Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Beaufort to the Beach

A day of 3 bridges....
Departing Beaufort, Greg and Kate's, we pressed on to Mile Hammock Bay in the heart of the MARINE CORPS BASE, CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. Crossing into the camp you must traverse one of the live firing ranges which has targets on one side of the waterway and Marines on the other. When the range is in use, the waterway is closed. Lucky for us, we were one day ahead of closures from 0700 to 1200 so we were able to pass through unrestricted. Once in, the primary anchorage cruisers use is called

Google Map of Beaufort to Wrightsville Beach NC
Mile Hammock Bay where our U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Special Operations Command's 2d Marine Battalion and Marine Special Operations School train in the waters of this bay. While we were there, we saw jeeps on the beach, helicopters overhead and heard artillery fire both day and night. The next day, we ran  the waterway to one of our favorite towns, Wrightsville Beach, NC.  There we dropped anchor in the harbor and took a short walk to the beach and of course, Kohl's Frozen Custard parlor. Boat buddy Reuben loves ice cream as much as Hayden does!  We love places where we can anchor the boat and dinghy into town and walk to a beautiful beach, Wrightsville Beach is this kind of place.

Dolphin escort down Bogue Sound

Surf City swing bridge

Waterman's interesting boat, motor and platform

Figure Eight Island swing bridge

The race for the bridge

Radeen at the helm of Island Spirit, happy

IP380 PRIORITY raises anchor at Mile Hammock Bay

IP38 MOONDANCE departs Mile Hammock Bay where Bob trained as a Marine

Figure Eight Island Swing Bridge, The bridge tender is in the house top center!

Figure Eight Island Swing Bridge with our parade of boats southbound

Wrightsville Beach, the treasure for today

Monday, October 27, 2014

Beaufort is Home

Kate, the most fun chef ever...
Beaufort is one of our favorite stops every year as we travel up and down the AICW. It is a very nice waterfront town with cute shops, pubs and restaurants. But for us, the real joy is visiting Greg and Kate and their lovable Doodles, Lucy and Gracie. Greg and Kate make us feel like family and their hospitality is like none other. We visit their home, play with the Doodles, and enjoy the most amazing meals home cooked by Kate with Greg's assistance. We drink fine wines, bubbly, dessert wines and home brewed espresso made from freshly roasted beans! OMG, can it get any better than this? Nope, it cannot! Kate and Greg always spoil us and make us never want to leave, but with a plan to arrive Charleston Nov 3, we need to move on. Thank you so much, Greg and Kate, you truly are amazing with your hospitality and we cherish your friendship. Beaufort is Home, and you guys are family....

Here are some photos of our wonderful days at Greg and Kate's.

Looking out over the marina docks

Look at the smiles, Radeen, Kate, Nina

The Ladies with their Bubbly...Kate, Radeen, Nina, and Lisa

The men enjoying fine wines; Bob, Greg, Camp, and Reuben

Nina and Radeen on the "GIRL" porch 

We enjoyed many fine wines and bubbly

Hayden and his DOODLE, GRACIE, soooooo lovable

Kate's dinner for 9! Chicken Parm, Eggplant Parm with Lemon Basil Pasta

Kate and Hayden in the master chef's kitchen

Oh, did you want freshly brewed espresso? No problem!

How about a homemade Apple Cheese Tart? Really? OMG, I am moving in!

Hayden with "his" Doodle Gracie and Greg
Playing ball with the Doodles. Lucy always wins, but Gracie gets there first!
Day 2: Radeen and Kate heading out for dinner at the Ruddy Duck.
Notice Radeen's beautiful necklace hand crafted by Kate.
It has hundreds of tiny black and green beads and took 30 hours to make!

