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November 23, 2010 / larryrutter

Taking A 46′ Albin From New York To Florida – Day 3

I mentioned on Day 2, that sometimes fate has a way of turning things. Sometimes against you, sometimes in your favor. Yesterday, fate led us into Cape May Inlet at a time that, had we known, we wouldn’t have gone out.

This morning, we decided we’d take a little time and get breakfast before we headed out to chart our course down the Intra Coastal Waterway.

On our way to breakfast we stopped in at the marina’s ship’s store to get the benefit of local advice. As we mention what we’re looking for and our relative inexperience, we were greeted with looks that seemed to imply “Are you guys out of you minds?”. We began to get a better idea about bridges, locks, shifting shoals, missing markers, floating logs and trees and other joys of the ICW. As we start to think that maybe we were “out of our minds” this big guy comes up behind us and waits in line while we discuss our options. Did I say that fate has a funny way of coming in to play? If we had decided to call it quits yesterday and not made it to Norfolk…………….

Turns out this guy was the Captain of a 74′ SunSeeker and runs the ICW several times a year and has done so for the past 10 years. As he joins the conversation, it turns out he is going to St. Augustine, which was about 80% of the rest of our trip. Our Captain asks if he would mind if we tagged along behind him. He seemed OK with it (if perhaps not overjoyed) so long as we didn’t become a drag on his schedule. The Albin had the horsepower to run at or near the SunSeeker’s pace, and so we had a guide for the coming days ahead. We headed off to breakfast felling pretty good at this turn of events.

The SunSeeker was having a diver down cleaning the hull, so we weren’t scheduled to leave until around 12:00. After breakfast I stopped by the SunSeeker and was welcomed aboard by Captain and crew and we spend a few minutes discussing the upcoming trip.

Aboard the Albin we had thought that we might be able to make Beaufort, NC today, but with a later start and following our guide, that was out of the question. We were going to Coinjock. Where? Never heard of it.

We cast off just before noon and started to slowly head north awaiting our guide for the next several days. While we were slowly moving north in the Norfolk waterway, I was able to take some video. While filming, I noticed that our guide (The Mother Ship as she was later called) had left the marina and began heading south. South? Oooops. We promptly changed direction and gave chase. Not an auspicious start, but you had to laugh at it. What could the guys on the SunSeeker be thinking. Later when we asked they were kind enough not to give us grief.

So we were off into the ICW heading for Coinjock. I understand that the name means “Land Of The Mulberries”, or “land of the blueberry bog” depending upon who you talk to. I understand there are no mulberries there, so perhaps the blueberries win this one. (But I don’t know if there are any of them either).

Following the SunSeeker Captain, we learned tremendous lessons just by monkey see, monkey do. We watched, and followed, as he slowed down for sailboats, slower motor yachts, residential areas, small craft fishing a distance away, stayed closer to one side of the channel than the other (local knowledge is invaluable in the ICW). I dread to think how we might have gone charging through without thinking if we didn’t have our “teacher” in front of us. The other thing was, while we did keep our eye on the charts and the GPS, we could (where allowable) charge along at 25 plus knots and not have to worry about “What was that marker number?” every 10 minutes.

It was a great day and we pulled into Coinjock, NC around 4:30. The “marina” is one long dock – perhaps over 100 yards long, and they cram every boat in that they can, even having bigger boat bows overhang smaller boat sterns – which led to my having an interesting reaction to one of the guys on the dock. Being aware that we were south of the Mason-Dixon line, as the guys on the dock were helping us tie up the Albin, this one guy turns to me in the stern of the boat and says “Y’all want to take that flag down?”. My first reaction (to myself) was “Are you serious? This is 2010, you can’t possibly mean that you object to the US (Yankee?) flag?”. Then, having learned from previous life mistakes about opening my mouth too soon, I glanced around for another reason to take the flag down, and sure enough they were pulling us back and under the overhanging plow anchor of the boat behind us, which would have fouled on the flag pole. I took the flag down. Sorry y’all.

We had a couple of hours before dinner, so we did the usual straightening up of the boat, and sat down for our evening martini. Life is tough. The Sunseeker Captain stopped by and let us know that the place (only?) to eat was the Coinjock Marina Restaurant, and their specialty was prime rib, and if we wanted the prime rib, we should place an order now. We did. It was excellent.

We called it a night fairly early and prepared to be up at dawn (o-dark hundred as it became known) to head to Beaufort, NC the next day.


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