Atlantic Dolphins!

On our first ocean leg, from Beaufort North Carolina to Charleston South Carolina, we had dolphins travel with us for quite some time…a lot of dolphins! I finally have the video compressed enough to share here it is!

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

Beaufort, North Caroline

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Beaufort is a nice little town, and has gotten even better in the seven years since we last visited. We got a slip at Beaufort Docks. Just on the other side of the piers is a small boardwalk that runs the length of the dock, with some restaurants, parking and a shop or two. Across the street from the boardwalk area is Beaufort’s main street, lined with many more shops, restaurants and such. The area is all very walkable, but we got our bikes off of the boat and rode through the side streets, admiring the houses and getting our legs moving a bit.

We made sure to stop in at Backstreets Pub, a great little dive bar that we visited on our previous stop to town. Being Sunday evening, we had the place to ourselves. The bartender served us, and then went back to work scrubbing and cleaning the outside patio..I mean scrubbing, even the bricks! I’ve never seen a dark, divey bar so clean! The various stuff hanging around had dust on it, but you could eat off of the floor, even in the corners! Scott spilled some beer onto the bar, and I jumped up to get some paper towels from the bathroom, to wipe it up! I felt terrible about our peanut dust on the floor (we were given cups to deposit the shells).

The bartender then sent us to Queen Anne’s Revenge for dinner (Backstreets doesn’t offer any food, just the peanuts). It is located in one of the buildings directly across from our slip…perfect. We sat at the bar, where Joe, the bartender, introduced us to a tasty beer called Red Oak. It’s delivered cold and kept cold. He told us that Coors was handled the same way when it was first released.

We chatted with Joe while we drank our beer, and waited for pizza to go. He sent us on our way with two bottles of Red Oak, from his private stash (the bar only sells it in draft). Thanks Joe!

We spent today (Monday) preparing for an offshore run to Charleston, SC. Scott did some motor maintenance and checks. I did a small grocery run, and go to use one of the trusty “70s (ok, maybe 80s, I’m bad with cars years) flash-back” courtesy cars.

Fred, at Olverson’s still has these guys beat, as you can just jump in a car and go, keys in it. Here, you have to sign these beauties out. Use is limited to an hour at a time, and you are asked to replace any gas used Fair enough, but I have to walk two blocks to where the cars are; take an orange cone off of the roof; spend five minutes or so trying to figure out how in the world to move the seat forward, because I am miles from reaching the pedals (for possible future reference, it’s a mechanical control…on the door); place orange cone in parking spot, to save it; drive the ten minutes or so to the store; maneuver an unfamiliar store; check out, with a wait for a register glitch; drive back; find a gas station; fill tank with some gas; drive to meet Scott with the dock cart, so he can take the groceries to the boat; take car back to spot; remove cone to park in spot; place cone back onto roof and walk back to dock office. That takes more than an hour, no matter how you cut it. I took 75 minutes, door to door. Luckily, they let me slid..whew. I’m glad we’re not staying long, and I only had the need for one courtesy car run…too stressful!

I also hit the local laundromat across the street, to wash some blankets and rugs. You walk your laundry through the general store, past people ordering fudge and ice cream, and perusing t-shirts and trinkets, to the laundromat our back. Again, eat-off-the-floor clean. While waiting for the washing and drying to finish, I shopped some of the main street stores.

Scott and I did another bike ride, and then loaded them back onto the boat, before heading to get something to eat at Clawson’s. It’s located in an old bank, and has a neat interior, with a lot of the details still intact. We ate in the bar, and Danny served us. He was great, and even gave us an extra large take-home size of the house made ranch dressing…DE-LISH!

So now we head out at dawn tomorrow (Tuesday) for a 30-35 hour offshore run to Charleston, SC. We will  head straight for Cape Fear, and then turn, to curve around the shoal (shallow area) that extends out from it. From there, it’s a straight shot to Charleston. There is only a sliver of a moon tomorrow night. Great for stars, bad for pitch blackness!

