The Duchess Speaks About Cape Fear River NC

Posted on Posted in Uncategorized
Thursday, April 27, 2017

Hi Everyone,

Well, that was a rather exiting experience! It is 3:30 pm and we just turned north at Carolina Beach, North Carolina. It never felt so safe to be in the ‘ditch’ again.

We just spent the last three hours fighting our way up the Cape Fear River. It was still ebbing for two hours, so we had a very strong current against us. The motor was labouring at 6.8 knots, which we hardly ever ask it to do, but our speed over the ground was a scant 1.8 knots. My God, I thought, at that rate it will be dark by the time we leave the river at Carolina Beach. And our motor had been overheating recently, so I wasn’t happy at all to think it might quit on us while we are in a swift current that would carry us out into the ocean.

Cape Fear River is aptly named. It has depths between 2 and 40 feet, scattered throughout. I was really worried and wanted to make sure that Elmar would stay in deep water. We can’t chance running aground with a 3-4 knot current pushing us into the shallows or out into the ocean or into traffic. So I proceeded to drive him nuts; to the point where he was willing to throw me overboard.

My problem was the chart with so many different buoyage systems going up, down and across the river, the ICW, the harbour, the individual channels and on top of that, the chart being totally outdated.  After sending Elmar this way and that, no, not that channel, take this one; no, that buoy is not on my chart, etc. etc, he didn’t know what to believe anymore and just followed the other two sailboats that were leaving us behind fast.

That river looks like the ocean, you can hardly see the other bank, yet it could be 20 or 2 feet at any point. Three times I was convinced we were in the wrong channel, but that was because the numbering system had been changed. I was never so glad to leave a river behind than today.

I am sitting at the navigation table, a stiff drink beside me, even though I am supposed to abstain this week and I had been a good girl so far, and I can leave Elmar alone all the way to Wrightsville, three hours from now. It is a straight, narrow piece of water with no chance of getting lost. No chance of anchoring either, till Wrightsville. It will give him time to simmer down and I can put my thoughts to paper while they are still fresh.



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