As we continue down south in the Intracoastal Waterways, Our time at Bridgeton Marina in New Bern NC was only planned for 2-3 days, but we ended up staying for a week due to the severe storm came in, we just stayed put. Our end goal for December was to get to Satellite Beach Florida for our Christmas flights back to Portland for the holidays. We had exactly a month to get over 770 miles down the coast and we hate pushing it too fast, we like to experience the locations on our way. We had planned to stop at Wilmington NC because we didn’t hit that spot on the way up the coast. So, our plan for our first leg from New Bern south was to anchor out 1 night and stop at one of the marinas in Wilmington NC the next day.
We picked a nice anchorage site along the ICW in Bogue Sound near Moorhead City. It was a short hop and gave us the ability to get to Wilmington in the middle of the second day.
Next morning, we were up and pulling up anchor early to hit Wilmington before dark. We had a great run that day with all the interesting sights along the way.
As we arrived close to the Seapath Marina, we had just one more bridge to open and less than a mile to go. We arrived at Wrightsville Beach bridge 15 mins after the hour and this particular bridge only opens on the hour. We had 45 mins to hold our location. This might not sound too difficult to some, but the ICW is narrow, has lots of shallow spots, the current and wind can push you around and we just happened to have 1 boat in front of us with multiple boats gathering up behind us, also waiting. Dan wasn’t very comfortable with this situation. It can be hard to just try and sit still in water that has current and winds blowing on you. For part of this time, I was at the helm and felt that the Starboard engine was being odd. It didn’t sound or look like it was engaging. So, I said something to Dan. He looked at all the RPM and oil pressure and said all was good and gave the fault to the wind and current.
As the bridge lifted and we headed to our marina there we two guys waiting for us to catch our lines. The wind and current were just so strong it was making the side tie to the dock between two other boats difficult. We had enough room with 150 feet open on the dock for our 80-foot boat and we were going to tie port side to. But when the wind and current are working against you it becomes extremely hard. In the middle of the attempt, Dan decides he wants to put the Starboard side to the dock not the Port side, because of the lack of responsiveness of starboard engine, plus the wind and current. I get really cranky when this happens at the last minute. (as most of you 1st Mates/Admirals know what it’s like) I have to run around the boat untie 3-4 fenders and retie on the other side and move all our mooring lines too. All of this adjustment takes me time and a lot of stress on my end. Once done we did okay docking and Dan seemed to understand that maybe something is wrong with the Starboard engine. HUMMMM….
After we settled in and get all hooked up to shore power etc. Dan makes a call to his buddy Ken, which gives him some ideas to check with the starboard transmission, such as oil pressure, leaks, oil level etc… It turned out that all of those were good and didn’t seem to be the cause. Dan was thinking about taking some covers apart to do some more digging around to find the issue. I just asked the question about the shift lever, that I thought something was wrong with the handle. Dan’s initial thought is, it’s fine and he heads down to the engine room…but then he stops, and he says… “OK, I’m listening to you and what do you think is wrong” After explaining a bit more Dan decided to go look at the linkage where the connection is from the hydraulic shifter to the transmission shift lever, and watch while I moved move port and starboard handles. Guess what? The linkage part was broken off the transmission lever part. With this broken, it was disconnected and of course was not engaging the engines. Problem was now identified. Now just a fix needed until we could get the correct part ordered and shipped someplace. We were incredibly grateful that the issue happened when we were out of gear not in gear. We sent the parts to our friends in Florida which we would pick up on our arrival to Telemar Marina in a week or so.
Yes, I may challenge Dan a bit with pushing on some of my ideas to resolve issues, but in the end “sometimes” I ask the dumb question that finds the correct problem. We make a good team.
Our stay in Wilmington was nice. The next day we took a horse drawn carriage ride through old town and lunch at a river side restaurant.
The folks at Seapath Marina in Wilmington were so nice and helpful… I would highly recommend this stop if you are in the area.
With our temporary fix using a bunch of stainless wire to hold on the damaged linkage in place, we were on our way to South Carolina. We again planned on anchoring out one night before reaching the next marina. We have been doing really good with small & short runs, stopping to enjoy an evening at each location. As Dan was looking at his Navionics boating app on his phone for a ½ way between spot to anchor. He found a small marina at Inlet View Bar and Grill located at the Shallotte River on the ICW. This is a family run business for 3 generations and used to be called Hughes Marina.
