Friday, May 31, 2024

day five - who is that masked man?

Wake a little after 5:00 after what had to be the best sleep the trip.  Anchor up and under power 6:35, 6:45 use channel 13 to request a 7:00 bridge lift.  

Once through the bridge, turn to port and tie up at the free New Bern day docks.  Walk to a nearby ATM to get some cash, then walk to a little breakfast restaurant to get a muffin and iced tea to go.  I set on a bench in the quiet morning and enjoy breakfast.

8:00 sails up east of the Neuse River bridges.  Forecast shows rain for much of the day but instead I find a mixture of clouds and blue skies, wind coming directly up river.  Steady tacking from the shore on the southern shore to the shallows on the north side.  9:10 tacking at 2.1, skies clearing to the south.  

9:40 feel the wind shifting from the southeast to the south.  Dark clouds move in overhead, the wind comes and goes.  9:50 a hint of good wind, then no wind at all.  10:05 the wind fills in strong and quick, sailing at 5.0 to the southeast.  

10:25 round up to tuck in a reef, the river is choppy at we're taking spray over the bow.  Slip on foul weather pants and boots.  10:45 tuck in the second reef, making 4.7.

I can see a small rainstorm well downriver sliding from starboard to port.  11:45 making 3.6, could shake out the second reef but decide to leave it in place.  Bright blue skies.  Tacks at 11:50, 12:35 and 12:55.  Making 4.8 approaching Wilkinson Point.  Choppy water with wind forward of starboard beam.  

Bright afternoon sun and feel both the sunburn and the windburn.  My face feels raw.  Slip up the gaiter on my sunshirt.  1:20 gusts building as we round then marker at the Wilkinson Point Shoal.  Round up and bring down the main, sailing under mizzen and jib at 5.2.  

1:55 due west of Adams Creek.  2:45 raise the double-reefed main at the mouth of the creek.  Smooth water inside the creek, sailing at 5.4, the air filled with flocks of noisy seagulls and terns.

Several tacks down the creek in the marked channel, timing the tacks between boats headed north on the ICW.  As the creek bends the wind is channeling directly up the waterway.  3:45 bring down the main and the jib.  Under power.  Approaching Back Creek I look over the marsh to see two masts.  Company at the anchorage would be nice.  I round the corner to find it is a sunken ketch.  What a shame.  4:15 anchor down Back Creek.

32.90 NM


Thursday, May 30, 2024

day four - no room at the inn

Morning comes with a light fog on the harbor.  No problem, there is no rush to leave.

I take my time breaking down the boom tent and tucking away gear.  Just as I finish, Allison drives up and says hello.  We walk together to The Bean.  I get a muffin and an iced tea to go.  Allison wishes me a good trip as I head out the door.  Cast off 7:20, out of the channel and on the Neuse River 7:25.

Fog is lifting on the Neuse but no wind.  We slowly move away from the shore, find some wind on the open water.  Sails up!

Making 2.1 with wind on the stern.  8:05 doing 2.3, low clouds and blue skies above.  8:40 I can pick out Wilkinson Point in the distance.  9:00 better wind.  Terns dive nearby on baitfish.  Low grey clouds.

9:30 sight red marker "8" that marks the shoal at the point.  I can see two ferries going back and forth across the river just around the point.  Two small sailboats are sailing along the shore to the northwest.  9:55 round marker "8" and the shoal, the marker shows a favoring tide helping us on our way.  Jibe and the wind is now on the starboard beam.

See a ferry in the docks loading vehicles.  I call the ferry captain on channel 13, identify myself and ask how soon he'll be leaving the docks.   He says about four minutes.  The captain says I should be good on my course, continue on and if needed he'll go around my stern.  It doesn't matter, I'm past the ferry channel by the time he leaves the dock.  

10:05 making 4.8.  10:20 less wind, 3.2.  10:40 wind dies, 1.6.  Motoring.  11:30 New Bern bridge in sight, still miles away.  A light southwest breeze fills in, sailing again at 2.6.  12:20 doing 3.9 past a small boat regatta out on the river.  12:45 sailing in choppy water, making 3.5 to 4.2.  I call one of the two marinas in New Bern, they are full for the night.  I call the second marina, they are full too.  Will have to anchor out.

I make the 2:00 bridge lift with just a couple minutes to spare.  Spend 45 minutes trying to find a good anchorage.  The first, Lawson Creek, is too exposed to the building wind, plus Navionics says there is a lot of debris that can foul anchors.  I motor to south to a more protected shoreline but it is a trade off.  Less wind and chop, more boat traffic headed up the Trent River.  I explore near some docks on shore trying to find enough water up close to the piers.  Anchor down 3:00.

I get wakes from passing boats all afternoon.  The boat traffic and water both calm down in the evening.

