrial town with a half-dozen lumber companies and a branch of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad.
Now, Belhaven is a waterfront town. The big main town building combines the museum, the town hall and the police station in one building. There are a very limited number of restaurants. There are no internet providers (not even AOL), and only about 3 pay phones. There is a small hospital (Pungo District Hospital) in town, one hotel, and a bed and breakfast. There are all of two traffic lights and no gas stations right in town. There is no grocery store right in town. The Food Lion doesn't count even if it is in the town limits because it is a right good walk from a boat.
Bob changed the oil in the engine and after I did the internet on the hot tub deck,
I walked down Water Street
Robb's is completely gone now.
An article at the North Carolina League of Municipalities website says:
"Over 250 homes in the town have been elevated off their old foundation and placed back onto higher, more flood-evasive ones. Or, as Johnson described it: “lifting the home, tearing out the old foundation, pouring in a new foundation and then putting the home back on it.” The elevation project is the largest mitigation project ever conducted by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)."
100 year old Queen Anne Victorian home built for the first Mayor of Belhaven.....features beaded board ceilings, original crown moldings and trim, plantation shutters, and a Victorian fireplace. ... All rooms face the water and are decorated with antiques and eclectic works of art. The spacious dining room greets you in the morning for a full gourmet breakfast. A butler's pantry and guest refrigerator stocked with soft drinks, bottled water and assorted wines is available for your use at any time.
(This has been renamed and has a wheelchair ramp now)
to River Forest (hotel, restaurant and marina) and back.
I did have dinner here once. Reviews on the internet are wildly mixed. It is hard to believe that they were all about the same place. We never stayed at the marina either. I walked up on the porch and looked through the windows as it wasn't open
The house dates from 1899, when John Aaron Wilkinson, President of J.L. Roper Lumber Company and Vice-President of Norfolk & Southern Railroad, began building the Victorian mansion known today as the River Forest Manor. Their website says:
Italian craftsmen were called in to carve the ornate ceilings, and by 1904, the mansion was complete – with carved oak mantels for each of the eleven fireplaces, sparkling cut glass leaded into windows, crystal chandeliers glittering from the ceilings, tapestry placed above the mahogany wainscoting in the dining room and two baths so large that they included oversized tubs for two. Eight years after the completion of his showplace, Wilkinson married a beautiful New Yorker who shared the house with him for many years.
Then I walked back up Main Street
Across from the church is where the local police had the speed radar set up to tell drivers how fast they were going. I wasn't going fast enough to register on it.
There's a drug store, gift shop and snack bar - all O'Neals
I stopped here for lunch
We also walked down to the dinghy dock
The Helmsman has been closed.
and then the Helmsman was open so we had dinner. It rained like heck all night off and on.
In the evening, a charter boat came in and tied up behind us.
April 27, 2004 - Leaving Belhaven
The dinghy is deflated because of the cold and is full of water. We started the engine before 7 and Bob backed out around the charter boat (a Catalina). Saw a sailboat coming out of River Forest and they fell in behind us. It was a Cabo Rico named SEA CHANGE from Hyannis.
They passed us before we went into the Pungo-Aligator canal.
Two barges and tugs passed in the canal.
It is getting very cloudy and overcast.
As we come down the Alligator River, two power boats pass and wake us and SEA CHANGE ahead of us and go down to the bridge. The bridge tender calls them on the radio several times to ask them to go through the bridge on the west side. They do not. The second boat goes over on the west side and then circles back to go through the east side.
I called the bridge tender and asked if we were supposed to go through on the west side or on the east side like the two power boats.He responds that we are indeed supposed to go on the west side and they must not listen to their radios. SEA CHANGE said they weren't very polite, and I said "Downright rude". The bridge tender then answered that it was a wonder we were both still afloat.
We both went into Alligator River Marina.
We got fuel ($1.24/gal - it would have been $1.14/gal if we'd gotten over 100 gallons) and tied up in our slip after 50.0 sm.
I went over to pay, and got an ice cream cone. Later two guys in a big power boat named LADY HAWKE came in bound for NY state. They'd been offshore from the St. Mary's River (Florida) to Beaufort NC. Said it took them 3 days. SEA CHANGE had about 5 people on board - they had just bought the boat in Beaufort and were 'delivering' it to Cape Cod.
Still later two guys came in in a big catamaran - they'd been inside the whole way, but of course they have almost no draft so they had no problem. Last a little fin keel sailboat came in and got fuel. Both of the latter two boats didn't go to a slip but tied up on the wall next to the main building. I think it is more expensive there - the regular slips are $1.00/ft.
We found that there is an actual restaurant with menus, cloth napkins and lighthouse models as table decorations and everything called Capt. Charlies.
They open mostly on the weekend, but there were enough of us that they opened for us to eat there tonight. It's actually the same menu as for the tables outside, but there's more room to sit in here [and there are windows through which we can watch people trying to get into their slips]
I had the ribeye and Bob had the chicken, and then I had another ice cream.
I went up and did email, and the guys on LADY HAWKE came in to do their laundry. They didn't care that it was only cold water. Bob had a shower, but when the washers filled, he got scalded.
The weather guessers tell us that there are going to be big wind and waves in the Albemarle tomorrow, but that the winds will die off later.
April 28, 2004
Bob got up at the usual time, and we did the best we could to get the weather. Bob says there's more wind out on the river than in the marina. He's concerned because there's apparently a big oil leak and there's some oil in the bilges, so he fools around a bit and finds also a coolant leak.
We start the engine about 8. LADY HAWKE has already left, and SEA CHANGE leaves just before us.
The Alligator river is slightly choppy. The other monohull in the marina passes us, along with a trawler that has come through the bridge.
[An ICW marker has either a square or triangle of yellow on the regular red or green channel marker. A square means green, a triangle means red. Coming north you keep the yellow square to the starboard (right). The boater follows the yellow color on the ICW — not the color (red or green) of the channel marker). ] The Albemarle has Chesapeake type little square waves, and we spend our time crashing into them, with spray going up onto the dodger. Winds are about 20 knots.
Inside the North River, the water flattens out some, but the winds are still 16-17 knots.
Then we go into a canal that connects the North River with Pungo Sound.
I no longer remember what the significance of the flags is. There were several marinas on the sides of this short canal. Previously we had stayed at the Coinjock Marina on the east side.
We got to Coinjock and tied up at the Midway Marina at 1415 after a trip of 36.4 sm. This marina is much nicer than the Coinjock Marina. Bob washes the dodger and enclosure [which are salty from crossing the Albemarle] and the boat, and then does a wash.
We ate at Crabby's. The owner is from Crisfield (the Crab Capitol).
We watched the mallards and ducklings out the window while we ate. There seemed to be 2 mothers and about 12 little ducklings. They are swimming around like little water bugs in the little side canal, and then they are up on the ground outside the window running around. One of the mothers is in the water like a life guard, and the other mom is up with the ducklings.
There seem to be a LOT of male mallards which are pursuing the smaller number of females resulting in a lot of quacking.
I went up and sent the last (unfinished) email very quickly before the dock person left at 1900. There are other boats here now. MAJIK III, GOLDEN DRAGON (a double ender) and ANTARES (red hull). There's also a catamaran down by the restaurant.
April 29, 2004
Bob turned the engine on at 7. All the boats at this marina except ANTARES who is docked right behind us have left, and even some of the power boats across at Coinjock have left. We aren't going very far today, so we don't have to leave at the crack of dawn.