Friday, May 3, 2013

Week 31: May 1-7, 2013 (Day 211-217)

Week 31:

Wed. May 1, 2013— Day 211:
Destination:  Mile Hammock (Mile 244.5) to Beaufort, N.C. (Mile 202.3)
Departure:  0600 hrs.                               Arrival:  1340 hrs.                                 Distance:  42.2 SM
Winds:  NE 10-20K, gusty & at times howling
Weather:  clouds, sun & blue sky & white fluffy clouds X few hrs. then back to dark clouds & drizzle rain at Moorhead City on

Fishing Boat at Beaufort Bridge
The military were already out at 0530 hrs. in their inflatable setting an underwater course for their divers, beginning & end marked by illuminated floating balls.  Three of us left the anchorage after 1st light; thick, black, stinky mud on the anchor.  We had an on request opening of the Onslow Swing Bridge at 0640 hrs., before it started it’s hourly opening from 0700 to 1900 hrs.  On a rising/flood tide shortly after 0700 hrs. we still saw decent depths passing by Brown’s Inlet, Bear Creek Inlet  & the many tributaries off the Bogue Inlet, especially after Swansboro; a boat had gone aground at G45B at Bogue Inlet but with a rising tide & fast flowing current he got himself off.  We entered Bogue Sound at R42 & R42A & ran the almost straight, boring run to Moorhead City X 20miles.  Mid morning the NE winds increased to 18-20K, we unfurled some jenny & it was useful for a majority of this run that was totally against current; when the wind gusted up, it shifted more to the north & the jenny luffed & when the wind lightened, it shifted more to the east & the jenny was happy.  Once in the turning basin of Morehead City, we left the ICW & followed Morehead City Channel & departed it at G1BH.  We caught the flooding tide to Beaufort & caught the 1330 hrs. opening of Beaufort Bridge (bascule) & anchored in Town Creek by entering the very small & tight anchorage between ICW G15 & Town Creek G1 marker.  A couple of docks & mooring balls in the anchorage now that crowds one’s anchoring possibilities.  “Fish Tails” restaurant is now closed, 1 dock destroyed in Hurricane Irene was still not repaired & the fuel dock looks like it needs some attention; is Town Creek Marina showing signs of difficulty?  On & off drizzle & dark clouds the rest of the afternoon, evening & night, with winds piping up now & again.

Thurs. May 2, 2014— Day 212:
Destination:  Beaufort (Mile 202.3)
Winds:  N to NE calm, increasing to 10-22K especially with gusts that came in short bursts
Weather:  grey, damp & dreary, cloud with drizzly rain, improved in late afternoon to sun & blue sky

Boat Building Shop 

A dreary morning for sure & no hurry to get anywhere.  A boat shower that felt good, then we went to the marina so Graeme could refill 3 jerry cans with diesel & I took the opportunity to charge my computer while checking emails.  A very fine drizzly rain continued to fall most of the am, but the wind was calm as we took the dinghy under the Beaufort Bridge, around the waterfront of Beaufort & tied up at the public dock.  We then walked Front St.   A boatshow & a boat building contest in a restricted period of time followed by that boat been raced were the main events for Sat. May 4.  We had lunch outside but under cover at “Finz”, then visited the boat building shop (part of the museum) open to the public, followed by a quick tour at the museum (free admission).  Shopping is not my thing as I prefer to walk the side streets & observe the surroundings which I have done in the past.  Palms are now very few & far between, water is not like chocolate milk but cleaner looking, although one can’t see their chain & anchor after a few feet when anchoring, unlike the Bahamas & the bottom is now thick, black, sticky, stinky mud, not the sand or sandy mud with seashells.  Returning to Florida we started hearing the sound of krill at night eating  at growth on the hull; here in Beaufort, N.C.  I have not heard that sound—too cold for them as well & I have slept like a baby the minute my head hits the pillow till morning.  As we were dinghying home we saw the ‘Twomorrows” slowly making their way to the 1530 hr. opening of the Beaufort Bridge.  The bridge in fact broke down afterwards for several hours leaving boats to make alternate decisions.  We were invited to ‘Twomorrows’ for a lamb dinner; not just lamb but marinated, BBQ lamb with orzo & baby asparagus, all done to perfection, followed by Nassau Royale!  My I have missed these very fun nights together!  Although the clouds cleared progressively more during the afternoon, there was no visible sunset, but a mostly clear dark night with zillions of stars.

