Onward’s Cruise Journal 2014
New England to the Chesapeake Cruise

Updated: 9 November 2014

October 2014

1 Oct 14; Wednesday; Baltimore

  • It was time to fix the forward head. I put the new motor shaft pulley and cog belt on the flush / macerator unit. The old pulley came off in 2 pieces as it had fractured at the corners of the flat that mates to the motor shaft. That was the easy part. Unfortunately I wasn't clever enough to take a photo of the head components before I took them all apart to do the repair. As that was many days ago, I had to reinvent the process with many failed experiments along the way. But I finally got it done. Lo and Behold, an impeller that actually turns when the motor turns makes a lot of difference! I then managed to get the whole thing back together and working and the mess cleaned up.
  • Following the head success, I decided today was the day to tackle the HVAC problem too. Last year at this time, I had a serviceman check the refrigerant for the 16 K-BTU main unit. There turned to be a leak that the serviceman did not think worth repairing due to cost compared to a new unit. I didn't have the energy to deal with it so I simply used the 12 K-BTU unit in the stern stateroom those 1 or 2 times I needed heat or cooling in the last year. This is one of the benefits of following the 75º thermocline. But I decided I was tired of hauling around dead weight (probably was costing me 0.002 knots!). I first had to find the top of the forward berth and then open it up and move all the stuff to get to the HVAC. I soon got it out and off the boat.
  • Then, I had a brilliant idea. I never had to use both HVAC units as the larger unit heated and cooled the whole boat. So, I decided to move the 12-K unit in the stern stateroom to replace the 16-K unit removed from the forward berth. Great idea. What a pain to execute. First I had to call the manufacturer, Mermaid, to learn how to rotate the output air duct from top to back. I then used the non-working 16-K unit to see how it was done. By the time this was done it was time to call it quits.
  • While I was below doing various boat chores, Peg quietly disappeared on deck and worked on cleaning the deck, lifelines, cockpit, etc. etc. etc. I could hear many people walking by commending her for her diligence and the sparkling results. Meanwhile I toiled in the toilet feeling guilty.

2 Oct 14; Thursday; Baltimore
  • It took me three times as long to remove the 12 K unit because of the cramped space and because I wanted it to keep on working. Then I spend ~ 2 hrs rotating the vent 90º to fit the new location.
  • While I have been wrestling in Onward's bowels, Peg has been quietly organizing and cleaning stuff (and staying away from the sometimes-onary Chief Engineer). How amazing it is to have a wonderful woman who loves this lifestyle as much as I and just dives in to get things done. It makes me feel inadequate (Hey, don't smirk!). It also makes me realize how much I have missed being alone in previous years and how fortunate all my couple-friends are to be able to share this lifestyle with another aboard their boats.
  • At that point i physically crashed so I called quits, showered and went out for dinner with Peg.

