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Old 11-30-2021, 07:48 PM   #1
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2021 trip South-first leg

Over the summer, we crossed off about all of the to-do things we felt we needed to do to make the boat as reliable and comfortable as we could for our trip South this year. Since Liz is still teaching ,we planned on making the trip in 2 parts, the first over her Thanksgiving break and the second over her Christmas one. The first day was the most critical ,regarding weather, starting with the sometimes daunting and sometimes docile Chesapeake Bay. We would watch the long range forecast and the weather on our departure date of 11/20 would change daily until the last 3 or 4 days. We determined it was a go with winds forecast 12-15 out of the north north-east so we loaded everything up for a 4AM departure. Running in the dark isn't very fun because there's nothing to see and when it's rough, you can't prepare yourself for the waves. We got moderately tossed a couple of times but nothing broke and by daylight ,the winds subsided to around 10.
It's 60+ miles from our house to mile "0" at Hospital Point and that was our minimum destination target but I really wanted to get the Great bridge locks and 3 subsequent bridges behind us since it was a weekend and they weren't on rush hour opening restrictions like they are on weekdays. We lucked out and after a long day, made it to our best-case anchorage ,Blackwater Creek, a little past MP30 .
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Old 11-30-2021, 08:14 PM   #2
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Sounds like a good trip so far, keep us informed. Nice photos.
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Old 11-30-2021, 08:18 PM   #3
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The next dat we got another early start. Not a 4 AM in the dark start but a first light start, just before 7. The North Landing river and the Currituck were both pleasant. The next obstacle was the Albemarle Sound but the winds weren't forecast to blow until that night but it was imperative we got the sound behind us before the wind picked up. It's just as bad ,if not worse, than the Chesapeake. Coinjock was empty on Sunday morning and the Albemarle was as welcoming as I've ever seen it. We went through the Alligator bridge and made a beeline for the head of the Alligator river. I told Liz that I absolutely refused to traverse the Alligator/Pungo Canal at night so we might anchor near the entrance on the canal for the night. One time ,years ago, I went through the canal in the dark and met a tug pushing a barge in the canal. Between his 1,000,000 candle power spotlight literally blinding me plus his barge taking up most of the channel, I vowed never again at night.
Well, we got to the entrance around 3 that afternoon. I didn't see any traffic on the AIS and Liz checked the Marine Traffic app and didn't see any traffic either so I took a deep breath and headed in, hoping I would get through before dark.
All was great! We never saw another boat on the whole 22 mile stretch. Until the very last mile. That's when I saw a target on my AIS. And wouldn't you know it, it was a tug and it was just about dark! I waited until I saw him enter the canal and gave him a call on 13 to ask what he wanted me to do. I was totally prepared to put the bow of the boat on the bank until he went by. Luck was with us that evening! He responded and said not to worry because he was running light that night! I feel sorry for him because you don't make money without pushing a barge but damn it made it easier to get past him when he wasn't pushing anything!
We then exited the canal, scanned the water with the spotlight looking for crab pots and dropped the anchor for the evening in the Pungo River just to the west of the ICW.
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albemarle2.jpg   albemarle3.jpg   albemarle4.jpg   alligator-pungo.jpg   currituck ferry.jpg  

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Old 11-30-2021, 08:20 PM   #4
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Nice work, be safe out there. Where south is your destination?
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Old 11-30-2021, 08:27 PM   #5
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Day 3 was another nice day on the water. Bad weather was closing in but if we could get the last big water behind us, the Neuse River, we would be golden! The Pungo River past Belhaven was flat.
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Old 11-30-2021, 08:31 PM   #6
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Nice work, be safe out there. Where south is your destination?
We're just heading to St. Augustine or a little below this year. Still warmer than in Virginia but not as warm as below Canaveral. South Florida will be another year when we have more time to enjoy it.
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Old 11-30-2021, 08:37 PM   #7
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We crossed the Pamlico River and went past Hobucken, where the guy in the rigging was working. Apparently, he has no fear of heights.
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Old 11-30-2021, 08:52 PM   #8
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We anchored that afternoon in Back Creek, a shallowish creek off of Adams Creek (one of the biggest benefits of having a 3' draft is we can anchor in a less-used anchorage). As soon as the anchor was set, the rain came and the wind picked up. We were cozy that night in our anchorage in the lee of the shore but crossing the Neuse the next day would've been out of the question. The picture of the flag after leaving the anchorage tells the story about the wind.
We had a very short run to Town Creek Marine where we got fuel and had a delicious dinner at the on site restaurant that night. It was nice to be plugged in and use the reverse-cycle heat too, since the temperatures had cooled way down.
Also, I got to give the new wiring and isolation/transformer a test at Town Creeks GFI pedestal. The dock guy warned me that others had problems but I plugged in with confidence! Gotta love an isolation transformer!
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Old 11-30-2021, 09:12 PM   #9
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We left Beaufort, NC early the next AM for an anchorage we wanted to try, Sloop Point, about 65 miles away. There was plenty of sights to see on the way. The anchorage was nice. Lots of houses crammed together on the ocean side of the water but we anchored towards the marsh grass which made it more private ,about 1/4 mile away from anyone. We would hear the ocean waves crashing all night since we were close to New Topsail inlet. It was quite relaxing. Not so relaxing was me trying to leave at low tide the next morning.
the tide was dead low and ,even though we still were in 6-8' of water at our anchor spot, I couldn't get out the way I came in. Thank goodness we had a full keel! I finally sniffed out the "channel" which kept us in 4-5' of water and followed the shore around to the main channel. The charts on my garmin and also the updated noaa and ACE charts were totally incorrect regarding that little area. No big deal. We got out without getting stuck.
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DSC00184.jpg   DSC00187.jpg   DSC00191.jpg   DSC00193.jpg   sloop point 2.jpg  