The Team out for dinner on night two. What a fun time!
Reuben, Bob, Greg, Nina, Hayden, Kate and Radeen

Saturday, October 25, 2014

River Dunes Fun

The Clubhouse at the Dunes....
River Dunes will spoil you as a cruiser with fireplaces, great coffee, fantastic showers, floating docks, WiFi, loaner car, and a fantastic restaurant. Add in your cruising friends and it is a wonderful place to dock, stop and take a break. We also enjoyed meeting cruisers, Sheeba Moon and Distant Drummer. While here, we cleaned up the boat, serviced the varnish, shared some meals together and simply relaxed. River Dunes is a planned community a few miles north of Oriental. We love to stop here and spoil ourselves. Here are some photos of our fun...
Floating docks at River Dunes

Bob and Nina, IP38 MOONDANCE celebrate 5,000 nautical miles aboard
The Team shares a meal on Island Spirit
Hayden, Radeen, Reuben, Bob and Nina

Home made bread on Island Spirit

Radeen made:pot roast with carrots, onions,  potatoes, broccoli
topped with goat cheese and walnuts, and a homemade cocoa pudding.
(we rarely post photos of food, but this was impressive on a boat)

Radeen and Nina

----- The Clubhouse at River Dunes ------

The dining room at River Dunes

Out to dinner, a wonderful night

River Dunes is a great place to dine out.
Hayden, Radeen, Reuben, Nina and Bob

The ladies, Nina and Radeen 

The chess match after dinner, Radeen won! Great job, genius!

The Clubhouse sofas and reading materials with the it

A pool table for Carey

Fountains and pool deck with hot tubs

The Library and game room

Looking back at Island Spirit on the T-dock at River Dunes

Ahh....a fire side bench

So, we will continue south today and our next stop (if you can believe it) will be even BETTER than River Dunes! We will see our great friends, Greg and Kate and the Doodles Gracie and Lucy at Beaufort, NC. We NEVER, EVER, EVER miss an opportunity to visit and enjoy their wonderful hospitality and Momma Kate's home cooking! Did we mention their fabulous home cooking?? YAHOOOOO....See you soon, Greg and Kate!

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Alligator Pungo Pamlico Neuse

Order your Blimp here...
Close reaching out of Elizabeth City
We had a great run south out of Elizabeth City, NC, sailing across Albemarle Sound and down into the Alligator River where we dropped the hook. That was an 0830 to 1730 day, but it was a beautiful sailing day. The next morning, we upped anchor at 0700 and entered the Alligator Pungo River Canal with NW winds. The forecast was for 20-25, but it turned out to be mostly 25-30 with several gusts to 34 knots. The bow wave was coming over the starboard bow and the spray was flying into and over the dodger windshield. Saltwater was running horizontally across the windshield due to the 30 knot winds. Our buddy boat, IP 380 PRIORITY, with Reuben at the helm is amazing, as he is single handing his boat along with us! He is one tough sailor and he is doing a great job. SP Cruiser Catspaw Carey would be very proud of him!

With the winds now on our stern quarter, we rounded into Pungo River and turned south.  rolled out jibs and motor sailed at max speed as we were trying to make a 70 nm day today!

Our 68.9 nm day, 0700 to 1700
With 30 knots on the stern and 1500-2000 on the engine, we were doing 7+ knots all day long. We actually made 68.9 nm in 10 hours, so our average was 6.89 knots of speed! The prize at the end of this long day was the beautiful marina called RIVER DUNES. This is a must stop on your way south as the facilities are spectacular. They provide WiFi, fire pits, clubhouse with coffee and TVs and sofas, pool, showers, pool tables and a laundry. All the essentials for a cruiser, and all for $1.50/foot and two for one days! While here, we all need to clean up our boats, fix various items and enjoy some down time. Job #1 & #2  for Team Island Spirit: Laundry & Windlass repair.

Here are some photos to share the adventure.

The Alligator River Swing Bridge
Crossing Albemarle Sound

IP38 MOONDANCE and IP380 PRIORITY sail Albemarle Sound

IP38 MOONDANCE looking good

Single Handing Reuben IP380 PRIORITY

Tug boats are so coloful

Overhead surveillance by Coast Guard Station Elizabeth City 
Mile Marker 100 from Norfolk, VA

Nina and Bob enjoying the sunset, Alligator River, Deep Point

Our sunset, Alligator River

Alligator River Sunset

Conch Blowing time, oh yea

Another view of the Blimp Factory at Elizabeth City, NC

Sunrise over the Pungo Canal

Looking south on the Alligator Pungo canal

Sharing the canal with a tug and barge!

The winds picked up out of the canal, 30+ knots NW
The spray going horizontal 
Our view through the spray
River Dunes, NC. What a great place to take a break....