12 Nov 07, 1500 Hrs.
Coinjock, NC (ICW milepost 50)
Trip: 55 nm, Total: 225 nm, Eng: 1347
Galena departed the free dock at the Great Bridge/Lock (ICW Milepost 12) at 0725 hrs. This morning Tom once again found his crankcase full of fuel. Tom and Evergreen were going to stay behind and have a mechanic look at the engine. There’s a full-service marina right here, just south of the bridge.
The air was cool in the morning but the temperature got up to 65° during the day. I experienced no problems and discovered no excitement during this little leg of the trip. In a way I like that. But that also makes for a rather monotonous day and a dreary log. As I’ve said before, I’ve traversed this part of the ICW 5-times before. There are few surprises for me around the next curve. Still, I’m trying to write this narrative as if this were my first trip. You, my stall worth reader, may not have been here, or read my past posts. So I’m trying to view this ditch with ‘new eyes.’
Wind, waves and current were against me most of the way. I was struggling to maintain 5.0-kts where I usually motor along at 5.6. In the Currituck Sound I finally put up the staysail and that jumped my speed to 5.5 kts! Wheeee! But the Currituck Sound can become quite rough. It’s wide and open to the elements with little to interrupt the fetch. It's also very shallow through here. Sometimes I find myself wandering back and forth across the marked 'channel' looking for water over 8-ft. Often times it’s no where to be found.
Today I received a call from Capt Ron. Remember Capt Ron? He was originally supposted to come with Tom and I on this trip. He found out that the nodule on his thyroid is malignant. He is scheduled to have surgery to cut it out. That means my good friend Capt Ron will not be sailing with me on this trip. With Tom back at the Great Bridge having his engine fixed, and Ron not on his way, I actually feel alone for the first time. Sure, Tom will eventually catch up with me. But right now I'm just alone. Wow! New feelings! Cool!
Poor Ron. This really sucks! He deserved a break on this. He needed this trip. Now he's stuck back there with the other freezing souls. I'll miss you, Ron.
Most of the day I found myself driving down what amounts to a narrow channel. That means I couldn’t leave the helm. That means I actually used the bucket that I had wisely pre-positioned in the cockpit. I can't let the auto pilot steer for more than a couple of seconds in this channel. So I can't leave the cockpit for... well, for anything. Hence the bucket. Worked well, too
By mid-morning the day turned quite beautiful. Once I tied up here at Coinjock the air warmed up and the sky turned sunny. Still there was very little wind. The temp got up to about 65°. If I had known it would be so comfortable I might have anchored out at the south end of this channel just to put a few more miles under my keel.
The day turned into a nice evening, too. I had the pleasure of meeting Gary and Gene of m/v Touch of the Sun. There I was, heading back to Galena after a nice night of drinking at the lounge. Gary and Gene were standing on the dock chatting. After we talked for a while I said I was heading back to Galena for another drink and invited them along. We put away a good deal of my bourbon before Gary suggested we go to his boat. What a boat! It's an 80-foot Lazzara. The inside is bigger than my house! It’s an absolutely beautiful boat. As I stepped aboard I thought, "What the hell were do doing sitting out in the cold in Galena's cockpit when this was available?"
Here's m/v Touch of the Sun passing me at 27 kts
I really enjoyed talking with Gary. I don't know what he does/did for a living but he's a great listener. And Gene is a trip! A fine couple of gents they were. I didn't get home till after midnight and was almost too drunk to find Galena. And she was just a couple of boats down the dock!
When I got up at 0530-hrs to get ready for my 0630 departure I was still a little messed up. Remember from my previous trips that Coinjock is merely a bulkhead along the south side of the ICW. They are also very popular. Since dock space is money, they want every foot of that bulkhead full of boat. So they pack the boats in. Galena's bowsprit was over the dinghy davits of the boat ahead of me and the boat behind me was only about 6" away. This morning there was a slow current against the bow. With the help of a couple of other boat skippers I was able to slide out without embarrassing myself and without touching the boats around me.
