This year it has been cold. In New Bern we had an ice storm that covered the boat and dock in ice while the rest of North Carolina was buried in snow.
Away at last. Four hours down river from New Bern we anchored in Adams Creek arriving just before sundown... perfect.
It’s Bill’s birthday party; no guests. He is enjoying his Moon Pie topped with whipped cream. There is no need for refrigeration. It is 48°F in the boat.
Hello from snowy, yes that is snowy, Little River, SC. Bill and I have been here tied to a dock since Monday, February 8. We have had a slow start to this year’s Bahamian adventure.
We left Kingsport as scheduled on Wednesday, January 27. Irish Eyes needed new life lines. They are the wires that go around the deck. Bill had ordered them from a boat yard in Oriental, NC before we left home. Although originally promised for the Wednesday before we were to leave, they weren’t actually ready ’til Friday afternoon. The weather forecast for Friday night through Saturday night was for wind, rain, freezing rain, and sleet. And well, that’s exactly what we got. Bill & I were warm inside Irish Eyes with our little electric heater that works just fine (so long as we are tied to a dock with 125v electricity). It was so cold Monday morning that ice formed on the salt water between the boats in the marina. With ice in the marina and all of North Carolina covered in snow, it did not seem like a good time to leave the marina with its electricity, so we drove back to Salisbury for a two day visit with Bill’s brothers. I did our major grocery shopping on Wednesday morning, Bill bought spare parts (or whatever all those expensive little bits are), and after filling the fuel tank and emptying the holding tank we were ready to leave right after noon. We did our usual first day trip to Adams Creek, dropped the anchor in time to see the sunset, and begin enjoying winter time in an unheated boat.
On Thursday February 4 the morning weather forecast was once again not good for the weekend – two days of gale warnings and inches of rain. We made the decision to head to Mile Hammock Bay, anchor, and spend the next 2 days and 3 nights there. It was a cold cloudy day. The sun really makes a difference in how many layers of clothing I wear. On the coldest days I wear silk long underwear, wool long underwear, sweat pants, a long sleeved tee shirt, fleece sweater, heavy coat, knitted hat, coat hood, fingerless gloves, gloves, 2 pairs of socks, and fleece lined shoes. If the sun is warm I might, just might, unzip my coat or take off my hood. I will really be glad to get to a warm climate. As we passed through Morehead City, we were greeted by the Coast Guard’s flashing blue lights. They boarded and inspected the boat, found nothing amiss, and went on their way.
As planned we stayed 3 nights and 2 days in Mile Hammock Bay. It rained buckets, the wind howled, and the boat danced about on its anchor. Without heat we dressed up like we were outside when we were inside and slept under 5 blankets. One of our new toys on Irish Eyes is a HDTV with DVD player. Since Friday, February 5 was Bill’s 59th birthday we celebrated with a DVD, Dr. Stranglove. He got his favorite treat - a Moon Pie topped with whipped cream. Bill says it was a good birthday.
The sun came out on Sunday, so off we went. Other than waiting for bridges to open, it was another day on the water. The anchor was down in Carolina Beach before dark. Next day, Monday, was clear and warmer still with very little wind. The current was with us, so our trip down the Cape Fear River was quick. At Southport we checked the sea forecast and decided to go out into the Atlantic for the 25 mile hop to the Little River Inlet. The waterway has a safety zone at Sunset Beach because they are replacing the old floating pontoon bridge with a high rise bridge. By going out into the ocean rather than following the ICW, we missed that hassle along with the two shallow inlets, Lockwood’s Folly and Shallotte. We motored all the way from Cape Fear to the Little River because the wind was very light. We had an uneventful trip except for a bit of excitement when Bill discovered a pool of black oil under the engine right after we left the Cape Fear River. It turns out that all that was wrong was that the master mechanic did not get the oil dipstick tightly into its hole and some oil was blowing out. I did see a bird I had never seen before, a Northern Gannet, a huge bird with a gray bill. We tied up to the dock at Coquina Harbor Yacht Club in time for a quick shower before having dinner out with my sister Elaine and her husband JP.
Our anchor windlass, the electric winch that raises and lowers the anchor, had been sounding like a grumpy old man. Tuesday morning Bill decided to take the thing apart. It came out of the boat as a collection of corroded metal bits. The drive motor and the gear reducer were both shot. After several phone calls to the distributer in Massachusetts and waiting a day while they were closed due to snow, new parts are now on the way abet with a significant dent in the Visa card! The package is due to be delivered tomorrow, Monday, so we hope to be on the way on Tuesday.
We are in the best place possible to have to wait a week. We have been royally entertained by Elaine and JP, and we have seen my Aunt Mary Ellen and Uncle Ken. Oh yes, we saw snow at Myrtle Beach! It’s following us. The docks and boats were covered with 3” of snow when we woke up Saturday. I want it to be at least a year before I see any more of that white stuff.
Happy Valentine’s Day to all of you!