 22.56 NM

Wednesday, May 29, 2024

day three - Oriental

It seems early in the trip - after only two days of sailing - to take an off day.  But it is Oriental, and who would not want to spend a day in Oriental?  It is a lovely town, a great harbor and a free slip, in my case up against the bulkhead where SPARTINA fits just fine.  I feel nostalgic visiting Oriental, I first sailed here 14 or 15 years ago, and have been back several times over the years.  There are a lot of memories in town, all of them good.

I sleep on the boat, quiet and peaceful.  Morning comes sitting on the deck overlooking the harbor, and then a muffin and iced tea at The Bean.  I see a handful of friends from past visits, including Keith and Allison from Towndock.  And my friend Jimmy, our connection going back over 40 years ago to when we worked at the same place in a little town in Texas.  Talk about a small world...

It is not even mid-morning and SPARTINA shows up on the homepage for Towndock.  How nice!  

Lots of folks on the waterfront stop by to say hello.  A pleasant walk through the village.  An excellent salad for lunch and M and M's.  Catching up on the log, and picking up some supplies at the Inland Waterway Provision Company.   An afternoon reading in a comfortable chair by the docks.  Back to M and M's for dinner.

And a late evening Dark 'n Stormy at the Tiki Bar.


Tuesday, May 28, 2024

day two - gentle sailing

Stormy evening.  Quiet after sunset.  If there were any storms after that, I slept through them.   Calm morning, I wake to the sounds of birds in the marsh.  Weather app has a fog advisory but it is a clear as I watch the sunrise.

Sails up, we drift off anchor.  No wind so motor across the harbor to Pamlico Sound.  6:45 sailing at just under a knot.  8:10 a light but steady south wind, tacking at 1.5.  Pass Little Porpoise and Big Porpoise days.  Motorsailing until wind fills in again at 9:15.  Making 2.5 off Middle Bay.  9:50 near Sow Island Point there are dolphins all around.  

10:25 off Jones Bay, making 2.1 to the south.  Blue skies, blue reflected by the water's surface, bright green marsh grass along the shore.  Not another boat in sight.

Noon passing Bay Point and begin crossing the Bay River.  A little better wind, doing 2.3.  I should want more wind but I am content.  Gentle waves, gentle wind, gentle sailing.  I would not change a thing.  

12:35 passing green marker "1", 1.7 kts, a single sailboat coming up the ICW to the south.  Maw Point to starboard.  Green marsh grass and small white sandy beaches along shore.  Water is clear and I can see I'm passing over a shoal, raise the centerboard a bit.  

Past the shoal at 1:30, better wind, making 3.2.  Piney Point shoal at 2:15, rounding the shoal out near the marker.  Once over the shoal, turn southwest.  Wind swings around, now over the port quarter.  2:40 sitting comfortable in the shade of the mainsail, doing a little over 3 kts.

3:15 looking for the entrance markers to tiny Orchard Creek.  Can see some homes along shore but don't see the three markers that are on the chart.  Decide to keep on going to Oriental.  

Sailing by the Whitaker Creek channel see a gaff-rigged ketch navigating the winding, narrow channel.  Thinking he has lost power I sail by and ask if he is ok.  He says yes, he's just trying to sail as far as he can before using power.  I wave and then turn towards Oriental entrance channel.  Docked in Oriental at 5:00.

 24.39 NM

Monday, May 27, 2024

day one - storms all around

Cast off from the dock at Potter's Marine on North Creek 10:05.  Overcast with west wind, chance of thunderstorms after 1:30 I read on my weather apps.  Round up raise sail, 2.5 down the creek with wind on the starboard beach.  Surprisingly few crab pots on the creek.  I'm not happy with the set of the sails, will need to adjust at some point.  

10:30 realize I've left the channel just at the centerboard touches bottom.  Raise the board and slip back into the channel.  Making 4.5 away from the wooded tree line, pass out through the creek's entrance markers at 10:35.  Turn downwind on the Pamlico River.  11:30 doing 3.1 with wind over the starboard quarter.  Blue skies to the east, cloudy to the south and west.  Indian Island due south, Goose Creek not too far east of that.

Making good time to turn towards Pamlico Point, should be able to make Mouse Harbor later afternoon.  Sailing wing and wind, 2.4 in light winds.  I see thunderstorms erupting to the west.  Blue skies around me right now.  

12:25 light winds, motor sailing.  12:50 the wind fills in, making 3.7.  Can see the entrance to Middle Prong to the south, small white beaches along the shore east of the creek entrance.  1:45 can see Pamlico Point.  Also see another thunderstorm erupting to the north.

Wind swings to east southeast, tacking into the wind.  Making 4.3 rounding Pamlico Point at 2:45.

More storms around us, getting some wind from the outflow but the thunderheads are moving to the east.

3:00 enter Mouse Harbor.  Anchor down 3:20 just north of Hogpen Point.  Organize the boat, read and have dinner.  My app tells me to expect thunderstorms.  We get a little rain, nothing more.  Before getting into the sleeping bag I see up on the aft deck and look to the west.  Storms seem to have dissipated.  

 15.33 NM