Posted on October 20, 2016
North Carolina: not as bad as we expected.
Really, North Carolina has been beautiful. We were just concerned about the after-effects of Matthew, and thought we’d be stuck (literally) in shoals and shifted channels, along with the crowds of laggards like us. This has not really been the case. While it’s true that we share the ICW with lots of south-bound traffic, we’ve always found a quiet place to anchor. The two marinas that we’ve contacted for dock space have always had it. Depths have been greater than charted, almost all markers are in place; and so far, we haven’t seen less than 10 feet of water under our boat.
To our southbound friends behind us: we hear this is not so much the case south of Beaufort. From our friend Matt this morning: “Brown’s inlet. mm 237 green 61A is off station and is almost onshore. When southbound, honor red 60, the head straight for green 61A, leave 61A 20 ft to starboard (treat it like a red), the ease back to mid channel at green 63. We saw 8′ mlw. Those who ignored 61A went aground.” Our friends on Perla can verify this tale: they went aground there a few days ago. We also hear reports of Spanish Moss eddying in the canals and wrapping a death grip around propellers.
For our boat, those hazards are theoretical and in the future. For the moment, we are tied up in Beaufort, NC, having some work done on our engine. When the boat is back up to speed, we’d like to jump offshore and avoid some of the pitfalls of Matthew’s wake. Our timing is, as always, a question. When will the engine be done? What will the winds be like? For the moment, it looks too windy for us to want to be offshore, starting Saturday. We may delay our departure until Tuesday; we may take the inside path. We shall see, we shall see.
In the meantime, Beaufort is not a terrible place to get some stuff done. Milou was coming due for an oil change, and in preparation for that maneuver, Michu decided that the amount of oil leaking from the engine had passed the point of acceptable. Sorry, Buffalo mechanic; we should have changed out that rear seal in August. We’ve also been enjoying a fine mist of transmission fluid all over the engine room for far too long. We though about waiting until Florida to have things worked on, but Beaufort looked like the kind of place where we could find very qualified help, and spend up to a week without losing our minds.
More tasks: mailing absentee ballots; sewing in new zippers in the mainsail cover.
Mostly, we are pressed to finish boat jobs before we leave to the Bahamas. Once we’re out of the country, we anticipate parts being hard to get. International shipping rates, VAT, isolated tropical post offices, and a total lack of Amazon Prime–it’s a different world out there, and we’ve only just noticed that the clock is ticking down for us.
Having a non-functioning engine is no fun at anchor, so we’ve parked ourselves at Homer Smith Docks and Marina for a bit. Wifi streaming to our boat, and shrimp sold at the end of the dock–not too shabby! The waterfront area has a great, free maritime museum, filled with artifacts from Blackbeard’s pirate ship, the Queen Anne’s Revenge. We don’t seem to be in easy walking distance to a grocery or library, but we’ll manage. Maybe we’ll just live on shrimp.