3 Oct 14; Friday; Baltimore
  • Peg and I headed off to the Dermatologist to get reports for the biopsies they did during our annual checkups. In the intervening week, I gave a lot more thought to the need to take more precautions against injurious UV. I've been fortunate that my "southern-european" heritage has given me good natural protection. However, I work fairly hard to reduce my exposure given my lifestyle. This week, I realized that simply surviving as long as I have means that I should take more precautions. Peg with her Irish heritage is more sensitive than I so we will have to work to remind each other. The good news was that we both got good news on the biopsies. God is good.
  • We celebrated with a Chipotle lunch. Peg is slowly learning to like their burrito bowls. Then were were off to Wegmans for some food shopping. It was much easier on us after having lunch to satiate our hunger. Somehow the few things turned into the many.
  • I had been looking all over to find a source of cheap (< $3) LED flashlights for me to spread around Onward so there is one available everywhere. Last year I had found a couple of sources but wasn't clever enough to buy more than two which I lost overboard in the last year. I finally settled on 2 $6 CREE LED flashlights from Amazon. But today Wegmans had a package of 4 for $9. Neat, so I bought them too. Onward is simply oozing with LED lights (If I had an analyst, I might need to talk about this.)
  • Next it was Lowes to get some shelving so I can adapt the space formerly occupied by the HVAC in the stern stateroom. Part of the effort to find more volume for Peg's things.
  • We capped the day with a stop at Sam's Club. That done, we arrived back at the marina to find the parking lot filling up as folks began to appear for the Fells Point Festival. We managed to find a parking space and then I went to get a dock cart for the huge pile of stuff we had only to find they were all gone. I saw a cart just sitting on the dock next to the powerboat on Onward's starboard side. There was a small group of people sitting there having pre-Festival drinks and talking. I walked down and asked if I could use the dock cart for a few minutes and return it to them. I was told to go look on the other side of the office building for one. I walked back ashore and did that but there were no carts. So, I returned to my "neighbor" and asked again if I could use the cart which was just sitting there with a few things in it for a few minutes. I was again told no. Once more, I asked nicely explaining there were no other carts available and I would return it to them. While I was just standing there talking, a woman screamed at me not to touch her stuff. I looked up dumbfounded and she then said in a very loud and nasty put-upon voice that she would come down from the boat and move the contents herself. At that I said I wouldn't want to so inconvenience her and walked off. Peg and I then carried the bags of the stuff that needed to get into the freezer. When I returned to the car for another armload, I found a cart and completed the transfer. What an amazingly nasty interaction -- so unusual in my boating experience.

4 Oct 14; Saturday; Baltimore
  • I spent the morning and the early afternoon working on the HVAC installation under the forward berth.
  • In late afternoon, after a shower, a nap, and ibuprofen, we headed off to Potomac to have dinner at John Pellegrino's home. He invited John and Vivian Eicke to join us. John is a great cook but this dinner proved him to be a fantastic cook. Appetizers included prosciutto wrapped asparagus. The filets were perfectly grilled for dinner with baked lasagna cups. For desert, I again got to watch him whip up his signature blueberry cobbler. Wow what a meal. I will have to get him to sail aboard Onward again but this time as the chef!

Chef JMP
Chef John

  • We had a great time talking and it was interesting to see the thoughts of both Johns turning toward retirement. At the same time, I got to feel a bit guilty at being retired on the sidelines while these two carried on providing the advanced technology that enables the Army to keep America safe and strong.

5 Oct 14; Sunday; Baltimore

  • I completed the installation of the 1600 BTU HVAC unit and straightened up a bit in preparation for the next boat chore.
  • At ~ 1400 Peg and I took a walk on the cool but sunny day along the waterfront to Fells Point to participate in the annual Festival. Our walk was rewarded at the beer garden on the E end of the festival area. Our thirsts slackened, we headed off to find food. W finally settled on some authentic NC barbecue from one food truck and combined it with an order of Pad Thai from another. A delicious combo. We continued to explore the festival before

6 Oct 14; Monday; Baltimore
  • We were off to Annapolis for my ophthalmologist appointment. Things continued to look good eye wise (pun intended) with only an adjustment to contacts to be tried out. The appointment left me blurry-eyed so it was great to have Peg as chauffeur.
  • Ron and Linda Draper had arrived back from a vacation in SE Ireland so we gave them a call and then drove down for a visit. We just intended to make it a short hello but it transformed itself into a great cocktail hour and then a trip to Thursdays Restaurant for a great meal before we headed back to Baltimore.

7 Oct 14; Tuesday; Baltimore
  • I was expecting Lee to do an early morning pump out so I could work on the macerator pump rebuild but somehow Onward got dropped from the schedule. I managed to get it rescheduled for tomorrow morning.
  • With "free" time, I decided it was time to change the engine oil and filter. This went pretty quickly with little mess to clean up. Sometimes the Mechanic gets it right.
  • We took the afternoon off to pick up the macerator rebuild kit a West and run some other errands. We had a relaxing afternoon and evening topped of with a tasty spinach and cheese ravioli dinner.

