MM135.

Day 9 – 1 bridge. 45 miles.

The view from our anchorage in the South River at sunrise.

We pulled anchor early and crossed the Neuse River, under sail. It was a beautiful morning with no other boat traffic.

Then we had to drop sails to motor through a very straight, but pretty, land cut.  For the most part, today had us mostly crossing wide, open rivers like the Neuse, Pungo, and Pamlico Rivers.

Tonight we are anchored outside of Belhaven, just off the ICW.  Here is another gratuitous sunset photo…

The next link in our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/18/mm82/

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

MM180.

Day 8 – 3 bridges. 22 miles. We finished up last-minute chores this morning, and left the slip at slack tide, around 2pm. Goodbye Beaufort!  The string of signal flags on the flagpole at Beaufort Docks Marina spell out B-E-A-U-F-O-R-T.  🙂

Since we left in the afternoon, today was a short mileage day.  Along the way, we passed lots of small boats and shrimpers.

But we took a looong time to get there. We pulled out the jib and gained two or more knots. Tonight we are at anchor off the Neuse River, in the mouth of the South River. We anchored exactly at sunset here. A few minutes later, the full moon rose over the trees. Just beautiful!

Tomorrow’s a new day on the ICW.

The next post on our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/17/mm135/

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

Beaufort.

Day 7 – A lay day; provisioning, geocaching, laundry, sightseeing, and a nice dinner out.

Beaufort (pronounced “bow-furt” not to be confused with “bue-furt” which is in South Carolina) is a quaint seaside town. North of here, the ICW changes from a narrow ditch to more challenging, open waters of the Neuse River, Pamlico Sound, and Albemarle Sound. We’re hoping to put the sails up at some point this week. But today we’re just hanging around the town.

Sunrise at the waterfront boardwalk…

One of two geocaches logged. Sneaky, eh?

We used the marina’s courtesy car and drove to the grocery store for supplies. Then we toured the North Carolina Maritime History Museum.

Pirates were a real thing here 300 years ago. Blackbeard started pirating in 1716. In 1717, he captured a French ship and turned it into his flagship, renaming her Queen Anne’s Revenge. A year later it ran aground in Beaufort Inlet. He died in late 1718. Pirating is hard! The wreck of Queen Anne’s Revenge wasn’t found again until 1996, only a couple of miles from where we are right now.

After the museum, we enjoyed some fine libations and dropped a few Benjamins at the local shops.

We made friends with Freddy and Alvin, our dock-neighbors on the 100+’ sloop S/V Miniskirt. They are experienced crew and it was nice to meet them. She’s a beautiful boat.

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The next post in our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/16/mm180/

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

MM202.

Day 6 – 2 bridges. 27 miles. When we left this morning, there was a parade of shrimp boats and tugs; more than we’d seen so far.

Today was supposed to be a short day but we were fighting mysterious tidal currents so we ended up only going between three and four knots for most of the day. Coming into Beaufort Inlet we passed this beautiful catboat. This one is for Monte…

Tonight we are at a marina in Beaufort, NC. We are 3 slips down from this bad boy, the S/V Miniskirt.

When Lori checked us in we got two wooden nickels for free beers at the marina bar. Let me tell you, my Yuengling went down fast. It was HOT!

I enjoyed visiting with friends of Lori’s from way back. They gave us a quick driving tour of the area. We walked out to the Atlantic.

The next post in our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/15/beaufort/

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

MM229.

Day 5 – 5 bridges. 56 miles. The new thing today was having to time our arrival at bridges that only open on the hour, or on the hour and half hour.

We had to dodge some hellacious thunder and lightning storms by doing circles for a bit. The currents seemed to be fickle today. There are so many inlets to and from the Atlantic that one minute we’ll have the tide with us.  But then we cross an inlet, and the current turns against us. Where inlets and rivers cross the ICW, sand builds up into shallow shoals, some are quite large and stick up above the surface of the water.  We passed this one where the locals had erected a flag, a palm tree, and a parking meter with a cleat on the side for boats to tie up. 🙂

The ICW in these parts flows right past the United States Marine Corps’ Camp LeJeune. The ICW is sometimes closed here for hours due to live ammunition fire exercises.

Target practice…

There were no live-fire exercises today, thankfully.  We had originally planned to anchor right off the ICW here for the night. But, we had to abandon that plan due to the anchorage being closed for military exercises. We saw a space-age amphibious vehicle enter right in front of us.

I wonder what they would have done if we pulled in there to anchor.  🙂

So we continued 15 miles farther north than we’d planned to be today, and are now at a lovely anchorage at the town of Swansboro. We grilled kebabs, watched a wedding reception on the waterfront, watched our boat swing until the currents changed 3 hours after high tide, and took in another lovely sunset.

