18 - 19 Nov 08
Anchored in Town Creek,
20 Nov 08
Enroute to Mile Hammock Bay
I was asleep by 2100hrs but awake at 0200 on the morning of the 20th. I managed to get some more sleep but was finally up and getting ready to go at 0500hrs.
I was a bit concerned about raising the two anchors as the rodes had twisted, one over the other. My plan was to haul the CQR first since it was all chain and I had 80' of it out. The Bruce was on only 50' of chain. I figured I could use the windlass (manual, of course) to pull Galena forward and that would slacken the Bruce's rode enough to haul it by hand. It all worked well until I got up-and-down on the Bruce's rode. It may have been dragging, but it was still dug in deep. I don't have a chain gypsy on that side of the windlass, just a rope drum. So I took a snubbing line, which has a chain hook on the end, and took a bite on the Bruce's rode way up by the anchor roller on the bowsprit. Then I used the windlass to haul the snubber back. I could only move it about 2-ft at a time. Once the chain hook met the windlass I had to secure the chain with a second chain hook on a second snubber (yeah, I've got a lot of stuff for ground tackle) to hold it while I took another bite with the first chain hook. Then I'd winch it back two feet. After a couple of rounds of that the Bruce broke free and I swung over to hang only on the CQR.
The Bruce was fouled on the CQR's rode so I left it hanging below the bobstay while I cranked in the CQR's rode. Once it was up, I left both anchors dangling while I motored out to the bridge. The whole thing took 15-minutes. I was planning on about 25. So I had some time to wait for the 0630 bridge opening.
At 0625 I called the bridge tender to let her know I was standing by. She asked for the boat's name and hailing port. I gave it. She asked, "Is she named after the goddess or the ore?" I thought it was cool that she was so well read. As I motored through the bridge at 0630 she asked what kind of boat Galena was and commented on her fine lines.
I motored out with the ebbing tide making about 7.5 kts over the ground. But once I turned back toward the harbor on the other side of Radio Island my speed dropped quickly. With both the wind and the current against me Galena could only make 3.0 kts.
I heard s/v Oo La La on the radio and talked with them for a minute. They were at Duddley Marina and heading south today, too. So they were only a few miles ahead of me.
Jeff said to watch the current set in Bogue Sound as he was pushed to the east and went aground just outside the marks. I said, yes, I was aware. In fact I had gone aground right there myself a few years ago.
By 0930 the temperature was all the way up to 45° and the winds were west at 7-10kts. I caught up with Oo La La at the bridge at Camp Lejeune. The firing range had been closed all morning and he and others were stuck there waiting. I arrived about a half hour after they opened the waterway and made it to the bridge in time for the hourly opening at 1400.
Boats waiting at the swing bridge
s/v Ol La La followed me for a bit. We were intruding on the live fire exercises and there were Marines everywhere. We even saw some interesting assault boats.
Some kind of Marine Assault boat
I turned into Mile Hammock Bay at about 1430 and got the hook down. The holding was only marginal but there was no wind so I let it go, even though I could pull the anchor aft with full reverse. There was only one other boat in the place.
But after the 1700 bridge opening, 10 boats came in together and clustered around me. Now I was a bit concerned about my anchor. Before they showed up I figured I could drag several hundred yards before I had to worry. Now I had only a couple hundred feet before I'd bump into another boat.
The Marines were conducting training in the bay. They had some very large pontoon boats and were zooming around. I think they were making wakes to roll us on purpose. Well, it's their bay and we were intruding so I just went below and rolled with it. They packed it in just after sunset.
21 Nov 08, Friday
Wrightsville Beach, NC
22 Nov 08, Saturday
South Harbor Village Marina, Southport, NC.
Trip: 26nm, Total: 451nm, Engine: 1977 hrs
I arrived here very early in the day: 1130hrs. I got a huge lift from currents all the way from Wrightsville Beach. I was making over 7.5 kts all the way down the Cape Fear river. But the weather was still very cold. I even found ice at the hose bib on the dock at the marina.
Yup, there's ice under the hose bib.
I did a few chores around Galena before I headed for the local watering hole. I tied the dinghy to the deck. I replaced the frayed dinghy painter with the new line I had purchased, what, a month ago? I setup the Aries wind vane. I topped off the fuel and water tanks.
While fueling Galena I sprayed diesel fuel all over me. My watch cap, my jacket, my shirt. What a smelly mess.
I cleaned up Galena's deck a bit. I had chunks of mud from the anchor chain all over the foredeck. I swept that up and then washed everything down.
I'm springing for a marina because I need water and fuel. The marina is costing me $54 and 50 gal of fuel was $140. A beer and a burger at the new bar (just opened off to the left as you walk toward shore; named the 'Dead End Saloon') and I was ready for bed.
I had left my electric heater on while I was at the bar and when I returned I was very pleased to find Galena's internal temperature a comfy 68° for a change.
