This day finds us with another long day of 65NM to travel so again at first light we are moving. We travel down the Cumberland river and are soon passing the King’s Bay naval base. There is a wide security zone enforced with several armed patrol boats to ensure we don’t wander too close. Trust me we don’t even think about it. Four hours after leaving Jekyll Island we find ourselves crossing into Florida and entering the Fernandina Beach area. We had plotted Bob 423’s waypoints from active captain the night before so we were pretty confident we would make it through this very tricky spot. Bon voyage was in the lead with us second and Freydaze third. Bon Voyage gets to the first waypoint when he announces his chart plotter had just died. I now had to talk Bon Voyage through the next several waypoints trying to match his position off my radar and the way points on our chart plotter. Needless to say, it was a tense few minutes. We all managed to safely maneuver through the area and the rest of the day is rather uneventful. We do notice a lot of damage from Hurricane Matthew through this area though. By 5 p.m. we are dropping anchors in the Pine Island South anchorage.
The sun is breaking the horizon so the anchors must be coming up! I have to say that washing down the anchor in the morning when it is 40 degrees out will certainly wake you up. We are off to Jekyll Island for another nigh at anchor and hopefully some warmer weather. Two hours into the trip we are hailed by Pat and Becky on Turas who had spent time with us in Deltaville. Because of the winding nature of the grass we can talk to them but never see them! They are headed to Brunswick for a few days and then down to Florida. We continue to play the tides and find ourselves crossing the Mud River, another notorious bad spot, at high tide with no problems. This is a relatively short day as we are anchored by 4:00 p.m. We need to plan the tides tomorrow for Fernandina Beach which is probably the worst shoaling spot on the ICW.
Again, at first light we are pulling in the anchors and moving. The men detect a bit of, shall we say, less than enthusiasm from the ladies. We decide not to pay too much attention to it and decide to continue pushing on South in search of warmer weather. The day finds us moving more through very winding salt marsh rivers and moving away from the heavily forested areas we had been in. In some case we can see a sailboat that appear to be right across from us but due to the winding nature of the river it takes almost an hour to arrive at that position. About 4 hours after leaving Beaufort we are now crossing the Savannah river and into the Wilmington river. Our next draw bridge is the Sam Varnedoe which at 21 feet must be opened for our boat which is 32 feet. However, the bridge tender decides that no he won’t open because clearly, I am well below 21 feet. After some much terse conversation back and forth he finally decides to open the bridge. This is very unusual since all the bridge tenders we have talked to up to this point have been extremely courteous and professional. We chalk it up to a bad day and quickly move through the bridge. Because of the extensive flooding this area had received from Hurricane Matthew we are now in a strict no wake zone. This was even more reinforced by the local police boat who escorted us for the next hour to ensure we didn’t create one! Our luck with the tides continues as we clear the notorious Hell Gate with plus 6 feet. Two hours later finds us dropping anchors in Big Toms Creek and watching a beautiful sunset.
We depart again at first light to arrive at the Ben Sawyer bridge at low tide to avoid having to wait for an opening. Soon after we find ourselves crossing the Charleston harbor and are marveling at the mega yachts that we see tied up in the marinas. We are also able to get under the Wappoo creek bridge without having to call for an opening and soon find ourselves at Elliot’s cut. This is a narrow channel between the Stono River and the Charleston river. As we are travelling with the tide at this point I quickly find we are travelling at almost 10kts through the channel with the boat in idle! This is warp speed for a Krogen, but as all things must end, we are quickly in the Stono river travelling at a much more sedate 6Kts. We make our way across the salt marshes to our intended anchorage in the Beaufort river and quickly get the anchors down to enjoy what is left of twilight.
This day finds us having to go almost 66NM to position ourselves to time the tides in South Carolina and Georgia so off we head at first light. It turns out to be a rather benign day with fairly good weather, some occasional rain and fog which quickly clears up. We find ourselves dropping anchors in Dewees Creek about 6:00 p.m. We do have a bit of difficulty setting the anchor as the wind has picked up and the creek is rather narrow with 30 feet of water. However, after a couple of tries we finally get it set and settle down to a nice meal and some rest.
