Maryland to North Carolina – 10/26 to 11/3

Calm behind Herrington Harbor's breakwater as we depart

Calm behind Herrington Harbor’s breakwater as we depart

All systems go Monday morning Oct 26; but first a pump out! This allowed m/v Traveling Soul to get close since they’d begun from further north.  🙂 We could see each other on AIS which was good to know that our transmit and receive functions worked OK. The Bay was a tad rough but it improved with time and distance.

We pass by Traveling Soul - note the waves ( water that is)

We pass by Traveling Soul – note the waves ( water that is)

We zoomed along mostly at 12kts, wanting to make our anchorage at Dividing Creek before 5pm. Darn good thing the fuel came with the boat; we sure guzzled it up like drunken sailors on shore leave!

Our closest and only neighbor

Our closest and only neighbor- they had a little more swell coming in from the Bay than us.

The PDQ differs from our Maine Cat in many ways; one being that the anchor windlass is only operated via a remote that plugs in just under a forward deck hatch. This means the one who is at the bow has to operate it, so I have a new job. But Russ gets to operate the remote, use the wash down hose and give me hand signals when it’s time to go! Maybe this would be a good time to drag out those headsets.

Tues was a 65nm day and we slowed our pace, one because we needed to conserve fuel and two, the Bay was at times more uncomfortable than Monday. Our fuel gauges indicated, as it turns out, that we had less fuel than actual. Until we filled up at Top Rack Marina at ICW SM 9 we had no way to know. The forward fuel tank is only used by the genset but the boat has a transfer system that allows you to move fuel back and forth between the forward (70 gal) tank and the stern (114 gal) tank. Good thing. Top Rack has fantastic fuel prices; $1.93 all in for diesel. Almost makes you feel good about owning a power cat :-). The marina’s on-site restaurant, Amber Lantern is where you can dine your dockage away; since the food and drinks are good; we did.
Our VHF radio arrived (long story, not our fault) and Russ got it re-installed the following day and yippee! It works. Did a bunch of housekeeping things and got ourselves set (marina has excellent Wi-fi) with some straggler to-dos. Traveling Soul arrived to keep us company and of course we enjoyed the Amber Lantern again and got caught up them re: all the typical cruiser topics.

two TS at TR

Twin Sisters and Traveling Soul (note our boat names are both T and S) at Top Rack Marina

Thursday’s weather was much nicer than rainy and windy Wed and we puttzed along at 7- 8kts. This stretch has a lock and a few opening bridges which were uneventful but tugs pushing barges were out in force.

Nothing has changed in two years

Nothing has changed in two years: tug and barge #1 for the day


Currituck Sound meetup before COinjock

Currituck Sound meetup before Coinjock- we followed his instructions

300ft long

Just south of Coinjock: at 300ft long we followed his instructions too!

Most of the tug captains are great at communicating where they are, what they need to do and what they need you to do. They are usually more than accommodating and despite their huge size are relatively nimble.

Not sure Ann knew she was posing for this shot

Not sure Ann knew she was posing for this shot

Just after dark we got bombarded by what looked like fat blind mosquitoes; so loud Russ thought he heard rain drops- but no, just a million of these insects and half flew in when he opened the door! Out came the trusty wet/dry vac that we’ve been lugging around for years and bye-bye buggies.

Because we are a small boat, even 17ft of width (beam) doesn’t keep us from rockin’ and rolling when waves come at us broadside. Our solution is to do a PDQ maneuver and speed up from our usual 8kts to 12-13kts. At that speed we are on plane and zooming over the wave tops so they don’t have a chance to push us around! Had to cross Albemarle Sound that way, but moseying down the Alligator-Pungo Canal was about as calm and leisurely as you would want.

Pungo-Alligator Canal

Alligator-Pungo River Canal- pleasantly calm after a choppy start to the day


Slade Crk- just south of Belhaven

Slade Creek- just south of Belhaven,NC


Neuse Rvr b4 Oriental- no AIS

Neuse River before Oriental- no AIS of course. Always see military activity in this area

Saturday found us in Morehead City, NC (near Beaufort). Our friends Jim and Laurie (who we visited in Maine) were in the area (but not on s/v Magpie) and they stopped by to see our cozy cat. Dinner at Floyd’s 1921 House was a must and their southern-style menu with a twist is always a delight and choosing isn’t easy. Free dessert with a marina biz card. 🙂 What a tasty treat.
The weather forecast a couple of days ago was looking to keep us in Morehead, but Sunday looked good so we reluctantly moved ahead, missing Traveling Soul and more time with Magpie.

Oh look, RVs

Oh look, RVs

Further along is the Camp Lejeune Firing Range that when active, closes the ICW for hours at a time.

They finished up Oct 30

Reason # 2 why we dislike this stretch, but no one fired at us this time; they finished up Oct 30th

Southern charm and rough around those feathered edges

Southern charm and rough around those feathered edges


Swan Pt- rustic and friendly

Swan Point- pirate friendly

Sunday night found us docked at Swan Point Marina; a rustic owner-operated place that we thoroughly enjoyed. S/v Blue Dancer was there too. We’d met Don at Herrington during our 5 weeks there. He was headed down to Florida with plans to leave the boat for a short time over the holidays, fly back to Hawaii then return and pick up where he left off. We traded info; but learned that his trip ended (until Spring) at Swan Point; back to Hawaii for the entire winter. What a bummer; the best laid plans get altered in a flash, but I think he will be happier sailing around the Chesapeake than “doin’ the ditch.”

Swan Point Marina- more like still an ugly duckling, but Blue Dancer was there

Swan Point Marina- more like an ugly duckling, but Blue Dancer was there and we had a good time

So a salty sailor comes over as we are setting lines and fenders and one of his questions is, “ So, why don’t you have a sailing cat?” Gosh but that is a good question. 🙂
Then a FP sailing cat, s/v Stellar arrived and suddenly our dinner plans for three (Don was about out of food) blossomed to include three more. The marina offers a courtesy car which we used for a grocery run and then for dinner. Getting to Rick’s Steakhouse and Sports Bar took two runs but we all piled in on the return trip, acting way too silly- as in any of our kids would be mortified.

Don, Lori, Tom, Russ, I forgot her name and Sean

Don, Lori, Tom, Russ, I forgot her name and Sean

A two-day stay switched to one when we (Russ that is) quickly decided to leave- hey what’s a little rain among cruisers? The day included a couple more skinny spots where you had to perform the correct dance around the buoys, a few rain episodes and the first opening bridge that we fit under by lowering our antenna.

The once little-known new mooring field at Carolina Beach is now popular and we picked up the last of nine (but room for a few more!!) mooring balls. Rain, rain and more rain kept us aboard but since best-ever Britt’s Donuts is closed for the season, why bother going ashore? Notice that we haven’t used our new dinghy yet?

Wednesday we’d continue south, but to where? Stay tuned for “as the bridges turn… or not” 🙂

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