8 Oct 14; Wednesday; Baltimore
  • Lee showed up early to do a pump out. This enabled me to flush out the line to the macerator pump so I could install the pump rebid kit. That done, I had no excuses left and I had to set to work on the repair.
  • I spent the morning finishing the cleanup from yesterday's fun and games while Peg did more cleaning of the cockpit canvas.
  • At 1430 we headed off to BWI where we met my great bud from grad school, Rick Capozza and his lovely wife Bobbi. They flew in from their home in Austin to spend time with family. Rick was my best-man and we had a great time together in grad school and somehow managed to get out PhD's. Bobbi reminded us that the last time we'd been able to get together was in 2003! Much too long a gap.
  • I led them in their rental car through the back roads from BWI to G&M Restaurant so they could have a taste of Chesapeake Bay crab cakes. I'd only been at G&M twice before and had not really got an appreciation of how extensive the restaurant and menu is. We were surprised how many people were there at 1600. In spite of the great menu variety and the plates of food that passed by us, we all ended up getting their signature crab cakes - held together by magic -- no fillers. Delish. We spent a long time talking over our dinners and desert and then a long time after that. Finally it was time to break it up but not until we hatched a plan for Rick and Bobbi to visit us in the Bahamas.

9 Oct 14; Thursday; Baltimore
  • I spent most of the day putting tools away from all the boat project work and cleaning up. While I slowly dug my way through the piles, Peg decided to bake an apple with raisins pie. This provided me with the motivation to keep going.
  • By late afternoon, the forward berth reappeared and Peg got busy installing the new mattress cover and pillow covers to go along with the new coverlet we bought in RI. Thus the guest quarters have been refurbished. Just in time for my longtime friend and colleague Ingo May to show up at 1630 to go out to dinner and spend the night.
  • We had a very relaxing cocktail hour catching up on our lives and filling Peg in on highlights since Ingo and I first met as Army Captains at the Ballistics Research Laboratory in 1970. With our appetites whetted and our outlooks mellowed, we headed off to O'Donnell Square. There we did a circuit of the park checking out all the restaurants -- something I love to do with guests to allow them to find the one that "speaks" to them at that time. Mammas on the Half Shell, spoke to Ingo and we had a delightful dinner wishing Jeri May could have joined us.
  • We capped the evening with a stop at Safeway to get some Java Chip ice-cream and then returned to Onward to have the pie Peg had baked for desert. Delish!

10 Oct 14; Friday; Baltimore
  • We were off early; Ingo to home in Kennet Square and us to Annapolis for the boat show. First, I had to drop off the genoa at Chesapeake Sailmakers to have them repair the torn seam and the sunshade. That done, I headed off to Whole Foods to get some pre-made appetizers for the C470 cocktail party tonight. I walked around the store twice without finding anything. Then I went to Sam's Club and couldn't find any. In all my many visits to these stores it always seemed I was stumbling over a wide variety of these goodies -- but not today. So, I took a page from Summersault's book and bought a large package of pre-cooked pulled pork and a tray of biscuits.
  • We managed to find a parking place in East Port, very remote, and then headed over to find Beckoning at the marina so we could drop off the food. Don Andrews we found in fine fiddle having recovered well from his melanoma surgery. The always vivacious Mary Kay made us coffee before we headed off to the show.
  • Peg and I just wandered the booths looking for those special things we needed. One of the annual traditions is to have a pit beef sandwich at the Fleet Reserve Club along with a cold draft to wash it down. Peg and i really enjoyed our lunch! Somehow, with our focus on getting ready to take Onward S to the Bahamas for the 8th season, we didn't really have much interest in looking at other boats.
  • While walking about, Peg ran into her son Gene's mother and father-in-laws, Judy & Bill Younger who had met me before in the Abacos!
  • Our shopping done, we returned to Beckoning where I got to grab a short nap in the cockpit.