Fri. May 3, 2013— Day 213:
Destination:  Beaufort (Mile 202.3)
Winds:  NE 15K early am, building dramatically & gusting to 15-25K with frequent 30+K
Weather:  mix of cloud & sun, cool very strong breeze & warm sun

Sweet Smelling Jasmine just starting to appear

The NE winds & it’s strength were a very disappointing element today, preventing us advancing further north.  It was not even feasible to make the 14.8 SM distance to Cedar Creek off Adams Creek.  There were small craft warnings & flood advisory warnings in place till Saturday night. We are 5 days from homeport & can’t get there comfortably!!! The NE winds continued to howl, keeping us cool & have plagued us since April 13th & there is no change in sight till maybe Sunday night.  I have been reading about & planning my exercise program & dreaming to getting back in shape, losing some weight & getting back to cycling like a strong athlete when I get back to Ottawa.  Bed linen was changed & the water tanks were topped with the reserve water jerry cans.  ‘Twomorrows’ anchor suddenly started to drag; they reanchored.  Graeme dinghied me to shore then returned to the boat.  I powerwalked X 1 hrs. to & from Historic Beaufort which is not really that large an area, but it felt good just getting out & about, sweet smelling the jasmine periodically that was just starting to bloom.  It also gave me time to think about me, my present situation & state of mind, what I should & am going to do when I get back home.  When I returned Lynn & Larry had gone.  They had dragged again, tried to reanchor a few more times, then felt best to move north to Cedar Creek fighting a 30K wind.  I checked emails & posted prose & pictures on my blog while charging my computer.  The marina staff were gracious & allowed me to use their shower facilities.  Back on the boat we lifted the motor & dinghy.  Depending on the winds we prefer to leave early & anchor with the Morrows at Cedar Creek, situating us close to the Neuse River & Pamilco Sound, hoping to cross early Sunday morning before winds increase to much & affect sea state of these 2 large, open bodies of water.  We heard & communicated with Merrill (Ambition) approaching & departing Beaufort; they continued across the rough waters of the Neuse River on a beam reach to Oriental with 30+K NE winds & occasional 40K!  A somewhat clouded evening & night.

Sat. May 4, 2013—Day 214:
Destination:  Beaufort (Mile 202.3) to Cedar Creek (Mile 187.5)
Departure:  0755 hrs.                             Arrival:  1115 hrs.                                      Distance:  14.8 SM
Winds:  unrelenting NE 15-27K with gusts of +/-30K
Weather:  cool, cloud & sporadic rain with brief periods of a sun trying to break through

The NE winds subsided some during the night, but it wasn’t long when they made their presence once again this morning.  And another cool, grey & dreary day with periods of rain.  Boats out in the Neuse River reported 25-30K winds & 2-4 ft. waves; another no go day.  The anchor was well embedded in thick, black, sticky, stinky mud; it took a long time to clean off that mud with the deck wash.  We fought a 15-27K wind the whole route, mostly on the nose + a current; the tide was ebbing right from Gallant Cut to Russell Slough Channel, Adams Creek Canal to Adams Creek into Cedar Creek.  This morning I wore an undershirt, long sleeve T, sweat top, fleece pants & rain gear.  And it was 27 & 24C in Ottawa the last 2 days!!!  We anchored in 8 ft. with 80-100 ft. chain in protection in Cedar Creek; there was residual mud & dirt on the chain & I may have missed one of the chain link markers.  A very short travel day, but a move closer north nevertheless.  The sun tried to break through occasionally & in so doing it raised the temp inside the cockpit enclosure; this led to a chain of change of clothes, 1st the rain gear was removed & then into shorts & short sleeve T.  Heavier clouds & fine misty rain rolled in, decreasing visibility beyond the anchorage & the clothes were changed back to warm wear again.  Weather & winds are now not predicted to improve till Tuesday!  I am going to scream.  I can’t stand this inactivity any longer.  My ass is sore from doing nothing but sitting.  I feel trapped like a prisoner.  This is driving me nuts!  When I look back we have continually had NE winds since April 13th, but the weather has been unseasonably cool with mostly a northerly wind since the latter part of February, with only a very few sporadic days of reprieve—that is 2-1/2 months!!!  Enough!!!  No sunset, no stars, no moon; only cool temps, clouds & that damn howling strong wind!

