Onward’s Cruise Journal 2009
Cruise on the East Coast

May 2009

1 May 09 Friday, Walburg Creek to Beaufort SC

  • Onward departed Walburg Ck at first light. I followed my waypoints out of St. Catherine's Sound, honored R2 to Port and then followed my Navionics chart sounding to avoid a shallow ridge, then headed ENE. I saw a minimum of 9’ on this route. It was a lot less traumatic than my entrance yesterday. It really emphasizes the mercurial nature of inlets along the shores of NC, SC, GA with their continually shifting sand bars. Only the inlets used by heavy shipping are truly maintained well and are reliable in all weather. A case in point, the Port Royal Sound inlet was wide, deep, and extremely well marked - a piece of cake. I entered and then headed up the ICW to Beaufort, SC, where I found Merlin at anchor. This has been last offshore leg of the journey back to the Chesapeake.
  • “Taste of Beaufort”, a waterside festival of food and entertainment began that evening. With Ed & Tina I had a walking buffet dinner - sampling foods being sold by many local restaurants.
2 May 09 Saturday, Beaufort SC
  • With Ed & Tina i walked around Beaufort, a really pretty town. We did more “Taste of Beaufort” for lunch. After a rest aboard Onward, I joined Ed & Tina to watch the spectacular win of Mine That Bird at the Kentucky Derby. Wow!
3 May 09 Sunday, Beaufort to Charleston
  • Off early in the morning and into a berth at the Charleston City Marina’s Megadock before sunset. Of course, a 15 kt+ cross wind came up as I attempted to pull into the pier and that plus the current made it a real challenge. That evening a front came through with 25-30 kt winds. It was good to be berthed.
4 May 09 Monday, Charleston
  • The day was spent taking advantage of a berth with running water to clean the boat. This is the first time I had been able to wash down Onward since leaving Stuart FL last Dec. That kept me busy until late afternoon when we took the marina shuttle in to Harris Teeter to do some food shopping - and sensory overload after so much time in the Bahamas.
  • John Pellegrino responded to an email I had sent to say hello by calling me. It turned out he and Joann were in Myrtle Beach for a couple of days of vacation. They drove down to visit and we had a great dinner at a seafood restaurant in Charleston.
5 May 09 Tuesday, Charleston
  • I spend the day with Ed & Tina walking around Charleston and visiting historical homes.
6 May 09 Wednesday, Charleston to Georgetown, SC
  • Merlin and Onward timed our departures to make the first opening of the Ben Sawyer bridge. We then made great time as we arrived at Georgetown before sunset. I anchored near where I had anchored in Nov 08 while Merlin took a slip at the marina. The winds had picked up to 20 kts + so I decided a quiet night aboard was in order.
7 May 09 Thursday, Georgetown to Southport
  • Another early morning departure and a good day of travel got us to Southport where we took berths at the South Harbor Village Marina for the night. Onward needed fuel and I got that done right away. We found a great Italian restaurant in the marina village. With a name like “Joseph’s” it had to be good and the veal parm was great!
8 May 09 Friday, Southport to Mile Hammock Bay
  • The trip N was uneventful until we got to the inlet. At marker 42A, in the center of the channel at mid tide, Onward bounced over two bumps. I alerted Merlin who was following and Ed tried to go further to the G side. It wasn’t far enough because Merlin got stood on its nose as it hit and plowed through another soft bump. This was the worst problem we saw on the ICW this year.
9 May 09 Saturday, Mile Hammock Bay to Bonner Bay
  • We left the anchorage early - but not early enough and had to crawl for a while to await the next opening of a bridge. A good E - SE wind came up and we motor sailed N at a good clip.
10 May 09 Sunday, Bonner Bay to Pungo R
  • I took a break from my normal early rising schedule and had a relaxing morning. Merlin planned to stop at Bellhaven to pick up a couple who were going to come along on the next leg N. We made a leisurely trip to Bellhaven and anchored in the river while Merlin took the dinghy in to get their friends. We left immediately and Merlin went S for a bit to give their friends a bit of experience as light winds had finally come up. I decided to sail Onward N in the light winds. As the afternoon progressed the winds increased and we had a great sail to the mouth of the Pungo-Alligator Canal where we anchored for the night. Soon after we anchored, a southbound boat pulled in and anchored. It turned out to be a friend of Ed and Tina, Bill Blalock, who was heading off to FL. We all gathered on Merlin for dinner.
11 May 09 Monday, Pungo R to Durant I
