LAT: N 34° 24.3'
LON: W 77° 35.5'
50s-60s, partly sunny, winds NE 10-15 kts
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Diverse Settings Keep Crew Intrigued
750 - We say goodbye to beautiful Beaufort.
820 - In the Morehead channel we wait for a tug to push a boat in front of us.
1010 - Approaching Bogue Inlet.
1111 - Passing Swansboro, where we might have stayed in a short run.
1200 - Entering Camp LeJeune firing range we make sure there are no flashing lights or boats to tell us to wait awhile before preoceeding.
1305 - Crossing New River Inlet there is a bit of twisty current to navigate through.
1403 - Just passed under a fixed bridge.
1500 - Glad to have made it through Surf City swinging bridge.
1536 - At anchor at Sloop Pt. with no one else there and an easy drop.
Arggg me maties, always keep yer good eye out fer them amphibian vehicles.
Weaving Around the Docks and Dunes
The Natural and Unnatural
Yosemite Sam - Guest Editor
Leaving Beaufort, we wound our way out through a turning basin where we waited for a large ship to spin into Morehead City. Passing through and getting back onto the ICW a deeper path was cut out of the shallow Bogue Sound. The houses to our right were nestled in many lovely trees. We passed a couple of sailboats and were treated to views of a massive flock of migrating birds and our old favorites, Pelicans. (Did you know that Slowly used to be named "Pelican"? Also, as we may not have mentioned in the Animal of the Day report on Brown Pelicans they do have a white head all year round. In the winter they turn more white and grey. So they are not all brown all the time.)
Speaking of favorites, after the sound, as we cruised by an inlet to the ocean, we had more special moments with dolphins riding our wake. We wonder how they know it's safe to get so close to the boat. The channel featured some attractive dunes on the east side, though there were also plenty of big hotels and apartment complexes which blocked the feeling of being just on the other side of the dunes to the Atlantic. In contrast, the west side was lined with houses, all with stairs leading up to the first floor. Some were on stilts, but most just looked like they had a huge basement. We couldn't imagine having to hike up such a steep set of stairs to get in your house everyday! We were pretty close to these houses which led to interesting views.
When we entered into the Camp LeJeune firing range we made sure that it was okay to proceed, and then did so with caution, and curiosity. We had heard that the amphibious vessels that are test driven there sometimes emerge suddenly. [Avast there, come back here you barnacle bitten swab! -Ed.] We did not see any in action, but we did see a bunch on the side of the channel, some turned over, all looking a bit forsaken.
Luckily we were on time to the opening of both bridges we had to pass under. We felt lucky to make them, but we had put some effort in to timing our departures and pacing ourselves. We enjoyed the holiday decorations apparent around us and felt content that we were making good time.
Shortly after our last bridge, we came to our anchorage which was just a small chanel turning off to port. It was our favorite kind of stop, sitting out in the marshes, alone with good holding and calm waters. Enjoying a "vacation moment" (more rare than we had hoped for the trip) we kicked back and relaxed with some wine and good books.
One of the bounties of the ICW is bridges. So far we have seen: Lift, Draw, and Swing (and there's a Pontoon in a couple days). One of the delights of cruising on a boat is getting to stop auto traffic while we putt-putt along our way. Actuallly, it is rare to be able to pull up to a bridge and have it open "on demand." Normally, bridges open on a schedule, for example, on the hour or half hour. Sometimes, if there is a local rush-hour, they will be closed completely between certain hours. If they will open on demand then it is best not just to honk your horn at them, but to call them on the radio. Most bridge tenders are usually quite friendly, though we hear that it is best to be very courteous or else they will tell other tenders down the way to give you a hard time.
Animal of the Day
The fiddler crab, the genus Uca, contains many species of crab. We found these charming little fellows, most likely the common Atlantic fiddler, while peering over the edge of a short sea wall in Beaufort. There were many of them scuttling about. They each had a hole they would scurry to and hide in when we moved too suddenly. As if on command they would all flee in unison, leaving you wondering if they were really there at all. Each male has one huge claw which is held in front of them, like a fiddle! They use them for courtship and for defense. The little sand balls in the picture are remnants of their meals. After scooping sand into their mouths they glean food from the grains and reject the sand in balls.
Tonites fare began with a base of "America's Favorite Noodle" Mueller's (Quality since 1867) Hearty Egg Noodles, enriched and extra wide. To "sauce" them up, we added one can of Progresso (Made only with White Meat) Grilled Chicken Itiano with Vegetables and Penne and a can of Green Giant Whole Kernel Sweet Corn. To finish, it was spice time with ample amounts of fresh Thyme and Ground Pepper.
Wine Review: Seventh Moon, 2001, California Syrah. This rich and bold red has a medium smackiness with a nice berry sweetness. There is also a hint of chocolate. We give it four propellers.
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