Thursday, June 14, 2007

June 14, 2007 Cary, NC

We are home! We crossed from South Carolina into North Carolina on Saturday and began to reminisce! We had a great trip but coming home is always good. Because our slip in Morehead City was rented, we spent the final night in Swansboro, NC, about 25 miles from the home slip. It was good to be back in NC.

As we came north, we got to see my brother, Tom, and sister-in-law, Carolyn’s new (60 year old) house in the historic town of Conway, SC. They seem to be having a ball fixing it up. We also had a chance to visit with some IBM friends, Frank and Doreen, and new acquaintances we’d met on the trip. It is always fun to catch up.

Of course, Rick and I had to check out the latest with his son, so we also stopped in the anchorage near Wrightsville Beach, NC and spent an evening with Matt and his girlfriend, Sunny, on Rickshaw. Matt brought his boat over to ours bearing a gift of just-caught grouper. I had flank steak so we had a feast. As the sun was going down, a sailor on the boat next to us sounded a conch shell which produced a long horn-like sound and then another boat answered with the same sound. We wondered what that meant but were too far away to ask. We passed them the next day and asked them on the radio. They had just come from the Bahamas where it is a custom among the locals that when the sun goes down to say thanks for a wonderful day and a beautiful sunset. We thought that was pretty cool…got to get a conch shell!!

It took a few more days to get back to our home slip at the Morehead City Yacht Basin. We pulled in around 4:00 as a thunder storm was threatening. We saw our friends, Lenny and Pam, and had another wonderful meal and lots of laughs.

We picked up the rental car, cleaned the boat yesterday and drove back to Cary. We plan to decompress for a couple of days before we start to tackle the Cary To-Do List! And then back to boat chores to get ready for the next adventure.

Not to be missed however, are a few tidbits during the final push home.

Turns out both Georgia and South Carolina have some real ICW “challenges” since their portion of the waterway doesn’t seem to be maintained as well as Florida and North Carolina. We found more “skinny” water … meaning shallow … in that section than anywhere else. The Dawho River in SC apparently hasn’t been dredged in a while, and the charts were totally inaccurate; showing depths of 21 feet where there were actually only 7 feet. It was exciting (he means scary!).

Then at the Osprey Marina near Myrtle Beach, Rick was loading some provisions … read beer … into the refrigerator. For those of you who’ve seen the boat, the refrigerator has top-lift doors that are supported by gas-compressed hinges. While he was moving things into one side, the top-door gave way and did a big “crunch” on his left hand. He had a real “goose egg” of a bruise, but it is getting better now, so he’ll have to get back to work …!

The last item of interest … of course only to us … was the Sunset Beach, NC pontoon bridge. It only opens on the hour, so we tried hard to time our passage to make the next opening by speeding up slightly. We arrived at the bridge at 8:57AM for the 9:00AM … timed it pretty well, actually … only to hear the bridge tender announce over the radio that the bridge was closed due to a low tide, and would probably open in an hour. Sunset Beach, NC has staunchly opposed the construction of a normal 65 foot bridge to their island. They’d rather keep their one-lane floating pontoon bridge. When the tide is exceptionally low, the pontoons won’t float far enough to either side to get the thing open … voila … we wait. We finally got through at 10:00AM.

This is one of the few hand-driven ferrys still around. This one is in SC.

As we rounded the ICW towards Georgetown, SC this pretty sail boat passed us. It may have been a tourist sailboat but we weren't sure.

A snowy egret in the trees.

When we first saw the back of this boat we thought it was a billboard but as it turned slowly in the ICW we realized it was a tour boat. When Tom picked us up he took us to their property, about 1/2 mile from our marina. In addition to a tour boat, they also have a zoo! We saw camels, lots of different kinds of deer, buffalo, zebras and peacocks. It was so weird to see a zoo of this size on the ICW in South Carolina.

This is the Sunset Beach bridge mentioned above. At the point of this picture, we had not been informed that the bridge wouldn't open for another hour so the Capt. is still smiling.
It finally opened.

This sign, in someone's backyard, really does say....New York 657 miles north - Miami 720 miles south. Now we know!

The following is not a UFO. It is an Osprey ... the new strategic troop/supply aircraft of the future for our Marines.
As we passed Camp Legune, several of the Osprey aircraft were practicing touch and go's. Right over our heads! There has been a lot of controversy over the last few years about this new Marine craft, but it seems to have finaly settled out. It is an amazing thing to see it fly fast forward and then suddenly hover. Go Marines ...!

This guy was hanging out at the last marina we stayed in before going to our home slip, his name is Clyde. We were told he bit so we stayed away from him.

YA-HOO! Our slip is just a few miles from the welcome sign.

Just a few interesting stats from our trip:

Total Trip Days: 158 (including 2 months for boat repair)
Total Days on the water: 96
Travel Days: 54
Total Engine Hours: 307
Miles Traveled: 2369 statute miles
Average Speed: 7.7 mph
Diesel used: approximately 1300 gallons
Gallons per hour: 4.24
Liked Most: Islamorada, FL anchorage,
Liked Least: Storms and lightening and south Florida bridges!

We learned a lot more about the boat on this trip and have gained confidence in our ability to handle her. We also used the tides and weather to our advantage much more than in the past so that we were more comfortable (and less stressed). Of course, it is a boat, so there will always be challenges ahead. We have some boat beautification projects (teak work, paint, etc) to complete in the next several weeks, so we will stay busy.

Currently, we are thinking about leaving in late August to head back north...we are not sure exactly where but we may try to see the leaves change on the Hudson River if the timing works out. Thanks for all the kind words about the blog. We had fun putting it together. We'll start the next installment this fall.