Thursday, August 6, 2015

Beaufort, NC toward home

Beaufort, NC city docks were our next stop. Beaufort is a very quaint fishing town.  Coming down the Intracoastal, the drawbridge is in the process of being replaced with a span with the modern height of 64 feet.  It was interesting to pass the workers constructing the new bridge and call the bridge tender.  Her bridge will be removed in 2 years when the new span to Morehead City is complete.

The waterfront is full of restored buildings that house unique shops, and restaurants.  The dock rail is lined with flour pots, so pretty and welcoming. 


 On signing in with the dock master, we received two wooden nickels.  The wooden nickels can be traded in at the restaurant next door for a beer or wine.  We took the trade.  Our boat looked tiny next to the 80 foot or so vessels that had private crews, etc. 

Beaufort is across from Carrot Island.  Carrot Island is one of the many along the NC coast that has feral ponies. 
The Rachel Carson System that includes Masonboro Island across from us in Wilmington.  The islands in that system do not have any building on them or any automotive access.  They are a special wonder of North Carolina.

We toured the NC Maritime Museum which is very well done for all ages groups.  It had Pirate information as well as an exhibit on the boats and how they were made that included how the Native boats were made from a single log.  The Native secret was to build fires to make the wood easier to hewn out.  John paid particular attention to the anchor exhibit.  He loves our new Rocna anchor.  It is impressive to look at preserved history.  There is a preserved cemetery with markers from the 1700's and marking founders, and Revolution and Civil Wars.  
When John took some downtime, went exploring.  There is a $1 shuttle bus that goes up to the new Marina, that was formerly the old Menhadden fish factory and back around town.  
So many homes and businesses were renovated and marked with the Historical Society Markers. 

And they know how to party too and we listened to the singers from the bar fronts as we snuggled into bed.   Not the party animal I used to be.   There is a wooden boat works on the waterfront where you can watch as the artisans create their wooden boats.  What a talent.

Heading south again we had an interesting day.  When we were coming up from FL a while back, John met a man who had rowed his boat from Africa and was heading up the ICW to NY to bring awareness to World AIDS. Spirit of Malabo.  As we crossed the Bogue Sound we saw the same type of rowboat.  Sure enough, we hailed him on the radio and it was the same man.  We wished him well on is continued journey.

Going through Camp Lejeune north of the Onslow bridge, we discovered what many on the ICW know.  There is a thread the needle area where a barge asked if he could go first and moved to the side....and ran aground!!!  Of course, tide was dropping.  But we have BoatUS and Towboat eventually came and pulled us off.

Back on course, we went through the bridge and headed for Mile Hammock Bay, an excellent anchorage.  Steak grilled on the summer kitchen makes a great meal.  That Rocna anchor holds very nicely and we sleep well with it deployed.

Last day on Sunday, we headed to Wilmington.  The Sunday Summer traffic on the ICW was unceasing.  It was somewhat frightening to see so many who were not paying attention and criss-crossing the channel.  And the winds were high too.  We saw this huge swan on the shore too.

Finally, we passed The Tides Marina and we knew we were home.  Docking at Joyner, we had to make a decision what to take off the boat with us.  Well, we didn't put it on the boat all at once so we decided not to take it off all at once, either.  The boat had proven that we can live on it well and have space for everything and everything in its place.  Ready for the next adventure.


Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sunset in Oriental

Today, we headed down the Pungo River and out into the Pamlico.  While the temperatures hit 94, there was a decent breeze.  Small wonder that felt so thirsty though.  We entered the Neuse River and docked in Oriental, NC for the night.  River Dunes Marina is our stop for the night and what a swank marina!.  It is very protected.  Surrounded by pine forests, it is about 5 years old.  The floating docks were easy to dock into.  The grounds are well manicured.  We met the nicest people in the infinity pool; all with stories of the best places to stop, things to see, and, of course, the best places to eat.
After a cooling off, we signed up for the courtesy car to go into downtown Oriental, about 5 miles away, for dinner.  Some marinas have courtesy cars available.  Yes for FREE.  You simply ask and they give you the car.  There is usually a 1-2 hour limit.  So we went to dinner and the grocery store.
Oriental is the sailing capital of NC.  So we are actually in the minority on a motor vessel.  Oriental was given the name Smith's Creek by the post office.  The post master's wife thought the name should be more distinctive.  One day while walking along the beach, she found the name plate from a sunken vessel, The Oriental.  The Oriental had sunk in the last 1880's.  She petitioned the post office for the name change and that is how exotic Oriental, NC was named.
As we returned to the dock tonight, the sun was just setting behind the trees.  A neat backdrop to John on our boat.  Good night all.

