It was a nice cruise on Lake Erie from Cleveland to Sandusky, OH (46 NM). The Yacht club was a pleasant place to stay for a couple days and allowed us to get a few chores done and bike around town. The best part of Sandusky was getting a visit from my Sister JIll and her hubby, Bill. So fun to bar-hop about town and have them aboard for the night. We were actually able to take Jill on a cruise to Grosse Ile (45 NM) while Bill drove to meet us. We cruised by the pretty Put-In-Bay and regretted the bad weather day that kept us from spending time there. The Ford Yacht Club at Grosse Ile (French for ‘Large Island’) was dealing with very high water due to the previous days wind but a nice place to spend an evening. We say goodbye to my family and push on the next day to the Grosse Pointe, MI (29 NM). A nice uneventful cruise up the Detroit River in 2 to 4 knot currents as we pass by the Detroit waterfront and into Lake St. Clair. We now understand that if fate delivers us a lovely cruise day, we are typically met with some bizarre issues or challenges in our final minutes of approach to our slip (or well). On this occasion, right as we are preparing to pull into the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club (in a shallow channel) we are buzzed by a coast guard helicopter three times and then approached by the ‘Michigan Conservation Officers’. Three officers in a 14-boat aluminum skiff in bullet proof vests and side arms. After retreating to deeper water to deal with our new friends (who are really game wardens certainly not Coast Guard as their job is to enforce environmental laws and not boat registration) we are released and resume our approach to the Grosse Pointe Yacht Club. The club is beautiful and the town is filled with gorgeous, stately, old brick homes. Larry and I cruise (in our rental car) over to St. Clair Shores and visit a few of the local boat-up bars. Our favorite was Mike’s on The Water a multi-level bar and restaurant right on Lake St. Clair. It’s a shame I have to fly back home tomorrow, as I would have loved to spend a little more time in this charming area. I will be off the boat for eight days. I am sorry to miss any part of our trip but duty calls. I only hope the Captain takes good notes and photos for his next web post on the Independence Chronicles.
After three days transit (23NM to Dunkirk, 50NM to Erie and 67NM to Mentor) we land in Cleveland, OH (20NM). This is a great city and our three nights here just scratch the surface. We are docked at the North Coast Harbor Marina right in front of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. The Hall is an amazing collection of historical memorabilia, vidoes, educational information and a garage band performance space which any ticket holder can use…guitars, drums, amps all set-up and ready to go. The Hall’s building was designed by architect I.M. Pei in 1988, who also designed the Louvre pyramid. We were sad to hear he just passed away on May 17th, 2019. Pei was 102! A walking tour of the city takes us along the preparations for the Major League Baseball All Star Game, which is next week. The downtown is buzzing with activity and road closures but we find our way to the architectural gems, the Warehouse District, the sweet bars and the friendly people of this city. The following day is the fourth of July and when the rain breaks we jump in the tender and head to The Flats. A collection of brew pubs, bars and restaurants where we are obligated to have a few beers and then do a slow cruise along the back waters of the Cuyahoga River. We return to the safety of the Independence, as all sane boaters know how crazy this holiday can be. We barbeque and watch the fireworks and are thankful for this great country we live in.
