Barges, Bridges and Bozos

BBB001We are a quarter of the way to our jumping off point for the Bahamas — we have already encountered the same number of towboats and barges we saw from Fort Pierce to Norfolk last year. This is good. Their use of the ICW is all that keeps it viable for the rest of us. These two were chatting on ship-to-ship. Both were captains from other waterways, and neither were impressed with the condition of the ICW. Between passing them and our destination we shook our heads over what it must have been like to push those double barges through the narrow twists, shallows and tidal side sets– what a skill!

After a showery night at Mile Hammock on Camp Lejeune (serenaded by helicopters and hovercraft from 1700-2100), we woke to fog and let it burn off before leaving. We encountered quite a side set at Snead’s Ferry. There was a dredge barge anchored in the channel and the water accelerated either side of it to a torrent. We were the most crabbed I can remember — nearly 45 degrees. The day ended up being defined by currents, and we spent a total of 90 minutes in gray and showers waiting for bridges we just couldn’t quite make because of nature’s watery push and pull. It’s a new moon, and tides range higher and lower, and currents are swifter.

We approached Wrightsville Beach Bascule with 55 minutes to kill (yep, we just couldn’t go fast enough to make up five minutes). We hovered a mile north of the bridge and motored in long ovals that saw us moving up current (in idle forward!)  at 0.8 mph and down current at 4.8 mph — I’ll save you the math. In this narrow spot the current was running 4 mph. This is why we stayed a mile away from the bridge until just minutes before it opened. The sight below at 1500 was quite welcome. [note the musical notes above the water]BBB002

As to the Bozos, when you are Tail End Charlies like we are this year, the discourteous have all blasted their way south ahead of you. Traffic is light. Anchorages are open. Only the person using a strobe for an anchor light has left us shaking our heads.

These pictures aren’t colorized black and whites. It’s just been a hazy shade of winter.

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