Airplanes and Boats

Today we bid farewell to Manteo.  We went out that tricky approach I spoke of the other day and did not get stuck on the sand bar.  We rounded Manteo on the north end and could see the set of the Lost Colony from the sound.  That was a great take in.
 We crossed the south of Albemarle Sound and headed back south into the Alligator River and the Pungo Alligator Canal. 

It was a pleasant day, warm but a breeze and we were just enjoying the peace and the smell of the marshes and pine forests when...  ROAR  what felt like barely above our heads came military aircraft doing maneuvers. 

The sight was awe inspiring, especially in light of having visits the Wright Brothers Memorial yesterday.  

We also passed a gold looper boat that was headed north.  A gold looper has earned the right to fly the AGLCA Gold Burgee.  That means they have completed the Great Loop once.

Dowry Creek Marina was our stop for the night.  They have a really nice pool and while we were relaxing in the water, we saw three military planes escorting a very large jet.  It looked like Air Force One.  It was another cool thing to see but I missed the photo op.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Lost Colony and the Wright Brothers

From Coinjock we headed to the Southeast side of Albemarle Sound with the Outer Banks to our east to Manteo, NC.  The Manteo Waterfront Marina is peaceful, well protected and full of sites and helpful folks.  There are a few warnings about the approach to Manteo Harbor and there is a very helpful instructional video on youtube.  We watched it and took notes before we left Coinjock.  When we called the Marina to secure a spot, Carl, the dock master, reiterated the instructions.  I told him I had seen a video that was very clear and it turns out he made the video.  He said if someone had seen the video, they'd have to be a monkey to run aground.   Just what I needed another challenge!  But we made it safely to the dock.  I think I might have pushed the boat of the shoal, if we had run aground.

Manteo is the site of the famous, Lost Colony. And every summer since 1937, they run a play about the colonists from England who came to this area.  By the end of the Anglo Spanish War, when more supply ships arrived, the colony was empty of its over 100 inhabitants, including Virginia Dare, the first Anglo child born on these lands.  The play is run in the evening, in an outdoor setting in the woods.  The Albemarle sound is part of the back drop with a pleasant breeze off the water.
Many actors have had roles in this play over the years, but most notably Andy Griffith played Sir Walter Raleigh.  It was a fine performance with historical significance and a great history lesson.  Loved this t-shirt about asking the locals for directions.

The Manteo Waterfront Ares is lovely.  The Waterfront had been renovated and restored.  They took out an ugly old oil tank and where that was put in an picturesque replica of the destroyed Manteo Marsh Light House. 
They added a mile long boardwalk with play grounds and parks and the sailing club.   A replica of the Elizabeth, that brought the lost colonists, sits across from the Marina in Festival Park. 
There is a cross to the rebuilding after the Revolutionary War.
Lots of local art and shops and homemade ice cream.  There are lots of activities including using jet packs and jet boards on the water.  We came back from lunch to see this jet boarder high above the water.  It looked amazing.  We did not try it.

Today was busy as we took a cab to the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kill Devil Hills.  A couple of weeks ago, I finished David McCullough's book on the Wright Brothers.  The Memorial is set up so you see where the first four flights took off and how little they actually flew. 
The longest is only about a football field.  The Memorial sits atop the dune where they learned to steer and glide.
It is striking that happened in 1903 and that the world adopted flight so quickly.  By 1927, Lindburgh flew across the Atlantic and  today, Christine makes sure the astronauts continue to circle the earth on the Space Station!  John had his picture taken with Orville and Wilbur.

Back in Manteo, we took a tour of the Outer Banks Distillery.  It is a relatively new small batch distiller of Kill Devil Rum. The owners were so enthusiastic!    Their motto is "From Molasses to Glasses".
The tour started with huge tubs of molasses.  Of course, it is all chemistry and John was comfortable among the vats and distillation tubes. 
My favorite part was the molasses and rum tasting.  This being North Carolina, they can't sell you a bottle though because spirits must go through the ABC stores.  I will buy a bottle when we get back to Wilmington.

We plan to head back south tomorrow.  So much more to see.

Friday, July 24, 2015

John Tyrell has visited Tyrrell County NC

It has been an interesting couple of days.  We went through the Pungo Alligator River Canal.  This was the last portion of the ICW to be finished in 1929.  This canal is straight as an arrow.  I am amazed at the work down in the 1920's.  An interesting read, is Bill Bryson's One Summer 1927.  Lindburgh flew across the Atlantic, Babe Ruth was a star, so much building was happening in the country.  The guides say to be on the look out for black bears and deer but is was a very hot day and I think the animals had the good sense to stay in the woods.

