Tuesday, November 25, 2014

The Last of the ICW

For a change, we don't get an overly early start.  The weather broadcasts indicate there may be some more unsettled weather and since we could probably use a little re-provisioning, I decided we would splurge for a marina this upcoming evening.  We pull up the anchor and head out just before 8am.

I still don't have 100% confidence in the various gauges on the boat and even though the fuel gauge claims we are mostly full, we stop at the Pungo Creek marina for fuel.  The Skipper Bob's Marinas book claims they have better than average prices for the area, but I this was the most expensive diesel we purchased on the trip.  Fortunately, the fuel gauge seems reasonably accurate and we only needed about 15 gallons (the boat holds 75).  The Marina book also claimed they had a store, but they do not. The marina is pretty run down and with the fuel prices, I don't think I'll return there unless it is an emergency.

After departing the marina we make our way down the Pungo river and into the Pamlico.  The winds were a little under 10 knots from behind us as we made the turn so I decided it was time to break out the spinnaker and we make like a sailboat for a short time.  The spinnaker doesn't last too long as we again quickly enter a narrow section of the river...and, of course, the wind is blocked by the trees.

We make it to Whittaker Pointe marina, just outside Oriental, well before dark.We get tied up and sign up for the courtesy car and make a run into town.  We come back, have dinner, check the weather, and call it a night.

The weather the next day is proving to be difficult.  The original plan was to head down to Beaufort/Moorhead City and out the inlet to open ocean.  But, the winds were predicted to be rather high and the seas even higher, so we decided we would find an anchorage near Beaufort to wait out the weather.

Entering and leaving Whittaker point there is a rather narrow channel with some shoaling.  They say there are boaters who have run aground and those that will.  With the winds as we were coming out, I did end up pushing into the mud as we tried to leave.  Fortunately I was going slowly and was able to simply back out and work my way around the pile of mud that narrowed the channel.

We set sail with winds again on our nose.  Just as we make it out of the Neuse river and into Adams creek a thunderstorm alert comes across the radio for the Neuse river.  We are relatively protected in Adams creek and we watch the thunderstorm roll by behind us.  We hear tornado watches for adjacent areas and the weather is a bit unsettled for the whole trip to Moorhead City.

I had originally thought we would use an anchorage behind Shackleford island.  Getting to this anchorage requires going part of the way out of the inlet and then turning behind the barrier island.  As we made our approach to the inlet, I realized that was not a good option.  The rough seas were pushing their way into the inlet and we would have had a very rough ride over to a relatively shallow cut into the anchorage.

Fortunately, boats travel slower than airplanes and we had plenty of time to figure out another plan. I knew of an anchorage just behind Fort Macon and we decided it was a decent location with protection from the easterly winds with a long fetch to the lee shore so we found a location and dropped the hook.  Just as all our previous anchoring, the Mantus set immediately and stayed put in the 30 knot winds.  This is where we would stay the night in hopes that the forecasts were correct and the weather would improve tomorrow.

On an unrelated note.  I think I understand why everyone has a romantic idea of of cruising.  When everything is nice, we have time to take pictures...and they are usually nice with beaches and sunsets and dolphins playing and all of that.  When it isn't nice weather, we are usually too busy with the boat to take pictures...like this part of the trip.

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