March 6, 2018 – Wrightsville Beach

 Today is another leisurely cruise of 32 nautical miles to Wrightsville Beach Marina. Seas are calm and winds are negligible. The Surf City Bridge navigation restriction expired yesterday as projected and today the swing bridge returns to hourly openings from 7 am to 7 pm. The bridge is 14 statute miles from Swan Point Marina so we will plan to leave at 9:30 am to get there for the 11:00 am opening. There will be two other bridges in today’s cruise plan, but they are both 20 feet vertical clearance so they should pose no issues for Kailani as she clears 16’-9”.

We had discussed a french toast breakfast last night but for some reason, neither of us is very hungry this morning, so we each have a bowl of cereal, I take Frankie for his morning walk on the marina grounds, and we start preparing Kailani for departure. The winds are coming right into the marina entrance and off our port stern quarter, so my plan is to release the forward quarter aft spring, then the bow and stern cleats while the midship forward spring should hold us in place as I pivot Kailani’s bow towards the dock and bump us out to spin around and drive into the wind to exit the marina. Once the forward spring is the only line still attached to the dock, the wind swings us around so much that the bow is actually over the dock and the bow pulpit must now come away from the dock carefully to avoid the floating dock pylons. I certainly erred with this strategy, but no crashes, no one hurt and we were able to successfully (but not majestically) leave the dock and Swan Point Marina.  I have to admit I did yell a bit.  Nick and I sometimes have differing opinions on how to maneuver…not big surprise there!  – tc

The ICW was very calm today with very little boat traffic in either direction. As we approached the Surf City Bridge right on schedule, we saw a sailboat already waiting for the 11:00 am opening, so we nestled in behind “Where’s the Keys” and asked the bridge tender for the next opening. At exactly 11:00 am (as per Verizon), the bridge started to open and “Where’s the Keys moved thru with us on his stern. Once we were clear of the bridge, Tracy radioed the sailboat and asked for a slow pass. The captain agreed and offered to move slightly to starboard for a pass on his port side. As we passed him there was the mutual wave acknowledgement and we were back up to cruising speed. Today we’re getting a slight helping current and at times, our speed over ground hits 10.2 knots, which equates to just over 11 ½ miles per hour. This is a bit faster than we’re used to travelling, but it all balances out when the current is at our head and we’re slowed up by a knot or two.

The next bridge will be the Figure Eight Island Bridge and since it’s listed at 20 feet vertical clearance, we should pass right under it without an opening. As we are about a mile from the bridge, I call the bridge tender on VHF #13 and tell him that we are passing under without needing an opening. I do this because the time is currently 12:50 pm and a boat approaching at this interval could conceivably be timing for an “on the hour” opening. That being the case, this is when the tender would be checking the north and south approaches for vessels needing an opening. So it’s merely a courtesy to let him know we do not plan for an opening. He is extremely thankful we have given him this information and returns the favor by confirming that the elevation board shows 21 feet of air under the bridge today. So Kailani makes a slow pass under the Figure Eight Island Bridge and thanks the tender for the pass.

The next bridge should go identical to the Figure Eight Island Bridge and is immediately before our marina destination for the night. So, in the same fashion as the last bridge, I call the bridge tender and tell him that we’ll be passing slowly under his 20 foot clearance bridge and do not require an opening and he responds that he’s also appreciative of the information, however his board is showing only 15 feet of air under the bridge. Since this bridge also only opens at the top of the hour and it is currently 1:25 pm, we are forced to sit in the channel for nearly forty minutes waiting for the Wrightsville Beach Bridge to open. Tracy takes this time to adjust some of the clothes hanging on the clotheslines on the sundeck. Oh you didn’t hear this story?

Well at Swan Point Marina, we needed to do about four loads of wash and they had two washing machines and only one dryer. So the previous evening, we walked the laundry up to the laundry room and started two loads of wash. After the first two loads were done, I went back up and switched one of the loads into the lone dryer and started the second two loads in the two washers. Then later Tracy went up to get the first dry load, and start the second load in the dryer. She came back to the boat and asked if I forgot to turn on the dryer cause the load was still mostly damp, not very dry (after running for an hour). So we determined that the dryer wasn’t working at all and at two dollars per load, it wasn’t worth using up any more quarters. IMG_20180306_112752800_HDRSo we took the one partially dry load and three totally damp loads back to the boat where Tracy had rigged up two clotheslines using some extra dock lines and we hung up the clothes while leaving all the bedding in plastic bags to hopefully dry today when we get to Wrightsville Beach Marina. So adjusting some of the clothes on the clothesline may seem odd for a job on a vessel, but now you understand.

Once again, at exactly 2:00 pm the Wrightsville Beach Bridge opened and we passed thru. As I was passing thru, I called the marina, let them know we were under the bridge and Travis was waiting at the fuel dock to grab our lines as we turned back northward so we would have a starboard tie-up. We take on one hundred seventy five gallons of diesel and get a pump out. As we’re on the dock moving the fuel hose from one fuel fill to the next (four in total), a guy walks up on the dock and notices I’m wearing a sweatshirt that says Scuba Shack on it, so he asks if it’s the Scuba Shack in Connecticut and Tracy tells him it certainly is and he tells us that he used to work in the Canton store with Steve McGough. Small world we live in huh! Then Travis and I walked Kailani down about eighty feet to tie up for the night just ahead of the vessel Mary B. This marina is a first class marina with all modern docks, power towers, and amenities. So we are starting to think we may stay here for an extra day and enjoy the surrounding sights and the pleasantness of the marina.

After cleaning Kailani up from the day of cruising and taking down all the now dry laundry, we grab the bags of damp laundry and head off to the laundry room where there’s one washer and two dryers and the dryers work as originally designed. So with linens spinning in the two dryers, we decide on a late lunch/early dinner at the on-site Bluewater Grill.

We start with the bluewater sampler for an appetizer, then Tracy has the barbecue spare ribs and I have the crab cakes on a bed of rice and beans. Topped off with a few cups of coffee and we’re ready to get back to the laundry room.

We decide to make the commitment to stay for at least another day because the forecast is for high winds tomorrow, so it’s always good to stay tied up for those weather events. There’s been some on and off rain this afternoon, but tomorrow looks like a nice sunny but breezy day for exploring.

We spend a nice relaxing evening on Kailani, then turn in filled with anticipation for another day in Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina.

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