We entered the Alligator River, still no bears, but very scenic.  We crossed under the Alligator River Bridge which led into the Albemarle Sound.  We heard of a lovely anchorage just off the ICW at this point.  It was lovely.  We dropped anchor and fired up the summer kitchen for some margarita sausages and quinoa.  The sunset was stunning.  We turned on the anchor light and slept soundly snuggled in this cove, unaccompanied by other boats.

We awoke in the morning to the site of millions, yes I said millions, of Fuzzy Bills aboard our boat.  Fuzzy Bills are a type of midge bug found in waterway areas.  They are about 3/8 inch long.  They do not bite, thank heavens!  But look like mosquito.   Thanks to NC State where I found out more about them.  Neither John nor I had heard or seen anything like them.   They were everywhere!   

We wanted to keep them out of the main cabin and the fly bridge as much as we could.  They were unfazed by bug spray.  John pulled the anchor and we ran the boat from the cabin until we entered back into Albermarle Sound where there were so many crab pots we had to run from the fly bridge to see them all.  We took turns driving on the fly bridge and staying bug free in the cabin.  We found that water could bring them down and they would leave little greenish black marks everywhere.  If they were in the sun, they would die and leave the same mark.  If you squished them, the same mark.  Ugh!!! Yuck!!!  Disgusting!!!  

We headed for Columbia, NC.  Columbia is the county seat of Tyrrell County.  And Tyrrell is pronounced the same way we say our name.   Tyrrell County had the most interesting cast of characters.  We called to the own dock when we were maybe 10 minutes out to ask for someone to grab the lines.  The town manager said it was 11:50 and he and everyone else would be going to lunch, we could dock and pay the $3.00 fee after their lunch.  Can't beat the price for free docking and electricity.  We got settled and walked up Main Street.   We passed the Tyrrell County Court House with a statue honoring the Civil War dead.  Then we headed to the library to look at their genealogy section.  There were 3 librarians on duty.  When we told them we were there to learn about how Tyrrell County got its name, and our name was Tyrell, Linda jumped right up and took us to the local history room.  As it turned out Sir John Tyrrell of Essex, England  bought a proprietorship in the early 1700's and an investment, but never visited the area.  So John became the first John Tyrell to visit Tyrrell County.  We signed the register to make our mark on Tyrrell County.  Linda pointed us to the Winery where they make wine with grapes grown in Tyrrell County.  We tasted and bought some. 

In the morning, we headed to Cypress Cove Marina for fuel and a pump out.  Mary Lou was so kind.  She brought out a bottle of Tyrrell wine a basket of goodies, and puzzle book to remember our visit to Tyrrell County.  We sure will.

We headed back across Albemarle Sound.  In the western portions, it was VERY choppy.  I drove the boat to keep my tummy at ease.  Up the Coinjock river, to the famous Coinjock Marina and Restaurant.  They are known far and wide for their prime rib.  I can attest that it was well worth the effort to get here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I am melting

We are in the throes of a heat wave!   Temperatures in the high 90's and humid.  Heat indices are in the 105 range.  John and I kept refilling each other's water bottles and encouraging each other to drink more water.    Very little breeze on the boat despite our path across two sounds.   We started our day crossing the mouth of the Neuse River.  Some breeze here, so it was understandable that so many sailboats call this area home.  The Neuse is very wide, much wider than the Cape Fear River back home in Wilmington.   It was fun to use the "go to" function on the Raymarine for the first time.    We headed into Goose Creek.  We saw this beautiful sailboat heading south.

The pine forests in NC are impressive and for today's journey we saw pine forests that led to pine forests.  So stunning outlining the water.

Give me an A for effort because I keep trying to get pictures of dolphins but mostly get pictures of water where dolphins used to be.  This was a pod of several dolphins.  I got the one on the left but if you use your imagination you can see where the others disturbed the water going back down.

We crossed the Pamlico River with some light chop but not much breeze.  The day kept getting hotter.  We choose a marina to dock for the night purely on the fact that it had a pool and the ones closer to town did not.  So we pulled into Dowry Creek Marina, got the electrical hooked up, started the air conditioning, and headed for the pool.   We were so hot and so was the pool.  The water temperature was 88 degrees and they were trying to add cold water.  A bit more refreshed, we headed to the boat to the sound of thunder.  And it poured.  But it helped to cool things off some.  So we had pork steaks and beans for supper.  

