Wednesday, July 18, 2018


     Having completed our loop the end of March, we decide to hang out (live with on land) with Barbara's brother at Carolina Beach. We made two day trips on  SummerTime in this period. On the 10th of April, we took Barbara's brother, sister, and nieces to Bald Head Island at the mouth of the Cape Fear River. It is a private island, accessible only by boat or plane. The residents there use golf carts to get around. A private ferry takes over workers and support vehicles for people working on the island. We rent a golf cart there, as it is a big island. We spend a couple of hours driving around the island. We go to the "Old Baldy" lighthouse from 1817 which is privately owned and undergoing restoration.

We have a painting of this light in our personal possessions. This is the second time for Barbara and I to visit as we came here once when dating as a friend's father was the island caretaker. There are several hundred more houses there now than then in the 70s. In the late 70s when we went to the island, there was one rambling beach house hotel, maybe 50 houses, a golf course, and a runway.

Today there is a small village with shopping, restaurants, a grill, souvenir shopping, a post office, a church, and marina. We take a second trip in early May to the Carolina Beach boat harbor. It is a couple hour trip to make sure everything works and not too much grows on the bottom. The last two weeks of May we have some work done to the fuel injection system on the Perkins. All the injectors are removed and taken to a shop for cleaning. They also take the injector pump to install a new seal on the throttle shaft which had been the diesel leak so hard to find. When all is returned and re-installed, Mr. Perkins runs better than ever.
     The beginning of June, we decide to go to Hampton Roads area of Virginia. Our daughter and son-in-law live there. They have asked us to stay in the area for the upcoming winter as she is expecting. So on 2Jun, we load the boat with our gear, and prepare SummerTime to travel again. We leave CB after church on Sunday morning. The trip north seems to be going good until we get to the drawbridge at Wrightsville Beach. We are early for a bridge that only opens on the hour. We take a side trip up one of the nearby channels to kill nearly an half hour. When we get back to the bridge over the ICW, we are forced to wait longer as there is a small sailboat under the draw with its mast caught in the overhead members. The bridge operator relays over the radio that he cannot open the bridge until the sailboat is clear. It is tense as there are several boats in the queue to go through, and the tide and wind are trying to push everyone to and through the bridge.

Eight minutes after the hour the sailboat clears his mast, and the bridge opens. We continue on our way at a 90% engine speed to make the opening of the next bridge. We make this opening and slow to normal cruise speeds until we get to Topsail Island. We find an anchorage in the channel by the south part of the island.  The wind is blowing pretty good, but the anchor is holding strong, and we get a good nights rest. While checking the engine the next morning, I discover that we have a couple of fuel seeps from the injector re-install. I call the repair people and we work out a meeting with one of their employees at a Sneads Ferry Marina for Tuesday to repair the minor leaks. We continue N up the ICW towards our rendezvous point with the mechanic. We stop for fuel at a marina before the one we are headed to. We have to anchor out of  the ICW as there is a bigger cruiser there who is taking on 1700gal of fuel. They tell us it will be an hour. We wait our turn and take on a measly 48gal to top off our 190gal tank. We continue on to our marina for meeting the mechanic. On Tuesday, Dean shows up at 7:45 and proceeds to repair the two minor leaks. He is quick and we are gone from the Marina at 9:35. We have to wait for the bridge to Onslow Beach to open while transiting the ICW through Camp Lejeune.

Another looper bait catches up to us as we wait. We travel slowly together through the base, and we pick up speed and leave the Krogen "Manatee" behind as we round the ICW turn at the White Oak River intersection. We pass the State Port docks at Morehead City and make the turn with the ICW.