After a beautiful crossing on Lake Ontario we arrive at St. Catharines, ON Canada (26NM). We now kibitz amongst ourselves about the Welland Canal. It is absolutely ridiculous how little information is available. We have paid our $200 transit fee and run through every on-line site for additional information on how to proceed through this series of locks which lift you from Lake Ontario to Lake Erie. These locks are a bit more intimidating as they convey freighters. The commercial traffic has priority and so you never know when you will be able to enter a lock. There are eight locks and generally all are 40 foot up-locks. A little area familiarization is called for so we check out Lock 1 after dinner and see a few sailboats passing through but still have so many questions. We put the questions on hold for an afternoon and rent a car to visit the Canadian side of Niagara Falls and the beautiful little town of Niagara-on-the-Lake. Their flower budget must be astronomical as I have never seen such a manicured town in my life. After a nice lunch we are back to solving the Welland Canal Conundrum and we drop by the Lock 3 Museum and Visitors Center. We are directed at this time to the St. Lawrence Seaway Administrative Building which of course will not allow you in the building with out an appointment. Larry finally kicks it old school by using the boats VHF radio to hail Lock one and ask them for a phone number to get further information. This gets us the info we need, however it may not be info we want. We are told we have to enter the Welland Canal and tie up to the port wall where there is a phone booth…YES…I just wrote the words ‘phone booth’, You use this phone to contact the lock masters which will let you know what time you can expect your opening. We depart bright and early the next morning and after making the call we get an opening in 20 minutes (could have been hours!). We hop to it and set our fenders and lines, don our life vests and gloves. Lock one does not present huge issues but is a bit bouncy at times. We are just happy to be on our way. It is not a fast trip by any means but considering we were thinking this might take hours if not days, we are thrilled to be allowed into each of the eight locks with out much delay. The summer interns are delightful and the lock masters are very efficient. You must consider the immense size of these locks that fill with 20 million gallons of water with in 20 minutes. They are meant for huge cargo vessels and we are the little boat in a very large bath tub. We really have to prove ourselves in the ‘stair-case’ locks. Locks 5, 6 and 7 that lead one into another. No break, grab your lines that are thrown down 40 plus feet and hang on for the ride. Lock 7 is the craziest, as it fools us with a slow fill and then turns into a tempests boil, driving us from wall and almost wrenching the lines from our hands. The adrenaline subsides as we get a rest before the last lock and before you know it (ok…eight hours later) we are done with the locks and at the mouth of Lake Erie (26NM). It has been another epic day. I can’t aptly describe how such a slow motion journey can turn into such a thrill ride at a moments notice but I am just happy to be writing about it on the flip side, healthy, everything in one piece with a cold beer in my hand. Please check out Larry’s video of Lock 2 and 3 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4kLCofipudk&feature=youtu.be
Ok…I was thinking that the New York Harbor was busy. Well let me make note that the Toronto harbor is definitely a runner-up for winning the award for busiest harbor. We pull into the harbor after a nice cruise on Lake Ontario (56NM) to find tall ship cruises, water taxi’s, ferry’s, and small pleasure crafts all out for a summers’ jaunt, along with planes landing at the local airport…talk about sensory overload. We are thankful to dock at a waterfront marina without incident (right in front of a local brewery!) and head out to explore this amazing city. Larry and I tour the CN Tower on this gorgeous day, so high above the city it is breath taking. We even spot our next place to have a cold one…at the Roundhouse historic railroad outdoor museum. The Canadian Pacific Railway originally built these stations in 1897 to clean, inspect and repair steam rail cars and engines, then turn them back to rotation for their next run. Now it is an outdoor museum, restaurant and brewery. Toronto is one of the most diverse cities I have experienced. To hear 10 different languages as you transit from one spot to another is nothing…they are truly multicultural. The Pride celebration was in full swing as we walked around town and culminated with a multitude of choral performances held right at the waterfront. What an amazing day. The following day we make it past the waterfront and Roundhouse Park to the Distillery Historic District, back tracking through Old Town and the Financial District to the trendy North York and back to the waterfront. A most successful, but too brief visit, we head toward our next adventure…The Welland Canal.
We depart Thousand Islands, Clayton, NY on a the first day of summer, met by a mix of cloud and sun. Larry takes us on a horseshoe-shaped cruise past the many beautiful islands, lighthouses, bridges, the old Boldt Castle and through skinny channels leading to the Canadian side of the Thousand Islands. We are able to register via mobile phone with Canadian immigration (thank you Owen) and get a virtual stamp in our pass ports. Our first port of call in Canada is Kingston, Ontario (38NM). We are unable to stay at the municipal marina as they are also dealing with high water issues so we anchor in a gorgeous little bay and get the tender in the water to see Kingston. What a vibrant city filled with university students and plenty of others enjoying this gorgeous first day of summer. The next day we make a smooth trip on Lake Ontario to Cobourg (56NM). Great weather and a pretty place to stop for the evening. Cobourg was founded in 1817 and was a successful port town which expanded to build an ill-fated railroad. As one historical placard read, ‘…the 1852-1898 Cobourg and Peterborough Railway like many others of this period suffered from excessive optimism, land speculation and faulty engineering…’ and contributed to the financial hardships of Cobourg during the late 1800’s. Climbing out of this financial hole by way of industry during the early 1900’s, Cobourg was especially known for building electric railway cars for Toronto and Montreal. We depart Cobourg for Toronto in the morning and are excited to spend some time in the big city.
