A Bluebird Day to Swansboro, NC

Swansboro had some charm, but in the end, it wasn’t what we hoped.

Day 34, November 17

After a really excellent dinner at Aqua in Beaufort, we got a slow start in the morning.  It was a beautiful day, the kind of weather that the Chamber of Commerce would give the thumbs up to.  Chilly, but clear and sunny with just a light northerly breeze.  Promise for the day was high. Continue reading A Bluebird Day to Swansboro, NC

From One Great Town (Oriental) to Another (Beaufort)

They are very different places but we appreciated the benefits of both.

Day 33, November 16

The Neuse River was fiesty when we followed a shrimp boat out of the narrow channel, leaving Oriental at about 0900.  The sun was shining and the wind was biting cold, but we were toasty in our cozy pilot house with the replacement Webasto heater honking away happily in the engine room.  Our visit had been pleasant and successful.  We were ready to roll on.  We had Beaufort, NC in our sights. Continue reading From One Great Town (Oriental) to Another (Beaufort)

If River Dunes is Sterile, Oriental is Rich and Ripe (in a good way!)

We sampled both while waiting for our November 15 insurance restriction to expire.

Days 28 – 32, November 11 – 15

While we explored Belhaven we contemplated our next move[s].  We had one major constraint to contend with: our insurance policy stipulates that we remain north of 35 degrees North until after November 15.  This is a clause that is designed to keep us out of the worst of the hurricane zone until after hurricane season winds down.  

Given the storm devastation in North Carolina from September and October the restriction does make some sense, but we were beginning to feel a bit like caged rats.  The sub-optimal weather was preventing us from cruising at a normal pace; we dash as far as we can when we have a weather window, then hunker down as gales blow over.  It is a pattern that had begun the day we left home a month ago, and it persists. Continue reading If River Dunes is Sterile, Oriental is Rich and Ripe (in a good way!)

Into The Heart of Hurricane Florence’s Darkness

We had a lovely visit to Belhaven, but Wow! Major hurricane damage was still in full display.

Days 26 – 27, November 9 – 10, 2018

After our layday in Coinjock we were looking at a 74 nm run to Belhaven so we were up for our o-dark-hundred early-start program of coffee at 4:30, walk the dogs at 5:30 and cast off at 6:30 (sunrise-ish). This works well for us as the caffeine has time to enter the bloodstream and the dogs get a decent stretch before a long day cooped up on board.  It also give us a nice opportunity to experience our destinations in the pre-dawn quiet of the day which is usually a lot different from daylight action.  It might sometimes be hard to get out of bed, but it’s usually worth it. Continue reading Into The Heart of Hurricane Florence’s Darkness

Not Many Boats Spend Two Nights at Coinjock

But we did. And yes, the Prime Rib is worth the stop.

Day 25, November 8, 2018

The reason not many boats spend two nights in Coinjock is there is nothing there but prime rib.  Good prime rib, mind you, but that’s it.

We, however, expected to receive two overnight shipments at Coinjock — one of them yet another heater part — so we needed to be there the second night.  All our buddies departed after the first night along with most everyone else.  We were left by ourselves with one lone small sailboat and it’s solo captain. Continue reading Not Many Boats Spend Two Nights at Coinjock

This Is “It”: The ICW, Day One

An exercise in patience and humility.

Day 24, November 7, 2018

In reality, “it” is a seven-to-eight month adventure cruise down the eastern seaboard to Key West, and back up again, maybe including a side-trip to the Bahamas.  But in many ways “it” is defined as a trip down (and up) the “AICW”, or Atlantic IntraCoastal Waterway.  The official start of the “ICW” (for short) is mile zero at “R36” just near the Tidewater Yacht Marina we stayed in. Continue reading This Is “It”: The ICW, Day One

Portsmouth, VA: Norfolk’s Second Cousin

The end of Cruise Phase I, the beginning of Cruise Phase II

Days 22 – 23, November 5-6

The clear skies from our run yesterday from Solomons Island, MD to Portsmouth, VA had blown offshore, and we woke to a rainy and blustery day in Portsmouth, across the river from Norfolk.  Thanks to the weather, with winds forecast yet again to hit 30 knots, it was likely we were going to be here for a couple of days.

We were at Tidewater Yacht Marina.  This would be the first place on our cruise where there was a real critical mass of boats headed into the ICW on the trip south. Some of them we had run into and/or communicated with in previous days and weeks as we all meandered our way down Long Island Sound, the Jersey Shore and the Chesapeake, fighting our own personal battles with the Weather Devil.  It was a fun, diverse conglomerate of folks and boats and we took good advantage of the opportunity to get to know each other and compare notes and plans. Continue reading Portsmouth, VA: Norfolk’s Second Cousin