It has been a lovely morning so far, and we hope the weather holds as we travel the Neuse River portion of the ICW. We have an easy trip down the Neuse, and across the bottom corner of the Pamlico Sound. They are calling for increasing winds, and we pull into a small creek off the ICW and anchor for the night. We are near my sisters but I can not call her as we have no phone service in this areas. The wind does get up in the night and there are light showers. We awake to find that our anchor has dragged about 2 boat lengths with the wind change. We miraculously blew between two crab pots without getting caught in either one. This creek had a soft mud bottom, and it took two attempts to get the anchor to set, so I am not surprised that the wind direction change caused us to drag. Checking the engine before the morning start, I discover that one of our fuel leaks is back. We are in the near middle of nowhere in eastern NC. I wrap the fuel line in an absorbent pig blanket, and we weigh anchor and head for Belhaven, NC. There are several other boats making the crossing of the Pamlico River with us. It is rough and one of the smaller boats tucks in behind us to let us break the waves for him. We decide to stay at the River Forest Manor Marina, a place we have stayed at before. We got there about 1pm. They loaned us a golf cart to go into town to look for parts to repair our leak. We stayed at River Forest an extra day. The weather for Thursday is forecast as small craft warnings. Our next leg is across Albemarle Sound, which has a nasty reputation. We get our fuel leak repaired on the day off. On the 9th, we left River Forest at 7am. There were several other boats going north on the ICW besides us. We made the Alligator River Bridge at 1:10 and proceeded into the Albemarle Sound. The Dismal Swamp Canal is closed due to hurricane damage from 2016, so we go the North River route. It is not as pretty as the Dismal Swamp route, but much quicker. We pass Coinjock where a lot of boats dock for a night to get the renown prime rib. We anchored in Blackwater Creek for the night. The bottom is soft here also, but there is no wind. We got up early on Saturday morning due to wakes rocking us from fisherman hurrying out to their favorite fishing spots. Barbara piloted while I hoisted the anchor. I think all 30' of chain lay in one spot in the mud. It took about 10min to get the anchor in due to having to rinse all the chain off. As we came out of Blackwater Creek, we fell in behind a larger boat that had been in Belhaven with us. We followed them through the canals and creeks and made the bridge openings with them. We did a lock today for the first time in months. There is a lock in Great Bridge, VA to handle the small differences in tide level between the canal and the Ashley River. We saw Chuck and Sue from "Somewhere In Time" on the dock of Atlantic Yacht Basin Marina as we passed heading to the lock. After the lock and bridge opening, we were on the Ashley River and on our way to Hampton Public Piers. We traveled slow through the Naval Base at Norfolk and picked up speed as we headed across the James River. there are always interesting sites as you travel through Norfolk/Portsmouth as there is the big Naval Base there as well as a vibrant Commercial Shipping presence. Today there is the added benefit of a Tall Ship Festival Going on. We got to Hampton Public Piers a little after 1:30pm on June 10, 2017.

       We spend a few days tidying SumerTime up and getting her ready to make a trip with our daughter and her husband. On Friday, they get to SummerTime early, load their gear, and we are off by 8:10 headed to Tangier Island, VA. We go into Salt Ponds Marina on the bay around the point of Fort Monroe. We fuel up where Barbara's brother abraded his forehead when we stopped here 4 years ago taking SummerTime to The Great Lakes. After putting on 81.8 gallons we are off again towards Tangier. It is a nice day and the Chesapeake Bay is fairly slick. We see a number of ships anchored across the bay, staging to go into a port to be unloaded. We are bucking a falling tide initially, so we increase our cruising speed. We also meet and pass some ships. After passing Wolf Trap Light, the tide changes and our speed picks up by .8 knots. We keep heading north up the bay towards Parks Marina on the N end of Tangier Island. Eventually we see the structures on the island appear on the horizon. It is a longer time to make out the land as the Bay is swallowing the island up.

We get to Parks Marina about 3:45 Friday afternoon, and the octogenarian Mr. Parks assigns us to a dock. He is a colorful character with a reputation up and down the bay.

We go to the nearest local restaurant to the docks and order seafood dinners. On Saturday morning, the four of us go on foot to explore the town. Tangier Island is a place that time has nearly forgotten. The only access to the island is by boat or aircraft (they have a small airport with a storied history)

 and there are almost no motor vehicles. the streets are narrow and not wide enough for two cars to meet. Everyone gets around on foot, golf carts, or scooters.

We eat lunch at one of the famous bed & breakfast where they serve family style. We tour a lot of gift shops. While the men go out in the bay each day to make the family income fishing, the women on the island cater to tourists to bolster the family income. We take in their history museum.

We go back to SummerTime and rest up before going to another restaurant to eat dinner.

Sunday morning we listen to NOAA weather radio and decide to leave early as the winds are going to pick up on the bay. It turns out to be a good decision as the winds do increase and our trip back is mostly in 2' waves, with spray occasionally blow up on the flybridge when there is a bigger wave. We get back to Hampton at about 4:45pm.
       We stay at Hampton docks for a few days and leave to re-fuel from our Tangier trip. We go down to a marina in Portsmouth as fuel is cheaper there, and SummerTime needs to be moved once in a while to keep growh off the bottom. We come back and spend one night anchored in the Hampton River near I-64 before we go back to the Hampton Public Piers for a few more days.

1 comment:

  1. CAMP LEJEUNE...that's where my Uncle Herb did his basic/boot camp experience when he was in the Marines.

    You sure have been getting around in your boat.