The crew of the Independence departs Oswego, NY on Lake Ontario bound for Thousand Islands, Clayton, NY. We are so fortunate to have this Great Lake actually acting like a lake. Just a couple of days prior to our crossing the waves were reported to be nine to thirteen feet. We cross the lake dodging large logs and debris but other than that it is as smooth as silk. At the three hour mark we reach the St. Lawrence Seaway at the eastern end of Lake Ontario, where the Great Lakes waters commence their 1,000-mile journey to the Atlantic Ocean. The first 60 miles of this waterway is Thousand Islands (actually a collection of 1,864 islands). Half of the islands are on the American side and half on the Canadian side. We pull into the marina at Clayton Harbor (54NM) and our good friends Sharron and Rob Grant from Jupiter, FL and Clayton, NY come down to the boat to welcome us. We spend the next couple of days visiting with them and enjoying this sweet town and their beautiful home here along the banks of the French Creek Bay. It all ends too soon as there are thousands of islands to visit and so after three nights we shove-off in hopes of seeing a few more.
We spend an additional day at the Oswego Marina to detail the boat, as we have not cleaned her thoroughly since Norfolk, VA. The weather is fantastic so once we are done we walk around Oswego. This is a charming city that has seen a tough winter and its citizens are ready for summer. The high water is still a problem but appears to be slowly receding and life is returning to normal. We enjoy the sites of Oswego and tomorrows weather is expected to be similar so crossing Lake Ontario to Clayton, NY should hopefully be uneventful…
With the rain pelting down in Brewerton and the gray skies above us, it was a little dark in the cabin of the Independence. So close to the finish line of the Erie Canal (just one lock away) and the start of the Oswego Canal - only to be told we may have to wait one, two maybe three days to continue. You can only imagine the mood. But, good news prevailed via a Notice to Mariners web alert provided by the fabulous New York Canal System. Larry was notified via e-mail push that the high-water emergency repairs at Phoenix dam had been completed and the Oswego locks had reopened. Away we go bright and early in the drizzly rain the following morning. Nothing can keep us from accomplishing this next goal in our Loop. We complete the last lock…lock 23…of the Erie Canal and eagerly ply the waters of the Oswego Canal through its 8 locks. All down-water locks, smooth as silk and the lock masters are as nice as can be. The Oswego River is powerful and its waters crash over spillways with epic force. As we exit our last lock and the last lock on the Oswego Canal…lock 8…we can see the river banks are still swollen as sand bags line side walks and the high water is evident. We are so thankful to the New York Canal System for providing this once in a lifetime experience. It is a slice of American history and an engineering marvel that most Americans may never see. But, if you get the chance go for it…you will not be disappointed.
