Saturday October 16 – Thursday October 28
OMG 2 weeks worth of updates. Here is a very condensed version of our travels. We have a great sail down from the cove near Deltavile to Hampton Virginia. With following seas and 20-25 knot winds on the aft quarter, we do 8-9 knots with just the genoa, on a cold 55° clear blue sky day. We are docked at Bluewater Marina by 12:30. Our cruising buddy Wild Thing goes on to Norfolk to pick up his wife returning from her trip home. Steve's son Sean & girlfriend Holly are driving down from DC to visit us for the weekend. We have a wonderful visit, playing Blokus & Corn Hole. Sean's friend Javier who lives nearby stops by to visit also. We make plans for a day sail Sunday morning and Javier invites us to the family beach house for an afternoon BBQ. We have a perfect day for a sail along the beach, sailing by Javier's beach house. On the way back we have several dolphin sightings, our first since coming up to the Chesapeake. Taking advantage of having access to a car, Sean takes us to the grocery store to get provisions. Quick tour of “downtown” Hampton and a short drive to Buckroe Beach where we enjoy a beautiful evening and a great dinner, and another game of corn hole at Javier's. Sean & Holly drop us back at the boat and head out for their 3 hour trip home. Monday we are underway by 10 passing by Portsmouth & Norfolk on our way down the ICW to Great Bridge where we planned to meet back up with Jan & George on Wild Thing. This time of year there are a LOT of boats heading South, we have a lot of bridges to navigate between Norfolk & Great Bridge. The one 65' bridge we clear without any problems some of the other bridges open on the ½ hour so you wind up with several boats waiting in a small area for the bridge to open. We also have a lock to go through, this hour we go through with 11 other boats heading south.. After the lock we go through Great Bridge, get fuel & tie up at the free dock overnight where we meet back up with Wild Thing. Our plans for an early departure to get to an anchorage down the ICW in North Carolina are delayed as Steve discovers he left his credit card at the restaurant the night before. Jan & George will travel south slowly for us to catch up after Steve gets his credit card. Three hours later we are under way, and by 1:30 we are approaching the Pungo Ferry Bridge that George had reported the water being high. We can see the gauge is only showing 64', we have to back up and pull over. Steve has to go up the mast to remove all the wind instruments on top. Make it under the bridge pull over again, Steve goes back up the mast to reassemble things before proceeding south. It is now late afternoon and we are concerned about making our planed anchorage past Coinjock. We are in communication with Wild Thing and since they have been traveling slow we catch up to them in Coinjock where there is another 65' bridge that they report the water being high also. So since it is late in the day we turn around and dock at Midway Marina for the night. Next morning Steve goes up & removes instruments again we go under bridge and anchor to put things back. Ocean Star & Wild Thing are on our way south to Manteo. We are anchored off Manteo after TRYING to fit into one of the free slips. I get to have Lobster for the first time on board Wild Thing. Thursday day of rest & visiting town. Friday we depart at 8 am to take advantage of low tide and clear the 65' bridge w/o having to take anything down. Beautiful sunny cool day motor sailing across Pamlico Sound since we have a LONG way to go we keep the boats at 8-9+ knots. Anchored as the sun is setting & full moon rising in Bay River. Saturday we leave anchorage at 10 timing our arrival at the next 65' bridge for low tide. Our anchorage was near where the dismal swamp ICW route lets out so all morning we see boats streaming south. With the full moon the tides are more extreme and we have 67' clearance at the bridge. We are docked at Town Creek Marina by 4. I drop the boat hook overboard and it sinks, try to use dinghy anchor to scrape the bottom to find the boat hook & the knot holding the rope to the anchor comes undone and we loose the anchor, not a good day. Friends of Jan & George come to visit, Sharon & Jake who live near by. Drinks on Wild Thing before we all go out to a great dinner at the marina restaurant. Sunday a visit to town after a diver comes out to find the boat hook & anchor and since we are paying Sunday “overtime” have him change the zinc on the prop also. Late Sunday we leave the marina and go about a 100 yards out to anchor. Off shore weather forecast is not favorable, so we plan another trip down the ICW. Monday 10/25 a 7:15 departure and as we approach the Beaufort / Morehead City 65' bridge at low tide, Wild Thing approaches first. NOT good news only showing a 63' clearance. Ocean Star turns around to go back by our anchorage to the bascule bridge that started to open at 8, which we miss but get through the 8:30 opening. Wild Thing is now ahead of us acting as reconnaissance on depth & bridge height. We get bad news the tide even though it is going out is still too high at the next bridge to Atlantic Beach. So we drop the anchor & wait by the bridge for 3 hours until the tide is low enough for us to get under. As we wait a rain storm passes over so we get to stay nice & dry down below. By this time we have to revise plans on our next anchorage to one closer that we can make before dark. The 3rd bridge of the day the water is low so we make it under. Shortly after we turn off the ICW by the town of Swansboro & are anchored by 6 near Wild Thing, just before the next rain storm. Tuesday 10 am departure from anchorage after Steve & George work on the main sail on Wild Thing. We make the 11:30 opening of the Onslow swing bridge, by 1 we are at the next 65' bridge and it is showing a 66' clearance but we scrape the VHF antenna. Just goes to show that measurements are not always accurate. We have to wait 35 minutes at the next swing bridge that only opens on the hour. By 4 pm we are anchored just off a channel running along Topsail Island between the ICW. We can feel the sea spray and hear the waves crashing on the other side of the Island. Our travels down the ICW have been challenging with the bridges but it is truly a beautiful part of the country and we are glad for the opportunity to see it. Wednesday we have an early departure to catch the opening of two bridges and we time them just right. We are anchored in Banks Channel just off Wrightsville Beach by noon. Enjoy the afternoon on shore with a nice walk thru part of town and along the beach. Back to the boats for a while, before going back to shore for dinner. Thursday will be another early but short day. We are awaken at 5 am to a rain storm, wondering how that will affect our 7 am departure. We need to leave at 7 to make it to the Carolina Beach 65' bridge at low tide at 9 am. Luckily the rain lets up as we are leaving with just a few sprinkles to start with and we make it under the bridge. The sun and clouds compete with each other all day as another front passes off to the south of us. Wild Thing waited for better weather with a later departure as they do not have to hit the bridge at low tide. We have a couple of anchorages picked out but as we get to them and the forecast of a front coming in during the night they do not look very secure. We check with Bald Head Marina and they can get us in. We head over talking to Wild Thing letting them know about the change in plans. We are docked at 12:30 and it works out great as this marina is right off the inlet to go off shore for our next days passage. Wild Thing arrives around 2 and I have decided that the best way to see the Island in such a short time is to rent a golf cart. So by 2:45 we are on our way to cruise the Island which is not very big so we are done by 4:30. Dinner at marina restaurant making it an early night as Friday 10/29 will be a predawn departure to make it out the channel at slack tide for our passage down to Georgetown South Carolina.