As I said we like Whitaker Pointe a lot. And this time our stay there was enhanced by making some new friends. Rex and Dixie of the cat sailboat Wonderland were tied up to the facing dock next to our slip and we had fun getting to know them. Their boat is wiiiiiiiide, like twenty-four feet wide. Its a beautiful boat and they are experienced cruisers. After a fun evening of docktails they left the same time as us on a clear but breezy Sunday morning. They headed to the anchorage at Beaufort, NC as we pulled into Morehead City Yacht Basin. They were looking to head on further south going outside with freshening winds from the north and northeast. We were looking to stay at the marina for a day or two for the same reason.
I have often written about the consternation I feel when weather forecasts are on the borderline. I hate that feeling of indecisiveness when the forecast sits smack dab on top of the upper limits of our mission rules. Sometimes we lose a perfectly good cruising day. Other times all hell breaks loose or at least things turn out to be unpleasant. This was one of those times. Monday would have been a perfect day with calm winds and sunny skies. But the next forty-eight hours after that didn't look too good. Pre-sunrise on Monday I was hemming and hawing terribly about whether to go or not. The problem was that the next two nights we would be anchoring out, at Mile Hammock and Wrightsville Beach and I wasn't liking what I was seeing for those two days and nights. But a good day is a good day. Lisa, in her infinite wisdom, saw my conflict and she finally said the word that I needed to hear, "NO!" That was it. Our rule is that one NO vote always wins. We didn't go. I was content. Oh, and by the way...a surprise thunderstorm ripped through the area Monday afternoon. Ah, sweet vindication. And the winds grew extremely strong overnight into Tuesday morning and persisted the entire day.
Wednesday was a different story, sort of. The overall forecast for Wednesday through Saturday presented a perfect window to make the four day reach to Myrtle Beach, our stopping point for us to make our shore leave back to St. Louis. But the problem early on was that the winds were from the west-northwest which pinned us to the long facing dock we were tied up to. There was another trawler close on our bow and we could not see a way off. That was a bummer! Were we to lose another decent day? Nope. About 10:30 am the winds shifted over to the northeast. We scrambled to disconnect from the dock and the winds gently pushed us straight off the dock and off we went.
We pulled into Mile Hammock, a deserted man-made bay off of the ICW at the southern edge of Camp Lejeune, the giant US Marine base that occupies a big chunk of the real estate in that area. During our trip there we saw crazy looking tilt-wing aircraft flying just to the north of us (Our direction was generally to the west.) and dropping paratroopers out. That was different. And after sundown after we anchored we were pretty much constantly being buzzed by Marine helicopters on night maneuvers. Of course we were already in bed trying to go to sleep. Damn noisy neighbors. Mile Hammock is a very popular anchorage for the boats making their way north in the spring and south in the fall as it is big, well protected and with room for a lot of boats. But we are ahead of the southbound set so there was only one other boat on the hook there.
In the morning we pulled the anchor up and headed out at the same time as the other boat, September Song with Bob and Stephanie on board. We ended up buddy boating with them all the way to their destination, Wrightsville Beach. This was to be our destination also but early in the morning I had an epiphany. That was that if we went another twelve miles further to Carolina Beach, to a mooring field in Myrtle Cove to be exact, we could make it to Barefoot Landing at North Myrtle Beach from there in one long-ish day on Friday. September Song seemed like a nice couple of people. The captain had a pretty good sense of humor and it was an enjoyable day with them. Their final destination for the winter is Fisherman's Village Yacht Basin in Punta Gorda, Florida. We will try to find them when we pass that way on our way to Tarpon Springs. So on Friday, September 9, we untied from the mooring ball in Myrtle Cove and started on our sixty mile reach down to Myrtle Beach. All was well. The conditions were good and the boating very uneventful and we are now at Barefoot Marina. It is from here that we will start our fall shore leave back to St. Louis and Denver.
We have been to Barefoot Landing marina before and we feel very secure about leaving the boat there. One thing that will be different about it this time is that after we leave to head back to St. Louis the boat will be getting a new bottom job. For you lubbers that is a new paint job. The boat hasn't been hauled out of the water in a year and there hasn't been an inspection of the bottom since then. We did hire a diver in Annapolis to give the bottom a quick cleaning and he told us that everything looked fine except the anti-fouling paint had warn off and needed to be redone. (Again, for the lubber readers...anti-fouling paint prevents algae and other critters from growing on the hull.) We have contracted with a local boat maintenance guy that Barefoot Marina recommended and instead of us driving the boat to the boatyard to be hauled out he is going to have a captain come and get the boat from the marina, take it to the yard and return it after the work is done. This fits into our plans better. While we are here we get to get together with Jim and Dale of Sweet Pea again, always a delight.