The weather forcasts for tomorrow, 23 Nov, look good for an offshore run to Charleston. The winds are going to be even lighter than they had forcast earlier. They should be on the stern so I may have to motor.
23 Nov 08
I departed the marina at Southport at 0630. It was just getting light. I had a gentle breeze flowing me off the dock and current on the stern. So started casting off lines: spring lines, bow lines, looped the stern line around the dock cleat and jumped aboard. The bow was already swinging off the dock. I let slip the stern line and started coiling it. Then I saw that as Galena turned away from the dock, her stern was being pushed toward the dock by the current. The Aries was heading for a piling on the dock. I dropped the dock line and put the engine in gear and gave it a strong goose. The wind vane just barly missed the piling as Galena moved away from the dock and into the channel. Whew! I have to keep focused on what's happening and stay a step further ahead in the future.
I motored out of the river and turned west along my route.
I heard two boats, s/v Kokopelli and s/v Lee-Ann talking on the VHF. I saw two boats running along the coast line. I called them to say. hi. I had met Gary and Janet of Lee-Ann in the bar at Beaufort. So we chatted a bit.
I was able to just sail for only about an hour. Everything was up and I was making 5kts in 7-10 kts of wind. But after a while the wind died and I fired up the engine. I motorsailed all the rest of the way. With the engine just ticking over I was making fine time. When the wind died a bird landed on the bow pulpit and rode along for a while
The sky was clear and the sun felt nice. For the first time in weeks the sun actually warmed my face. I was able to open my jacket, take off some of the many layers of clothing I was wearing.
I talked with Lee-Ann and Kokopelli several times throughout the day and night. Having someone around to talk with helped keep me awake and focused.
The sun lost it's heat early in the afternoon and the air was once again very cool. So I bundled back up. On of the nice things about sailing or even motorsailing off shore is that I can go below and cook meals, make notes, or just relax for a few minutes out of the wind.
I was happy that the air temp stayed a moderate 54° all night long. The sea was just about calm with just a small, 2ft swell running from the northeast.
The jib came down about midnight when the apparent wind just died. I left everything else up to control the rolling.
Early in the morning Lee-Ann was on the radio calling Kokopelli. Gary had noted a problem with his oil pressure. When Gary went below to look around, he found oil sprayed all over the engine compartment. He obviously had a leak in the oil system somewhere. He found it in a hose leading to the oil cooler. The hose had rubbed against the oil filter and had worn through. He fixed the hose, but he had no spare oil. Kokopelli was there to hand him a gallon of oil. By this time they were about 4 miles behind me so all I could do for them was worry.
I entered Charleston harbor at about 0500. And by 0700 I had the hook down in front of the City Dock. I was asleep by 0715.
24 - 30 Nov 08, Monday
Trip: 132nm, Total: 583nm, Engine: 2001hrs
My fuel status is 22/33/20 (gallons in the starboard and port tanks and in the jugs on deck). So I only used 10 gallons of fuel to motorsail 132nm. not bad.
I went to town on the evening of the 24th. I found a couple of nice bars, made my pilgramage to the Peter O'Neill gallery and stared at the paintings for a bit. I really like one of his latest works, The Embrace
Then I went over to Aromas Bar for some Pad Thai and a few drinks. I met Mandy the lovely bartender who took good care of me.
She also a very good bartender
While there I also met Ali and had a nice, long chat with her and her daughter.
Ali and her daughter at Aromas Restaurant
They had a solo guitarist who just rocked! I went back a few days later and, again they had fantastic entertainment.
I walked downtown to have lunch at Basil Thai Restaurant. The Pad Thai was not as good as at Aromas.
The Basil Restaurant in downtown Charleston
Capt Ron, of s/v Lastdance has decided to stay in Beaufort, NC, for the winter. So once again I'm on my own. Have a good winter, Ron.
But along the way, I noted a sign at a crosswalk. I thought it was a joke until I saw people actually taking a flag and holding it up as they walked across the street, at a crosswalk, with the light. Strange.
On the 29th, m/v Executive Suite came by to say, Hi. Brian and BJ are friends from the Bahamas last year and they live here in town. On the way north last spring Moonligh Serenade and I had a couple of nice evenings with them. BJ's mom is visiting but they may call me Monday and we'll go out for dinner or something. They are also heading to Key West for New Years so I might see them there.
The walk to town takes only about 20 minutes if you really strut it out. But it takes over an hour when one is staggering home late at night. I found a real dive of a bar named Big John's tavern. They have huge burgers for only $6.50 and two-dollar beers. My kind of place.
There was rain all day on the 29th. But little wind. My batteries were down to 75% of their charge and I was thinking I'd have to run the engine tomorrow to charge them up. But on the 30th I awoke to high winds and rain. The wind was 20-25 kts out of the Southwest; just as forcast. They say it will moderate later today. But the rain will increase. I'm having a bumpy morning here.
Tomorrow I'll get ready for the off-shore run. This will be about 165 miles and will be one of the longer runs. Should take me about 36 hrs, that's what it took last year. We'll see.