Amy & I arrived at New Bern on Monday and immediately started our typical docking chores. We both tackled the exterior cleaning first and then Amy started on the interior work while I started researching who we could get to do a little work on Blue Horizon. We also started to take inventory of what we have on board that we were not using. One thing that we have heard from other loopers is that you always bring stuff that you don’t use – this turns out to be true and we want to get the excess items off and use our space more wisely.
Bruce & Lydia arrived on Tuesday and we had “docktails” on board before dinner. We all took Wednesday to enjoy exploring and touring New Bern. This little town has a lot of history and was first state capitol of North Carolina. It was also the birthplace of Pepsi Cola. There are a lot of great restaurants within walking distance of the marina and the seafood here is fresh and delicious as you can imagine.
Here’s a few extra pics from our day of exploration in New Bern.
It was so great to have Bruce and Lydia share this part of the trip with us. Dear friends only enhance the experience of the trip and we are hoping to see a lot more friends and family along the way.
July 19th, 2018
We were lucky to find good contractors in New Bern with the help of the marina Dockmaster. Blue Horizon is going to have a little minor work done and some regular preventative maintenance. This will take a few weeks as some parts might need to be ordered before the work can be completed.
We decided to use this time to take a trip back to Punta Gorda to check on the condo and tie up some loose ends. We drove back via Atlanta and had a quick visit with our parents, proving to them – we really are doing okay.
What we have learned so far and other thoughts…
- After only five weeks on the trip, we have already covered 1000 miles. This is a full sixth of the loop! At this rate, we would end up doing the loop in just over seven months – meaning , we are going way too fast! We missed Bald Head Island and Hilton Head among other places. I attribute this to the fact that we both just retired and I am plotting courses based on what we CAN do versus just taking our time. I am going to plot our courses with more time in between and making sure to hit all the spots we really want to see and enjoy.
- We haven’t spent any time on the hook (on anchor). As we continue, we will find more anchorages in addition to the great marinas. Since I tried to splice the anchor chain to the rode myself, I wasn’t totally confident the splice would hold in strong winds. Finding a rigger is harder than finding a doctor that makes house calls. It is a lost art and they are booked out for weeks, but we will try to get this done over our break.
- Do your own loop! The Gold loopers all tell us the same thing. Don’t do this trip based on the itinerary of others. Use all the information to develop your own schedule and course.
- Water current trumps wind! My previous boating experience – including a lot of boating in the Gulf and offshore – was predicated on wind and tide. When given opposing winds and currents, the current is the primary concern. Docking in currents (ebb or flow) are best achieved during slack tide. It is amazing how fast a current can move a boat in the ICW.
- It’s all about living in the moment. Really taking the time to enjoy the surroundings and people. We have met ordinary people that truly are extraordinary. We learned when you quit listening to the news and really get out and meet people, it will restore your faith in what is so great about our country.
- Cruising is like life… You never know what is around the corner.
During a particularly quiet part of the ICW a plane came toward us below the tree line. It was too quick for me to alter our course and Amy was able to quickly get a video of the plane. The FAA would ground this guy had he been apprehended. The plane would not be seen by FAA radar flying at this altitude – so no telling why he was flying so low.
We will be back on board in a few weeks and will continue the blog at that time. The next leg of our journey will take us through the Dismal Swamp, Norfolk, VA (end of the ICW MM1) and into the Chesapeake, Washington, DC and Annapolis, MD where we will likely leave the boat for the winter.
Thanks for all your comments, emails, calls, etc and for keeping up with our adventure. It is so nice knowing that our friends and family are with us, even if it is virtually. Until next time…. Dale & Amy Blue Horizon’s last sunset in the marina.