11 Oct 14; Saturday; Baltimore
  • A cold rainy morning. Peg & I decided what size the window in the canvas connector should be. I went to talk to the canvas guy, Marvin Imhoff of Charm City Marine Canvas, and he confirmed my suspicions that the canvas was too wet to work on. We decided to make another try on Monday when it should be dry.
  • We worked on miscellaneous boat stuff for most of the day before cleaning up and heading out to Gibson Island for the Corinthians' end-of-cruise. We got there early enough to take a drive around the island. Over the years, I've sailed all around this exclusive island but have never before set foot on it. One of my late brother-in-law's partners lived here. I was surprised that the majority of the island's interior is pretty much natural forest. Homes range from modest in size to palatial. A beautiful place. Don & Mary Kay had to taken Beckoning back to their marina because of the lousy weather so they drove over. The club was comfortable and understated with great and friendly service. I had forgotten my phone in the car and as I walked out to fetch it, I found a stream of Corinthians coming in the front door -- so I played greeter and welcomed them to the club. It turns out one couple were GIYC members and they told me it was great to be greeted in their club by a guest! The club is preparing for a substantial upgrade -- I hope it doesn't loose its relaxed charm. The drinks and the buffet diner were wonderful -- only surpassed by the camaraderie of our Corinthian friends.

12 Oct 14; Sunday; Baltimore

13 Oct 14; Monday; Baltimore
  • The connector dried out and I brought it in early to so the window installation could start.

14 Oct 14; Tuesday; Baltimore
  • The connector was ready and Marvin did a beautiful job. He included a zipper to hold the canvas cover in place. Neat. Ater installing it, I can't believe I waited this long to have it done!

15 Oct 14; Wednesday; Baltimore

16 Oct 14; Thursday; Baltimore
  • After 1600, Ingo May arrived on the way back from his day at the Annapolis Sailboat Show. We celebrated his arrival with cocktail hour. We then walked off to ODonell Square

17 Oct 14; Friday; Baltimore to Mill Creek
  • Peg and I were off early to run a couple of errands, get gas for the rental car and return it. We were back at the marina by 1000 and were underway by 1100. It was hard to believe that we had passed a month in Baltimore. But we were so busy time just flew by.
  • It was a beautiful sunny day with a few clouds and we were able to motorsail down the bay as far as the Magothy before the wind shifted to the nose. We headed into Mill Creek and were soon ensconced at Chez Tudan's pier alongside . As soon as we were tied up, Dick appeared along with his new sidekick, Dory. What a beautiful puppy!
  • Ed and Tina Burke drove down from their country estate so we could go out to dinner. We had a few months to catch up on over cocktails and we were joined by Dick Tudan and Marge and Brian Callaghan.
  • Ed drove into Eastport and we decided to try the new Blackwood Hitch restaurant. We were rewarded with a great dinner there.

18 Oct 14; Saturday; Mill Creek
  • Peg and I had a lazy morning -- nice after a hectic week. Willoway departed to meet friends at Swan Creek and Onward was left to itself.
  • I used the opportunity to launch the dinghy and then relocate the eyebolt for the bow falls about 4.5" closer to the stern falls so the dinghy would nestle in the arch more easily. I also changed the way I use the ratchet straps to better secure the dinghy from torsional load while in seas.
  • The winds picked up to 15 - 20 from the NW and Peg & I enjoyed a quiet night while we watched a movie. During the night I had a dream about Beckoning getting stuck in the mud due to N wind induced low tide.

19 Oct 14; Sunday; Mill Creek to Whitehall Bay
  • At 0600 we got a text from the Beckonings that they were stuck in the mud! So they would not be able to sail to Solomons as we had planned this morning. About 0730, Peg and I decided to take advantage of the wind to sail to Solomons. I never bothered to look at the depth in the slip so I was astounded when Onward would not move even with full throttle in reverse! Then I looked at the depth and saw 5.7' vs the 6.2' Onward needs to float free!. So we gave up on the idea of sailing S today.
  • Willoway returned about mid day and we got to spend more time playing with Dory. It is wonderful to see how absolutely comfortable the puppy is on the boat -- a natural part of its environment.
  • About 1400, the wind had abated enough and the tide risen enough to allow Onward to break free of the mud. So, we departed and headed carefully through the chicane channel entrance. Once out we headed NE and anchored in the mouth of Whitehall Bay. We were joined by Bay Wind which with its 7.5' draft did not want to chance the channel until the wind let more water into the Bay. We spent a quiet night at anchor.

