Monday, April 22, 2019

Hammock Bay to Morehead City

When we got up this morning we were one of fourteen boats in our anchorage. There were nine when we went to bed, so a number of sailboats snuck in after dark. We were the third boat out.

Continuing up the ICW the first obstacle was a very low swing bridge, only twelve feet. No gettin' under that. To make matters a bit frustrating, the bridge only opens every half hour. You have to tell the bridge operator that you're there, and he won't hold it for anyone. We arrived with a twenty minute wait to go, first ones there. By the time he opened, there were eight boats clustered, all heading northward.

Sunset at Mile Hammock Bay anchorage
Not a long day, and most of it was very straight. We had to watch for the occasional shoal, but the trip went smoothly. 

At the end we caught up with a boat we knew from Isle of Hope, R Time. I hailed her, asked how they were doing, and told them we didn't want to pass because we were heading to a nearby marina. Turns out they, too, were going to that marina. That meant we'd have to stay put and wait while they got docked first, but that's good practice for bridges (like we did today) and locks.

R Time hailed the marina. We listened to their chatter, assuming we'd get similar instructions on where to dock. They were being put on a wall. We were told we too would be there, right in front of them.

After a five or ten minutes the marina hailed us, ready for us to come in. But he changed our docking location, since we were going to stay a couple of days. He put us on a t-head.

Just go straight.
Nevermind that sunken shrimpboat on the left...
Sadly, I'm still new at this whole boating thing. Otherwise, I would have realized that the current (mid-tide by this time) was really strong, and we were approaching the pier with it. If you ever have the option, you want to go against the tide. Things would have gone much smoother if I (a) had spun the boat 180 degrees and approached the dock against the current or (b) passed the pier, then backed up into the t-head against the current. But I tried to do what I always do, which is bow-in with the current. Every time I did (and I made several attempts), the current twisted the boat and pushed us away from the t-head. After several tries two men were on the pier trying to help. Someone said something about stern-in. I cranked the engines to swing the back end in and Russ tossed a line. That did it. Even secured the current and wind still pushed us away. It wasn't easy -- the two dockmen struggled even with my engine help to bring Cat-n-Dogs out of the current. 

Just some pretty pastel boats.
These things are fast and wake like crazy.
Nobody likes them. But they are pretty.
I'm happy to report that we had no property damage of any kind. But it took us a good 20 minutes to get it done.

I'm also glad we were behind R Time. I would have hated for those folks to wait for all that.

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