We depart Tina’s at 7:00 a.m. and proceed down the Cape Fear river a short distance until we can pick up the ICW. The day started off sunny and the temperature was 62 degrees however the water temperature was only 55. That should have been our first clue the day was not going to be as predicted. Two hours later we arrive at Lockwood’s Folly Inlet to take advantage of the rising tide. This area is a notorious spot for shoaling which this year has been made all the worse with Hurricane Matthew. We watch as a North bound shrimper starts and stops through the channel. He finally tells us he can’t figure out the channel with the temporary buoys. After some discussion, we pass on Active Captain, and Bob 423’s comments and watch the shrimper squeak through with minimal problems. We then proceed through and with the delay gain a bit more depth through the channel. However, I am starting to see some tendrils of fog drifting in across the inlet. The next several hours finds us in light fog, thick fog, rain and back and forth. Unfortunately, there is no place to pull over to anchor to wait out the fog and we pass through Myrtle Beach but see nothing. Finally, as we approach the Barefoot landing bridge the fog lifts and we have clear sailing to our anchorage at enterprise oxbow. Interestingly we had picked up a fourth boat who was following us using his radar and occasionally my stern light. Once the fog lifted his comment was, I have been following you for 4 hours and never noticed that you had green colored canvas on the back deck. Now that was some fog! Enterprise was a nice calm anchorage and we spent some well-deserved down time enjoying the scenery and the sunset.
Today we started out from Mile Hammock Bay as soon as the sun cracked the horizon at 6:30 a.m. to catch the Surf City swing bridge opening at 7:30. The temperature was a brisk 46 degrees but otherwise the day was quite uneventful as we made our way down the Cape Fear river to Tina’s Pocket. This is a nice anchorage behind one of the spoil islands off the Cape Fear river and is a good spot to stop while heading south in order to plan for the next day’s bridge timings.
After departing New Bern, we then proceeded to Mile Hammock Bay. This is an anchorage that lies next to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune and is a good stopover point before continuing down the ICW. Unfortunately, we arrived after sunset as in it was pitch black and after some difficulty entering the channel, note to self, the red markers are on the right, we then proceeded to raft up with our other two companions. Once we were all tied together we started to prepare in earnest for New Year’s Eve. Betsy had prepared a beautiful Pork roast with sour kraut, sausages, along with some vegetables and bread. The rest of us were providing the adult beverages and we were all to meet on our boat for dinner. Now one of the dangers when you raft up is that not each boat will have their side access at the same point as yours. After much maneuvering with lines and such we had what we thought was a good way to cross between boats, but we hadn’t accounted for the human factor. As the party was making their way across to our boat, he who shall remain nameless, disregarded, his wife’s advice and attempted to pass a foil tray containing our dinner between our two boats. The foil tray twisted and we all watched in disbelief as Mile Hammock ate our entire dinner. I’m pretty sure we saw some of those sausages later floating down the ICW. Not all was a total loss as between the three boats we gathered some food and after a couple of drinks were laughing about it. Soon it was time for bed since we had an early start the next morning.
We spent the next several weeks at the New Bern Grand Marina enjoying the hospitability of the city of New Bern. This is a place that goes all out for the holidays and especially for Thanksgiving. We toured the town, had great meals at several restaurants, enjoyed the spectacular Christmas displays, parades and lights, and visited the local farmers market. Overall, it was a great stop to prepare for the next several legs of our trip down the ICW. We were also able to replace our aft canvas coverings that were in dire need of repairs.
Our view every morning at the marina.
Some of the decorations, the new boat captain, a chilly morning walk and waiting to be picked up at the Publix.
Checking Bon Voyages beer stock, apparently he is out!
But now it was time to leave. So with Jon and Bonnie on Bon Voyage in the distance and Dave and Betsy on Fryedaze we pull out of New Bern on Dec 31st on a crisp 26 degree morning seeking the warmer climates of Florida.
