Friday, November 5, 2010

Hurry Up and Wait

We left Swansboro this morning and even though it's a beautiful sunny day, we're not going to get very far.  That's because we're back to dealing with bridges and a lack of anywhere to anchor or dock once nightfall approaches.  We'd love to get into Wrightsville Beach today and maybe we would have if we'd have gotten out of our slip before 7 AM.  But it was dark and it's too easy to keep on sleeping...

By the way, if you ever want to be thoroughly entertained;  find your nearest drawbridge, make some popcorn,  pull up a chair, and be prepared to enjoy yourself.

Why the big rush to get to a drawbridge that you know won't open for another 15 minutes to half hour, or even an hour (we once missed an hourly bridge by 5 minutes)?  Is it a need to be the first in line? Is there a prize waiting for the 'winner'?  All I know is that after being passed by lots of boats (the Knotty Cat likes to take her time or maybe all those cases of beer she's hauling really do weigh her down) we all eventually end up in one big snarled mess in front of a bridge. Today was a classic.  Two small sailboats who were obviously traveling together and refused to be separated were sucked right up to a swing bridge.  Some bigger motor boats also crowded in and even though we hung back the next thing we knew, the bigger boats were revving up in reverse and the little sail boats were bobbing around like ninnies and one nearly ran into the bridge support. The bridge operator kept trying to hail the out of control sailboat and tell it to please start through as soon as the bridge swung open (in the opposite direction thank God) but they never answered. Then the chatter started, "Doesn't he have a radio?",  "I know he has a radio." "Why is he sitting there? Does he want us to go first?"

I got out my trusty binoculars and saw that the captain and his 'woman' were standing in the cockpit and apparently weren't taking calls.  Just when it seemed like the big boats were going to charge through, the two little sailboats got into the act and like two little old jaywalking women, crippled their way through the opening.

Hans calls this Dancing with the Stars.

As of 3:00 we are now waiting at another bridge that opens on the hour and the sad thing is, we could have been here at 2:00. But clear back at Swansboro we had 2-3 knot winds working against us and were only doing 4 knots while motoring at 6.  When we realized we wouldn't make the bridge we dropped to one engine and slowed down. Of course the current changed completely and started pushing us like crazy and when we were two miles away from it, the bridge opened.  We ended up waiting 45 minutes. 

In the end it doesn't really matter because were going to dock at Harbor Village Marina as there are no more docks until Wrightsville, and I don't see any good anchorage areas.  Wrightsville is over 20 miles away with yet one more hourly bridge (they all stop opening at 7 PM) and with the current acting like a woman who can't make up her mind I don't want to get stuck in the middle.

In addition to all that, our GPS is still giving us fits and takes a nap (we call it a union break) every day. Fritz (as we've named him) usually wakes up just as we're anchoring or docking and acts like nothing is wrong what so ever.

Won't Fritz be surprised to find that his replacement is awaiting us in Charleston, SC? 

No one sleeps on watch!


Cyndi said...

Wow, I had no idea that some of the drawbridges only opened hourly. That would be quite a sight seeing all the boats lined up waiting to go through. In addition to my chair and popcorn, I think I'd have to be like you and have a pair of binoculars...could probably see some pretty interesting things on some of those boats.... or NOT!

Hope you get safely docked for the evening. Oh, and have your checked in on your handsome boy yet? I'm sure he's doing fine, but I bet you and Hans miss him like crazy!



Ken n Cheryl said... funny! Enjoy your evening!

laura said...

Cyndi, it really is quite a sight to see everyone drifting, turning, and jockeying for position. It's almost like they think the bridge is going to close on them before they can get through.
And I've been told Wilbur is doing fine. He gets to play 5 hours a day and has apparently forgotten he has a mommy who misses him.

Cheryl, Fritz has been a huge pain!