Decided to spend an extra day at Osprey Marina, this is one of the best marinas so far. We left at 8:45 am and headed for an anchorage at Calabash Creek (33° 52.349N 78° 34.202W), about 30 miles away. Good anchorages are few and far between in this section of South Carolina, this is now dictating how far we travel in one day. We passed through 3 swing bridges on our way north. After arriving at the anchorage we moved twice before settling on our spot. There were 2 very large sight seeing boats that left from Calabash, N.C. along with fishing charters and some commercial fishermen. Quite a bit of boat traffic until after dark. Later in the day 3 more boats entered the anchorage for the night.
We raised anchor at 7:15 am and rode the tide to Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge. This is a floating bridge that only opens on the hour and cannot open on very low tides. After passing through this bridge our next challenge was the Cape Fear river. We had 15 to 20 kts of a following wind and the current was against us. The wind driven swell made for a relatively comfortable ride. Our destination was Carolina Beach (34° 02.997N 77° 53.317) and we anchored in a basin surrounded by privately owned property. It was very nice there and 2 other sail boats came in after us.
Pulled anchor at 7:00 am and followed Rocinante out of the anchorage. Then we went through 3 restricted bridges and made it through the second bridge without having to wait simply because the bridge was delayed in opening on its schedule due to an EMT vehicle that held the bridge closed. The EMT saved us at least a half hour! Rocinante, a deep draft boat without a functioning depth sounder, asked us to lead the way through New River Inlet. So we helped them out. The shallowest depth was 6.5 feet and they draw 6 feet. So we both made it through without a hitch - or should I say without running aground? Anchored at Mile Hammock Bay (34° 33.067N 77° 19.498W) with several other boats. We swam, a storm blew through, we drug anchor, promptly reset the anchor, and remained there for the rest of the evening.
Pulled anchor at 6:45 am due to a long day ahead of us, 60+ miles to Oriental, NC. We passed some military maneuvers leaving Mile Hammock. Once again Rocinante followed us to Morehead City, where they dropped off to get the depth sounder repaired. We kept on until we pulled into Oriental some 11+ hours later. We were glad to see the dock master at Oriental Harbor Marina (35° 01.419N 76° 41.915W) help us to the T-dock, just before he had to leave for a family event. Whew, we just made that one! The anchorage was very full and if we'd wanted to anchor we should have been there by early afternoon. Something to write down for the future. Oriental, as many of you know, was really quaint and friendly. Definitely a place to visit again!
Left the dock at 10:00 am with the wind blowing us onto the dock. That was a small adventure and Barry did a great job pulling us away without a scratch. We had a short day, which was needed by the crew, to our anchorage at Snode Creek (35° 18.117N 76° 37.349W). Barb took a brief swim with a few jelly fish - unknown to her until she'd jumped in and swam to the front of the boat. Zowie, did she jump out of that water fast!
Pulled anchor at 7:00 am for Washington, NC (35° 32.410N 77° 03.546W). Well, that's Little Washington, just so you won't confuse it with Washington DC. We arrived and started looking for a place to anchor, but since we didn't have local knowledge of the area, we promptly ran aground. Down came the dink and off went Barry to push us off and to talk with the locals about the area. Folks were friendly and helpful, getting out in their dinks to help us out. We learned where the deeper water was and anchored right in the middle of it! Whew, now we could relax a little and dink to shore to visit family in Greenville, just 40 minutes away. Little Washington had a nice festival for the 4th. Over 20,000 people attended and the fireworks were very nice. We'll be here for several days.