Monday, November 23, 2009

To Wrightsville Beach NC

We have been running for the past 2 days and have made great progress. The best way I can describe sections of this portion of the trip is: NO WAKE. We typically run at 8.5 kts. Not particularly fast, about 9.75 mph, so not a screaming speed. There were so many places where we needed to slow down due to no wake zones that it really reduced our average speed by quite a bit.

Another issue is bridges. This stretch was particularly vexing. There were 5 bridges stretched out from a few miles to over 20nm. Each opened on a particular schedule that did not always work in sequence. For example some open on request, a good thing, some open on the half hour and some open on the hour. The challenge was the hour opening bridges. It is really difficult to miss an opening of a bridge that only opens on the hour and  keep the boat in position against a current and other boat traffic.

Another issue most boaters are way too familiar with is navigational depths of the ICW. By statue the waterway is to be maintained to a depth of 12'. The reality is something else altogether. There are many places where you must look closely at the tides in order to avoid running aground. There are web sites and companies whose sole purpose is to either inform you where and what the problem areas are or to help you out in the event of a grounding..

This is part of a dredging operation that we passed after coming out of Snows Cut. and going into Cape Fear. The priority of these efforts goes first to commercial needs and low down on the priority list is the pleasure boater. But the waterway is improving especially when merchants complain that they are losing business because customers are avoiding their area due to waterway problems.

Here is another rather creative way of encouraging a slow go...

We arrived in Wrightsville  Beach as it was getting dark. The bridges were a challenge from a timing perspective and was maybe the most challenging so far. But after the last one we cruised into the marina.

The next morning as we prepared to leave we had this entertaining view. I am not sure I have ever seen anyone standing up on a surf board paddling. There were several groups who looked to be racing. The boards looked to be specially made for this type of sport.

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