Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Staging - and then Run for Home

Always catching up.

We left Great Bridge early on Tuesday, June 24. We were the only boat needing a 7:00 am opening of the Great Bridge Bridge. We were only moving to the other side of the bridge to get diesel and a pump-out before starting the day's trip south towards home. I felt kind of bad making them stop traffic just so we could move 200 yards - but not that bad. Atlantic Yacht Basin claimed to have the cheapest diesel on the east coast and that seemed to be true on our way north so we stopped again on our way south.

Trust me - there are eagles in that tree
It was a still, peaceful ICW morning as we worked our way through the other two bridge openings on our agenda early in the trip. We motored along without company - well, no boats anyway. We did have a pair of eagles cruise by.

We met a few vessels going north but not many.Our only goal for the day was to make it to an anchorage off of Broad Creek down in the North River. This anchorage has very little (beyond isolation) to offer. But, it is near the entrance into the Albemarle Sound and about 3 hours from our home. It sets us up to make that run whenever the weather cooperates and the water rises enough in Colington to let SeaClearly's 5'-8" draft slip through the inlet. Our water watchers back home already warned us that we were way low so we knew we were going to be sitting at anchor for at least one night.

Quiet ICW travel

As we traveled along, we read some of the Active Captain reviews of the anchorage we were headed for. They all had one common theme - bugs! We had taken down our full enclosure for traveling but, given this insight from this very valuable site, we dug out the screens and put them up as a preventive measure. We had a very uneventful trip and dropped the anchor in 8 feet of water by mid-afternoon. Before the anchor hit the mud, the bugs arrived.

This is what an isolated anchorage looks like from space.
All that marsh to the west breeds insects.
Not just one kind of bug. Oh, no. Biting flies alone, we had in three different sizes - small and mean, medium and slow, and giant scary. We set the hook and scrambled to get into the relative safety of the screened-in cockpit. We got out the fly swatter to fight them off. We were, literally, stuffing rags into the gaps around the edges and where the lines come in from the mast to stifle the flow. They were relentless. But, it was hot so we sat in the cockpit and swatted bugs. I had a little flashback to the only time my grandmother ever got angry with me. When I was a kid visiting at her house in Indiana, I was usually bored so I would chase the flies with the fly swatter for entertainment. When I ran out of flies, I propped open the back door to let some more in. She didn't really like that.

The weather did not cooperate and the wind did not shift around to the west on Wednesday so we got to sit for another night. Junie does not 'sit' as well as I do so she was getting pretty antsy. But, no water, no home. The forecast looked like we should get our wind switch early Thursday morning but the window wouldn't last long.

Thursday, we were up at 5:00 am, anchor up and moving by 6:00, looking for a 9:00 am arrival at Colington.  The wind was from the west (as we needed), the skies were clear and the breeze was from the right direction to fly some sail. Cool!  The bugs were not gone. Although, on this morning, the flies were out-numbered by whatever these were.

Our trip into Colington went just as planned. Halfway home we got a call from neighbor Jeff that we almost had enough water and it appeared to be rising. We cruised in on our known-working path and never touched bottom. Hey, a trip out and back into Colington without drama!

We were glad to be home, glad to be home early in the day and glad that we did not have the same bug problem as the anchorage. We started unloading dirty laundry and stripping the bug-spattered screens off of SeaClearly immediately.

Since then, we have had some fun maintenance tasks and a minor (bug-related) medical problem that I will describe later. Oh, and there is a hurricane coming. Back home in the Outer Banks!

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