Sun. May 5, 2013— Day 215:
Destination:  Cedar Creek (Mile 187.5) to Campbell Creek (Mile 154.3)
Departure:  0640 hrs.                               Arrival:  1310 hrs.                                    Distance:  33.2 SM
Winds:  N25-31K, ENE +/-20K by evening              Seas:  2-3 ft. occasional 4 ft, ramped to 4-5 ft.
Weather:  heavy cloud, light cloud, faint sun breaks & back to cloud

Our Route on the Neuse River & Pamlico Sound
We listened to NOAA once again after our early rise & weather, but more importantly the winds were no better in direction &/or strength; rain was predicted for everyday, even thunderstorms in a couple of days.  The wind direction was to shift to the east later on but this did not add any advantage factor when travelling the Neuse River & Pamlico Sound.  I was leaning towards giving it a shot, although not liking the wind strength, but I was told not to complain if it’s too rough.  We bit the bullet & left with 20-25K north winds (not NE as predicted) & 1-2 ft. waves.  We crossed the Neuse River towards Oriental & headed along that NW side; the winds ramped up to 22-27K & waves to 3-4 ft.  We pitched & rolled over & through some waves but now & again we had some slammers.  Frequent water spray & waves were experienced over the bow, crashing on the deck & up to the dodger + waves 3 feet higher than our decks came crashing off the starboard & port sides when we smashed down a wave.  Graeme was the one complaining.  He noticed that the stainless pole the wind generator was fastened to had detached from the base fitting & only supported by the 2 other supports; he tied the supports to the pushpit.  Graeme compensated for the sliding down angle by heading the boat well high of the shoal marker at Maw Point.  We were very exposed out at this shoal marker, winds were consistently 30-31K & waves were 4-5 ft.  Our boat speed was a dreadful 3.2-4.5K.  By about 1100 hrs. we finally  took a wide round turn around the marker towards Bay River, rolling side to side until we were able to turn further down the Bay River.  Now our boat speed was 6K & waves were 1 ft. & winds were only 18-20K; more comfortable, but I didn’t say a word.  We re-entered the ICW at Hobuken Cut & under Hobuken Bridge where the water was calm & the winds appeared less because of land protection.  Winds finally showed east & it’s true strength out into Goose Creek.  Should we anchor at Campbell Creek or Eastham Creek?  We followed the private channel markers into Campbell Creek (most of the red markers missing) & dropped anchor in 8 ft. letting out 100 ft. of chain.  ‘Ambition’ was shortly behind.  ‘Tomorrows’ stayed another night in Cedar Creek.  Joe Frost phoned & has been stuck in Hampton X 3 days as the Cheaspeake was safely unnavigable with these unrelenting, very strong north winds.  Again now sunset, no moon, no stars, only cloud & howling winds.

Mon. May 6, 2013— Day 216:
Destination:  Campbell Creek (Mile 154.3) to Alligator River North—G39 (Mile 101.1)
Departure:  0710 hrs.                                    Arrival:  1515 hrs.                         Distance: 53.2 SM
Winds:  E 15-20K
Weather:  lots of cloud, fair amount of rain, few periods of sun & blue sky not in that order