The next post in our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/14/mm202/

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

MM285.

Day 4 – 2 bridges. 30 miles. We got off the dock easily this morning and headed on our way by 9AM. Every stretch of the ICW has been a little different each day. Today took us through the Cape Fear River. We had the tide against us for a couple hours and it was slow going through mostly sea-like conditions in the wide and deep shipping lanes.

We then turned back up into the ICW. Lori found a website where the Corps of Engineers posts images of current depth soundings all along the ICW, which provide the latest status on shoals and problem areas. We referred to that along the way. So we knew we were in for a couple of very low stretches today. We actually bumped bottom once today! The red and orange marks in the middle of the screenshot below indicate only 4 to 5-foot depths at mean-low-tide stretching across the entire width of the ICW channel.  We draw 5 feet.  AND we were hitting this stretch at low tide.  Exciting!

We pulled into Wrightsville just in time to get hit by our first thunderstorm/deluge as we were anchoring. Not bad. I’ll take it.

We grilled on the boat and rocked out until sunset. It was another lovely night.

The next post in our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/13/mm229/

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

MM315.

Day 3 – 17 bridges (yes, 17). 58 miles. Today brought us across the South Carolina border into North Carolina.

Captain Lori picked the departure time perfectly, which isn’t easy with currents being different all along the ICW and worrying about vertical clearance under bridges, and the depth of the water along the way, given that the tide changes water depths in this area by 4 to 6-feet.

Again, we lucked out and were not hit by the storms around us. Today’s challenges were long stretches where the current was against us, which slows us down, and navigating the areas of the ICW that cross river inlets to the Atlantic Ocean. The coast guard temporarily moves the channel markers to safely navigate changing shoals in these areas. Oh, and there was that one jackhole in a fishing boat who nearly ran into us from behind at high speed as he wasn’t paying attention. Luckily he looked up at the last minute and we only got water from his boat spray in the cockpit.

We started the day running up the ICW behind Myrtle Beach. Lots of homes and boat traffic.

Civilization, bridges, and traffic from the air and from the sea… ICW kitsch… Swing bridges that opened when asked nicely… More kitsch…First channel marker in North Carolina…

It turned beachy at Shallote’s Inlet. If you look closely you can see the surf breaking on the Atlantic side… And we got to see the backside of many beach homes…Home for the night…

The next post in our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/12/mm285/

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

MM373.

Day 2 – 2 bridges. 47 miles. We had storms all around us today but were only hit by a few sprinkles. Still, we moved along at about 6 mph, looking at tide tables, currents and the waterway guide to time arrivals along the way.  We just keep following the magenta line on the charts.

We hit some of our shallowest water today, only about 6 feet deep, which is a little close for our 5-foot deep keel.

The ICW scenery changed for us today from a narrow ditch surrounded by low, grassy marshes, to a very wide and winding river surrounded by tall moss-covered cypresses and pines.

Morning scenery…

Afternoon scenery…

We are staying the night at Osprey Marina, which is fitting because we saw about a hundred ospreys today!

The next post on our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/11/mm315/

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

MM420.

Day 1 – 4 bridges. 52 miles. We decided to go 10 miles farther than we’d planned today. We are anchored in the South Santee River for the night. There is one other sloop a couple hundred feet away, which is odd since we only passed one other sailboat all day.

This is a really beautiful spot; surrounded by nature preserve on all sides. AND we, surprisingly, have two bars of cell signal!

We saw much of South Carolina’s marshy Low Country today. I logged many birds through binoculars. A Great Day!!!

A far-away view of Charleston waterfront from the harbor…

We celebrated Day 1 after we anchored with a glass of bubbles.

This is what a 63′ mast looks like when it passes under a 65′ bridge. Whoa, Nellie!  This is why we have to time our arrival at bridges to be when it is NOT high tide.

It’s beautiful here at our anchorage…

Sunset!

Next post on our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/10/mm373/.

(Note:  If you’d like to read the entire 2-week adventure from the beginning, THIS LINK will take you to the first post in the series.)

MM472.

I have arrived in Charleston to help Lori bring Trident up to Norfolk. We plan to take the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway, which winds its way through coastal marshes and towns, through countless bridges and locks, crazy strong currents and tidal flows, and some very shallow and narrow water passages. We hope to make 40-50 miles a day. Norfolk is at MM 0.

We had time for a short visit to the historic downtown last night, then drove to Sullivan’s Island for a delicious send-ourselves-off dinner.

The boat, a 45′ Island Packet 445…

The marina @ St. Johns Yacht Harbor…

Shadowy oaks in the Battery…

Crossing the Ravenel Bridge over the Cooper River, by car, the easy way.  🙂

The next post on our ICW journey:  https://sheila365.com/2019/07/09/mm420/

EP.

