Oriental to Southport

Oriental To Southport via ICW


Oriental to Southport




Wednesday 29 November we move out of the Oriental inner harbour anchorage to the Deaton Marina dock to find the creek entry very shallow causing our depth sounder alarm, set to 7 feet, to go off several times. Without actually touching the bottom we tie up to Deaton's alongside Deaton's Wharf, connect to shore power and start the a/c on heating, ah much better for Sasha. In one of Deaton's sheds we find the generator in its opened crate, what a lovely white machine. Unfortunately the sound enclosure hasn’t arrived but Joe Wright from Alternative Power (generator supplier) promises it will arrive later today. Sure enough it arrives at 5pm and we test the sound enclosure base on the frame I had made. Perfect fit!!




On Thursday Sasha assembled the generator sound enclosure while I completed the bulkhead cut out to provide clearance to slide the enclosure in position and still have room to take panels off for generator maintenance. After seeing her to prepare all before putting the generator onto Ednbal:




Install water lift muffler, exhaust and through hull exhaust outlet,




Install water strainer with raw water teed off the main engine inlet (generator though hull to be fitted next time we come out of the water),




Install fuel filter, water separator, same as for the Yanmar main engine to minimise filter spares,




Add fuel return to one of the new tanks for the generator connection,




Fit small fuel inlet to the main fuel tank and install fuel transfer pump to enable transfer of fuel from either of the two new tanks to the main,




Install Phoenix 2500 watt inverter 120 amp battery charger,




Run all the cabling,




Cut out and fit the remote control panels.




As usual there are the one or two hic ups. First one occurred when running the control cable from the generator to the panel mounted adjacent to the navigation station. The cable from Northern Lights is 9 wires with cable ties about every foot and a huge, 1 1/2 inch (40mm) diameter moulded plug on each end. To fit through one of the bulk heads, with other cables, I had to enlarge the hole. Alas, in the process I cut part of the big radar cable. Attempts to repair were unsuccessful. Luckily it was the 5 metre radar extension cable and the local Raymarine agent had a spare in stock. An expensive $189 mistake.  The second hic up occurred while drilling holes to mount the generator. The drill went through the wooden bearer and into the water tank fill pipe that was hard up against it underneath.  Of course I had to drill exactly over the pipe. The real dumb part was I did not need to drill right through as I was using stainless coach screws (lag bolts) shorter than the base and bearer! A liberal application of silicone fixed it.




Our water maker had also arrived from Eco 2 Tech in Trinidad at Raleigh airport about 180 miles away and required customs clearance and pick up. We hired a car for a day, some tiny Chevy, I am sure the smallest they make to pick up the 167lb 50inch by 12 inch by 15 inch package. At 4:30am on Thursday 7 December we set out for Raleigh, picked up the papers, had them signed by customs, and took delivery. The only place the wooden crate would fit was the back seat so after putting the floor mats on the seat for protection, in it went. With the doors closed, both door handles were touching the ends of the box, a very close fit. Since we had to return the hire car to New Bern on the way back we decided that it might be best to unpack and remove the crate. Luckily I had my leatherman tool with me to undo the Philips head screws and open the crate. Now it all the sub packages fitted into the boot (trunk). Sasha read out aloud the installation and maintenance instructions on the way back. It seemed that if the water maker was to be mounted higher than 1 foot below the waterline, then an optional booster pump would be required. Neither of us saw such a thing when we had unpacked so we could see problems looming. Back at the boat when we unpacked all the subpackages there was the booster pump along with the optional additional 5 micron filter.




On Friday morning we planned to depart for Florida. Overnight it was 22°F, (-5°C) in Oriental and forecast to get colder. Even though we would have a cold trip we needed to get going as I had a flight booked from Melbourne Florida to Perth leaving in 10 days, 18 December, for a doctor’s appointment. At a little after 10am, with all three diesel tanks full, we were out into the Neuse River, it was 1.7°C and blowing a cold 20kn plus Northerly. During the day the highest temperature we had on board was 4.5°C!  A relatively uneventful day along the ICW, past Morehead City and on down to a small anchorage at Swansboro where we anchored in almost total dark at 5.30pm. It was cold! Both stove burners and oven were lite to warm up the saloon, a nice hot shower and before long we were reasonably comfortable. Sasha cooked Cuban shrimp and I made the sauce, substituting the rum (none left) with whisky. It was early to bed for a before dawn start.




Saturday morning was again cold with ice on the deck a -2°C. With almost no wind it was just bearable in the cockpit, under way at 6.30 just as it was getting light, for our 80 odd mile run to Southport ready to exit to the ocean from the Fear River. The ICW was not too shallow, for the most part over 10 feet. We went past a large drain pipe where the water had frozen in a little solid ice sort of waterfall. Gradually, as the sun came up the temperature climbed above freezing and by midday was a comfortable 8°C!  At one point a tug pushing a big barge went past so to give room I moved over to the starboard side of the channel. After it passed I headed back to the middle but suddenly saw the bottom coming up on the echo sounder, 9 then 8 then 7 as I slowed down it went to 6 and 5 then we were on the bottom with a healthy current behind us and the green channel marker off our port bow. According to the chart and GPS I was right on course. After a few frustrating minutes I manager to back Ednbal off the muddy bank and back track to deeper water but where to go from there?  We decided to go closed to the green marker and found it to be over 10 feet deep!








A little earlier I made mentions of the radar cable broken and replaced, well there is a little more to the story. When we put in the new cable the radar still did not work. It gave an error message to indicate that the scanner was not connected. I checked the connection where the extension connects to the scanner cable and found I had not pushed and locked it in properly. Now no error message but still no radar image. Sasha was not at all impressed with having to travel 3 nights on the ocean without radar that we had come to rely on. After listening to weather forecasts and viewing ones downloaded from the net we had decided not to stay the night at Southport but continue out to the ocean and continue. So, while Sasha was napping in preparation, I again checked radar cable connections. I undid the connection on the back of the display and did it back up again. Hey presto away went the radar, just like a new one. After Sasha awoke I nonchalantly turned on the radar, what happy little vegemite she was!  Next it was my turn to sleep as Sasha took Ednbal down the Fear River shipping channel , past Bald Head Island and out into Long Bay for the first leg of the 390 mile ocean trip to Port Canaveral Florida. We had decided on the early start to avoid strong Southerlies forecast for Wednesday as we would have been approaching Canaveral from the North.








Unfortunately now there was no wind at all so we continued to motor on a cool, 8°C, clear night. After dinner of Sasha's Satay prawns I was outside admiring the dead calm evening when there was a large splash next to the boat only a couple of feet away. At first I thought I was imagining things but there it was again, we had dolphin company.








Soon the moon was up shedding its glow on an almost cloudless night.