Conditions: Sunny and chilly to start, warmer to finish. Winds light and variable, calm seas.
Distance traveled: 89 statute miles
Time underway: 8 hours 48 minutes
Average Speed: 9 kts
Max Speed: 18.2 kts
Fuel used: 88 gallons
Another chilly morning with mist on the water as we departed Oriental Harbor at 7 am sharp and made the three-mile run across the glassy calm Neuse River to the entrance to Adam’s Creek. Most of the creek is slow going in no-wake zones but it’s a pleasant ride and often where we’re greeted by dolphins. Today was no exception with our first pod of around five dancing off our bow at 8:41 am.
Our original plan was to make our usual stop in Beaufort, NC, but it’s such a relatively short run from Oriental and it was forecast to be a beautiful day so we had made a plan to press on to a spot between Beaufort/Morehead City and our next stop of Southport. We cleared Morehead City at 9:30 am and meandered down the ICW which, while busy at times with small fishing boats enjoying the chilly but beautiful day on the water, was for the most part light on traffic and we would often travel for miles with the ICW to ourselves.
There are a couple of notorious problem spots on this leg, something we’ll be contending with at some point pretty much every day as we move forward, but if you do your homework and take it easy, you should be able to get through without issue as we did throughout the day. In addition to having routes plotted through the areas of concern, we also run Aqua Map Master on an iPad we keep at the helm. It overlays the latest Army Corps of Engineers surveys on the chart which helps keep us in the deepest water.
We decided on Harbour Village Marina in Hampstead, NC and are thrilled we did. Mike, the harbormaster, was wonderfully accommodating and spot-on with the information and directions we needed to approach and reach our slip at the marina. They have a different approach to communicating at Harbour Village, relying on text and phone rather than VHF. While we think it’s important to be able to reach a marina on the radio if necessary, we found this to be a very efficient and effective method of getting us critical info well in advance of our arrival. After calling by phone an hour before arriving, you are texted specific instructions on your dockage assignment, something we are usually feverishly scribbling onto a notepad when receiving it on the radio, most often minutes before pulling into a marina. They also send a very helpful photo and video showing the approach to the marina. EVERY marina should provide this. We always look at satellite images of marinas that don’t have good visuals available online so it’s nice when a marina goes the extra nautical mile as they do here.
Dockhand John was a pro, seeing to it that we were expertly tied and hustling to accommodate a pump-out of our holding before they closed for the day. The floating docks are beautiful and fairly new, the property is immaculate and it was exactly what we needed. There’s no restaurant or other services within walking distance (although we were informed about excellent pizza that could be delivered right to the boat) but there was nothing we needed other than a comfortable place to spend the night and a good place to walk Jasper. We’ll be back for sure.
We press on to Southport, NC next. See you out there…
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