The cost here was $78 for a '37-ft' boat and 30 Amp electrical service. Galena is only officially a 32-foot boat; stem to stern. But with that big bowsprit, the boomkin and the wind vane she is, overall, 41.5 feet long. Since Coinjock lines boats up on a straight bulkhead I tell them I'm 37 feet long. A fair compromise I think.
Oh, and the boat behind me was an Island Packet (42 ft?) named Anywhere. Turns out he's on D-Dock at Mears Point marina. I've seen his boat every time I've entered or left the marina. Small world isn’t it.
ICW Mile 102
The wind was forecast as 5- to10-kts out of the west. But it was actually south-southwest at 10- to 15-kts. Just close enough to 'On the Nose' to keep me from sailing. So I just rigged the staysail and motored all the way across the Albemarle Sound. At first it was a little rough. But during the day the wind died down to the predicted 5- to 10-kts and I had a comfortable run. Even in the heavy chop m/v Touch of the Sun passed me smoothly making 27-kts.
I'm in the same anchorage that I've used for just about every one of my trips through here. There were 4 other boats here when I arrived and none others joined us later.
The wind has died to about nothing but is forecast to go north by morning.
I want to get underway ASAP so I might make about 60-miles tomorrow. I'm currently only 100 miles from Beaufort, NC. If I can make the bigger chunk of it tomorrow then the next day will be an easy run.
Last night my DVD software started acting up. I may have some conflicting software on this machine that is causing a problem. I’m counting on my DVD collection to keep me sane if things get boring. So loosing my ability to play them on my computer is a really big deal.
I talked with Tom on the phone this morning. He said he's still at Great Bridge lock and they have pulled off the fuel pump. The mechanics think his fuel pump was leaking fuel into his crankcase. They will try to rebuild it but it will still be a few days until he's underway again.
I checked my fuel: starboard: 9-gal, port: 32-gal, deck jugs: 15-gal.
I've used 22 gallons in 36 eng hrs. That works out to be about 0.6 gal/hr. I poured the deck jugs into the starboard tank. So now I'm at 24/32/0. I'll fill up at Beaufort.
I had a very quiet, calm night. This has always been a quiet little anchorage. Lots of bugs, but quiet.
I awoke at 0500 to what I swear was a very loud horn blasting. I sprung up out of my berth and dashed through the salon to the companionway (it’s a small boat and that is only six steps). As I climbed the ladder and was opening the hatch I glanced at the GPS and saw that I had not moved at all since I went to bed at 2100. At least I wasn’t dragging into anyone.
I stuck my head out and looked around. Nothing. Everything was just as it should have been. No one was frantically trying to rescue a doomed craft. No one was fending me off as I drifted across the anchorage (all recurring fears when cruising). I guess this was just a dream, this horn blasting that I swear I heard.
I was too tense to go back to sleep so I made coffee and stood on the deck and witnessed a fantastic sunrise. I've taken pictures of sunrises here before. The water is glassy smooth and the sky just cloudy enough to add color. The boats around me are getting underway. And so the parade starts again.
14-15 Nov 07
Belhaven, NC (ICW Milepost 135)
Trip: 30nm, Total: 302 nm. Eng:
I arrived here at 1200-hrs. Very early to stop for the day, no? I was talking on the phone with Jane and had heard that there was nasty weather forecast for tomorrow. I was going to anchor out at about milepost 164. And I was anticipating staying there for a couple days while this cold front passed through. Jane convinced me that that would be foolish. I should just go into the marina at Belhaven and spend the two days comfortably there. I don’t like the docks or slips here. The slips are narrow and the wind is always from the wrong direction. The showers are just barely OK. But the bar is great. And the town is just a fine little place to walk around in. So I stop here.
And here I sit. Tomorrow they are calling for 25- to 35-kts with rain. So here I'll stay.
Also here are Gary and Gene (m/v Taste of the Sun). So, of course, we ended up drinking on their boat in the evening.
I also met Alva and Rita on s/v Searenity. One of the smallest boats I've seen anyone live on and sail south. I had talked with Alva in the Great Lock. He was tied up directly ahead of me. Then I'd seen him again at the anchorage at Mile 102.
