I Hate the intercoastal!!!

November 13, 2018

Departing Waterside Marine for the dreaded Intercoastal.  I know many boaters enjoy the daily runs along this amazing waterway that spans over 3,000 miles along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts of the United States.  It runs from Boston, MA southward along the Atlantic Seaboard and around the southern tip of Florida, then it follows the Gulf Coast to Brownsville, Texas.  Sorry, but I was excited about my first leisurely trip back in 1984 on a 53 foot Hatteras.  My first trip was when I was 22 years old and I was accompanying my father-in-law on his first trip south.  We took our time stopping each evening in time for cocktails and dinner.  That first trip in 1984 took us 12 days.  I remember exactly how many days, something I will never forget.  I made that trip with him 6 times back and forth in the next 6 years.  It was a time that bounded us forever.  I was pregnant on my 3rd trip and was scolded for jumping down to the docks to handle the lines being 7 months pregnant.  That year we arrived in Fort Lauderdale in early November and I flew home on the last day the doctor would let me fly, December 5, 1987.  I returned back to the original Java the second week of  February with my new son in tow looking forward to cruising the rest of the winter.

I can honestly say that was the last trip I really enjoyed.  The fun of it had worn off and I just wanted to get to Florida not taking 10-12 days to do it.  It also had a lot to do with the speed of the boat.  But I sit here today in a boat named the same "Java" and it is even slower than the original Hatteras named "Java".

So back to 2018 and again I am headed south by way of  Norfolk, VA.  Our desired leg today will bring us just south of the Alligator River Bridge.  Coinjock would be a very short day so we plan on going until dusk.  As anyone who has ever traversed the intercoastal will tell you it is not advisable to travel at night.  There are too many objects floating in the area and going out of the marked course will cause you much regret.

Tonight we anchor as our boat travels at an amazingly swift 8-9 knots.  Sometimes when you hit a following sea right you might just see 10 knots but that's a very rare sight and not one you'll see in the intercoastal.  It's a rather windy night and we can feel a good chop.  But the anchor is set and the anchor alarm is doing it's job.  Still I find it hard to really sleep when at anchor in a moving body of water.

Rising early on November 14, 2018 we make our way south.  I have decided to make it an early day as I could not sleep well the night at anchor.  Plus I have always enjoyed docking at River Forest in Belhaven, NC.  It holds great memories for me.  Back in the early 80's the Mansion served a fantastic dinner.  It was like dining in an old Southern Plantation.Today the Mansion is open for special events and they rent rooms in the mansion and over the harbor master's office.  They have complimentary golf carts so you can go into the quaint little town of Belhaven.

I have been keeping my eye on the weather and see that if we can make it to Beaufort the next day we would have a window of 3-5 days of perfect weather outside the coast.

We depart Belhaven November 15, 2018 with our eye on Beaufort, NC.   We discuss our plans with other boaters and only one other boat is making the trip.  The Pamlico Sound has some significant waves 2-4 feet.  On the ocean I wouldn't think much of that but in this shallow sound it gets pretty bumpy.  The wind gusts are up to about 25mph but our stabilizers make the trip very doable.


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