Pamlico River Route
The ENE winds blew & howled well into the night; I just don’t know when they settled down because it was calmer at 0500 hrs.  We actually saw a visible sunrise amongst the clouds with a shower thrown in of course.  First problem of the day was encountered early, which in fact delayed our departure: an invasion of millions if not billions of may flies, without a word of a lie!  They look like mosquitoes, but fortunately they don’t bite.  They totally invaded the cockpit enclosure; canvass, nav instruments, wheel, seats, cockpit cushions, floor!  In some areas they were ¼ inch thick with no exaggeration.  Added to the problem was most were dead, only their carcasses left, that turned to sticky, gummy, slim & the smell was offensive, sickening.  Just to operate the chartplotter, to put your hands on the wheel, to have a place to sit was a monumental task to clean & used an abundance of precious fresh water & paper towels & rags.  We would need a hose, lots of water & soap & brush.  We met a tug & barge entering Goose Creek as we were exiting.  It was pleasantly warm, sunny with some blue sky for a nice change. There was a 1 ft. lightly bouncy chop on the Pamlico River.  East winds, not the SE that were predicted, allowed the use of some jenny as we scooted along at 7K, but it was back on the nose on the Pungo River, the same time the winds piped up to 20K.  I spent most of this time washing & rinsing repeatedly, trying to get a start on cleaning the fly infestation.  Then came the boring 22 mile route through the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal.  Here the skies quickly & increasingly got consumed with dark clouds from the south & followed soon by repeatedly short lived heavy rains & 20K winds which were more consistent.  Coming out of the canal we experienced recurring heavy rain, high winds & poor visibility; above the water line it was similar to dense fog, all grey.  We anchored east of G39 towards but well off the shore in 8-9 ft. laying 100 ft. of chain.  More fun begins—Graeme attached the water hose to our anchor deck wash & we scrubbed & rinsed over & over again for >1-1/2 hours to get rid of the may fly carcasses; the only problem was all the rinsing was done with salt water!  I also tackled the flies that escaped to the interior, mostly the ceilings & windows.  Since ‘Ambition’ was not inundated with flies, Merrill suggested it was our Davis anchor light that Graeme has been hanging in the cockpit since we have lost 2 Davis lights already from water leaking in & rusting the circuit board that attracted them.  Aha, probably that was it!  We never want to experience that ever again!  Well I guess that is what I get for complaining about sitting on my ass all day reading & doing suduko!  The skies tried to clear but by sunset time dark clouds had invaded with periodic rain as well as at night.

Tues. May 7, 2013— Day 217:
Destination:  Alligator River North—G39 (Mile 101.1) to Goat Island, Pasquotank River (Mile 43)
Departure:  0620hrs.                                 Arrival:  1450 hrs.                              Distance:  58.1 SM
Winds:  light & variable to E15K to S & variable from 3-10K
Weather:  nice warm mix of sun & cloud, showers & threat of thunderstorm X2

Tug & Barge on the Abermarle
A quiet night, that is no howling winds, only on & off rain.  The Davis light was tied outside of the enclosure under the solar panels last night; there were a lot of May flies outside the enclosure but also residual on the inside from the night before last; the cockpit & side decks were still snotty in more ways than one & the nauseating putrid smell persisted.  It was warmish & humid this am when we woke at 1st light.  There was only us & 3 trawlers anchored last night & we were the 1st to leave.  The wind was light & variable, starting with it on our nose as we made our way to the Alligator Bridge.  The bridge was having some maintenance work performed which gave us the opportunity to caught up to a few boats & make their requested opening about 0900 hrs.  The wind increased to 15K, stabilized & blew from the east, which permitted us to sail across the Abermarle Sound on a beam reach at about 6.7K with 1-2 ft. chop & few 3 footers thrown in occasionally, dogging numerous lines of crab pots, in the warm sun, until we turned downwind from the Sound towards the Pasquotank River; more dogging of numerous crab pots.  Now the winds were on our stern & too light at <5K so of no use.  Almost all other boats headed to the Virginia Cut route.  An area of unpleasant looking clouds with the likelihood of showers & maybe even thunderstorms appeared in the distance at our stern; will they chase us down the Pasquotank?  But they passed us to the north.  The Virginia Cut was another location on my list to see because we had never done it but not to be & I guess it will remain that way.  When we passed a few boats were in the Elizabeth City free slips & no boats were on the bulkhead; don’t believe that was the case at the end of the day.  The Elizabeth City Bridge (bascule) opened on request for us at about 1410 hrs.; construction happening immediately south of the bridge.  I had hoped that we might make the last opening of South Mills Lock & Bridge at 1530 hrs. but not at this late hour.  So Goat Island it was.  There was a sense of total blissfulness as we continued on along Pasquotank River past Elizabeth City.  Only sights, sounds & smells of Spring!  We anchored in 8-9 ft. water & 100 ft. chain & were the lone boat here tonight.  Diesel from 2 jerry cans were added to the boat tank, some more hosing of the slim of the May flies on the port side deck, but the water was clear but too brown in colour to hose any further.  Late afternoon the warm sun was quickly replaced by dark nasty clouds that looked like a thunderstorm was about to hammer us; S to SE winds blew up rocking the boat, a smattering of rain, then back to sun & fluffy clouds.  A new phenomenon tonight—clear sky & stars! 


No comments:

Post a Comment