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April 7 -10, Wrightsville Beach, SC to Coinjock, NC

April 7th A three day Northeaster was forecast to start today. We left the dock at 7:20, shortly after sunrise. NOAA had moved up the when the edge of the front was going to hit Beaufort by an hour, eating up Nancy's allotted buffer. We decided to leave anyway, figuring if the front came in early, we would only have to slog our way for a few miles.

Nancy timed it perfectly, with the wind just starting to pick up as we left the Atlantic in entered the inlet for Beaufort. There is a 20 nm passage that heads north from Beaufort to Oriental, half through marsh and pine dotted with communities with brightly painted houses. The houses ranged from tiny Nancy-sized houses, to great-big Jason sized houses. Lots of great color on both the siding and the roofs. One house was a bright magenta, the first we had seen painted that color since we left Stuart, Fl. Didn't get a pic though.

The boat handled well in the wind against tide chop across the Neuse River. Jason was too excited to see how the boat handled in chop to let Nancy steer during the 5 minute crossing. However, we have plenty of chop ahead of us during the next 3 days!

Getting a marina at Oriental was very confusing. The guide broke up the marinas into little individual insert maps, so it was hard to tell how they related to each other. Once again the names on Navionics did not match the names on google. We decided on Oriental Harbor Marina and Inn since it was the most protected. When we called however, they only had a facing dock, which was fine except Google satellite map did not show the marina having a facing dock. Turns out they had combined with the marina next door. The very nice looking Pecan Grove Marina was not mentioned in the cruising guide and had few reviews. Since its narrow entrance faced northeast, we decided to go with the harbor Inn and Marina.

While the facing dock is protected from the northerly wind, it has a lot of swell for a marina behind a breakwater. There is no nearby trash, Radar's paws fall through the slots in the cement dock so he has to be carried, and the marina office is over by the original marina, a four block walk away. We agreed next year, we would try for Pecan Grove or better yet, start from Beaufort.

April 8th. We decided despite the rain and wind to head up to Belhaven, only to find that our starboard engine wouldn't start due to a communication error. Jason tried fuses, breakers, modules, harnesses and could see nothing wrong. Had multiple conversations with Gregg from Summit with no better results. Jason called Nancy downstairs with Radar to show her some pee on the VIP floor, but it turned out to be only water and was leaking out of the ceiling, onto the bed and down the wall. Turns out that the socket for the post that holds up the foredeck sun shade did not respond well to the 30 degree drop in temperature and was leaking badly. Luckily the mattress protector kept the water from the mattress and berth cushions, but we had to dry the sheets and coverlet. Jason stuffed a towel under the deck and we put down a trash bag on top of the bed. Went to bed angry and sad that our new boat was broken and leaking.

April 9th We still had not received a call back from the local Cummins Engine Emergency line (huge shock on Easter weekend). Jason was pretty sure that something in the interlock system was preventing the engine from starting, like the ECM not booting up or the system not seeing the transmission in neutral. He ended up hotwiring the engine (jumping the starter solenoid terminals). It ran fine and showed no codes to explain why it didn't want to start from the ignition. He turned off the engine and tried to start it again and to our surprise it started right up with no issues. We have no idea why it wouldn't start or why it would start after we got the engine running again. Jason started the engine multiple times throughout the day with no issues, we will see what tomorrow brings.

Jason tightened the hard to reach mounting hardware on the awning socket. We hope it will slow the leak enough until we get home and can have it properly re-seated and sealed. We also found that the lack of a defroster vents on the dash is going to be an issue in cold and wet climates and will also need to be addressed, most likely by adding an auxilliary heater/blower that can be stowed when not needed.

It was very windy and raining, the lines and fenders needed to be adjusted with the storm surge. Walking Radar in the freezing rain was not fun for either Nancy or him. We did put him in his yellow slicker which he seemed to appreciate once we were outside. Despite being up Racoon Creek, there was a weird amount of swell in the harbor and we ended up turning on the Seakeeper stabilizer, which was very helpful and made for a restful night's sleep.

The rain finally passed but the wind was even stronger. Eric, one of Jason's towing friends, who moved to North Carolina, drove over to have Easter dinner buffet with us at a local Southern style restaurant.

April 10th Oriental to Alligator River, NC

It was still blowing 20 with gusts up to 35 when we left Oriental. Neusse River had white caps but the waves were only 2-3 feet though steep with a short period. We thought we could go around via Pamlico Sound and save some time, but as we got lower on the Neusse, the waves picked up to 4-5 ft, just an endless set of mini walls of water hitting the boat. Fortunately, we were only it for about 20 minutes, when we were able to turn towards the inland route. We felt bad for the trawlers we were passing that were struggling. One was even tacking trying to make headway.

We stopped at Dowry's marina for fuel, turns out the seafood dock was the more convenient and cheaper stop, but we didn't know that until later. Dowrey's had little in the way of wind protection, just low marsh and docking was challenging, but Jason came in perfectly.

It's very pretty sound country, with lots of marsh and pines. The dead trees still standing on the edges that have been killed by storm surges gives it a haunted, lonely feel, but the blues and greens are gorgeous.

Stopped at Alligator River Marina for the night. We were the only boat there and it too only had minimal wind protection. Very shallow water, the wind must have driven it away based on the barnacles marks on the pilings. The marina is operated by a gas station, which was unusual. Outside of the gas station, there is nothing for miles. Which turned out to be a bad thing when that night we noticed blood on the sofa. When we flipped Radar upside down, he had an abscess under the base of his tail that looked very painful.

It explained his loss of appetite and energy. We called the 1 800 Vet number and a vet responded 5 hours later saying the photo we sent looked like an anal gland abscess and that we had to get to a vet. We gave Radar some Trazadone, the anti-anxiety medicine for the plane and put antibacterial cream on the wound. Note: we will need a doggy med kit for Radar. Radar didn't want to sleep by himself 3 ft away from our bed, so Nancy slept on the sofa with him curled up next to her head all night.

Headed off early the next morning, Nancy trying to find a vet and Jason trying to find a mechanic to address the starboard engine not starting via ignition. Turns out the recommended mechanic in Norfolk was working on a boat in Coinjock and there was an 11:30 am cancellation at the local vet about 5 miles away. The daughter of the marina owner was nice enough to drive us to the vet. Nancy packed for a long day, but managed to forget her phone, making it harder to find a ride back. Vet said that Radar needed to be put under and have the anal glands flushed out with antibiotics. Said it would take an hour and a half. Nancy went next door and bought some bread from Dollar Store. The check out lady was chatty so Nancy asked if she knew anyone who wanted to make some money driving me and the dog home. She said she got off at 2 pm and was going right past Coinjock. So it all worked out nicely. Off course, the starboard engine started just fine when the mechanic was there and didn't start once he left. He said he could come back tomorrow afternoon.


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