Alva and Rita's home: s/v Searenity
On my second day here at Belhaven the weather did indeed turn cold and windy. But the wind only lasted a couple of hours. Shortly after that the rain stopped and it was just cloudy and cold. The temperature dropped between 0900 and 1300 from 65- to 45-degrees as the front came through.
With the wind and rain I found myself stuck inside all day. I cleaned up Galena and dusted a bit (don’t laugh; I do that on occasion). Then I did a little enhancement on the slip covers that Jane had made for the settee cushions. She had put elastic around the underside edges to hold them in place. But I slide my big butt around so much that the covers are soon all scrunched up and pulled to the forward edge of the cushions. I was going to do something manly like hammer grommets in around the elastic and then run cord back and forth under the covers. But I really didn't want to man-handle the covers like that. Jane had put a lot of effort into making them and making them look good. So, instead, I just took bits of cordage and sewed them to the hem of the covers. Looks good. Works fine. And no damage to the covers!
What they looked like before I added the cords underneath. See? All baggy
This is how I fixed them. I just sewed the cords into the seams on the underside.
And a close-up of the underside where I sewed the cords into place:
Yeah, I can be pretty handy with a needle and thread when I want to be. Finally, the finished product:
I also dug out my Sampson fid kit and made my first ever successful loop in a double braided line. I used a bit of waste 6mm line. And it only took about 2-hrs. But at least now I know I can read and follow instructions.
I also mounted that LED reading light that I had purchased about a year ago. I had to drill some holes to run the wires from the bulkhead, through some galley cabinets, across the engine compartment, into the side of the electrical panel box, and over to the 'cabin lights' breaker. And that took about 2 hrs. But now I have a nice reading lamp in a place where I usually sit and read. [Later Note: Sometime during the latter part of the voyage, this light simply stopped working.]
The light isn't very bright. But it consumes very little power. I'm not really impressed with it. But I had been wanting to install it for a long time. This is my favorite reading place and it’s a very dark corner of the cabin.
While I had the engine compartment open I drained some of the fuel from the Racor filters and found a bit of water and some crud that had accumulated there. Also the fuel in the port tank is a bit dark. I think I might have a bio problem there. So I'll dump in some biocide and scrub that fuel back into the same tank. Then I'll change the filter and we should be good to go.
16 Nov 07
Anchored at ICW Milepost 187.5
Adam's Creek, just south of Oriental, NC
Trip: 55 nm, Total: 347 nm, Eng 1368 hrs
I awoke in my slip at Belhaven at 0730 hrs. The sky was clear and there was just a light wind out of the west.
The forecast was for 15- to 20-kts from the northwest. So I had planned on staying right here. But the morning looked so good compared to the previous days that I said, "What the hell." and left.
I quickly paid my slip fees ($45 / day X 2) and, with the help of my slip-neighbor John (m/v Freedom), I pulled out and headed south.
As I headed out into the Pungo River I decided to raise sails. A sound decision since, after all, the wind was abaft the beam. And as usual, I raised too much sail. Just a staysail and full main; that’s all I raised. But that full main gave me so much weather helm that it took all my strength and full tiller travel to keep Galena's nose on course. During the sustained gusts (is that even a valid concept?) we were hitting 7.3-kts. And that was while dragging a rudder at full throw! I kept telling myself to get up there and reef that main. But.... See, there was this sailboat right behind me. It looked like a Catalina 38. She would start to close on me, then the wind would gust and I'd surge ahead. Between the gusts she'd roll out some more headsail. Then during the gusts she’d just heel over. So she'd reef in the headsail again. If I headed up to reef she'd pass me. That would just be unacceptable.
Finally, as I turned into the Pamlico River I had to bite the bullet. I sheeted in the staysail a bit to keep it drawing, and let out the mainsheet to allow the main to flag a bit. Then up to the mast and reef the main. It only took about 2 minutes, but in that time that boat behind me came abreast of me. By the time I was back in the cockpit and had the sails re-trimmed she was just a little bit ahead of me. Once I got everything trimmed just right (well, as 'just right' as a cruiser such as myself cares to be) I caught back up with her. And Galena was much happier and easier to drive. Ah, the joy of almost racing.
