Thursday, November 6, 2008

Aboard Neptune from Norfolk to Palm Beach

Down the ditch

Once again, it is time for "Neptune" (Nordhavn 47) to head down south for Freeport in the Bahamas and I am taking the time to help Ezio and Stephanie sail their boat to her winter destination.
We left on Wednesday October 22nd in the late afternoon with a modest goal : make it from Willoughby to Hospital Point, so that we can make the bridges before the travel restrictions. That was 'mission accomplished" without any difficulty
On Thursday, we left in time to make the Jordan bridge before 6:30 a.m., and then make all the following bridges in sequence. This got her to Coinjock by 5:00 p.m. Our plan was to go on and anchor 5 miles passed Coinjock, but the weather forecast, which never materialized, called for strong winds from the wrong direction and we chose to stay in Coinjock.
Friday was the traditional leg from Coinjock to MM 126 at the south entrance of the Pungo/Alligator river canal. We got there just in time before dark and anchored not far from the ICW, expecting ENE winds, which we got. Night without any scare nor any anchor dragging with the other boats much further inside the anchorage.
On Saturday, the forecast did not look good at all for the Neuse River. We went ahead anyway. All went well up to the Bay River. But then, 4 to 5 miles into it, the short seas on the starboard bow proved to much for Neptune and we went back and anchored right at the entrance of the Bay River, next to the new hunting club.
Sunday morning, beautiful weather and we made it in very good time to Morehead city. So early in fact that it opened the opportunity to do whatever shopping and provisionning that was required and leave before dark. We went outside and headed for Wrightsville Beach. That leg outside was very quiet and we got to the Masonboro inlet too early and had to slow down to wait for daylight.
We continued on on Monday, and stayed in passed Southport. As always, we bumped on the ground going thru the Lockwoods Folly inlet and the Shalotte inlet.
That night, we stayed at the Barefoot Landing marina south of Myrtle Beach.
On Tuesday, we travelled to an anchorage 5 miles south of McClellanville with a questionable holding but very well sheltered.
We continued on Wednesday up to Charleston and went out there expecting a nice crossing to Jacksonville. Unfortunately, the afternoon and evening were not so quiet with again short seas on the starboard bow that Neptune does not like at all. However, this time, turning back was not an option, and we labooured on, slowing down between 8 and 11 p.m.
We made the Jacksonville entrance by 2:00 p.m., greeted by a strong outgoing tide slowing us down to 3.5 knots,and it took us two and a half hours to get to the Palm Cove Landing marina. Although we had to help quite a bit with dredging of the entrance channel, the marina proved to be quite a nice one with very few transients.
Friday morning, while Ezio and Stephanie were doing their shopping at Costco, I installed their new MaxSea on their computer. We left Palm Cove early afternoon and stayed inside to get to St Augustine. We made very good time and anchored past the St augustine marina at approx mile marker 781.
To get out of this anchorage, you need to go way north of the red marker at the entrance.
Our next stop was New Smyrna Beach where we anchored south of the fixed bridge near a few boat that appear to have been there for ever.
After a quiet night, off we were again, this time to anchor in the middle of the Indian River approx at mile marker 926 in about 10 feet of water. Excellent holding on a bottom that looked to me to be gravels.
That Sunday, we even watched the final grand prix of Formula One on the NavNet monitor in the pilot house.
Monday morning, we made it to Fort Pierce to take fuel ($2.94/gal) and then go outside to reach West Palm Beach for dinner. We got there a little late, around 8:00 p.m., still in good time for dinner after we anchored immediately past the entrance channel.
I spent the whole of Tuesday trying to sort out the mystery of outlook express outgoing server on Ezio's computer refusing to send messages to MaxSea. Eventually, I had to find a tortuous way to achieve the result, copying and pasting the message requesting the grib file from outlook to yahoo webmail, sending the message via webmail and receiving the file into outlook. I know that the problem lies with the settings on outlook related to the outgoing server, but not sure whether it is the setting of the port number or something about SSL and/or TSL.
Once away from Neptune, it will become more difficult to troubleshoot since I Vista and not XP on my own computer.
Wednesday, it was up at 4:30 a.m. for shower, packing, breakfast and out to the airport to pick-up the rental car at 6:00.
I left Palm Beach at 6:30 to reach Jacksonville around 10:20. There I borrowed a bolt cutter from Alan Both and emptied my storage there into the car. Left Jacksonville at 12:00 and arrived in Portsmouth at 8:30 p.m. totally exhausted but happy to be back on Papy Jovial.