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Sunday October 14th, Morning Report

There was no evening report yesterday because we had a little too much fun at Carolina Beach. So here are the tank readings from yesterday at the mooring ball 40 tank 16 inches Starbird tank 18.5 inches engine hours 4257.3. So the Carolina Beach morning field open August first of this year. It’s a real nice field very well protected and the only minor inconvenience were the 6 foot pendant lines but we managed to get around that with no big problems. Mooring balls are 20 dollars for night and are paid to the doctor master down the way who lives in a condo in nearby and uses his boat in the marina as his office. A little further down on the left is a really nice lounge and restaurant . We had a great steak sandwich and a few too many drinks so tonight will probably be a dry evening somewhere in the Myrtle Beach area. We’ve had a really good tides thus far but I think the law of averages is going to catch up with us today especially when you throw in a few bridges we have to wait for. so we’re targeting how to make Ospray marina bye dark tonight but it will be close and it doesn’t really matter as there are lots of other stopping points just short of Osprey marina. Below is a photo of the restaurant and a couple of snapshots of the chart where we picked up our mooring ball last night

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Spooners Creek, a great stop!

This anchorage is right off the icw at mile 211, which means we did 77 miles today.  It’s actually a very small man-made lake with upscale homes all around.  It’s supposed to be  6′ draft and that’s close to what we measured as we entered at low tide.  I’m not exactly sure where the transducer is located on this boat but it appears to be 2′ below the surface.  Each one also has its own private dock.  The marina at the entry has ethanol-free gasoline so we took the dinghy over to fuel up.  The attendant was a real nice guy and gave us directions to a dinghy dock only one block from a super shopping area.  Everything is available there so we walked up, found a bar, and then restocked on a few basics and headed back to the boat.  On the way back we saw the crew of Spicy, a french-Canadian boat that we’ve shared several anchorages with.

Here’s a couple shots of Seaweed at anchor here and you can see Spicy in the distance on the first shot.

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Here’s the location of the bar.  You can see it’s just above the small anchorage:

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And here’s the boat at anchor on the chart plotter:

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Port Tank 19″

Stbd Tank 21″

Engine hours:4447.25

 

Robbins grilled cheese sandwiches were a hit!

Today we had grilled ham and cheese sandwiches for lunch . Fortunately I got detailed instructions from Robin on how she does it. Jack said I was the best cook on the boat. I told him that was sad. Just after we finished we passed mile marker 195 which means only 15 miles to our Anchorage from here. Looks like we’ll have another early day though because I don’t think there are many more places to stop close by. But that still means we went 76 miles today. All we have to average is 70 to make Savannah by next Thursday.

Friday October 12, morning report

Today we both got up way before sunrise and were surrounded half way around the anchorage by a 4′ layer of cotton like mist.  Looked like something on an old-fashioned sci-fi thriller.  Last night when we went to be it seemed like it was warming up so I turned on a fan in the salon and Jack opened a port in the forward berth.  Boy were those the wrong moves!  Around midnight I woke up freezing and cut the fan off and soon after we got up I cranked up the genset and heater.  The heaters on this boat are superb.  It only takes a few minutes before you’re pretty well comfortable even if the cabin starts off in the 50′s.

We had to wait a little later to get the minimum visibility to see crab pots on the way out of the Bell Haven’s cozy little harbor and slowly poked our way out around 6:50 am.  We’re trying to make the most of each day and get at least 70 miles in or more.  With the engine set at 1750 rpm it gets the best fuel economy and we normally seem to get around 8 knots +/- current.  If all continues to go well (touch wood) we’ll be at Thunder Bolt Marina by next Thursday which gives Jack a nice place to stay while I depart a couple of days to make my niece’s wedding.

I’m not sure where our next fuel stop will be since we really don’t need to take on fuel at Osprey, or at least it looks that way right now.  So our next thing to do is start looking to see if there’s a good fuel price between there and Thunderbolt.  If not we’ll just stop there and take on a little less fuel than our last stop.

As of 10:30 am this morning we’d made 35 statute miles.  Not bad!  Maybe we’ll have another 80 mile day today!