As we approached Goose Creek (ICW Milepost 150) the wind had picked up to the forecast 20-kts steady with some impressive gusts. A quarter mile from the entrance to the creek I headed up and dropped the main, leaving the staysail up for a bit of extra drive.
The sailboat that had been behind me, and by now had pulled a few hundred feet ahead of me also veered off and dropped all sail. After doing so, they actually dropped back and let me go in front of them again. I'm not sure why.
Once I maneuvered Galena into the canal at ICW Milepost 155 the wind was blocked by the trees and I dropped the staysail, too.
By the time I entered the Neuse River at ICW Milepost 160 the wind was down to about 10-15 NW and I put up the full main and the staysail again. I had a good sail up the Neuse until just before Oriental, NC (ICW Milepost 180). There the wind veered to the west and was right on the nose. So I dropped all sail and motored into Goose Creek.
I made it to this anchorage, right behind the range marks at ICW Milepost 187 at about 1600-hrs. The map says 7-ft but I found a steady 6.5 all the way back. I also found 10 other sailboats here. And I'm only 13 miles from Beaufort. So we were a little cozy here.
I also just ran out of water in the forward tank. So 30 gallons in 10 days, that's not very frugal of me, is it? I still have the whole aft tank to get me to Beaufort. I think that 30-gal should be sufficient for a 2-hr trip.
17 Nov 07, Saturday
Beaufort, NC (ICW Milepost 205)
Anchored in the harbor
I awoke this morning to cold and fog. The cold was the coldest I'd been yet. It was 32° outside and 44° inside Galena. I turned on the little propane heater and finally got the temperature up to about 54° inside. At that point I got out of bed.Outside there was dense fog. The first I'd encountered this trip .
Foggy morning in the ICW anchorage, Adam's Creek
The fog finally lifted enough to navigate at about 0815-hrs so I motored out.
For the first time this trip I had the current with me. In both Adams Creek and the Adams Creek Canal I was making 6.6-kts. That's about 1-kt more than usual.
I motored into the Beaufort anchorage at 1130-hrs and dropped the hook. After putting Galena to bed, having a light lunch and making a couple of phone calls I went to town. I just walked around and then came back to Galena for a little nap.
When I called Tom I found him at home. Tom said Evergreen's engine problem was in fact a bad injector pump. And that it wouldn't be ready until Tuesday. Tom said he wouldn't be on the road again until probably Thursday. Add those five days to the fact that he's at least 4 days behind me and that makes 9 days until he gets here, to Beaufort. And of course that's assuming he doesn't do any stopping for weather or sightseeing or just relaxing along the way. In that much time I could motor on down to Charleston. Which I just might do. I'd rather not wait for him. Although, were I to wait, I couldn’t pick a better town than Beaufort, NC.
I went back into town to meet John Powers. He had e-mailed me about some of the modifications I had made to Galena. He also owns a Westsail 32 (s/v Off Key) and was doing some serious work on her. We met at the Back Street Pub. During the gam he offered the use of his mooring while I was here. That was good, because when I got back to Galena at about 2230-hrs, I found two things that were different.
First, while Galena was right were I'd left her, all the boats around her were gone. So she seemed to be sticking out into the channel all alone. Well, actually, she was all alone.
And secondly I found this paper notice taped to the side of Galena’s hull:
Since it said "Please" I assumed it was put there by the dockmaster. It was both too dark and too drunk out to move her right then so I went to bed. [LATER NOTE: Jerry (s/v Persephane) said that yes, the Coast Guard puts those on boats. But that they only come around on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Also, I found that there actually is no rule stating that one can not anchor in a channel; it’s is just not advised.]
In the morning I looked for John's mooring but couldn't recognize it. So I just moved west a quarter of mile and anchored again. As long as I wasn't in front of the docks I figured I was OK.
Today I have to climb up the mast and clear my pendant from the sheaves at the masthead. It has jammed up the topping lift and is just making a mess up there. I can't just pull it down without tearing it. So I'll climb up and gently remove it.
I'll have to find some other way to fly it. But for the couple of days that it flew up there it looked cool.