Arrive Oriental: Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Depart Oriental: Thursday, October 29, 2015
That was one LONG month. Now, don’t get me wrong. The time we spent with friends and family just flew by. I enjoyed every moment. But the rest of the time?
It rained. I was plagued with a cold that would not go away. It rained. We tracked down a fresh water leak. It rained. We flawlessly installed a hot water heater. (No kidding. It really was a flawless installation!) It rained. We got stranded out in the harbor when our dinghy engine went kaput and we had to row back to the boat. It rained. We spent $600 to repair our dinghy engine. And, it rained!!
How much time am I going to have to spend doing and enduring things I’d rather not be doing or enduring until I get to do things I want to do? Biding time is terribly exhausting.
Luckily, good things do come to those who wait and we hop out of bed Thursday morning before the alarm goes off, anxious to get on the water. Us and a gazillion other snowbirds who had holed up somewhere waiting for the latest batch of rain to clear. The Neuse is full of boats.
Day 1: We set our course for Swansboro, a 57 mile trip. At 6 knots per hour, it’s anchor down by 4:30 or 5:00…unless you lose the battle with the tides. At 3 PM, we’ve gone 37 miles. No way we can cover another 20 before the sun sets. I open the Waterway Guide and log on to Active Captain. Not many anchorages south of Atlantic Beach. We head up Peletier Creek but come right back out after running aground in the channel. The only other option is Spooners Creek Marina. Staying in a marina on Day 1 is an unbudgeted expense but, oh well. It’s a nice marina with good Wi-Fi and clean bathrooms so one of us isn’t disappointed at all.
Day 2: We anchor out in Mile Hammock Bay with about 25 other cruisers. Nice and peaceful.
Day 3: We’re east of the ICW in Motts Channel at Wrightsville Beach. It’s a busy area and on Halloween night, there are lots of folks on the water. We rock and roll late into the evening.
Day 4: It’s a busy day on the Cape Fear River. Ferries, tugs, and all kinds of boats to keep an eye out for. Racing Steve gets a little miffed as he passes a tug on port only to have another sailboat pass him on starboard.
We pull into St. James Marina in Southport for the night. Right off the ICW, it’s a pretty, protected marina in an upscale, gated community but they don’t really cater to transients. Weak Wi-Fi signal. Bathrooms are clean but no privacy. Folks are friendly enough, just not very welcoming.
Days 5 and 6: There is more rain, lots more rain in the forecast. I’m not real keen on traveling in the rain but how else am I going to get comfortable with being uncomfortable if I’m never uncomfortable so off we go. We plan to anchor out in Calabash Creek today but we’re winning the battle with the tides so we keep going. Osprey Marina is next on the itinerary and since staying there is a budgeted expense, getting there a day early to get out of the rain makes perfect sense to me. Steve is happy once he sees the complimentary Krispy Kreme donuts. They don’t have a courtesy car but the marina manager takes us to Wal-Mart so we can provision. Someone feels bad about forgetting our anniversary and he tells me I don’t have to cook. Pizza Hut is delivered promptly at 7 PM.
Day 7: We wait for a band of thunderstorms to pass and are on South Carolina’s Waccamaw River by 9 AM. We talk about stopping in Georgetown and then in Charleston, but we’ll pass them by. Besides, we’re 250 miles closer to warm and happy. We don’t know where warm and happy is yet and I’m not sure we’re ready to admit it, but I suspect we may be biding time until we get there.