From St. Johnsville, NY we transit locks 16, 17, 18 and 19 on a warm, gorgeous day. We have all been wondering what lock 17 will be like with it’s 40 foot rise. It turns out to be no big deal as the lock-master gives us a nice ‘slow fill’ and away we go. Larry was very clever and used his new GoPro to do a fast forward video…please click on the following link to view Erie Canal Lock 17 Time Lapse Video
I am happy we took the time for a quick stop at Little Falls to experience this cute town. We walk around and do some provisioning and return to the boat all in an hour and half. Back on the canal we continue through two more locks and tie-up for the evening at a marina in Utica, NY (25NM). This busy place is either in the process of growing or shrinking, as it definitely feels like it is in flux. After grabbing a beer we head back to the boat to have dinner with new friends, Rev and Sam, at the Aqua Vino Marina Restaurant. Rev and Sam are doing the Great Loop on their Carver boat dubbed ‘Here’s to Us’. We have a great meal with them and look forward to seeing them in the future. The next morning brings quite a bit of rain so we let that slide by and then head out toward lock 20 followed by our first ‘down-water’ locks…lock 21 and 22. The down water lock is just as you would think, instead of the water rising while you are in the lock it falls. This to me, is a nicer and calmer experience for reasons I am not sure. The end of this chilly wet day brings us to Sylvan Beach, NY ((23NM). This little town sits along side Lake Oneida and has a sweet 1950’s feel to it. There is a little amusement park with a tiny roller-coaster and crazy, spinney looking rides. The beach is very pretty and we just wish we were here during nicer weather. The rain continues the next day and the winds are heavy so we end up spending two nights at Sylvan Beach. Today we crossed Oneida Lake and are now at Winter Harbor in Brewerton, NY (19NM). The bad news is that we can’t continue on from here as the Oswego Canal is closed due to an emergency at the Phoenix Dam. This has caused the closure of locks 0-1 and 0-2. So we are stuck here for now…hoping it will only be two or three days…hopefully…
The crew departs Schenectady, NY and has a short, pretty day passing through three locks - 8, 9, and 10 - to Amsterdam, NY (14NM). We spend the rest of the day and overnight along the Canal wall/marina. Amsterdam is a sweet little town still trying to recover from the devastating effects of hurricane Irene in 2011. If you visit, be sure to use the newer pedestrian bridge leading to the South Side as this is the part of town to spend time. In addition, if you arrive by boat, you may want to check with your fellow boaters for reports of people untying boats in the middle of the night (as we had been warned when we were in town). We say goodbye to Jim and Julia Lennon the next morning and return to our core crew of four. We transit locks 11, 12, 13, 14, and 15 smoothly and tie-up at St. Johnsville Marina (26NM). We may have to spend two nights here as the winds are picking up and the tallest of the locks is just two up. Lock 17 has a forty foot rise….so stay tuned!!!
We now have a full crew of six on board the Independence. Jim and Julia Lennon have flown in from Oakland, CA to join us in Albany, NY for part of the Erie Canal experience. We are so happy to have them with us not only for their great company but for the security of the extra hands on deck. We depart Albany on a beautiful morning and have a nice and very short transit up to Waterford (8NM). We only had one low railroad bridge and one lock - The Troy Lock.
Completed in 1825, the Erie Canal was the brain-child of then New York Governor Dewitt Clinton. According to the ‘Cruising Guide to the New York Canal System - 2006’ the citizens of the day called the idea ‘Clinton’s Folly’ and later ‘Clinton’s Ditch’. Clinton convinced the State Legislature to authorize $7 million for the construction of a 363 miles long canal. He envisioned a way to transit the timber, minerals, grains and goods from the Northwest Territories on this canal system saving transit time and money and making New York the busiest port in America. The Canal did exactly that. Opening in 1825 it caused an explosion of trade moving tonnages of goods greater than Boston, Baltimore and New Orleans combined. The Canal tolls recouped the cost of construction with in nine years. The Canal system has been enlarged and updated many times to allow for progressively larger ships and increased traffic. By 1929 commercial traffic on The Canal System had declined due to competition from highways and railroads. Now the waterway is renamed the New York Canal System and in 2001 designated as the nation’s 23rd National Heritage Corridor. Tourism and recreation are the primary uses of the Canal System now. It is currently free of charge to transit and is an engineering marvel when you consider there were no schools of engineering when the system was originally conceived and built. Thank you Governor DeWitt Clinton!
Day two of the Erie Canal brings us through Locks 2,3,4,5,6 & 7 to Schenectady (17NM). It is a busy two hours for the crew as we handle lines and ropes, shift fenders and push off of the lock walls trying to keep the Independence from harm. Larry has the intense job of jockeying the boat into position on the wall, avoiding other boats and then holding her in-line against the wall while the massive doors of the lock close and water rushes in causing swirling eddies of confused currents. We are rewarded at the Mohawk Harbor Marina with the great news that the Albany Symphony will be playing a free concert in the park directly in front of our slip. To top off the evening they even threw in some fire works!
