We firmly believe we have all systems go for today’s cruise to Oriental. This is our fourth attempt to leave Belhaven Marina in the last two weeks and we’re a bit skittish wondering what could possibly go wrong today to prevent our departure. Our schedule is to depart about 0930, allow 30 minutes for pump-out and be on our way by 1000. At 0830 Tracy gives a quick startup of the engines to make sure we’ll be good to go later this morning and all systems check out.
At 0930 Kailani’s engines come to life and we motor over to the Town Docks where Gregg is waiting to assist us with the pump-out. Four pump-out coins later, Kailani’s holding tanks are cleaned out and ready fro another week’s work. As we fire up the engines, we notice that the depth sounder and the VHF radio are not powering up for some strange reason (or maybe it’s the Town of Belhaven trying to keep us here longer!), so we move Kailani back to the marina where she’s been so at home for the last two months and we go back under the helm to figure out the issue. Turns out to be bad grounds and bad wire terminals to these two electronic devices, so we make the necessary repairs and shortly before 1130 (only lost an hour), we’re ready to leave the Belhaven Marina docks until we return in the spring.
It feels very good to get Kailani back out on the water and the day is beautiful for February cruising. Wind isn’t even moving our burgee, seas are nearly flat calm and the sun is beating thru our Makrolon windows and we’re enjoying the greenhouse effect at the helm. We make way for the intersection of the Pungo Creek and the Pungo River, which signals the end of Belhaven Harbor and the intersection with the Intracoastal Waterway. Once we’re on the Pungo River, we both decide to put some rpm’s on the 3208’s and blow out some soot from Kailani’s motor plant. It feels great to get Kailani up to 2200 rpm’s and 19 knots for a spell. The engines run just a bit hotter for this period, but once we back down to our cruising speed of 1200 rpm’s and 9 knots, the motors cool right back down to their normal temperature.
Our chartplotter gives us an ETA for shortly after 4 pm so we should have no issues with motoring in darkness. We cruise to the mouth of the Pungo River, then cross the Pamlico River and enter Goose Island Creek. In the Goose Island Canal, we pass Hobucken and the Hobucken USCG station. After coming out of the canal, we’re in the Bay River, which takes us to the intersection with the Neuse River. So far today, the water, wind and temperature have been very satisfactory and we’ve been fortunate, but once we hit the intersection with the Neuse River, all our fortunes are used up and just like that, the air temperature drops at least ten degrees, the waver pick up to about 2-3 feet with 3 second intervals and we must now stay on our toes as the seas are coming from across our port beam. The ship starts rocking and Frankie starts loosing his footing on the fiberglass deck, so Tracy has to hold him in her lap to ease his apprehension about sliding all around the helm. The seas finally calm down about a mile later and we have fair seas for the rest of the journey.
We make contact with Mark Crowder at the marina and he says we’ll be in slip A14, we’ll be able to back her into the slip and it will give us a starboard dock for access. He also says he will meet us at the dock to assist with tie-up. As we come into his marina, we see Mark and another boater who has come off his Mainship adjacent to our slip. As I’m backing Kailani into the slip, we discover that the second boater is actually Mac Ernest, the AGLCA Harbor Host that we contacted to get info about Oriental. He’s our next door neighbor on the dock here at Oriental Harbor Marina.
After getting all secured and power hooked up, we meet Mac’s wife, Sheila who is getting ready for the workers to show up with their new bimini top for the helm. Mac gives us some suggestions for dinner and we say our goodbyes with the knowledge that he’ll be available tomorrow, Saturday, if we need any errands or anything else.
We decide to walk over to the O Grill for dinner, then an early night aboard Kailani knowing that tomorrow, we’ll be doing a few chores and lowering the dinghy off the sundeck roof because Offshore Rafting will be stopping by in the next couple of days to look at making some necessary repairs to the dinghy.
The wi-fi connection is fairly decent here (for a marina) and so we’ll spend Friday evening catching up on emails, etc. The forecast calls for weekend temperatures in the mid 70’s but some rain in the early part of the weekend, so we’re looking forward to some really nice weather after some relatively cold days and nights in the past two weeks.