20 Oct 14; Monday; Whitehall Bay to Solomons
  • Beckoning managed to break out at about 0500 so Onward weighed anchor at 0730 and headed out to meet them as they came down the Bay. We met up at Thomas Point. The wind had clocked far enough that we could sail S. As I put out the mainsail, I got to use the new window in the connector to see its head as I operated the outhaul winch. I saw something funny that I took to be a fold in the leach about 4' below the head. However, once I had the sail fully deployed and began to trim the mainsheet, I discovered that funny fold was a small tear in the sail. DRAT! There was nothing else to do but reef the main down to just above the numbers. We motorsailed with the main this way until well below Chesapeake Beach when the wind shifted more to the nose and we had to furl it. We got to experience the Bay chop for the rest of the trip down to Solomons.
  • I put into the fuel pier and discovered there was only 10% of the fuel in the midship tank remaining (~5.5 gal). I did a better job that I'd intended in emptying the tanks so I could have all fresh fuel to start the run down the ICW. While I managed the 120 gal of diesel refueling, Peg topped up the water tank. Beckoning was already anchored up the creek and Onward soon joined her. Don & Mary Kay fetched us in their dinghy and we headed over to Stoney's where Ron and Linda Draper met us for a delicious dinner. As has become

21 Oct 14; Tuesday; Solomons to Fishing Bay
  • The forecast indicated this would be a good day to head S before a L moved through and made moving unpleasant on Wednesday and Thursday. We weighed anchor at 0700 and headed out for Fishing Bay which would provide a protected anchorage to wait out 2 days of forecast gales. We were able to motorsail S. Somewhere near the Rappahanoc, Beckoning received a VHF call from Raficki, a Corinthian boat from the Philadelphia Fleet. David & Ros Hall had seen Beckoning's AIS signal. They made plans to join us at Fishing Bay.
  • As we entered Fishing Bay, we got to watch a USCG helicopter hover for ~ 30 min practicing with a USCG Auxiliary boat.
  • We were anchored by 1600 and Peg and I invited our fellow Corinthians over for a pork loin roast. We enjoyed meeting Ros and David in person. A fine time was had by all.

22 Oct 14; Wednesday; Fishing Bay
  • We had a VHF conference ago 0645 and all agreed that in the growing winds, we might be able to get to Hampton but trying to find and deal with a marina at the end of the day would not be fun in the project 25 kt winds. So, we all hunkered down and enjoyed a day off.

23 Oct 14; Thursday; Fishing Bay
  • The forecast for today was worse than yesterday so there was no question of moving. About 0800, I noticed David launching his dinghy and wondered why. I soon got the answer when he hailed me on VHF to say that Ros, a nurse, thought she had appendicitis and they needed to get her ashore to a hospital. It appeared they were having problems with their dinghy so I quickly went over in Venture. The problem resolved when I got there so I just escorted them ashore and then sped ahead to the Fishing Bay Harbor Marina to find out where the best place was to get Ros ashore where an ambulance could fetch here once David called 911. The marina manager, Chris, was very helpful.
  • David later returned to the boat saying that Ros did have appendicitis and would be operated on at 1400. He fetched his drivers license. I fetched Don Andrew who went aboard Rafiki and we helped David move it to a slip. Enterprise fetched David from the marina and he went off to be with Ros.
  • We learned from Chris that he had a small company that was producing and selling oyster habitat that people could use to provide an optimal "reef-like" environment to raise oysters along their shoreline. Neat.

