We have been in internet (or lack thereof) hell for the last couple of days, so I will try to catch up...
We left Wilmington with a great taste in our mouth for the city. It has a vibrant downtown, with tons of history. The airport was less than 10 minutes away from our boatyard and we had uneventful flights back and forth to Tampa. We had a great time back in FL and saw lots of people at several parties and the Men’s Member-Guest golf tournament at the country club won by our friend Chris Gurney and his guest. Congrats to Chris and to Don Alli for his hole in one on Sunday!!
Upon arrival back in Wilmington, we were aboard and underway within a half-hour of touchdown to make the 3 hour run to Wrightsville Beach. We were 15 miles up the Cape Fear River, off the ICW, so we wanted to get back on track before bad weather came in again! We were hopeful we would be able to make the run back down the river fairly quickly and make it to Snows Cut (one of the “treacherous” cuts in the NC ICW) on a rising tide. Snows Cut was one of the areas covered by our weather and routing briefing when we were in Southport, so we had color pictures indicating places that we had to watch for. We only had one place that got a little “skinny” so were thankful that the tides and our trip coincided!
As we were late arriving, we washed down the boat and went out for dinner. The next 2 days weather is blowy and rainy so we will catch up on things on the boat and then it looks like smooth sailing, er, cruising, all the way to Norfolk. Our routing will be: Beaufort, Belhaven, Coinjock and then Norfolk. The first 2 legs are about 70 miles each, with bridges that only open on the hour or half-hour, so timing is everything. The last day will only be a 50 mile run, but also with cantankerous bridges. It’s possible Jim will have to leave the Looper Spring Rendez-vous (the reason we will be in Norfolk) in order to go back to FL for some business related “stuff”. Hopefully, he’ll be able to make it back on the weekend for us to continue north into the Chesapeake. In the meantime, I’ll be interviewing crew who want to come on board for the Chesapeake/Potomac section of the cruise in case Jim has to do the “work thing” away from the boat. Send applications to me, or reply directly to this post if you want to come aboard for a couple of sections!
Today, we had a 70 mile cruise over to Beaufort, NC . . . we were the 3rd in line for the Wrightsville Bridge opening (that only opens every hour) and made it through the next bridge with over a foot to spare . . . BUT, we couldn't go fast enough to make the third opening, so we had to wait almost 45 minutes for the bridge to open. Other than that, we had a couple of anxious moments, but, again, because we were cruising on a rising tide, had little issue with following the route laid out for us. Having said that, we entered Bogue Sound behind a guy who had just been pulled off the shallows by TowBoat US! He was outside the channel, so I don't know what he was thinking, but we had no issues.
Beaufort is a delightful historic town, and after scrubbing down the boat and having a great dinner intown, we will hit the sack early (because we were up today at 5:15 a.m.)! We will rent a car tomorrow and visit New Bern, NC and Oriental, as we won't have time to visit them by boat, we will have to do it by car!
Again, Jim plans to go back to FL on Monday, so anyone wanting to come crew starting May 3, I'm accepting reservations!