Sunday, April 28, 2013

Remote anchorages

This morning found us anchored in Broad Creek, off the Neuse River, not far from the small community of Oriental, North Carolina.  Oriental bills itself as the sailing capital of the U.S., and after a half day on the Neuse it is easy to see why.  We did have a very nice cruise from Morehead City.

We had our section of the creek all to ourselves, although a small handful of cruising boats went past on their way to or from the River Dunes Marina a little further up the creek.  It's supposed to be very nice, as are some of the marinas in Oriental proper, but we've had our fill of marinas and marina rates, so we jumped on the opportunity to anchor out again.

Our draft kept us in a more exposed part of the creek than shallower boats would use, so we had a bit of roll due to wind-driven waves.  But at over 100,000 pounds of displacement, it takes a lot to move Vector enough to be uncomfortable.  We had a very peaceful night, and we hardly moved an inch the whole time we were there.

Today we finished with the Neuse and headed up the Bay River to the Hobucken Cut, which brought us to the Pamlico River.  Tonight we are anchored in Slades Creek, off the Pungo River, which joins the Pamlico just before Pamlico Sound.  Once again we have the anchorage to ourselves and it is very peaceful here.

Tomorrow we will need to pump out, so we will make a short detour to Belhaven just another five miles from here.  Once past Belhaven there are not a lot of stops along the ICW, so it looks like it will be a fairly long day, ending at yet another anchorage in the Alligator River after transiting the Alligator-Pungo Canal.

We are just off Statute Mile 140 on the ICW, which begins in Norfolk.  It turns out that the timing is such that we will be arriving in Norfolk just as the annual east-coast rendezvous for the America's Great Loop Cruisers Association (AGLCA) will be starting.  We're not members of that group, although we've discussed doing "the Great Loop" any number of times.

I doubt we will join the AGLCA unless and until we establish whether or not Vector can make it under the nominally 19' fixed bridge west of Chicago.  The boat has been there before, when the last owner brought it down the Mississippi and the rest of the western half of the Great Loop after buying it in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin.  But since then, a custom top has been added over the flybridge, which may make the boat too tall to do the same trip again.

We like the top, and have no interest in removing it.  Nor is it feasible to "lower" it just to make the transit.  On top of that, quite a few antennas have been installed directly on to the top, and their cables make lowering the mast a challenge.  One of the things we will be doing in the yard in Virginia is assessing whether it makes sense to relocate the antennas to the mast, extending it somewhat, so that we can once again fold it down, making the flybridge cover the tallest item on the boat.  If that will get the air draft down to where we can do the Great Loop, it will be worthwhile.

Even though it does not make sense for us to drop over $700 (really) to attend this event, several of our friends are making presentations there.  That includes captains Chris and Alyse Caldwell of Captain Chris Yacht Services, and Curtis and Gill Stokes, our brokers, of Curtis Stokes and Associates.  Keith Ruse, principal of Deltaville Boat Yard, where we are headed for yard work, will also be there making some presentations.

We had already arranged to have Keith meet us in Norfolk for the last leg of the trip to Deltaville, as sort of a pre-drydock sea trial, so the fact that he will already be in Norfolk when we arrive simplifies logistics somewhat.  And we'd really like to get together with the rest of the gang, whenever they can get a break from their conference obligations.

And so it is that I have booked a slip at the host marina in Norfolk, starting next Sunday.  The most dangerous thing ever to be found on a boat is a schedule, so we are considering this "tentative" -- if we arrive Monday, Tuesday, or really, any time before the rendezvous ends Thursday night, we should be fine.  And at our current pace, we'll actually have to slow down a bit; we don't really want to arrive any sooner.

This morning's anchorage had no Sprint cell service, but we were able to get online for a very limited amount of data courtesy of roaming agreeements.  Tonight we have no signal at all, and I am typing this as a draft to upload later.  I am hoping to get it posted tomorrow as we pass through Belhaven.  We are likely to be out of coverage again tomorrow night, if the maps and charts are any indication.


  1. Sean - know it's probably a silly question but couldn't you install a Macerator/exhaust injector system like we have in the RV community? With you moving so often perhaps the frequency of those expensive marina visits could be reduced. Also, what are your plans, if any, for solar? Battery replacement time might be a good place to do a complete electrical rehab. Your new boat readers with a technical slant are in for a treat!

    1. We do have a macerator, but sewage can only be discharged overboard outside the 3-mile limit, in the open sea.

      As far as injecting sewage into exhaust, the system you described, long discontinued even in the RV community, can only work with gasoline-powered engines. Exhaust temperatures of diesel engines are not high enough to safely combust sewage. On most pleasure boats, including ours, the exhaust is also water-cooled, so temperatures are even lower.

      We have no plans for solar, as there is simply no place to put any panels. Also, the economics of solar are not favorable on trawlers, for reasons too detailed for the comments section (but I have written about this before).

      The battery replacement is waiting on a new inverter and alternator to change to a 24-volt system. I will be ordering those parts soon.

  2. I've been enjoying your new life aboard Vector as much as your Odyssey stories but I have to admit that any dreams we might have had about what it would be like living on board have been stored away for the duration! I love poking along and around by RV and by car -- but listening to the details about syncing with the tide and draft allowances have proven to this landlubber that I'm glad it's a big world with room for all sorts of people to do their own thing.

    Keep up the great stories. My wife and I love the follow along -- but if you don't mind -- we'll stay on the shore wishing your well and waving as you pass by. :-)

    A retired photographer looks at life
    Peter Pazucha dot Com
    Life Unscripted on Wordpress


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