Our mission -- Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enter .. OOPS, sorry, I got carried away. Let me start again.

Our mission -- Warm Waters and Great Weather: The final frontier. These are the voyages of the Motor Vessel Traveling Soul. Its five-year mission: to explore strange warm waters, to seek out new forms of recreation and new civilizations, to boldly go where no Brown, Applegate or Higgins has gone before.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Savannah to Deltaville (14 May - 5 June)

You will recall that our last adventure took placed in Savannah, GA where we had to replace our house bank of batteries. So far, the replacements are working well and we have had no more battery problems. We did find, however, a hole in a cabinet door about where, oh, I don’t know, maybe the corner of a battery might have hit the door and poked a hole in it! <Deep wistful sigh> If it isn’t one thing it’s another.

When we left Savannah the morning of the 14th of May the weather was decent. We anchored in the South Edisto River that evening. The last time we anchored at this spot our generator failed; this time, we had no real problems.

When we left the next morning the weather wasn’t that bad, but as the day progressed and we cruised further north it began to deteriorate significantly. Between the South Edisto River and Charleston it was raining off and on driving us down to the pilothouse to drive the boat. That isn’t terrible, it just isn’t very comfortable. By the time we reached Charleston Harbor, it was not only raining pretty hard, it looked like there was some fog. Now, I did not relish running through Charleston Harbor with all those BIG boats entering and leaving while using only radar, so we decided that it the fog got any worse, we would head back to one of the anchorages in and around Charleston and wait it out. In the event, we didn’t have to hunker down at all; the fog dissipated and we continued.

When we got to the spot where we had decided to anchor – Minim Creek – the weather was looking even worse, but it wasn’t until Ann stepped outside to drop the anchor that the heavens opened up. Okay, maybe the heavens didn’t open and maybe it wasn’t even the worst rain we have ever seen (although I can assure you that Ann will swear otherwise). Still, it was raining pretty hard and Ann is the outside person when we anchor. I started to walk outside and help her – but, did I mention it was raining? I didn’t think BOTH of us should get wet. One of us might have to do things that only a dry person could do and where would we be If we were both wet? I mean someone might have to do something with electricity and we surely wouldn’t want a wet person to do that! Anyway, I got away with it, but throughout the night there was even more with a mixture of thunder and lightning.

While at Minim Creek we called to make reservations for the next night at Barefoot Landing Marina. We always make reservations at a marina if we know we want to stay there the following day. Barefoot Landing is kind of cool. It is a long dock (1000 feet?) on the ICW and it is right next to an outlet mall. It used to be free. You could dock your boat and go spend all your money at the mall. While we wish we could have stayed there then, it is now $1.20 per foot, which really isn’t that bad. We hadn’t been there before and both Ann and I were looking forward to staying.

As we approached the marina, I called on the radio – just like I always do. “Barefoot Landing Marina, Barefoot Landing Marina this is the motor vessel Traveling Soul.” I didn’t get a response, so after a minute or so I tried again. Then, someone answered. “Traveling Soul, this is Barefoot Marina. If you are calling about reservations, switch to channel 12.” I “rogered” them, switched to channel 12 and told them that we first wanted to get some fuel and then go to our slip. They said okay. It took us a while to find the fuel dock, but when we did it appeared to be on the wrong side of the ICW. Hmmm. We thought that kind of odd, but we figured that maybe they didn’t have room on the outlet mall side for all the slips and the fuel dock. After refueling, we asked where our slip was. It was back fifty feet or so and they would be glad to walk us back there. Hmmm. Well, maybe this is all one marina and they have shuttles to the outlet stores. When we asked the answer was, nope; we could ether walk a couple miles across the bridge or we could take a taxi. Suddenly it occurred to us. This wasn’t the Barefoot Landing Marine, it was the Barefoot Marina. My God, we had been Shanghaied!!!! Or Marina-haied!!! These guys must be honest-to-goodness pirates.