I sleep very well on a boat.  I think it is the gentle swaying but I will go to bed early tonight.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Heading North from Wilmington July 19

We've been making changes to the Hydrophilic, working on this and that and finding out some things we just didn't know.  So now with the new anchor and the generator working, we are ready to head a little north.  It was odd to go past our home in The Tides.  Our marina looks great. 
The Tides- Our home port

So much to see on this trip so far.  On shore just after Wrightsville, you can see a giraffe at one home and next door is a silver Poseidon. 

At Surf City swing bridge, we had a short wait.  Apparently, a few hours before a barge had crashed into the wooden fenders under the bridge.  The water was full of debris.  Thankfully, no one was hurt!  The water was full of wooden debris and there were safety officers in boats alerting everyone to the jetsam in the water.  We were the first vessel allowed to go through the bridge after it had been inspected.  

Some miles later, we passed the barge that had caused the damage.  Note the some of the Surf City Bridge fenders were still on board.

It was a very hot day, in the high 90's so we were happy to find a good anchorage right on the edge of Camp Lejeune.  While we could not get internet service, we did have lots of other good news.  The generator works well and is not too loud.  The air
conditioning works well off the generator.  The new anchor, a 55 lb. Rocna, holds very well.  We did not worry about dragging as all.

John had the coffee made early this morning.  We pulled anchor and headed back out on the ICW.  On this section of the ICW, you are within the confines of Camp Lejeune Marine Base.  Where else will you have a sign warning that you may be in the line of fire or see bombed out tanks?   HOO RAH. 

We crossed Bogue Inlet, and passed Morehead City.  There were six barges rafted together and each was filled with North Carolina pine trees.  I didn't get the picture but that is OK because the scent on the water was amazing!  They say that sailors can smell land, I'll bet they can. 

Adams Creek was really very nice, not a creek at all but a fairly straight waterway with plenty of deep water.  It enters the Neuse River near Oriental, NC.  Oriental is known as a sailing community with more sailboats than people.  Tonight, they one more trawler among the many masts.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Hydrophilic arrives in Wilmington, first 800 miles completed.

The last leg of taking the Hydrophilic to her home port of Wilmington was completed today.  If we think of Fort Lauderdale as the start of the loop, we have completed 800 miles or about 1/8th of the Great Loop.  If we consider Wilmington the start, we are at mile 0.

It was fun to be in home waters.  The view from the Hydrophilic's flybridge is so different from our sailboat's deck.  Oak Island has been in the news for three shark bites in the last week.  Two have made national news.  So this is a picture of Oak Island Light.

Oak Island Light
Southport is one of our favorite towns to visit by boat or by ferry and car. 
While we didn't stop, we waved fondly at the Provision Company as we had just finished lunch.
Southport with Provisions to the right
The Southport waterfront sports a water tower that you can see on TV, if you are a fan of "Under the Dome"
Finally, we pulled into Joyner Marina.  The Hydrophilic does not fit in The Tides marina, so we chose Joyner because is it an easy drive right over Snow's cut.  Snug in her slip, we hooked up to the electricity and put on the air conditioning.  There is a heat wave in the southeast and the temperatures were in the high 90's.  Arriving home by cab, our thermometer read 100.4!!! 
What now?  We have a long list of items that we would like to get ready now to do the loop.  We will probably have another shake down cruise to try some of those changes too.  More to come on Voyages of the Hydrophilic.

Monday, June 15, 2015

Reflections on the Waccamaw

Reflections on  the Waccamaw River
Shortly after Georgetown, we headed into a section of the ICW that includes the Waccamaw River.  Although it is tidal, because of the trees and the run off from upstream, this section has "black water".  The reflections in the water are like paintings.
Waccamaw Reflections
The water was so calm and peaceful, we could easily see this alligator moving across the river.  Can you find the alligator too?
Can you see the alligator?
 South Carolina, there are a few remaining swing bridges.   They are slowly being replaced with 65 foot spans that will not require bridge tenders.  We passed through two of them today.  Here is a picture of the Socastee Swing Bridge closed and opening.
Socastee Swing Bridge Closed
Socastee Swing Bridge Opening
We arrived in North Myrtle Beach for the evening.  The turtles were sunning themselves on the shore.

At the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club, we met the nicest group of people from around the world (US and Australia) who shared their experiences with us.  We exchanged our first boat cards with Bud and Elaine aboard Diamond Dust.

More Boat Names
Slo M'Ocean
Finally Floating
Called Aweigh
Knot to Worry
Second Chapter
Heaven on Water