24 Oct 14; Friday; Fishing Bay to Hampton
  • The wind was still out of the NW but dropped to about 12 kts. true. We weighted anchor at 0700 and headed S. We were able to motorsail with genoas. Wave motion was easy until crossing the mouth of Mobjack Bay where the long stretch made for some larger waves coming in to starboard stern quarter. But it was a sunny day that made it almost pleasant.
  • David responded to my text and said Ros was fine after laproscopic removal of the appendix but not before it ruptured.
  • The seas eased as we approached Salt Ponds and the journey from there was calm. After turning into the channel to Hampton, I decided to check the depths reported on the chart after the first turn. With 2' of tide I saw 12' just to the N of the channel over a rather large area -- validating the chart. This would be a good place to anchor in the future anytime there is a wind with N in it as there is good protection by the land from W to E. I had anchored once before on the S side of this channel but I think the N side provides better protection as it is closer to shore.
  • The winds were light as we came up to Hampton Public Piers but I decided to nose into slip 16 at the N end. Once we were settled in, we cleaned up and headed off with the Beckonings to the Tap Room for lunch. This is one of my favorite places with 37 beers on tap! And the food is really good too. Ron Draper and I both lament: so many beers, so little time! We finished up the day with a walk to the Post Office and then a nap aboard. We didn't feel like dinner so we finished up the day with Don & Mary Kay coming over to watch a episode of Morse.

25 Oct 14; Saturday; Hampton
  • The replacement furling drum / bearings for the Schaefer 3100 furler was waiting for me at the marina office when we checked in yesterday. So with a nice clear and calm day, I decided to get the replacement job done. I made a 2 hr. job into a 5 hr job by not recognizing that the genoa needed to be off the furler before the job could be done. So, I managed to get the old furler drum / bearing off and the new one assembled when I realized I needed to take the genoa down so I could access and lengthen the turnbuckle to get the unit back together again. I also took the opportunity to ensign the forestay a bit. The job finally got done and I celebrated with a hot shower.
  • We launched Venture and Don & Mary Kay rode with us over to Blue Water marina where Peg's son and his family met us for dinner. At the marina, I got moved three times when trying to find a tie-up place. Instead of just tying up in a quite place they wanted Venture in a slip. Go figure. Peg enjoyed seeing her two grandsons and their parents to catch up since our visit in the Spring. Of course, grandma came prepared with a bag of goodies which the boys really enjoyed. Gene brought us mail that we had forwarded to them. Included was a set of duplex headphone intercoms to assist us in our deck work.

26 Oct 14; Sunday; Hampton to North River
  • Several days of good weather were forecast so Onward and Beckoning were off at 0700. Traveling on the weekend helped with a couple of bridges having no restrictions. We made the 1000 Great Bridge lock transit.
  • As we were approaching the lock, there had been a lot of radio chatter about a couple of "Searay-type" power boats, one white one blue that were waking every boat in their path. About an hour after exiting the lock, I happened to look back when what do I see, two "Searay-types" moving fast toward us. I asked Peg to take the wheel to steer into their wakes and I grabbed my iPhone to take video. As the white boat approached, the guy saw me standing on the port side deck making a video of his approach. He actually slowed a little bit - but not enough because the video captures me being thrown off balance and having to grab a hand rail. The blue boat just seemed to speed up for spite. Nice people.
  • We were about 2-3 min too late for the N Landing Bridge opening that the gaggle of power boats caught so we had the unpleasant job of trying to keep station in the very narrow area before the bridge. The rest of the day across Currituck Sound to Coinjock was beautiful and uneventful. Good. We passed through Coinjock at 1600 and found all the powerboats who had been in such a rush to get by us were all tied up and we passed them buy fully expecting them to pass us again in late morning tomorrow. Thus it goes on the ICW.
  • We anchored for the night just outside the channel past mile marker STM 60. Peg thawed out some of the chicken cacciatore that she had in the freezer and we invited the Beckonings over for dinner. After cocktails we sat down to eat only to discover that we'd been so busy chatting Peg and I forgot to cook the pasta. We remedied that and extended cocktail hour. The wait was worth it. Delish! We finished dinner off with cinnamon sticks that Beckoning had picked up back in Annapolis. A fitting end to a great first day on the ICW.

27 Oct 14; Monday; North River to Bellehaven
  • The forecast was for the next week to be fine weather. We weighed anchor at 0700. We were underway just before sunrise and had a pleasant transit of Albemarle Sound and the Alligator River and the canal. We made good time and were able to put into Bellehaven for the night. We anchored about 1530 and after fretting up we picked up the Beckonings and headed in to dinner at the great restaurant we discovered last year.