A week ago, Monte, Susanne and I headed out from Austin, on a road trip to Estes Park, Colorado, to join in Dan and Erin’s wedding celebration.  We left at 4AM CDT, and pulled in to our destination at about 7PM MDT.   It was a long day of driving, but getting there made it all worth it.  I’ve never been to Estes Park before, but it is BEAUTIFUL!   It lies at an entrance to the Rocky Mountain National Park, surrounded by mountain peaks and streams, and is teeming with wildlife.  The town offers nice restaurants, breweries, music, festivals and all sorts of activities to tire you out.

We wore out our hugging muscles, but a good time was had by all.  After several days of visiting and sight seeing, we said our goodbyes and dropped Susanne off at Denver International Airport and then continued to made our way home.  We stopped overnight in Amarillo and then popped into Lubbock the next day to look for burrowing owls and to tour a winery, in the heart of Texas wine country’s vineyards.

A view of Lake Estes with the town of Estes Park and the Rocky Mountains in the background…

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We drove up into Rocky Mountain National Park, but the Trail Ridge Road was closed at Rainbow Curve, so we had to turn around at about 10,800′. We couldn’t do the complete drive across the Continental Divide.  But, the views were spectacular.  We got snowed on, and took way too many pictures.  I saw several lifer birds, a heard of elk, a bunny, and a varmit or two.

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Leaving Amarillo in the morning, we drove along historic Route 66 and made a stop at Cadillac Ranch. I wish I could have seen this back in its hey-day.  Now the cars are covered with ever-changing spray paint grafitti.   Sadly, you can see all the trash left on the ground by the “artists.”   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We stopped in Lubbock for lunch, and a tasting at McPherson Cellars Winery.  We also successfully tracked down some burrowing owls.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I enjoy road trips.  I enjoy seeing family.  When they can be combined, it’s all the more special.

Florae.

Susanne is visiting us in Austin this week. We’ve enjoyed catching up. Today we took a trip downtown to the Zilker Botanical Gardens. Pretty things:

And, I cannot go to Zilker Park without stopping by Sno-beach for my favorite!

Just peachy.

Monte and I took a drive out the Highway 290 wine trail on this windy day in May.  Our mission was to pick up our wine club quarterly selection at Becker Vineyards.

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Future wine on the vine!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We made a few stops.  In Johnson City, we took a pass through some of the antique stores, and found vintage cowboy/cowgirl boots, of course.  Take your pick…IMG_7916 (1)

It’s peach season!  We stopped at an orchard in Fredericksburg, to bring a few home.IMG_7924 (1)

 

Sometimes the stars align, sometimes they don’t.

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A week ago, I flew to the Bahamas to crew on Trident with Lori and Mike to bring her back to the United States.  Our destination was Charleston, and it would take about a week to make our way from Marsh Harbour, allowing a bit of time to wait on a weather window.

We pulled away from the slip less than an hour after I arrived, right on schedule.  But as soon as we did, there was a problem.  We couldn’t make more than two knots in forward, regardless of RPM.  I guess the problem had been intermittent, but deteriorating, and it was not a good situation to make a gulf stream crossing.

So, we dropped anchor in Marsh Harbour and started to do problem determination, and then line up a mechanic.   Things work on island time in the islands – go figure.  And so responses by phone and email/texting could take a day or two.  After consults with several mechanics, a couple of whom visited the boat at anchor, and a few calls to boatyards and part suppliers, a week had flown by.  But, finally, on Monday everything came together to make a plan.  A Yanmar-certified boatyard would haul the boat out, order and install the needed parts, and do some other minor maintenance.  The crossing will have to wait.

Things didn’t turn out as originally planned, but we made the most of it.  In between Lori & Mike coordinating with mechanics, we made visits via water taxi to Hopetown on Elbow Cay, Man-o-War Cay, and a visit with old friends, Tony & Michelle, on Green Turtle Cay.

The meals are always excellent on Trident, and on our last night, we had surf, turf, and yet more turf, as we tried to eat the best of what food was left in the freezer, which had to be emptied and disposed of in preparation of hauling the boat out.

So, I flew back to Austin last night from Marsh Harbour, instead of Charleston, and am happy to be home.

I enjoyed spying some of the local bird species, logging a bunch of lifers!  I enjoyed a full moon, beautiful sunsets and sunrises, some snorkeling, and a dose of sea air.

During our week at anchor in Marsh Harbour, the boats near us were constantly changing, as they would come for a day or so and then depart.   One day we came up to the cockpit, looked around, and saw that we were anchored between S/V Northern Star and S/V Southern Cross  🙂  so I guess S/V Trident was right where she was supposed to be at that moment in time.

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