3 May 2015
By the time we hit the ICW all the other Loopers were well ahead of us. It was a very clear and calm day, it was a very nice ride. About an hour into it we crossed into North Carolina, a new state for us. Only one more on the trip (Virginia) and we will have them all.
We did see a dolphin later in the morning, the first one in a few days. It was close to one of the sounds so it was close to the ocean. The prior days we’ve been in long sections of canals. Plus the boat traffic was heavier.
Got into Southport and the marina right at noon. We had lunch of left over stuffed baked potatoes from Saturday. While Susan worked on loading pictures, I went for a walk through town. It’s a cute little place, but with being Sunday lots of places were closed.
Lots of places pn the loop have “Harbor Hosts”, someone that is willing to help out with local info, finding things, etc. I spent an hour with the Southport Harbor Host, Robert. He was a fountain of information about the area and about things to do on the next part of our trip.
As a service the marina also offers a briefing to sailors going north and south on the ICW. We went to the briefing tonight, there were 8 boats represented. The first part of the briefing was about the weather outlook for the next 7 days. There is a weird tropical disturbance that has the weather models confused. So he spent time explaining what to look for in the reports and how to interpret the results as the week progresses.
The briefer then went over things to look out for in the channels for the next 300 miles to get to the Chesapeake Bay. (It’s hard to think that we are only 600 water miles from home) There is shoaling in some areas, that is where the sand and mud have moved along the bottom to create shallows.
Providing we are two hours after and before low tide, we will be fine for the trip. We are in a perfect window to move, low tide is 5AM on Monday. It increases about an hour each day, so Tuesday 6AM, Wed 7AM, etc. So all of our trips the next 7 days have us with good travel times. I expect the tropical disturbance to figure out what it’s doing, that will have us in port for two days. By then we will be in the Dismal Swamp, it’s not as much dependent on the tide.
The best part of the briefing was he had printed up the slides so we could take them with us and study. I have some new sites to add to my weather page.
After the briefing we went to dinner at the “Provisioning Company” It’s an interesting place. You come in, read the chalk board menu and place your order. You then grab drinks from the cooler (beer/wine) or get sodas from the fountain. They have a huge pavilion, find a table and when it’s ready they bring it to you. We had the crew of “Seahorse” and “Just Us” with us. We all had variations of the crab cake / steamed shrimp combos. The food was very good and the portions were huge.
It was another amazing sunset, we all got pictures. There were also about 50 kayaks on the river since it was so calm. Full moon tonight so it would be a great night to be anchored out. On the way past the docks there was one of the America Cruise Line boats going by. I need to look into how they really work, it may make a nice trip back to this area.