We left Winyah Bay Wednesday morning with E to ESE winds predicted which would make for a great sail around Frying Pan Shoals. But… while you can buy weather guidance, you can’t buy good weather. Turns out the wind was not as predicted at all, it was out of the NNE, exactly the direction we wanted to go. And the seas were big enough to slow us down if we tried to motor directly into them. So, we sailed some big tacks to make more headway than motoring. FINALLY after rounding Frying Pan Shoals the winds did eventually turn out of the east, about 1 or 2 AM, so we were able to sail nicely after that. While the wind has not always been cooperative, the weather has been beautiful.
We made it to Cape Lookout by about 4PM Thursday afternoon, and anchored in a beautiful spot in the bight in front of the Cape Lookout Lighthouse. We grilled up some salmon for dinner and got a good night’s rest.
Friday we motored into Beaufort Inlet and stayed at a marina for the night. We were able to do some laundry, take a nice land shower, and restock some provisions.
Saturday morning we biked to the local farmer’s market and scored some basil, which will be good for a pizza night on the boat. Then we left the marina and headed up the Intracoastal Waterway for the remainder of the trip. Neither one of us fancies going around Cape Hatteras with a crew of two. Going from Charleston to Beaufort on the outside allowed us to miss all the shallow, shifting shoal areas of the Crystal Coast of North Carolina. So we’ve got that going for us. 🙂
Saturday we crossed the Neuse River and anchored overnight in the Bay River.
Today, Sunday, we cross the Pamlico Sound, and head up the Pungo and Alligator Rivers, and will anchor overnight on the south side of Albemarle Sound. We should be in Chesapeake, Virgina by tomorrow night.
Last week, Monte and I flew to Charleston to meet up with Lori, to crew for her as she moved S/V Trident south to Brunswick, Georgia for the rest of the winter.
Trident in her slip in Charleston is in the foreground, to the right, of the picture below, with 2 tankers getting ready to pass nearby in the narrow Cooper River ship channel just outside the marina, and the Ravenel Bridge in the background. The two-masted schooner at the dock to the left is the 140′ Spirit of South Carolina. We finagled our way on board her to watch the Charleston Christmas Boat Parade up close the night before we departed.
After we landed in Charleston, I had the Uber driver make a side trip to my old house. I moved many times when I was a kid. When I lived in Charleston, I was around 7 to 9 years old, and I think it is the first place I lived where I have lots of my own, real memories – as opposed to memories from snapshots, stories, or individual moments in time. The old chez:
After provisioning and finishing the short pre-departure list of boat chores, we had a chance to walk around Charleston a bit, and sample its great seafood, which was nice. I would like to come back with more time to see the sights. The Pineapple Fountain in Waterfront Park:
Colorful housefronts along Rainbow Row:
We took the Intercoastal Waterway from Charleston to Savannah, anchoring one night in a creek just off the ICW, and staying at marinas in Beaufort and Savannah. We strolled around Beaufort’s oak-lined and moss-draped historic streets, making a stop by the house where The Big Chill was filmed. We had a lovely visit with our niece and her family in Savannah. Amy Lee gave us the best car-tour of its historic downtown, as a slow rain fell. Then we took the outside ocean route overnight from Savannah to Brunswick.
It was very COLD overnight on the ocean, but we made it! Another adventure in the books.
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!
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.
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.