sloop point 3.jpg   sloop point.jpg  
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Old 11-30-2021, 09:38 PM   #10
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Thanksgiving morning we left Sloop Point and headed for Southport. I was hoping the Cape Fear River would be ebbing when we arrived but no, it was making flood, so we hardly saw 7 knots. I was also hoping we could anchor in the picturesque Southport basin because I knew Liz would live all of the colorful buildings while having the dinner she prepared but it was crammed with sailboats so we had to go for plan "B", Dutchman Creek just south on the ICW. Dutchman creek isn't wide but it's 10' deep for the first 100 yards or so and then shallows up. There was a sailboat anchored in the mouth of the creek so we went far enough past that we were still in deep water and had plenty of swing room.
And then it happened. The sailboat with captain Dufus came in (my experience is the majority of them are piloted by a captain Dufus) looking for a place to anchor. Even when there wasn't a place, he still anchored. I was wondering if he was going to drop his Bruce anchor in our cockpit. Geez. I just shook my head and refused to let him ruin my Thanksgiving Scotch & Cigar.
Afterwards, we had a darned good Thanksgiving turkey dinner made in the crockpot!
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dutchman creek blowboat 2.jpg   dutchman creek blowboat.jpg   chef liz.jpg   crockpot turkey.jpg   dutchman creek sunset.jpg  

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Old 11-30-2021, 09:58 PM   #11
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The last day started off cold and nasty but by noon and before Little River, SC, it turned into a nice day. We passed through Myrtle Beach and left the boat at Bucksport Marina on the Waccamaw River (which sadly, has really seen development since the last time I was there 6-7 years ago.) until Liz gets off on the 15th of December where we'll continue of to Florida. Bucksport is only about 3 hours away from our house in SC ,so it works out ok, since I'm going to drive down one weekend before we leave and fix the VHF radio antenna switch which started acting up so we can use the lower vhf.
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Old 11-30-2021, 10:11 PM   #12
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Living vicariously through you.
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Old 12-01-2021, 05:55 AM   #13
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Sounds like you're having a good trip South. Most of the Snowbird migration should be way ahead of you. Hope the fair weather stays with you.

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Old 12-01-2021, 07:19 AM   #14
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Sounds like you're having a good trip South. Most of the Snowbird migration should be way ahead of you. Hope the fair weather stays with you.

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Thanks, we sure hope it does ,too. The migration was indeed ahead of us, as most of the anchorages were open. It'll definitely be a lot less crowded when we resume the trip mid-December. Lot's of folks shun a lower station but ours was used 99% of the trip. The bus heater and the crock pot simmering make the lower helm quite inviting!
The important part is Liz has thoroughly enjoyed the trip. This one has been a test-run for her. Everything has gone well and she's started looking at boats a little larger than our current one.
It seems my ulterior plan has succeeded!
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Old 12-01-2021, 07:22 AM   #15
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Oops. I forgot to include the stopping point picture for the first leg. Bucksport has a very friendly staff as are the live-aboard residents staying there.
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Old 12-07-2021, 07:25 AM   #16
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Thanks for sharing. And love the pictured timeline also. You're now thinking bigger- like what? And why? And first real test w/ your partner? Lessons learned? I love the insights of others as we embark on this journey.....
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Old 12-07-2021, 08:44 AM   #17
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Great trip. Thanks for sharing; love the pics.
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Old 12-09-2021, 12:59 PM   #18
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Thanks for sharing. And love the pictured timeline also. You're now thinking bigger- like what? And why? And first real test w/ your partner? Lessons learned? I love the insights of others as we embark on this journey.....
We (my wife and I) cruise together splendidly. The boat pretty much fills the ticket for us regarding boating/cruising. The only want we really have is for a queen berth instead of separate bunks. I guess we're romantics but we prefer to sleep next to each other.
Regarding size, we're fine with inland cruising but sometimes we get the urge to run offshore and if we're going to be in the ocean in a slow boat, I'd like it to be a little bigger and built to handle larger seas. A KK42 really intrigues us, in addition to a couple of other models. We'll see. The grass is indeed greener on the other side of the road.
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