Thursday, November 10, 2005

On to Beaufort N.C.

We left Elizabeth City on Sunday heading across the Albemarle Sound. This is one of the few nice wide areas and we were able to hoist the sails and SAIL! So great to turn off the iron genny. The sound leads to the Alligator River (we saw none) which leads to the Alligator-Pungo canal. No stopping within this canal so we anchored just off the channel in the river less than a mile from the start of the canal. As usual, cruisers who follow you figure you know what you are doing and so two other boats anchored near us. Lots of room here though.

This is odd country. Once we got a few miles south of Elizabeth City just past the 'blimp garage' we saw nothing…I mean nothing on either shore as we crossed the sound. This is a run of about 50 miles and it looks to be just wild country maybe swampy on both sides. The entire expance of water is 15 feet deep max! I always expect to see a line of condos somewhere but there are none and no cottages either. Who owns all this stuff?

We had a lovely evening on the anchor. We put our ‘comfy’ chairs on the foredeck, had a cocktail drink, and watched some boats come and go as the sun went down. Nice. Of course cruising isn’t always like this. (Dramatic pause…) In the evening we realized that our water pump was not pumping. Oh joy. I probably have 120-130 gallons of water on board (two tanks…neither gauge works) and no way to get at it!

I know some readers love the gory details of fixing things so if you want to read a two page discussion of fixing a pump and problem solving in general click HERE.

I had no success fixing the pump on this night so we needed a plan. Can’t live without fresh water…oh my God…the coffee requirement alone makes me shudder! Of course the problem here is 1) where do you get a pump and 2) where is it to be delivered and 3) what do you do for water in the meantime? We decided that if we could order a pump first thing in the morning and then have it delivered overnight to where we THINK we will be the following day that that will work. In the meantime we’ll need some water to get us through the next 24 hours. So the plan is to stop in Bellhaven and look for a jerry can or jugs that we can fill with water. I used to own a 5 gallon gerry can for water but left it with the other boat. Stupid.

It’s a good plan except for one thing…no cell phone service out here in the swamps. We hope that we can get a signal in time for the overnight delivery that we desire. We weighed anchor and headed down the pungo-Alligator canal checking for a cell phone signal along the way. Finally around 1100 we got through to West Marine AND to a friendly marina in Oriental who would accept a package for us.

In Bellhaven we found a very helpful marina. A guy took me around town in a golf cart (no kidding) looking for a gerry can. We finally found one at the hardware store. We topped off our fuel (16 gallons! I’m using around 0.75 gallons an hour), filled the water can and moved to the anchorage just off of this marina with about 5-6 other sailboats that are starting to look real familiar! Part one of the plan has worked now we hope to get the new pump tomorrow in Oriental.

We are anxious to get going in the morning and of course that makes the fog roll in! We can’t really see more than 200 yards until about 0900. The route to Oriental is easy. We are mostly using FBA navigational system which, for those not accustomed to the ICW is for Follow Boat Ahead. This works a lot for us since we are never the lead boat! Arriving in Oriental we anchor in a group of 4-5 boats and launch the dingy. I find the marina and YES they have received our pump. Back to the mother ship I install the pump with no problems. Now the moment of truth: Did I really need a new pump or is there something else screwed up with the fresh water system. We flipped the switch and opened a faucet and VIOLA! we ain’t hillbillys anymore. We have hot and cold running water!

(Scott, Sue and Gracie at this point all do the dance of joy)

Oriental to Beaufort is only a 20+ mile run. Tides and currents will now become a factor so we decide to leave late morning to get to Beaufort around high tide which is 1:45 pm or so. Some more FBA navigation and another nice day and then…what’s that. Something in the water dead ahead…a log…NO

IT’S DOLPHINS! Sue and I nearly pee ourselves. We must be getting seriously south and near the ocean! We’ve seen pelicans as well. We spotted pods of dolphins a couple more times on our way to Beaufort.

The route into Beaufort is a little tricky. Many different channels and shallows are a worry. We follow the Russell-Slough channel right to down town Beaufort. High winds are predicted for the next day so we take a slip. This town will allow us to do a couple of things: laundry, and the marina has a courtesy car which we can use to go to West Marine for some needed boat supplies.


Gracie Liberation Front said...

"Something in the water dead ahead…a log…NO


First, you threaten a defenseless kitty. Now, it's "The Celebration of the Dead Dolphin" (wasn't that a Doors song?).

My, my, my -- we have become a humanitarian from the Rove/Cheney School of Charm.

Sail On, Sailors (Beach Boys reference)!

Chairman Meow

LeahC said...

oh wow!!! that picture of you working on whatever it is you are working on is very dissorienting becuase I am so used to seeing you upside down trying to squeeze your hands into some little area to fix something. looks like you might have real room to work on things on this boat. cool!

Brian said...

Excellent technical writing on the pump situation. Definitely keep the old pump around. You can probably use it as a weapon some day.

Good to see the Chairman back on line again

Irfan said...

Speaking of weapons, one word. Trebuchet.

C.S. Madden said...

Well I just got the DSL up after the two week's of hell with the power off . Ft Lauderdale was hit hard. The last time I read your blogger was the 11/23/05 I think you were in the MD area . Glad to see you got the E 40
best of luck with her. Keep the pic's comming they look great.

C.S. Madden

Rich P said...

NIce to hear from you again. I keep my brand new Rand McNally Road Atlas (spiral bound!!!!) so I can locate every town/port you mention (question: if a book of maps is called an atlas, what's a book of charts, called?)

Keep the reports coming.

Erik said...

The ICW is a mystery to me . . . how far from the actual coast are you? I cannot believe my great Frankfort education is failing me!

Jason said...

erik -

He's actually in Ohio. When they say "Intercoastal", they really mean it.