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  • Writer's pictureDeanna Sansbury

Coinjock to Moorehead City, NC

Updated: Feb 21, 2019

Ah… it’s good to have Internet connection again.

We made it to Coinjock the other day.  Tuesday night, I think.  It’s hard to keep track of what day it is now that we’re not on a schedule. We keep looking at our phones to remind us of the date which is pretty pointless since we really don’t have any place we need to be. I think knowing what the date is helps us keep our sanity while navigating down these boring long stretches of the ICW.  Constantly following that damn magenta line. No chance for auto-pilot here. Ugh.

Along our stretch from Norfolk to Coinjock, we navigated through twelve bridges and a lock, which helped to keep things interesting for a while.  A few had a fixed height of 65′, which compared to our 63′ mast didn’t give us a whole lot of clearance room.  We didn’t hit any, so I guess that makes us good sailors.  The lock was pretty neat. All of the boats filed in and tied to either side as they closed the gates and raised the water by a foot and a half before opening us up to the other side.  It was all over before we knew it and we were on our way down the next stretch of narrow canal. When we did this on our trip north up the ICW after buying the boat in NC, we dreamed of the day we'd be doing it the opposite way, headed south, it it was pretty cool that moment was actually happening :)

There’s definitely way more traffic on the intercostal this trip. We were playing leap frog with four other sailboats, two trawlers and a tug pushing a barge for a good stretch. Most of the time we were just motoring since the man made canals connecting the rivers/sounds are so narrow and block the wind.

BTW - it was starting to heat up with no wind and lots of sunshine, so that's why you see me slowly shedding layers. We cannot wait to get to warmer weather! Also - look at that shine on our dome!! Those long hours and sore muscles buffing and waxing the hull were sooooo worth it!

I wonder if these birds were part of the "Great Migration" south?

When we did get into a place we could sail, Matt was in his glory, tweaking the sails to try and squeeze every ounce of wind he could. Not sure who he was racing, but he was really into it. Guess it’s his way of keeping his sanity. He even tried out a new line configuration to help shape the sail called a barbor haul, something he learned from his old boss, Chris.  Exciting times, aboard Foxfire the past few days, that’s for sure.

I kept my sanity by cleaning and attempting to do some yoga/pilates.  For the record, it’s way harder to do on a moving boat. Talk about using your core muscles! I read about cruisers getting those TRX straps and using them to work out too. Definitely something good to do to pass the time. We'll be buff in no time if this keeps up!

At one point just before Coinjock, we were being chased by a swarm of wasps. We have no clue where the hell they came from, but there were about a dozen of them at one point, creeping up on us from behind. Matt broke out the hose and fired at them while I took the helm and tried not to run aground in the narrow, shallow canal. Then just as quickly they appeared, they left, and we were wondering what the hell that was all about. No one was stung, but it sure got anxious there for a while. Bizarre. We're down a whole can of wasp spray and probabaly 50 gallons of fresh water, but we made it out alive :)

Anyway, loved the marina we stayed at in Coinjack, aptly named Coinjock Marina. Had a nice dinner, took a hot shower with unlimited water, and hung out with the locals, which was a really nice break from all of the cruising talk we've been doing for the past week. They were telling us how they catch dozens of bushels of blue crabs and send them north to meet the demand of us Marylanders, which was cool. We all about died when they told us how much they wholesale a bushel for versus how much we pay in retail. I think we may have helped them with a new business plan throughout the night :)

While we were stopped, we wanted to run into town for some fresh produce to supplement our mostly canned and boxed diets. The owner of the marina let us borrow his supped up 4×4 to make a grocery store run for some fresh produce. I thought it looked HUGE until we parked in the grocery store lot amongst all of the other jacked up pick up trucks. That’s Southern hospitality at its finest, y’all.

Made it into the tail of the Alligator River just after sunset, and what an amazing sunset it was! The whole sky was lit up like one gigantic fireball. Can’t wait to see more of those on this trip.  Dropped anchor in a small cove, cooked some soup for dinner and crashed by 8:30, exhausted from the long day.

Woke up a few hours later to howling wind and torrential rain. Uh…. wasn’t expecting this at all. We laid in bed listening to the lines clanking and feeling the boat straining against the anchor. I think both of our anxiety was thru the roof. We're so used to being tied to a secure dock, that the thought of our boat having a very real chance of breaking free and floating away is really, seriously freaking ME out. Throughout the checked the GPS about a dozen times to make sure we were still secure before returning to bed praying that we wouldn’t drag anchor. If we were going to drag, this was definitely the night it would happen. We woke up in the morning relieved to see we were still in the same spot, and seriously relieved.  Our GPS shows all of the marks Matt did thru the night…. Looks like a Ring of Fire. The wind was coming at us from every direction, spinning us in a near perfect circle all night. Crazy. I have so much more faith in our anchor now.

We made it to Moorehead City, where we’ll be at a marina for the next few days waiting out a storm that’s supposed to bring 30mph winds, with gusts up to 40mph.  Coming into Moorehead City a strange thing occurred - we were in the ICW and the reading on the depth reader went from about 10' to 2.5' in a matter of seconds and stayed there for a solid minute. Our draft is all of 4.5' (we're liveaboards with ALOT of stuff onboard), so I was freaking out and bracing myself for an impact of some sort. And just as quickly as it happened, it went away. I can't for the life of me figure out what it was! Matt was down below using the head the whole time, so he didn't witness any of this and thought I was crazy! Man, I was really looking forward to the pit stop in Moorehead City!

So far we’ve covered about 320 nautical miles in eleven days.  The last few of which has been navigating the ICW with pretty much all motoring and no sailing. And a lot of concentrating trying to avoid traffic and stay somewhat in the dredged center section. The next move will be to head offshore once the seas calm down and make our way to Charleston, another 220 miles over a three day trip. We're both really excited to head offshore and get to sailing again, maybe catch a fish or two, and leave the congestion of the ICW behind us.

Man, it’s been a long few days.  Right now we’re headed out for a beer and a burger, both of which are most definitely deserved.  Happy Halloween, y’all!

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