Thursday, November 3, 2011

Happy Birthday Rick! Mile Marker 346

October 28- November 3, 2011
We left Beaufort but it was a very tense day. We circled for an hour in front of the Atlantic Beach/Moorehead City Bridge because the water was too high and choppy for safe passage. We spent a rainy day bouncing on the ICW with plans to anchor out, but two attempted coves later, we ended up at Dudley’s Marina for the night. There we met John on Star4, hailing from Montreal. We traveled the next few days together, plotting those 65 foot bridges.
In the morning we maneuvered a tall bridge and then a swing bridge; again the day was blustery and we put all of our foul weather gear to good use. We knew in advance that we would need to anchor in Mile Hammock Bay for a few hours in order to clear the next bridge, a great plan if there are no winds. But since it is the season of 35 knot winds, our anchor dragged and our generator wouldn’t start. By noon Rick found a one slip marina at New River Marina and we pulled up our anchor and headed down the ICW for safety and warmth. We learned later that four other boats were in there that night, all dragging into each other. Good call, Rick.

Staying at New River was a cultural experience! There is an RV park at the water’s edge and the other two slips are reserved for the gas dock and sand dredge, not exactly Osprey Point. Well, the good people of North Carolina helped us dock in those strong winds and invited us to dinner- they had been roasting a pig all day. We learned it is not a pig roast but a pig pickin’ party, complete with homemade barbeque sauce, hush puppies and birthday cake. We froze around the bon fire but took in what the locals had to say.

We were off on Sunday before first light to complete a plan with John. Good planning prevailed; we cleared all of our bridges safely. We went into Seapath Yacht Club at Wrightsville Beach for three days, got some rest and networked on our generator problem. John moved on to keep a schedule. We’ll see him again, we see everyone again!
On Wednesday morning, we left Seapath for Southport, home of St. James Plantation and Marina. Bridges were not a problem today and seas were calm until we hit the Cape Fear River, aptly named by the way. We had a following sea until we got back into the ICW. It felt great to tie up early. Happy Birthday, Rick! We celebrated quietly and prepared for the morning when we have a fifty mile day ahead of us.

Lest you think we are discouraged by winds, tides, bridges and repairs, we are not in the least. First of all, Rick sets the tone that this is an adventure, not an ordeal. He always says boating is repairs in exotic places. Second, every day’s scenery is better than the last. Even on our worst days in the past month we have traveled with dolphins and pelicans, and those shrimp! This morning we were treated to a flock of terns whose wings sparkled like snowflakes in the sun. We have heard people say the Intercoastal Waterway is boring, but we think it has been absolutely gorgeous. Sunrise and sunset on the ICW and the ocean are breathtaking and the evolving architecture fascinates us both. We wouldn’t miss this for anything, and besides, this is a journey, not a destination.