Chris

Thurday October 11, evening report

Right after my previous post we started to see the wind increase and it increased very rapidly to the forcast 20 kts+.  But our decision to hop off paid off big time since we were 1/3 the way across the sound before the winds kicked up so we didn’t have to deal with too much negative affects other than manually steering since the autopilot couldn’t keep up with the stern quartering waves.  Similar to our experience in the Chesapeake we got a big boost in speed though so we reached our planned anchorage by 3:30 pm.  This allowed us to go an extra 5 miles to Bell Haven.  We tucked up inside their breakwater to a gorgeous anchorage where the wind had already begun to decrease rapidly as forecast.  By the time we got ready for happy hour it was only 7 kts or so and temperature increased enough that we had our first happy hour drink on the deck.  Below is a photo of a great way to end the day on Seaweed.  The beverages are Jamison’s on the rocks:

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Here’s a view of town off the stern later in the day, flat calm before sunset!  Today’s winds came in strong and quickly, then disappeared just as quickly as they started.

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Here’s a view of our position on the Navionic’s Chart:

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Fuel Tank Readings:

Port Tank: 21 1/2″

Stbd Tank: 23 1/2″

Engine Hrs: 4438.27

Albemarle Sound Update

Forecast still shows 15-20 w/ gusts to 25, we’re seeing 10 or less w 1′ chop so we’re going for it.  I suspect the front is being delayed but the forecast does not reflect that as of 7 a.m. here are a couple of photos as we enter the sound.

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Wed Oct 10, Evening Report

Folks,

We had a great ride today as contrasted with a fairly wild ride yesterday.  Now I know first-hand what 20+ kts out of the north are like on the Chesapeake are like.  We departed from Willoughby Bay at 7:15 am in the same dreary weather we’d gotten used to.  Grey skies, light mist, and fog.  But almost no wind.  As we departed I lost the gps for some reason but we’d both looked over charts of this bay and it was easy navigation.  The only real risk was crab traps which we could still see in plenty of time to avoid.  We departed the south channel that had one shallow spot and by the time I got to the channel we had the gps back.  Not sure why that happened but we’ll keep an eye on it.

As we departed there was a great view of the navy docks with a large aircraft carrier, several destroyers , and quite a few other high tech navy vessels.  Unfortunately the mist didn’t make for good photos so Jack and I just enjoyed watching them between all the traffic.  Pretty soon there were barge tows, cargo vessels, and other commercial traffic.  I felt just like I’d woken up in the Houston ship channel.  As we made our way down toward the Gilmerton bridge we moved upstairs to the bridge which had great visibility but a little on the cool side.  Most of you know the bridge was closed on Tuesday, open today, and closed tomorrow so there was a LOT of traffic trying to get through.  We were in a cluster of about 40 boats, a combination of power and sail mostly probably heading south after the Annapolis boat show.  The bridge is in the process of a major renovation and we just happened to be here the one or two days it was completely closed.  And you combine this with the normal Annapolis traffic and we had a LOT of boats.

So we waited about 20 minutes and finally got through the bridge on the way to our next obstacle which was the Great Bridge Locks.  The ICW can be viewed as a combination of boring motoring, spectacular natural beautiful motoring, and real pain in the ass motoring.  Today we had more than a fair share of the latter.  As we approach the lock it’s easy to tell all the boats have figured out the lock can only hold so many boats.  The real fast boats will get in without waiting for another cycle.  The real slow boats will wait for at least one or more additional cycles.  The boats in the middle have to gut it out and see who has the will, power, and skill to get in before the gates close.  We were solidly in that group.  And we did make it in… by a hair!!  Not sure what that says about our nautical capabilities but at least we were in the first group.

I’ve been in locks before but never completely full like this.  There are two sides to tie up to and we were in the last slot on the starboard which was a little better than the port side because our side was lined with nice rubber bumpers.   The other side had to tie to hard steel bulkhead and fend for themselves.  So I guess we were really in a better position than half of the first group through!  The next 3 photo’s are from our boat along with the 23 other boats in the lock.  The red boat ahead was a cheater.  He knew a boat ahead of us and got to tie up to them.  Otherwise he would have been way behind us.  In Louisiana they would have kicked him out and made him wait at least a few cycles in boat purgatory but here they are more tolerant.  In the 4th photo are all the boats that didn’t make the cut… too bad!

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This is a photo of those that didn’t quite make the cut…

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The rest of the trip was fairly straight-forward.  Several bridges to open and a lot of ICW.  Only excitement was the occasional shallow spot but Sue’s fantastic set of marked up ICW flip charts gave us plenty of warning.  THANKS SUE!!  Her annotated chart book is turning out to be invaluable.  We even know where to expect decent cell phone coverage.  It’s really amazing and ultra-practical to read her comments before we depart each day.

