The fog refused to lift, running the risk of delaying our departure from Dowry Creek long enough to put Washington NC out of our reach. We kept looking southeast, where the channel to the waterway should be and wondered when we would even be able to see the closest mark. The sun rose, but the fog stubbornly clung to the water surface. A couple of boats slipped out anyway and were quickly swallowed up. We decided to wait. By 9am, we could see the first few marks and decided to head out a little ahead of Marianna, since our slower speed was going to set the pace and ultimately determine our destination.
The fog did eventually lift, but not before we had a stressful experience trying to locate that sailboat on the ICW that was heading for Orion Jr as it appeared and vanished in the shifting mist. As most often happens on mornings with the fog, the sun did its work and soon the sky was clear and the water smooth and calm. We pushed the engine a bit and decided we could make it to Washington at a reasonable time, despite our late departure and a slight ebbing current on the Pamlico.
After spending a couple of nights north of Oriental in River Dunes, where we said goodbye for now to Pat and Fred, we moved on south, down the Neuse, through Adams Creek to Core Creek, past Morehead City and on to Swansboro. The tides and currents returned with a vengeance, sweeping us gleefully down to Morehead City in a rush and then forcing us to grind our way south past the Beaufort inlet at speeds that hovered near 3 knots for over an hour, as the current tried its best to pull us out to the ocean, reminding us that this was the route we used to take with Orion. Not with her little cousin. Now we were back on the inside.
With a front approaching in a couple of days, we decided to hunker down at Osprey’s Marina, near the town of Socastee, SC for our next stop. It was supposed be inexpensive and very nice, but it very remote. Since it was only about 17 miles down the waterway, we had a much shorter run the next day from Myrtle Beach south. That gave us time in the morning for showers, a grocery run and some re-fueling before finally pulling off the dock around 10am. Wouldn’t you know it, the current this short day was with us, bringing us in before 2pm in what for us was record time.
The sewing machine came back out when we arrived in Dowry Creek. The spacious lounge gave Cathy room to work and, with Pat there to advise, they patterned and made 2 new panels for the enclosure to help provide a windbreak for the cold days of travel ahead. Cathy also made another pocket for the stern anchor line. After Dave shredded some jeans doing wash (what were you doing, Dave), Cathy made more dock line chafe protection from them.
Dave installed a new double 12V outlet under the companionway stairs, making it a shorter run for devices in the Main Saloon. Finally, we learned a little more about the little boat the hard way, when we discovered the solar vent on the forward hatch is not exactly air or water tight. At Dowry Creek, the after-effects of Hurricane Irene had created an explosion of house flies. When these kept appearing below, despite our closing every hatch, we realized that we needed to cover the solar vent with a screen, which made a huge difference. Then, in River Dunes, after Dave had washed off the boat in the morning, we started to crawl into bed that evening only to discover it was soaking wet. Apparently the water hose had found the opening during the morning’s washdown. Oops! After sleeping on the settee overnight until the cushions could dry, we learned our lesson from that mistake.