The Cold Chases Us South, Bath to Beaufort, NC

We spent an additional day at the docks in Bath, NC due to high winds on the Pamlico River. The morning of our departure brought temperatures in the middle 30s, which is way too cold for the crew. Sitting at the free state dock before the sun came up required running the generator for coffee, the toaster and the microwave, but mostly to run the heater to warm up the boat. It usually is 10 degrees warmer inside the boat than outside overnight, but that's still in the 40s. It takes about an hour to get the temperatures up, and by then, breakfast is over and it's time to untie the dock lines and get underway. These are the days when we really love the inside steering station and the laptop running our navigation program at the helm.

The winds were considerably lighter and on our stern heading down the Pamlico. As we later turned into the Neuse River, after passing through Goose Creek and the Bay River, the wind and seas went on the beam. But once we got in the lee of the land, things calmed right down. The rest of the trip down the Neuse was fairly easy until just before we made the turn into Adams Creek. Once again the wind and seas were on the beam and the Neuse, like the Albemarle and Pamlico, can get uncomfortable, even in moderate conditions. Our destination for the night was close at hand in Cedar Creek. This has been a regular stop for years as we travel up and down the ICW. The problem with Cedar Creek is that the anchorage is exposed with winds from the west and it can get bouncy. But we have a favorite hiding hole in Jonaquin Creek, inside Cedar Creek and on the port side. The trick is to go straight in toward the white house in the creek then turn to port into an almost hidden entrance. The depths are usually deeper than charted, but this anchorage is best for boats with a draft of 5 feet or less. The winds on the Pamlico and on Cedar Creek can lower the water levels by 2 feet or more depending on how long they have been blowing and from what direction. By 3:00 pm the anchor was down and Beach House was settled for the evening. The winds had dropped the water levels to 5.5 feet, still plenty of depth for us. Usually we find 6 feet or better in Jonaquin.

The next morning we slept in a little and didn't get under way until about 9:00 am. Our next stop was Beaufort, NC so we only had about 30 miles to travel. Claiborne Young had asked us to do a report on the depths for Russell Slough and also on the Beaufort Docks. By 10:50 am, we were off the Intracoastal Waterway and down Russell Slough at green marker "RS." This is a more direct route into Beaufort if coming from the north. There is a drawbridge in Gallants Channel that we would have to wait for, but it was still less time and distance than going around Radio Island. While we waited for the bridge, we took the time to sound the anchorage in Town Creek. The depths along Russell Slough and Gallants Channel were more than adequate, the shallowest spot was 9 feet at the turn into Gallants Channel from Russell Slough. Shortly after passing through the drawbridge, a left turn took us to the marina and by 11:40 am, Beach House was tied to the dock.

We had made a reservation and when we called on the VHF we were told where we should dock. There were two dockhands to meet us and assist in docking in the strong current that runs through the marina. As we approached the slip, one of the dockhands helped by grabbing one of our docklines. The second dockhand was staring off into the channel watching another boat go by and totally ignoring us. As the current grabbed the boat, we began to twist in the slip and the bow of the boat hit one of the power posts. As Susan tried to fend us off, the second dockhand turned around and decided to help. Neither were very friendly and we felt like we were disrupting their day. No apologies or anything for allowing the boat to hit the dock. Once we were half secure, we were told to go to the office and check in. No help with power cords, they just abruptly left. Neal in the office was very pleasant and friendly to deal with. We asked about any discounts for dockage and were told that since the marina has everything to offer, they don’t do discounts. The dockage fees are $1.95 per foot and $6.00 for one 30-amp service. This is pretty steep compared to what we have paid everywhere else. The “power posts” on the dock consist of a two-by-four nailed to the side of the dock with 30-amp and 50-amp outlets attached.

The floating docks on the T-heads are very narrow and if one is not careful, the docks will roll from side to side, making walking with groceries an interesting experience. It’s also a problem when the passing boats ignore the no-wake zone. The marina claims to have a laundry, but it doesn’t. The laundry is actually a private coin-operated laundry a few blocks away. It is not open on Sunday. The heads and showers are combined in one and are just okay, nothing fancy. The head stalls are very narrow and when you close the stall doors, there is not much room. The showers are painted and they were reasonably clean when we visited. The heads are at one end of the marina, so it can be a long walk if you’re on the opposite end. Trash cans are placed around the boardwalk but can be hard to find for disposing of larger trash bags. There is also lots of activity on the boardwalk and although there are signs on the dock saying for boaters only, there is nothing to keep anyone from walking on the dock. The marina does offer a courtesy car for use by boaters. There is a pump-out hose on each dock, but there is a $10.00 charge to pump out, even for slip renters. For the most part, we were very unimpressed and the marina really has nothing special going for it other than location. For the price, we would certainly not consider another stop here, perhaps one of the marinas in Morehead City might be a better choice.

One can anchor just across the channel from the marina and dinghy to the dinghy dock near the park past the north end of Beaufort Docks. Any number of great shops and restaurants are easily accessible right on the water. It's about a mile walk to the grocery store. For the budget conscious, anchoring here would probably be a better way to go and the great waterfront area is at your fingertips for free.

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1 comment:

  1. Amazing how kids are these days. And when the marina doesn't have the business any longer they will do one of two things. Blame the economy or wonder why they don't have the business. People just don't think about how word of mouth can effect you one way or the other until it's too late. As they say you can have 100 great reports all it takes is one bad and it makes people think twice about even giving a chance.


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