A brisk, clear morning greats us as we depart New York City. We are too tall to get through the bridges of the Harlem River so we back track the East River to the Hudson River. This way we get another chance to enjoy the gorgeous skyline of Manhattan. We move up river to Croton-on-Hudson (44NM) where we spend two days. West Point Academy is only minutes away so we rent a car and take a tour. The history of West Point is deep. During the Revolutionary War the Connecticut militia, under the command of General Samuel Holden Parsons, first occupied West Point in January 1778 making it the longest continually occupied post in the United States. The geography of this site was most important as the Hudson River takes a sharp turn and is choked to a narrow and strategically monitored bend. So narrow in-fact that a ‘Great Chain’ made of huge iron links was strung just under the water line to prevent British ships from sailing up river. After the revolution most of this chain was subsequently melted down nails, etc. However, a few links were recovered from the Hudson River. The links were carbon dated and proved to be original. These thirteen links are on display in front of the Hudson River along with their swivel joints that let the Great Chain twist and swing under the water with out breaking. The campus is overwhelming with it’s beautiful grounds, chapels, barracks/dorms, gyms, athletic fields, stadiums, stocked fishing reservoirs (Lusk Reservoir), cemetary and charming old homes. We thank the men and women who are currently in training at this amazing academy and for their upcoming service to our country. We move north up the Hudson for an overnight stop along the river at Ravena (81NM). A short trip the next morning brings us to Albany, NY (10NM). As soon as we slide into the dock at the Albany Yacht Club we take the bimini off the fly bridge and engineer the tipping down of the radar arch. We are so happy when the arch comes down smoothly and we are now able to continue our passage north under low clearance bridges toward the Erie Canal system of locks.
New York never fails to impress. The most amazing city has the most amazing harbor. You enter and this city bowls you over with her beautiful Lady Liberty and the most breathtaking of skylines. Especially when you arrive on a boat that you have been on for over a month dreaming of this day…I can’t even imagine what our relatives must have felt entering this harbor so long ago and from so far away. I will say that this day was one of the most special I have ever had. The weather was perfect, our passage north was easy, our company the sweetest and the historical past was not lost on me. We enjoyed our slow passage up to Liberty Island and the Manhattan skyline. We took a million pictures and video. We ate lunch in front of the Manhattan waterfront and toured the Hudson River. After we had our fill of sightseeing, we turned up the East River and continued our journey to Kings Point. Our friend and fellow crew mate Owen Doherty graduated from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy a ways back and was kind enough to arrange a slip for us. We thank the men and women at Kings Point for their service to our country and for their unflagging hospitality. Great Neck is a perfect jumping point to play tourist in NYC. We spent the following day visiting ‘The Vessel’ at Hudson Yards followed by a walk on the High Line to the Hudson River and of course to the 911 Memorial and Central Park. If the trip stopped right here I would be content. I have a hard time believing that there is so much more to come. We depart New York on Monday and as the waters north of us recede, it looks like the next adventure awaits. The Erie canal is on the horizon and we are looking forward to the locks and beyond.
