Making progress south-until now

Lisa finished her hand therapy last week and we left Baltimore with beautiful fall weather on the Bay. I really wanted to get south quickly before we encountered any really cold weather. Normally we try and travel every other day, enjoying a day at each stop. But the cold fronts were marching east so it was time to go.

First stop, Solomons. We like Mill Creek. We go back as far as we can and usually have the spot all to ourselves. Totally protected, 12′ deep and thick mud bottom. Nice homes on shore. We left the next morning, only to turn around after facing 3-5′ chop kicked up by winds on the nose much stronger than predicted. Back to Mill Creek.

Next day was much better. We like the bay just south of the entrance into Deltaville. Good holding, no crowds and no shallow entrance to negotiate. Another quiet night on the bay. From there, Norfolk and Waterside Marina. We arrived about the same time as a Navy war ship so slowed down to let her in ahead of us, mindful of the 500 yard separation requirement. As it turned out the war ship, some sort of missile cruiser, dint object to any of the cruiser traffic around her. We had lost a half hour waiting for nothing, apparently. This is quite different from our prior experiences with these ships, often escorted by patrol boats and the USCG pushing everyone out of the channel. Later that evening we listened on the radio as an aircraft carrier came in and had the cruisers scrambling to get out of its way and out of the exclusion zone. Maybe it is the size or type of ship that generates different handling of nearby private vessels?

Anyway, got off the boat for dinner at Waterside then headed to Coinjock the next evening. As we approached Great Bridge lock, the tender announced a closing due to high water. Luckily just a higher than normal high tide so after two hours of holding in place we were on our way, arriving at Coinjock by 5pm or so.  Our first time here, I knew they liked to pack them in tight but was still apprehensive.

Following the dock master’s instructions I approached our parking space, which looked a bit short for our 57′ LOA. But the dock master said he had measured 62′ so I inched into the space. To make it into the slip my swim platform had to slide under the bow anchor of the boat behind me and my bow sprit hung over the cockpit of the boat in front. Not sure how they measured the 62′ unless they included the air space above and below the other boats. They say you pay for the dock space you occupy. I should have paid for 53′, not 57′. Regardless, the dock hands at Coinjock know what they are doing and will get you in. Precise handling is still required!

Lots of AC comments abouth the quality of the prime rib. Mine was excellent.

From Coinjock we cleared the Alligator river on the last day of normal opening. For the next two weeks the bridge will supposedly be closed to ICW traffic. Some openings, maybe. As we passed, another boat asked the bridge tender about the upcoming schedule and he said he didnt know. So good luck to those behind us.

We anchored that night on the Pungo river just south of the Dowry Creek marina. Open to all directions but South, but forecast was for L/V and it was. Perfect conditions for morning fog.

Sure enough, we were fogged in that morning. Four hors later we were still in it.Mostly 1/4 mile vis or better so not too bad. Only felt the need to slow down once, but did add to the tension till the fog cleared at noon.

Now we are at Morehead City Yacht Basin. An industrial setting but a very nice marina catering to sport fishermen. Our plan was to lay over one day then go overnight to Charleston. Not going to happen. As I write this a cold front is overhead, with rain and wind. Two lows will follow over the next two days so we will sit a bit. Bunch of other southbound cruisers here as well so the marina is full.

Friday we will leave here, with options for ICW, a day trip to Masonboro inlet or an overnight to Charleston. Just now it looks like the ditch for us unless the forecast improves.

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