With Matthew Come Changes in Plans

As I wrote in the last installment of this blog, we had adjusted our plans to arrive in New Bern North Carolina at the marina we thought would provide reasonable protection. As this storm approached we took down our bimini, secured our sails and everything else that we chose to leave out on deck. We also made sure that our batteries remained charged and water tanks were full just in case the Marina lost either.

Nasty weather

Back to normal

As it turned out, we briefly had lots of wind, although not hurricane force, and lots of rain. The readers may have heard on the news about the resulting flooding in eastern North Carolina. It turns out that the heaviest rain came to inland areas farther from the coast. The flooding was close to or exceeded earlier records.  New Bern sits on the Neuse and Trent Rivers, both of which flooded further upstream. However the rivers  widen a great deal by the time they reach New Bern. Hence we experienced little flooding.

Once the storm had passed, we sought as much information as we could about the conditions on the ICW south of us and what changes we might expect due to the storm damage. Several sources looked to be helpful. We had decided not to leave New Bern for a week or two in order to allow the debris that was found to be in the ICW to settle out and some of the problems along the route to be resolved. One particular bridge it appeared would not be open to boat traffic until the very end of October or even later, so we were not in a big hurry to head south until things sounded better.

The time we would spend at the dock in New Bern we decided would allow us to accomplish the tasks that we might not have planned to take care of until we got to Marathon. Just down the dock from us was a canvas and sail maker, and we invited him to give us a quote for the replacement of our bimini and enclosure.   We knew we would need to get a new one this year since the current one was 18 years old – well past its useful life. His price and timing were good. We found that we could get it done while we were waiting out the problems on the ICW. 

We were pleased with the results.

Additionally we dealt with some electrical issues and took care of waxing of the hull and redoing the teak. We also replaced a noisy water pump with something at least somewhat quieter. And, of course, Sandra worked on her pine needle baskets as well as some knitting.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to some of our readers was the fact that we took Maddie to PetSmart and had her groomed for the first time in her five-year life. She didn’t like all aspects of it, but she seemed to survive and looks much better now. Her hair isn’t a lot shorter but it is a somewhat shorter at this point and looks a lot better.

We saved the canvas from our old bimini, and Sandra made covers for our ugly fuel jugs. While the sewing machine was out, we also restitched the jib. We didn’t bother with the main, since it has ripped and must be replaced when we get to our “winter” home.

On Sunday (10/23) we learned the bridge we’ve been waiting on (the Socastee) was now functioning once again, since the flood waters had finally receded. So we prepared to leave. Yesterday (10/25) we set out for Moorehead City and points south. All went well, and we noted that the current was running strong. It seems that the flood waters are still receding. For those who might be familiar with the Adams Creek Canal, we got 2 mph boost rather than getting slowed by nearly 1 mph as was predicted by our chart plotter. It would nice if we saw high water all along the ICW, but only time will tell. One fact is apparent: many boaters who were waiting for the Socastee Bridge to open are now on the move. We will have plenty of company as we travel. Will spend tonight at Mile Hammock and head to Wrightsville Beach in the morning. We are currently at Mile Marker 244. That means we still have 1000 miles of boat travel to reach Marathon. But we are on the way.

Carpe Diem

Captain Bob

 

Challenges of Matthew

Our travel south of Norfolk was interesting and a bit different from previous trips. First we got delayed at the Great Bridge lock. It seems that lots of NE wind over several days has resulted in extra high tides. The tide was too high for the lock to operate when we arrived, so we waited till the tide dropped a bit. Then we had to wait for the bridge just beyond the lock to open. Usually this is not an issue, since the timing of the two is coordinated. Because of the tide, the opening came off schedule, and the bridge, controlled by the town, would not make an adjustment. Oh well, no big deal. However, because of the delay, we couldn’t make our planned anchorage. 

Most people never get to see the subtle beauty of this part of the world.

Looking back as we travel the 20 miles of the Alligator-Pungo Canal on the ICW

We chose to anchor in the Currituck Sound. This began pleasantly, with just a bit air moving and a beautiful sunset. 

By morning, however, the boat was literally covered with some kind of bugs – I mean thousands! Fortunately they don’t bite, but they seemed to leave green slime everywhere, and they refused to leave.

Our next anchorage would be in the south end of the Alligator River, where we expected a new onslaught. Sandra had created a large net that would allow us to  cover the bimini. We also kept off the low anchor light and just used the one at the top of the mast.  We woke more or less free of bugs the next morning.

By this time, Hurricane Matthew was getting lots of our attention, so we decided to leave our normal route on the ICW and head to a marina in New Bern, NC. This location is more inland and well protected. We had stayed here for Hurricane Sandy a few years ago, and we were glad we did.

The hotel and condos will provide wind protection.

At the moment, we are waiting for the weather to hit, but Matthew continues to change course. We’ve been glued to our weather apps and television to try to learn all We can about the expectations anticipated by the NHC. I guess we aren’t as likely to get any hurricane force winds here according to current thinking . There may be some storm surge, but we are secure at a floating dock.

Lots of bears in New Bern

In the meantime,we’ll enjoy New Bern and wonder about how this storm will impact our continued travel south. Will there be lots of damage? destroyed marinas where we normally fuel up? newly created areas of shoaling that could prevent our progress?

I’ll send out an update after all this passes.

Captain Bob

Carpe Diem