We’ll take turns on watch: Scott will start out (6:30am or so), and be on until noon. Me – noon to 7pm, Scott – 7pm to midnight, Me – midnight to 3am, Scott – 3am to 6am, Me – 6am to noon, and then Scott will finish and take us into the marina slip.

If you pray, pray that I don’t panic when I think that we’re 60 miles or so out from shore, or when I look over at the depth finder to see that we’re in 100+ feet of water, or when it’s PITCH BLACK DARK all around us, or, that Scott admits it’s a bit scary and unnerving. If you don’t pray, cross your fingers, toes and eyes!

Be sure to follow our progress on the Where Are We Now? page of the blog! Look for my post, once we’re safely ensconced in a slip at Ashley Marina!

Here are a few pictures of our quick trip to, and in Beaufort.

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”

Traveling to Beaufort, NC

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On Sunday am, we left our anchorage off of the Neuse River, and traveled just four hours south, to Beaufort, NC, where we got a slip at the Beaufort Docks. We stopped here on our way south in 2007, and Scott stopped here with his friend, Captain Eric, on the way north in 2013, after buying Sea Life in Ft. Lauderdale.

We took a “back way” into Beaufort, which took us under a drawbridge that opens on the half hour. As we came up to the area, it was clear that they are constructing a new, higher bridge, to remove the need for the draw. This is happening more and more along the routes south.

The construction…concrete pilings, barges and such, was strewn all across the channel that we were using to get up to the bridge. And, the markers had been moved to new spots…always keeping us on our toes. So we’re trying to jockey in place, fighting current, while we wait for the bridge, trying not to hit either of the markers or the concrete stuff in our way.

We had previously hailed the bridge tender on the radio, to let him know that we were south bound, and awaiting his next opening. This is customary, although it irritates Scott. He thinks that since we are clearly visible to the bridge tender, they should obviously know that we’re waiting for the bridge. Or, in on-demand cases, he thinks they should see us and open it. If this were true, we’d miss all the “fun” of hailing them on the radio, and waiting for them to respond.

This, more often than not, takes awhile..longer than you’d think, considering that they’re in a tiny space, and right near the radio. You always wonder if your radio isn’t working right, because sometime that happens. They can hear you, and respond, but you can’t hear them, so you keep hailing them. You’re getting irritated that they’re not responding, and they’re irritated that you’re not responding. By the time you get through, or just give up and call them on the phone, everyone is irritated.

But, I digress; apologies. As we’re jockeying, a commercial fishing boat on the other side of the bridge hails the tender that he’s waiting for an opening. The tender informs him that a cruising trawler is waiting on the north side, and that we’ll go through first. The commercial captain replies, (in my best working-man Southern drawl) “ya mean ah yacht?” Now we’re waiting to see his reaction as we come through, and he sees us with our paravanes and such (like commercial fishing boats), and calls us “posers.” We prepare ourselves for radio humiliation.

So it’s now minutes before the opening, and a little boat of idiots anchors to fish…right between us and the bridge!

It may look like there is a lot of extra room, but there’s not, and we’re also dealing with current, which tends to get “wanky” as you go under bridges. We’re also heavy and slow. Good for ocean travel and fuel efficiency, but tricky for maneuvering quickly and in tight conditions.

When said idiots in boat hear the bridge bells go off, to signal the opening, the cobwebs are wiped away, and they realize that they are in middle of the “road”! They haul up their dumb anchor, move just out of our path..and then plunk that dumb anchor back into the water….now their the next guy’s problem.

Ok, we’re good to go, no idiots, bridge opening, commercial guy chomping at the bit to come through on the other side..and a second batch of idiots comes up behind us and cut us off to go under the bridge! Thank God we’re not fast.

Of course once they buzz past us and under the bridge, they see the big guy on the other side, and swerve out of his way…back into our path. Thank God they’re fast, and move across quickly.

We get big “props” from the bridge tender as we go through, “That’s a good hull you got under you, Captain.” It’s nice to get a nod from the locals, and a bridge tender to boot. On to Beaufort Docks!

“Shells Sink, Dreams Float. Life’s Good On Our Boat!”