Monday, November 24, 2014

The Arctic Blast Arrived

We again made an early departure from Great Bridge after stopping for fuel at Atlantic Yacht Basin (which has really good prices for the ICW...or any Marina).  This day it was a bit cooler than the last couple with overcast skies, but still a mostly pleasant trip.  A couple more bridges to play with and we were motoring along "the ditch" once again...along with a few other boats.

Parade of boats down the ICW

During this leg I discovered one of the surprises that the boat yard left me.  They had replaced all the waste lines in the boat, but apparently broke a seal on one of the holding tanks in the process and it started seeping.  Not a good thing to discover during a trip.  I'll spare you the details, but it was a good thing I have bleach and an abundance of water on board.  I cleaned up the mess and declared that head off limits for the rest of the trip.  Thanks to the Skipper Bob's anchorage book, we found that nice little anchorage just before the Albermarle sound where I made my quick post last week (yes, my cell actually worked in the middle of nowhere for that I was out of Virginia).  We worked our way up the creek and dropped our anchor, followed by two other boats that did the same.  I'm glad we got there first since our shallow draft made it easy to sneak pretty far up the river to a very well protected area.

That night the arctic blast arrived and it was considerably colder when we got up in the morning.  With the cold came high winds.  Our next leg of the trip had us crossing the Albemarle sound and it is known for being ugly in high winds.  In fact, the Alligator River swing bridge won't even open if winds are over 35 mph, to protect the unwary traveler.  We decided since we are in a nice anchorage, we would just stay put and wait out the winds.  Apparently so did the other two boats that were sharing the anchorage.  I made a couple phone calls and did the quick blog post with my rare cell phone coverage.

Broad Creek Anchorage

One of my calls was to my friend and boat broker Pete.  I had mentioned to him my troubles with my air conditioning system (which also provides heat) and he had the answer.  Apparently the raw water pumps are not self-priming and you have to "burp" the air out of the strainer.  Pete again saves the day for me...and we had the much needed heat for what was a chilly and rainy night.

The following day the winds did die down and we continued our trip, along with our anchor mates (one of whom we discovered were some people we met at the Great Bridge Lock free dock).  After exchanging comments complaints on the cold, we worked our way out of the creek and on to the Albermarle sound.

As is my usual luck with wind, it was dead on our nose so we motored across the Albermarle sound and down the Alligator river.  As we approached the Alligator River bridge I noticed that the starboard engine didn't seem to be putting out as much cooling water as I wanted, so we shut it down and I looked into the issue after making it through the bridge.  After much fun of trying to inspect the impeller and remaining system while underway, I didn't find any issue.  When we started the engine back up, it seemed fine, so I guess it was just a false alarm.  Lots of fun to work hovering over a warm engine in a small compartment while underway.

We arrive at the canal that connects the Alligator River to the Pungo river and decide we do have enough time to make it through the canal and to an anchorage at the far side before dark, so we press on.  The canal is a very straight, fairly narrow part of the ICW and there isn't a dock or place to anchor in the middle.  We do just make it through the canal and drop the hook in the anchorage on the Pungo river for the night.  Thus far, I've not spent a day in a marina...a far cry from the trip up the past summer.  Now if we could only sail more, it would be an inexpensive means of travel.


  1. Oh no! The holding tank sounds like a disaster! Thanks goodness for bleach :-)

    1. Yeah, definitely not pleasant. Not what you want to be pumping out of your bilge.