This is the start of our web site and blog which is designed primarily for our friends and family to follow along on our adventures and some misadventures as we cruise full time. We started in 2013 cruising the Potomac river with a few trips out into the Chesapeake Bay. We then spent the next two summers becoming more familiar with the boat and its systems. After the Krogen Rendezvous in October 2015 we took the boat to Deltaville to prepare it for us to live aboard full time. We both retired shortly after the start of the New Year, sold our Virginia home and generally downsized to become full time cruisers. Throughout the winter and early spring the boat was on the hard in Deltaville getting all her systems serviced, replaced, or upgraded to prepare her full time cruising. New prop shaft, new hydraulics, bottom paint, dinghy service, electrical work, thruster service, stabilizer service, interior work, and the list goes on! Occasionally we would find a few stow away's aboard in the morning as it seemed every nook and cranny had somebody in it at one time or another.
During the spring and early summer, we completed several shakedown cruises on the Chesapeake stopping at marinas and anchoring out on other nights. The highlight of the summer was meeting up with our fellow Krogen owners Mike and Maria on Tuscan Sun as well as Jon and Bonnie on Bon Voyage for a cruise to Cambridge, Oxford and St. Michaels. While in Cambridge we were met by our good friends Jan and Larry who spent some time with us on the boat enjoying the “cool” Chesapeake. We had decided to raft together on San Domingo creek and dinghy over to St. Michaels which in theory was a good idea. However, we soon learned that at 90 plus degrees a closed boat and full sun it takes several hours for the boat to cool down. Although nothing a few cold adult beverages wouldn’t fix. We then split up with Bon Voyage heading back to Solomon’s island, and Tuscan Sun and ourselves heading up the Potomac to spend the night at Corinthian yacht club. We all departed the next morning with us headed back to Deltaville and Tuscan Sun heading back to their home marina. The morning was not without some excitement as one of our hydraulic pumps decided that right in the middle of the shipping channel would be a good time to quit. Unfortunately, that pump also disabled the engine and now we were without power and drifting. Tuscan Sun helped us to a shallower spot where we could deploy an emergency anchor and call for Tow Boat US. Finally, after a three hour wait and a seven-hour tow we made it make to Deltaville. Needless to say, that pump has been reengineered!
After attending this year’s Krogen Rendezvous and dodging the effect of hurricane Matthew we took the boat back to Deltaville for some final work. A quick trip to Florida to drop off the car and then back to Deltaville to begin our southerly migration down the Intercostal Water way (ICW)in early Nov.
We stopped in Hampton Roads for a few days meeting up with our friends Jan and Larry who had recently moved to Virginia Beach. We toured the city stopping in the Air and Space museum and generally checking out the sights. One of the highlights was the restored 1920's carousel which still had the orginal mirrors and oil paintings. After a delay, due to the winds, we continued down past Norfolk passing ICW mile marker 0 and all of the Navy ships in Norfolk to start our journey south. Our stop for the day was Top Rack marina.
While in Top Rack we met another couple on Teri Ann whom we had met earlier in Hampton Roads. We joined them for a fantastic dinner at the marina restaurant where if your bill is more than 75 dollars the dockage is free. We easily exceeded that amount! From there we travelled with Teri Ann through the great bridge lock and through a couple of drawbridges on our way to Coinjock. For us this was a couple of firsts. We had never gone through a lock before much less having to ask for a bridge to open. You don't see much of those on the Chesapeake! Again, we were delayed a day in Coinjock due to the winds on Albemarle sound. We said good-bye to Terri Ann as they were waiting on some friends of theirs to continue to Belhaven. We had decided to take a different crossing across the Albemarle for a side trip to Manteo for a couple of days. After touring Manteo, we continued to Ocracoke island where we stayed at the state park docks for a few nights. While in Manteo and Ocracoke we experienced a super moon on both nights. We then crossed the Pamlico sound to spend a few days at River Dunes and then continued up to New Bern, NC to enjoy the holidays.