  • The weather Gods extracted payback for the wonderful weather yesterday. I awoke to a cold grey morning and it went downhill as the overcast deepened and winds increased to > 20 kts from the N - NE. Onward moved through the Alligator-Pungo River Canal where two of the most problematic fixed bridges on the ICW are located. Although supposedly rated at 65’, they always bend over my VHF antenna.
  • The warm weather cruise is over. Today was the first time I needed long sleeves, long pants, sox and a fleece vest. All in all, I liked the Bahamas better!
  • The winds had increased to the point where the Alligator River swing bridge might have to close due to high winds. Onward and Merlin anchored just off the N end of the canal to wait for the weather to improve. Merlin was able to get a slip at the Alligator River Marina so they could drop off their guests so they decided to move. I decided to move also to get through the bridge and then find an anchorage on the NE shore to wait out the bad weather. With these wind it would be crazy and painful to try to cross Albemaro Sound today.
  • It was a challenge to get to the bridge in the winds gusting to > 25 kts; a challenge for the bridge keeper to open the bridge in a lull in the winds; and a challenge to move Onward through the narrow opening with the gusting cross winds. After safely making the passage, Merlin turned off for the marina where they got the last spot available and Onward continued on to anchor in the lee of Durant I at the mouth of the river. When I finally got within a 1/2 mile of the shore of the island, the winds abated and the seas calmed down and I anchored. It was a quiet night and I slept well.
12 May 09 Tuesday, Durant I to Norfolk
  • The hight winds and seas were gone. Merlin surprised me at 0600 by saying they had taken advantage of the calm to leave the marina early. I was planning on a late, lazy morning so I had to scramble to get underway quickly. I caught up with Merlin as they navigated the narrow channel at Long Shoal Pt. I had touched bottom on my last 2 passages through here because they have dredged and realigned the channel but the navigation marks and charts have not captured the changes well. I left waypoints after i got through last fall and they proved good to go through without problems today. We made good time, hit the critical bridges before they closed for rush hour traffic, locked through the canal without issue, and sailed into Norfolk harbor just before sunset. The infamous Jordan road lift bridge has been disassembled and will not be reinstalled. Great! Merlin and Onward anchored off Hospital Point at ICW mile marker zero.
  • Ed and Tina came over by dinghy for an end of cruise celebration. At the time it was not clear if we would continue on together Wednesday or separate here. I made pizza and it was fantastic. We enjoyed it with cabernet savignon. Deish!
13 May 09 Wednesday, Norfolk to Mill Creek, Solomons, MD
  • Merlin & Onward made an early morning start to move up the bay with the outgoing tide in Norfolk harbor. The promised 10 kt E winds did not materialize in the morning but after noon 15-22 kt winds from the S filled in. We made better than 7 kts motorsailing under genoa alone all afternoon so we decided to keep in and put into Solomons MD a 99 nm day. The autopilot did the sailing and I baked a batch of pepper biscotti - the first time i’ve used the oven in gimbal mode underway. We arrived just after sunset and had the anchors down before it was dark. Another end-of- cruise celebration - this time aboard Merlin with a great lamb roast and more wine, of course.

14 May 09 Thursday, Solomons, MD
  • I took a day off to recover from the fast trip up the ICW and to wait our better weather for the final leg to Baltimore. I walked around Solomons with Ed and Tina and visited the Calvert Maritime Museum - which was quite good.
15 May 09 Friday, Solomons to Baltimore
  • Merlin and Onward were off at 0615 to get ahead of potential thunderstorms. The storms didn’t materialize - but neither did any wind. I took a slip at the Anchorage Marina in Baltimore for a month.
  • The cruise to the Bahamas started here 25 Oct 08 and after 3800 nautical miles came to a successful conclusion.
16-31 May 09 Baltimore
  • Time to catch up on family, friends, boat tasks, healthcare, and to prepare for the next cruise: Baltimore to Rhode Island at the end of June.
  • Laura & Kurlen have sold their home here as of 18 May and will rent it back until the movers come on 26 June. Then they will move aboard Onward and cruise with me up the coast to RI to visit with my family there. So my major task will be to get Onward cleaned up and ready for guests by 26 June.
  • I am putting my Journal writing on hold while I vegetate here.