Basking in the Carolina your heart out!

Melvyn Brown
Sat 20 Nov 2010 23:29

34: 42.9 N 76: 39.8W

Beaufort (pronounced Boofort), North Carolina

Mile 205 ICW


We left our 5* marina at Pungo Ferry last Tuesday morning in the company of the original three yachts (the Canadians were just surfacing as we cast off, but caught up later) and headed for Coinjack at the 49 mile mark.  (By the way the ICW is measured in (road) miles – not nautical miles.)  It was our intention to stay a single night, but the weather was forecast to be windy/rough out on the North River and Albemarle Sound the next day and so we all stayed put – and not just wimps like me, but old salts opted to postpone their journey too.  The sun shone and providing you were out of the wind, Wednesday was a nice warm day, for the first time I began to think the thermals might be washed and put away.


Sitting out on the back of the boat, in the sun, gave me an opportunity to observe the people living in a single-story bungalow opposite.  They had their own jetty (as they all do) and it was equipped with a metal fish preparation table, complete with a hose pipe to wash it down.  I watched the owner expertly fillet the fish and throw the scraps into the canal for the seagulls.  They really DO take their fishing seriously – although I have only been aware of seeing one woman fishing (all the way back in Two Mile Marina).


And not just fishin’…huntin’ too.  I saw a small punt-like boat with an outboard motor approaching and couldn’t make out what it was – there looked to be at least two Christmas trees in the bow of the boat.  Of course as they past it was obvious the foliage was to act as camouflage and the four hunters in the boat were also kitted out as G.I.’s!  Only minutes later we heard their guns go off.


To give you some idea as to how busy the ICW is – even this late in the season – here is a picture taken in the Alligator River – Pungo River Canal.


You can perhaps also see that the trees are only just turning, and now we are even further south they are predominantly still green with just a hint of autumn.



On the subject of trees I’ve since learned that the erosion is due to the constant washing from the wakes of the boats – some of which are commercial and indeed we met an enormous container ship much further into the canal than you would expect.  The erosion must be happening VERY quickly because it occurs to me that the picture of the little tree in its autumn colours that I posted in the previous blog was probably in earth (as opposed to water) when the leaves turned and so it follows that within a matter of weeks the earth around it has been washed away, leaving it stranded in water, several feet out from the shore.


Everyone left en masse on the Thursday (bad weather tends to bunch everyone).  It was cold on the water (the thermals came out) and having left one of the three sailors in Coinjack where he was having repairs done, Zarafina and the two remaining yachts from Pungo Ferry sailed to the 82 mile point and anchored in the Little Alligator River (and, no, we didn’t see any). 


En route to our Friday anchorage the other two yachts peeled off to get fuel at a marina and we continued to our agreed stop over at the 154 mark.  One decided to remain in the marina overnight and the one continued to meet us at the anchorage.  On the Friday morning we didn’t need an alarm clock to wake us up as the duck hunters got going from hides in the reeds surrounding us at 6 o’clock.  The two yachts left together but within a matter of minutes Dennis on the other yacht reported engine problems, probably as a result of dirty fuel he had acquired.  He said for us to go on and we suspect he probably had to arrange a tow – fortunately he had the same insurance as us and wouldn’t have to pay for it.  (I’m reminded of a very politically incorrect children’s counting rhyme…..!).  We were hoping we might meet up here in Beaufort, but it wasn’t to be. 


We opted for a marina in the centre of Beaufort (third town established in North Carolina) and I told the Dock guy who caught our rope that my only concern was that we might show up our neighbour……!   One of these monsters was filling up with fuel in Coinjack….Melv watched 635 gallons being pumped in (at $2.95 per gallon).  He has just been talking to another motor boat skipper who said his engine sounded a bit rough when going passed yachts but once it was at 19.5knots it sounded alright again…..!  (We do 5.5/6.0!)


You might be able to make out the skipper with a scrubbing broom about to tackle the scum on the bow.  You’d have to look REALLY hard to see Melv wielding his broom!!