The next morning we were able to escape our captors at Barefoot, but about ten miles down the line we were almost captured again; this time by an inoperable swing bridge. We arrived at the Little River Swing Bridge at about 9AM. We called on the radio and asked for an opening. The bridge tender said he would open it, so we waited … and waited … and waited. Finally the tender came on the air and told us (there were two or three boats waiting by this time) that the bridge was experiencing mechanical difficulties and he couldn’t get it open, but he had called for a mechanic. Well, we knew that the bridge had opened thirty minutes earlier, so we figured either that the Barefoot shanghaiers had bought off the swing bridge operator – and they really wanted us badly – or that the bridge would be fixed in a little bit. It was over two hours before the bridge finally opened.

That kind of threw a wrench into our plans. We had been on our way to an anchorage near Wrightsville Beach, NC that was about 75 miles down the ICW. Actually, the only reason we were going there was because it was the only reasonable anchorage in the area. I was a little concerned because it appeared to be an urban anchorage very popular with locals and while it wasn’t yet the peak of boating season, if the weather was good I was afraid there would be so many local boaters that we wouldn’t have a decent spot to drop the hook. And if we didn’t have any place to anchor, what would we do then? We had also planned to drop by and see Shay and Elizabeth Glass on their boat Escape when we got to Morehead City.

Anyway, since we were now 2 hours behind, we would not arrive at Wrightsville until well after 6PM so we changed our destination. We would now head to St. James Plantation Marina just outside of Southport, NC. We had been there before. It has a little convenience store, a nice restaurant and is hardly ever crowded. It is nothing special, but it is a quiet place to rest. That also meant that we would miss seeing Shay and Elizabeth. We hope we have yet another rain check from them.  

After St. James we were on our way to Mile Hammock Bay. Mile Hammock is on the Waterway just outside Camp Lejeune. I think we have stopped here each time we have traveled the ICW. After Mile Hammock, it was on to Bonner Bay. Bonner has three anchorages that are really too far off the ICW (~4 miles), but they are just about the only decent places to stop in the area. Besides, it is quiet, pleasant and scenic.  In fact, it might be considered a destination anchorage for someone looking to get away from it all for a couple of days. The only problem with Bonner Bay is the bugs. Although we didn’t notice them when we went to bed, there were thousands of them on the deck and the windows the next morning.

The little spots you see are bugs -- thousands upon
thousands upon thousands of bugs -- after anchoring in
the otherwise lovely Bonner Bay.
 After Bonner Bay it was on to the Alligator River Marina. We needed to stay at a marina because we had sprung another fresh water leak – this time in the hot water hose. It is under the decking in the main passageway (under the flooring in the main hallway for you landlubbers) way back in a position such that, while I can touch it with one hand, neither Ann nor I can get two hands up there to repair it. Since we are taking the boat to a boatyard anyway, we figured we might as well have the technicians fix it rather than strain something trying to do it ourselves. Since, during the day when we seldom use water anyway, we turn off the water pressure pump and turn it on again when we need it. This technique, combined with a little water conservation, allows us to continue our journey. However, we do stop at marinas for water a little more often than we would otherwise.

Back to the Alligator River Marina. I have described this marina before. It is basically a filling station along the highway that backs onto a deep creek leading to the river. The owner carved out the creek, added a few slips and a fuel dock and called it a marina. Actually, it is much nicer than that, now. It has good shower facilities, clean restrooms and a small restaurant so it has become a decent little marina. When the Alligator River is nasty (a frequent occurrence) the marina is full. When the weather is pleasant, there are only a few boats there. The night we stayed there were only three other boats, one headed south and the others, like us, going north.

Our next stop was the Atlantic Yacht Basin just outside Norfolk. We like stopping there for three reasons. First, it means we are in Virginia and have only one more day to go before we arrive in Deltaville. Second, they have really inexpensive fuel (well, as inexpensive as diesel gets). And finally, there is a huge shopping area about a mile away. We generally only go there to pick up one or two items, but it is nice knowing it is there.

Norfolk’s bridges are as uncoordinated as are those in North Carolina so no matter how much research you do and how much you plan, you are going to get caught in at least one node of Norfolk’s bridge network. For us this time it was only one railroad bridge. Bridge #5 is normally open, but as we were approaching it closed right in front of us. Hmmm, we wondered, what is going on here? Have the Barefoot Marina Pirates finally caught up with us? We called on the radio and got no answer from the bridge tender (yes, we know he was there because we saw him sitting in his office when we finally went under the bridge). Eventually, we put out a call for any railroad bridge tender in the area and got hold of a guy who gave us his best guess as to what was happening. Basically, we had to wait 20 or so minutes until a train passed over the bridge, then it would be opened again. It turned out not to be a problem, but this is the first time we have been stopped by a railroad bridge that is “normally” in the open position.