It has been a blur since we left Annapolis, MD as we have had friends visit, friends depart, a wedding, provisioning, rental cars and new crew additions. Leaving Annapolis we had an easy passage north up the Chesapeake Bay to the Baltimore Yacht Club in Essex, MD (29NM). The BYC members are amazingly friendly and preparing for their opening day/memorial day weekend extravaganza. We were very lucky to get a spot in the harbor as every slip will be taken and boats will be anchored out in the harbor. While in the harbor we get the sweetest visit from Tyler, Meredith and Millie Jones and the Watson family too! Thank you for popping by to visit on your way to Avalon, NJ. The BYC club festivities go on without us as our good friend’s son Sean Doherty is getting married in Leesburg, VA. The wedding is in the gardens of an old plantation. It is a lovely evening and a beautiful event. With the wedding behind them Maggie and Owen Doherty (parents of the groom) are now free to join us on the Independence for the rest of The Great Loop. With our new crew we head up to the top of the Chesapeake River to the Chesapeake and Delaware Canal (C&D Canal). This canal is evidently one of the busiest in North America but seems fairly quiet (of large ship traffic) on this Memorial Day. We pull in to a marina right on the canal in Chesapeake City, MD (35NM). This is no easy feat as the canal is running a four knot current against us as we tie-up. Once secure we walk across the bridge over the canal and check-out the sweet town enjoying their holiday. The next day we head north to the end of the C&D Canal to the Delaware River/Bay. This a very busy waterway with quite a bit of large ship traffic and not terribly scenic but interesting enough. Passing through the state of Delaware we end the day at Cape May, NJ (61NM). Cape May is a big summer destination for city folks and has the most amazing collection of old Victorian homes and hotels. I was sorry not to get photos but we only had a few hours to see the town and therefore the marina driver took us for a mini-tour in the mini-van and photos were not an option. We would have loved to stay another day but the weather is cooperating so we move on. The ocean passage to Atlantic City, NJ is lovely with just a few rolling swells (38NM). We enjoy the gym and pool at the marina hotel and tomorrow head back out to the ocean north to Manasquan inlet at Brielle, N.J. (55NM). Our first ‘fog on the deck’ experience. Thank goodness we have a good crew and good electronics. I now can read a radar screen quite proficiently.
Well, I don’t suggest entering the Annapolis Harbor (36NM) during a Blue Angels show but we had no choice as our slip at the Yacht Basin Marina was not available until noon. There were so many boats of all sizes choking the harbor entrance which had shrunk due to the restricted ‘show-box’ area heavily patrolled by the sheriff and coast guard. Once we made it through to the marina and tied-up the boat we could enjoy the show. It is graduation day from the Annapolis Naval Academy and the air show began at noon and will go (on & off) all day. It is truly amazing to be sitting on the boat, in this historic harbor, watching the six F/A-18 Hornets scream by. After the show we walk around this great town and then return to the marina as we have been invited to our first ‘Looper’s Docktail Party’. Thank you Penny Battles and Dave Burnes on their pretty yacht Southern Cross. We had a great time getting to know some fellow Loopers…I think I better get some more boat cards printed!!!
Norfolk, VA is a perfect town to walk around. We docked the boat at a marina right in the heart of the cities waterfront, which has an impressive walking path that follows the perimeter of The Elizabeth River. We toured the oldest street in town and looked at the old homes of Freemason Street. We then toured the not so oldest pubs of Granby street. The following day brought us to the Chesapeake River and after four hours of easy cruising we arrived at Cape Charles, VA (32NM). This town is definitely on my favorites list. Larry asked a stranger about her golf cart and where to rent one. The next thing we know we are in the back of her Club Car racing off to the rental shop. Friendly people, beautiful beaches, a great brew pub and wonderful seafood…who can ask for more? But, away we go, off to Tangier Island. This island is on the National Register of Historic Places so we couldn’t pass by with out giving it a visit. We make pretty good time through the crab pot feilds…thousands of crab pots! After about four hours we tie-up and tour the little island (37NM). Our only major miscalculation on this trip was not realizing this island is ‘dry’. Not a pub in site. So back to the boat we go. A nice barbeque salmon dinner and contraband cocktails and we are happier than clams. Off the next day to Solomons Island (39NM) where we put the tender in for a little ‘area familiarization’. We find a few entertaining establishments and then head back to the boat for dinner as another day of travel brings us to St. Michaels (45NM). We find a nice spot to anchor for the evening and while we still have daylight we pop the tender over and head to town. ASt. Michaels has a charming waterfront with a rich maritime and fishing/crabbing history . We dock the dingy and walk around town then head back to the Independence. We have a wonderful sunset and the winds are light when we go to sleep but the winds really kicked up after dark. I am just not that comfortable with the exposed feeling of overnight anchoring in strong winds. The anchor alarm goes off often as we swing but the anchor hold was good and in hind site there was no reason to have worried. That being said, I am thankful our next stop is in a marina at Annapolis, MD…for two days!