28 Oct 14; Tuesday; Bellehaven to River Dunes
  • We made a relaxed start at 0700 for the easy transit to River Dunes. As Onward passed the first red day mark in the river, I noticed a big trawler yacht heading out. I moved to the left of the centerline of the channel to give the yacht plenty of room to make its turn around the G mark. As it came by, a guy ran out on the bow and started gesticulating at us. At first, I thought it was someone I knew trying to say Hi. Then I realized he was angry with us for not giving him enough room -- and he vessel and more than 100' of channel width to work with. I guess this was another boat drive that doesn't look at his charts.
  • We put into the marina ~1330 and went first to the fuel dock for a pumpout and to take on diesel I topped off the Mid-Tank with 52 gal. As usual the wind piped up as I backed into the slip but it went perfectly. Once settled and powered, Peg and i just chilled for the afternoon.
  • With the Beckonings, we went to the Club House for dinner. The dinner buffet put on by the marina was wonderful. We got to have a table on the screened porch in front of the most realistic gas fireplace I've seen. A couple of tables of folks had such a good time over cocktails that they forgot about the appetites of fellow cruisers so the delicious roast beef & gravy was gone by the time they went to the buffet table. They got a special meal of fried chicken which looked great to us.
  • We were joined at our table by a young couple in their early 30s who had sold up the San Diego property they bought at the bottom of the market in 2008-9 and bought a boat to cruise on for while. Oh youth!

29 Oct 14; Wednesday; River Dunes
  • A lazy morning. While I worked on a boat task, Peg tackled laundry. The River Dunes facilities are outstanding, but one thing that would really improve them be to add an additional washer and drier. In late afternoon we took off with the Beckonings to do some shopping in town. After food shopping at the local food store, we stopped by the new Walmart Express that opened in the last year. We were astounded to see the variety of fresh and packaged food they had. It was a mixed feeling: happy to have greater variety; sad to anticipate the adverse effect on the small local food market.
  • We again took our table on the porch and enjoyed another delicious buffet dinner.

30 Oct 14; Thursday; River Dunes to Atlantic Beach Bridge
  • We got underway at sunrise. The journey was uneventful until we got to the Atlantic Beach Bridge where we found the height boards reading 62.5'. What is is? For years this bridge was never a problem and now for the last 3 years, Onward seems to encounter very low clearance heights. Both boats anchored to wait for high tide to pass and the ebb to begin. It wasn't until 1600 that the water level had dropped enough to allow us to safely transit. When we did, it became apparent that the height boards of this bridge are reading > 1' lower than actual clearance.
  • We had insufficient time to get to the anchorage at Swansboro in daylight. I was concerned that we might get there and then find it was very crowded. So we needed a plan B. For years I have been looking for an anchorage between the Emerald Isle bridge and the Atlantic Beach bridge. Most of this ICW run is a narrow dredged channel. But, just S / W of the Atlantic Beach bridge, the UNC Maritime Campus looked to have a good anchorage offshore. So we found a couple of places which proved to be fine and we spent a quite night.

31 Oct 14; Friday; Atlantic Beach Bridge to Wrightsville Beach.
  • We we were underway in the pre-dawn light and doing fine until we came to the first opening bridge. It was to open on demand but as we approached, two large fishing trawlers came into view heading south so we had to wait > 15 min for them to come up. After the transit, Beckoning went ahead and Don put the pedal to the metal and the two trawlers followed him and Onward brought up the end of the parade. The wait turned out to be very beneficial because we found we could keep pace with the trawlers and as commercial vessels they got bridge openings as soon as they got to the bridges. So Beckoning and Onward just fell in line behind them and made the openings. The lead trawler was very nice in informing the bridges that we were part of the parade.
  • At Wrightsville Beach, we pealed of for the anchorage and our fishing trawler buds kept on steaming S. We anchored and once settled, the Beckonings fetched us tor dinner in town. We had a good Tex-Mex dinner at Marker 79. A good end to a good day.