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The Great Loop

05/31/08
Beaufort to Belhaven, NC    Chart
(Lat: 35º 31.944'N Lon: 76º 36.842'W )

We had a good trip in sunny skies and very calm water. Even the Neuse River was calm where it meets the Sound. Jackie even took a picture to show how calm it was. The first part is quite slow as it is basically a no wake zone from Beaufort to the Neuse River. Then it opens up and we could run a cruising speed.
Jackie took several pictures shown and captioned below.
Belhaven is a very small town and while the people there are very nice, there isn't much there. We stopped there because it is one of the few towns with a marina in the 5 hour driving range from Beaufort. We want to take our time and so we try to limit our on the water time to 4-5 hours. We would prefer 2-3 hours but if the places we want to visit are too far,we can't do it. In the Chesapeake and other areas we will be able to keep most travel in the 2-3 hour range.
While the River Forrest Marina in Belhaven looked to be well protected from the waves, it really is not. The wind was strong and coming from the SE and that brought it into the marina. We had waves up to 2 feet hitting the boats sideways and they were really rocking back and forth. We had planned to do dinner on the boat but with that kind of motion we decided to go to a really nice little place in town called Fish Hooks. It was a great little place. The marina has several old golf carts that peole could use to go to town. Jackie took a picture of the one we drove to Food Lion. When we got back to the boat after dinner, it was still very rough so we got our computers and a book and went up to the lounge in the Manor House so we could have some wine and do our emails, etc.
About 9:30pm the winds died down and we went back to the boat and had a calm night. Two other things happened in Belhaven that was unsettling. Our master stateroom head's vacuum pump system lost vacuum but luckily we have another forward head that is totally a separate system so we are fine until Monday when we will get it fixed. Even more disturbing is when I stepped off the boat this morning our spring line was missing. Luckily the water had calmed down and we had enough other lines on the boat to prevent damage but only by a couple of inches. There was no line framents on the dock or the boat clete and we can't imagine it falliing off, even if it had broken. So it looks like someone took the line which could have really been a problem and cause a lot of damage if the wind had picked up. Hate to think someone would do that but can't think of another explanation. Luckily everything was ok. I don't think we will go back to Belhaven again.
05/31/08
Belhaven To Coinjock, NC    Chart
(Lat: 36º 21.014'N Lon: 75º 56.87'W )

After a rough afternoon and evening in Belhaven we were eager to get back on the water and head North. The skies were sunny and wind pretty stiff but from the S so all the waves were on our stern. It was pretty calm again in the eary morning but as it heated up, the Sounds got quite bumpy. There is not must civiliation in this part of NC so we had very few no wake zones and pretty much cruised all the way to Coinjock. Also not a lot to see other than beautiful water and a few other boats. Jackie only took a few pictures which are shown and captioned below.
Coinjock is a very small place that only seems to exist to be a place for boaters to dock and eat on the ICW. It is a great marina and has a very nice ships store. They group all the transient sail boats on the south end of the marina and all the powerboats, of which there are many more, from behind the sailboats all the way to the north end of the marina. We were the farthest north boat today. It also is very well know for it food. The marina restaurant is well know by boaters for it prime rib, southern fried chicken and sea food. It is very reasonably priced and the food is wonderful. Today we had the fried chicken and they serve us so much chicken we will have a second meal from it. The marina is nice and has cable, water, wifi, power, etc. Plus all the boats going N or S on the ICW go right beside our boat so it is fun to sit and watch them go by.
There is a threat of strong thunder storms and even a tornado warning so it could be interesting this evening as the 90 degree temp heats things up. Very strong wind when docking which always makes things exciting.
Tomorrow we are off to the Tidewater Marina in the Portsmouth/Norfolk area and we plan to stay there 3 days to explore.
The rest of today we are going to chill out, watch sports on TV, read and have a light dinner on the boat. Tomorrow we will enter VA.
05/29/08
Beaufort, NC

Today we got up and had a big breakfast at our favorite cafe on the water by the marina and then we borrowed the marina loaner car and went to Walgreens for a prescription we have forgotten to get in Carolina Beach and then went to Staples to get boater card case to put the cards of other boaters we meet.
When we got back, the weather was very nice so we inflated the dingy and put the motor on it and drove east on Taylor River to look at the wild ponies and beached the boat to visit the Rachel Carson wildlife walkway. We got back in the dingy and went back toward our marina and decided to go by it and visit more of the water front. It was a nice ride and Jackie took a number of pictures.
We put the dingy away, got cleaned up and went to dinner on the water at Spouters. Dinner was very good and view was great. We walked the streets and Jackie purchased an ice cream cone and then we went back to our boat for the evening. We talked to some of our marina neighbors but the no-seeums started to bite so we are back on the boat.
Tonight we are being serenaded by a singer at the marina Dock House restaurant. He is quite good and we will enjoy his show. He manly does Jimmy Buffet and other boater, beach, bar music. I am afraid he will be singing beyond when we go to bed, so sleep may take a while.
We are surrounded by large boats. In fact one boat is a very large Christainsen yacht. That is the same boat mfg as Tiger Woods boat. This is not his boat but a sister boat to his. We have watched these big boats dock and then fill up with fuel at about $5/gal. Their bills have ranged from $10-20k. Just amazes me how many big boats there are and what it cost to run them. We like our little boat just fine.
Tomorrow we will continue up the ICW about 70 miles to Belhaven, NC.
05/28/08
Carolina Beach to Beaufort    Chart
(Lat: 34º 42.964'N Lon: 76º 39.902'W )

We had a great start to our first day back on the adventure. The weather was sunny and warm and just as we were getting ready to depart, our neighbors at Harbour Point, Chris and Mary Kelly, came out camera in hand to take pictures and wish us bon voyage. Very thoughtful and very much appreciated.
We went up the ICW to Wrightville and fueled up. Since the winds were from the SW and waves were only 2-4' on our stern, we decided to go via the ocean to Beaufort. It was very nice for most of the trip but about an hour from Beaufort a strong cold front came through and the temperature and sea conditions turned from wonderful to challenging. We had no issues with the boat and no real issues on the water but we felt like we were surfing the wave coming in the Beaufort Inlet. We arrive at the City Docks just in time to have the temp drop from 80 to 60 in 30 minutes and the rain started. In between the rain we walked the town and had dinner and spent the rest of the evening watching TV and getting re-acquainted with our boat. Jackie took a few pictures starting with our departure, the ICW and Wrightsville area. Then a few more in overcast Beaufort. I am sure she we take more Beaufort pictures tomorrow. All in all a good first day and it is good to be back on the water.
05/27/08
Carolina Beach

While we were in Carolina Beach on our 9 week break, we did boat around the beautiful waters of the Wilmington, South Port, Wrightville, Carolina Beach area. We have a Boston Whaler 270 Outrage and we made several trips around the area and below are some pictures we took so this area wasn't neglected.
05/23/08
Carolina Beach, NC

We are coming to the end of our 9 week time in our home port and eager to get back on the water. We took advantage of this time to visit family in Ohio, be visited by family at our beach house, preparing taxes, taking care of our homes, Dr. visits, etc. We have 4 wonderful grand children and we had a great time taking our turn at spoiling them and getting our grand kid fix.
We also had the boat pulled to have the bottom painted, hull waxed, props tuned, stb engine belt and tensioner replaced and stb. engine room temp gauge replace. We also sent our C120 Raymarine chart plotter back to the factory and they totally rebuilt it. So while you are never really ready to go, we plan to resume our Loop trip on Wed, 5/28/08.