Knockin’ em back

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November 7, 2012 by Last Star blog

5 Nov 12

Knockin’ em back……

OK, one more state behind us.  We are in South Carolina!!

Very odd last 48 hours.  We arrived in Wrightsville Beach after a rough trip across Onslow Bay and two rough days at Cape Lookout.  It was nice to get close to civilization and have a short day ahead of us.  Since we were knocking back 24 miles or so in the ICW and hoped to be done by 2:00 PM we got a late start.  The weather at Wrightsville was awesome, particularly in our solarium.  We watched all the early birds (not us today) get an early start and took our time and had a leisurely breakfast in the cockpit.

We get odd questions about what we eat.  As if we don’t eat or eat out EVERY meal?  This is our house; it is some very expensive real-estate when you go by the square footage and the maintenance costs are out of this world.  We eat “at home” when able.  Breakfast is a snap.  We have an egg every other day, we also compliment that with some protien from Jimmy Dean’s Sausage crumbles (thanks to my sister for showing us these).  The crumbles are a live-aboards dream.  They are pre-cooked (no mess), frozen, last forever in the freezer and come in re-sealable bags.  You dump about 2 servings of this in the skillet, get the coffee going, fire up some toast (not electric see link), add the eggs and in about 10 minutes you have this little treat.  Some fresh fruit and you are livin’ la vida loca.

We enjoyed this little bit of heaven and then got underway.  We rejoined the ICW after our foray into the ocean the previous day and the cats were thrilled and not sick–in fact no one was sick.  The weather was awesome, I left Patricia at the helm sorting out red and green markers and I was below airing things out–dampness is a nightmare.  It must be dealt with after every rain or when it is cold.  I took care of a few maintenance issues below and we were looking for a place to drop the anchor by 1:30 PM.

We got to Southport at the southern end of Cape Fear under partly cloudy skies; our guide book indicated to try “Dutchmans Creek” to anchor.  Easy to find just west of the city along the ICW.  We got there and slowly slipped into this little creek.  The depth was OK, the current was hellish.  Turning the boat was a challenge and when we dropped the anchor the current and wind were at odds and the whole thing was turning into a goat-rope.  After 2 attempts and shouting from both crew members (multiple F-bombs from the female member) we pulled up and got out of there before we got grounded or stuck.  Back out we went into the Cape Fear river.  We tried anchoring there too… luck!  We dropped the anchor in 12-14 feet of water, before we could set we were swept over the side into 50 foot depths with current….again no good.  We scooted up the river about 2 miles and finally found a spot in about 12 feet of water with the current pulling us one way and the wind the other.  I love being right over the anchor!  All this clown act added about an hour and a half to our day.  We settled in quickly as the thunderstorms were rolling in from the south, north, east, and west.  It was quite a light show and the rain was pelting.  Fortunately this was a precursor to the northerly gales that would push us to South Carolina the next day.  It was another loud and raucous night at anchor.  With the end of daylight savings time we would still be getting up with the sun so the hour was meaningless–it was just damn early.

We got going just before first light, snuck back into the Cape Fear river and worked our way out to the ocean.  Now unlike Cape Lookout we had about 40 minutes in the river before the ocean, the sun would be up in that time after the time change so the cats were out of the V-berth soonest.  Everyone felt better with the smooth start and daytime lighting.  Also breakfast was easier to eat in the delta.  After we cleared the channel it was time to get the sails up.  The breeze was forecast 15-20 kts out of the NNW, it was just that and would work nicely for us as we needed 7 knots all day to make this easier.  We put the main at about 80% and did the same for the Genoa.  We were clipping along at about 7.0 knots–perfect.  We saw dolphins shortly after that and knew it would be a good day.  After about an hour the clouds were breaking up and the wind was getting a bit “fresh”.  How fresh?  Well, the toe rail was in the water, Patricia’s toes were curled, the scuppers were dumping water, and I think everyone’s nether-regions were clinched very tight.  You see there were gusts, and when a gust comes along the boat wants to point before it settles down again.  It can be a bit unnerving, also the wind and waves were following so when the waves would grab the back end of the boat and push well we would slide, skitter, and just skip along as indicated below.  Note the max speed in the lower left corner below.  That’s beyond “theoretical boat speed” for a vessel this size.  But hey I’m used to 500 knots  so this is cake (OK, my eyes were big, toes clinched and butt puckered too)

Now we hummed along at 8s and 9s for the next couple of hours, we reefed the sails to calm the excessive heeling too.  After about 2 hours the winds reduced, the sun came out in force and it was a beautiful day (cool outside but t-shirt weather in the solarium).

We drew closer to South Carolina as the day wore on so the waves diminished too.  Here’s a photo of Myrtle Beach–this is the only view of Myrtle Beach where you CANNOT see a golf course.

We got to Murrells Inlet about  3:30 PM and worked our way into the inlet.  Promptly touched the bottom next to the Red Marker #6–OK so these markers just how much space do you have to give them again?  Oh and BTW I phoned both Marinas here at Murrells for “local knowledge” and got no indication about #6.  In fact I think that “Local Knowledge” is a misnomer or oxy-moron as I’m not sure the folks tasked to answer the phone at these marinas have much knowledge.

We dropped anchor with about 2 inch waves, the boat is quite still, the wind is minimal and yes the current will spin us again but tonight promises to be an easy one–I hope.

Tomorrow we leave a bit early to stay ahead of the rain and will do a short outside leg (about 30 nautical miles) and then join the ICW again on Wednesday.  Late Tuesday and Wednesday will be cold and wet.  We can’t seem to stay ahead of mother-nature.


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