This was a rough spot to dock as the river runs extremely hard and fast at this ocean inlet. We had no power or facilities available either. But we had a nice dinner at the restaurant and enjoyed chatting with the locals, we only stayed 1 night.
We arrived at Wacca Wache Marina on Friday night. We planned to visit our friends Andrea, Ted, and their kids. We met them in Portland Oregon in 2014 when they purchased “Golden Eagle” Yacht from a member of our Columbia River Yacht Club. We heard rumors that they were going to take their newly purchased boat through the Panama Canal home to South Carolina, so we purposely wanted to meet them. We were able to follow their adventures on Facebook….now they are watching our adventures. So glad we did, they have become wonderful friends!
Andrea picked us up for a wonderful dinner at their home. We had a great time learning about each other’s trips and how the dream got started for us both. They loaned us a car for provisioning, which allowed me to buy a turkey for our own Thanksgiving dinner on the boat. Andrea also gave us tickets to the “Brookgreen Gardens“, which is a Botanical and Sculpture Gardens. What a wonderful huge garden it is!
On our last day Andrea toured us through the building of their new home. It is a unique structure built with only steel and concrete, right on the water’s edge in the wetlands/lowlands. They have an amazing view and a unique structure built above the wetlands and some parts filled in, which allows for a driveway and turning platform where they will have parking and fun things like basketball court for kids. This home will last for generations to come. We were so grateful to spend some quality time with them.
Our next stop was to head to Charleston, again with 1-night anchoring along the way. We stopped at South Santee river anchorage and watched dredges working nearby. We had a nice stay anchored out and the next morning we headed out to Charleston but……we didn’t make it.
We were stopped near McClellanville North of ICW markers 35-37 where we saw two boats stuck in the sand. After chatting with them on the VHF radio and listening to them talking to each other they had planned to wait until the high tide came in to give them the lift they needed to get unstuck. We were apprehensive about heading past them. Just as we were creeping that way Dan’s temp fix to the linkage on the engine shifter came loose. He went down to the engine room to fix it and asked me to try and hold us without going aground. I had only one engine, strong winds and currents, it didn’t go well. We got pushed over a bit farther than we wanted while Dan was doing the fix and we eventually got ourselves stuck. We attempted to backup and go forward, but the mud had us pretty tight. We figured we were going to have to wait it out too. Every couple mins we would attempt to break loose with some type of movement and it finally worked. As we backed out about ½ mile to an open area where we made the decision to drop the anchor on the edge of the ICW channel and wait for high tide to make another attempt.
We saw a couple boat’s heading towards us, we reach out to them to tell them the situation. 5 different boats hung back and waited for about 1.5 – 2 hours. Eventually one boat said he was going to attempt it. Well, he made it through and the other boats that were stuck earlier were gone. We couldn’t see them, as they were beyond a bend in the waterways. So, we all headed out one behind each other and we all got through just fine.
Now with this 2-hour delay in our trip we didn’t want to push it hard. We would be arriving in Charleston in the dark, so we decided to find another place to anchor close by. Well, Dan and I somehow “made lemonade” with our lemons….because the place we picked was a small creek called Graham Creek. It had a cut through to the ocean, but was too shallow for us, others might make it just fine. But we wanted to just anchor, which is what we did. It was a pretty tight spot but no one else bothered us and we loved it. We ended up staying another night it was so beautiful. We had the most beautiful sunset and the next day I took the kayak out and enjoyed a paddle around the creek. I would go back to that quiet little spot any day!
On the 3rd day we made it to the Charleston city marina where we stayed a couple days and enjoyed Patriot Point Naval & Maritime Museum. We were able to walk to see the USS Yorktown aircraft carrier, the USS Laffey destroyer, which is the most decorated WW2 era destroyer, the USS Clamagore Submarine, and the huge Vietnam war exhibit, largest in the US. We had fun touring and a great Thanksgiving dinner that night too!
The Atlantic intracoastal waterways are finding a way to make our lives interesting. Whether it is the beautiful spots we happen to trip across with an unexpected outcome of all its beauty, serene waters and wetlands or the adventures of getting stuck and engines issues, or the sights and sounds of the cities we get to visit along the way, we enjoy every minute of it.
Cheers from MV Angelique