Before long we’ve swapped watches several times and were headed for Midway Marina close to mile marker 50 for fuel, water, and a night at the dock.  The photo’s below show us at the dock as it looks on the chart plotter.  Dinner here was great too.  I had N Carolina BBQ’d pork and Jack had a flounder dish.  We got to visit with his old friend Terry, his wife and a very nice local couple seated next to us.

Tomorrow could be a short 35 mile trip to the Abemarle Sound or a 77 mile run all the way across.  We’re both hoping for the latter but also cautious enough that we don’t want to chance bad weather.  Latest forecast from NOAA looks OK, not ideal but OK.  We’ll check it again in the morning to see what we have and won’t take any chances on getting clobbered on purpose.  Here’s what we have at this point:

OVERNIGHT
W WINDS 5 TO 10 KT...BECOMING NW 10 TO 15 KT LATE THIS
EVENING AND EARLY MORNING...THEN BECOMING N 15 TO 20 KT WITH
FREQUENT GUSTS TO 25 KT LATE. WAVES 1 FT...THEN 2 TO 3 FT.

THU
N WINDS 15 TO 20 KT WITH FREQUENT GUSTS TO 25 KT...BECOMING
NE 10 TO 15 KT IN THE AFTERNOON. WAVES 2 TO 3 FT.

THU NIGHT
NE WINDS 5 TO 10 KT...BECOMING W AFTER MIDNIGHT. WAVES
1 FT.

 

We’re happy to have had another great day aboard Seaweed and  happy to have gotten her one day closer to Tarpon Bay.

Best regards,

Chris and Jack

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Fuel readings after filling:

Starboard tank: 24″ after 110 gal added

Port tank: 24″ after 12o gal added

 

 

Finally blue sky again!

I came up from my break to take a look at where Jack had gotten us to see that he finally found some blue sky!

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It has been so long since I saw a sky like this that I went ahead and did a screenshot of the location:
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Oil Change

Folks,

You may see this post out of order and it may sort of confuse things a little but all I’m trying to do here is document the oil change data I got before we left the Wye River.  I hope I’ll be able to get this in the correct order on the blog but it may take me a while.  Please bare with me and just ignore this post in the meantime.

 

Thanks.

Chris.

Date: Oct 7, 2012

Engine Hours: 4401.00

Oil Change: 4.5 gal Shell Rotella T

Filter

Stbd Fuel level: 18″

Port Fuel Level: 12″

 

Willoughby Bay in record time!

Conditions today were brisk . As we emerged from are extremely well protected anchorage at Wicomoco it became clear we were in for an active day. Wind’s were strong and increased to 22 to 25 knot range and seas increased with quartering swells building most of the day.  On the way out of the channel we were heading east with the strong north winds and North swell right on our beam.   The fish traps on both sides of the channel exit forced us to stay in these conditions with the boat healing 30 degrees then swinging back for quite a while then as we were able to turn off the wind and head more southerly things got much more comfortable but the seas were also building and off the aft quarter so the autopilot got one heck of a workout.  So the ride wasn’t the best in the world today but the discomfort was more than offset with the speed.. We made 72 miles in 6 3/4 quarter hours!  We surfed over the waves reaching a peek speed of 13.3 Knots and spent much of our time well over 11 knots!

The only minor trouble we had was a concern that our fuel level in the port tank would get so low that the boat gyrations  could cause us to get air locked.  So after a lot of thought about our options and consultations with Don on tank levels and Jim Luciano about the weather predictions we decided to slow down and take advantage of a temporary lull in the wind to drop down into the engine compartment and open the port tank.  This was a little tricky because the valve is right in front of the main belt pulley so I was very glad it calmed down enough to do this without shutting down the engine.  This decision turned out to be exactly the right thing to do as our winds increased back over 20 kts not long after we completed the operation.

Here are some screenshots and photos of the day:

Thimble Shoal Light

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Captain Jack as we entered Willoughby Bay

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A snapshot of the chart as we approach the entrance to Willoughby Bay.  This turned out to be an excellent stop!  Great holding, very large and very well protected.  A great view of military choppers taking off and landing.  The red triangle with the line sticking out is us.

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Here’s a view of the area directly in front of the boat.  This whole bay shows 9-12′ deep and was flat as a pancake once you turn past the breakwater for the marina.

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Here’s a view of us on the chart after securing the anchor.

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Boat Stuff:

Main Engine Hrs: 4417.75

Port Tank:

Stbd Tank:

Engine Temp: 180 Deg F

Oil Pr: 50 psig