Guest Post by Larry McCullough
It is said “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”, or in our case the single rotation of the screw (that’s nautical talk for propeller for you land lovers). We accomplished that first step with the completion of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIW or often referred to as the ICW).
The AIW starts in Norfolk Va, Mile Marker 0, and ends in Key West FL. 1243. We went as far south as Marathon FL at Mile Marker 1193 and finished in Norfolk last Wednesday May 15th.
As Jamie has posted, I have thought about this trip for at least 30 years and the trip has grown from just doing the AIW to continuing up the Hudson River to the Erie Canal, the Great Lakes, the Mississippi River, Ohio River, and eventually to the Gulf at Mobile Bay.
But that is just one part of the trip of hopefully bringing the boat back on it’s own bottom (too big for a truck, shipping is only other option) via the Panama Canal.
Yes, the trip has to be looked at in single steps (segments) or it is far to daunting.
We left Beaufort, NC and continued north up the ICW, A nice slow journey up to Belhaven, NC with some cloud cover that led to some rain and some wind. We anchored out in a nice protected area and after the wind let up it was a very peaceful overnight anchorage (58NM). The next morning we awoke to a silent army of tiny winged creatures (may flies?) carpeting the boat. Our friends warned us this might happen and they were spot on. We decided not to disturb the peaceful, non-stinging/biting flies, thinking if we pulled anchor and got some air flowing around the boat they might take flight…well, think again. The bugs held fast for a free ride to Coinjock, NC (73NM) and beyond. I am told that the name Coinjock is native american for Mulberry. Evidently, this is a requisite stop on ‘The Loop’ where you (Larry) advance order your prime rib (I had the soft shell blue crab just caught hours earlier). You are more than ready to tie-up by the time you reach Coinjock but the better part of this stop is the camaraderie with the fellow boaters. You have just spent the whole day traveling along the same strip of water with these boats, listening to their captains on the VHF radio as some take the ‘Hare’ approach leap-frogging by the slower ‘Tortoise’ boats. Now you get to meet their owners and share your stories and advice. We learn a crucial bit of information regarding our next day of travel. The North Landing swing bridge is closing for maintenance tomorrow and we have to be on the ICW no later than 6:00AM to get three hours up the river to ensure we catch an opening. If we don’t get through it is an eight hour delay…that would not be good as after that we have to catch another another swing bridge, a bascule bridge and go through a lock before we reach Norfolk, VA.
I am fairly certain that I am not the only ‘Beaufort-ly Challenged’ individual. The names of these cities in each state are spelled the same but pronounced differently. Which, from an outsiders point of view may not be a big deal but to the denizens of these towns it certainly is. We have been corrected (ever-so-kindly) more than once on the pronunciations and this is the tutorial in a nutshell (pouched from a Google site} “The Beaufort of South Carolina is pronounced "BYOO-fert" (as in "beautiful"). The Beaufort of coastal North Carolina is "BOH-fert" (as in "Beauregard"), which is also the correct pronunciation of the Duke of Beaufort's name…” O.K. we will stop there. So, we are in Beaufort, NC and it was a big day on the ICW to get here, eight hours and roughly 70NM. Some very shallow areas especially at each inlet from the ocean where shoaling is especially prevalent. We make our way into the Beaufort Docks Marina and happily accept their ‘Wooden Nickle' drink tokens. We exchange them for a couple of Yuengling beers at the ‘Dive Bar'. We plan to be here for two days but make it three due to weather. Not a bad place to spend some time as this city is beautiful, friendly and welcoming. Great food, friendly bars, beautiful homes and scenery. A great Nautical Museum and National Seashore complete with their own wild horses of Shackelford’s Island. Also, did I mention that Congrio joined the party in Beaufort due to weather on the Outer Banks?!? So great to see you guys!