Our surreptitious photo of a US Navy submarine!
On our way out of Norfolk we passed some really big ships, but the most interesting vessel we passed was a submarine! It was surrounded by four or five coast guard vessels that reminded boaters to keep 500 feet away from the sub because if you didn’t they were authorized to use, “force, including deadly force.” Gulp. We decided to keep about 1000 feet away in case those coast guardians didn’t estimate distance well. But we also (shhh!) surreptitiously took a photo. Did we need to do it secretly? No, but I like saying “surreptitiously.”

Then we were into the Deltaville Marina in Deltaville, VA. After we got here and were tied up, a very strong thunderstorm came through. Right beside the marina is an anchorage and both of the anchored sailboats dragged anchor and took off. The anchor for one of them eventually grabbed hold of something on the bottom and stayed put. The other was still manned and the crew donned lifejackets and managed to get control of their vessel before it hit anything. Man it was a close call!

Red Marker Number 36: Statute Mile Zero on the ICW,
the end of our trip
Ok, for all of our faithful readers – and even for you fickle readers – I have some not-so-good-news. Remember that Achilles tendon infection that I had last year? Well, it came back. That much I have reported before. Well, it seems as if I am going to have to go back into the hospital so they can find and cut out the infection – again. Then I will have to undergo some kind of an antibiotic regimen. In short, this summer is going to look a lot like last summer where I am out of action for a month or more.  AAAARGH!!!!

UPDATE: We had intended to publish this update a week ago, but could not get our act together. Since then, I have been admitted to the hospital and had the operation. The doctor found a piece of the suture that had caused the problem before that had been hiding behind the Achilles. He has taken it out and feels that he now has it all. We’ll keep you posted, but it looks like I am alive, well and ready to go cruising again in a few weeks.

ANN’S NOTES:  I must confess I read this blog more than a week ago and have been so busy I never got a chance to add my comments. Right now my mind is elsewhere so my part will be rather short and Michael wants to get this out today.

One strange thing did happen while we were anchored in the South Edisto River in South Carolina. When I was getting ready for bed, I heard this loud humming noise. I know all the normal humming noises that the boat makes at night. (An example is the battery charger that is in the engine room next to our stateroom and the bilge pump that is in a small hatch on the floor …also in our state room.) After telling Michael about the noise we went on a hunt for the humming with flashlights.  After looking in all the easy places, I finally found the noise and the place. Believe it or not…the water current was so strong in the River while the tide was changing that it was turning our propellers. The noise was the shaft turning in the engine room. Once we knew what the humming noise was, we could both go to sleep. The boat stopped humming when we were facing the current slowed down. Every day is an adventure when you live on a boat.

Now for the Wildlife Count

Wednesday 14 May 2014

·         1 Pod of 3 dolphins fishing

·         1 Pod of 2 dolphins

Thursday 15 May 2014

·         1 single dolphin

·         1 Pod of 2 dolphins

·         FINALLY 2 very playful dolphins that likes to play in our wake!!!!

·         A flock of seagulls following us in a canal during low tide…our props were really churning up the water and I could see the small fish on the surface so the birds took advantage of this event. To the birds I am sure the formula looks something like this…Big prop during low tide=Large wake=Fish=Dinner=Very little work

Friday 16 May 2014

·         1 Turtle basking in the sun

·         Lots of fish jumping

Saturday 17 2014

·         Nothing seen…well a few birds

Sunday 18 May 2014

·         Osprey nest with babies

·         1 Pod of 2 dolphins

·         1 Pod of 2 dolphins

Monday 19 May 2014

·         1 Pod of 2 dolphins

Tuesday 20 May 2014

·         First sighting of the dreaded Jelly Fish

·         Thousands of mosquitoes…really thousands…ok….hundreds…I have pictures to prove it…

Wednesday 21 May 2014

·         Ospreys and babies

Thursday 22 May 2014

·         Mama duck with 9 ducklings


That is all…Thanks for following…

Traveling Soul…OUT