Cruising the NC Intracoastal

Captains log    Thursday June 5th.   Day 13I have Gung-Ho clients who were ready to shove off at 6:15am. It was nice to get an early start, we ended up with 95 miles in 11 hours, not bad. The big event of the day was when we pulled over to meet my new clients that just booked the last leg coming back last week from Boston to around New Bern, NC. That is where my new clients will board going back to Florida. They live on the Intracoastal at mile marker 87, how cool is that. They came out on the 18′ boat and got to see the Miami Mermaid, Wilma & my clients. At the same time they saved 49 cents postage, they hand delivered my confirmation letter and deposit. I saved $3.10 postage for hand delivering my book, “The ABC’s of Trawler Buying,” so we all made out except for the USPO.

Sea U
Captain Bob
PS If you would like to pass on by blogs and pictures to someone you know here is my link, you may want to save it.
Fair winds!

Camp LeJeune Highlight

Captain’s log      Day 12 June 3rd

Woke up at 3:30am, looked on my IPad at my Radar Scope app and the screen was full of green, yellow & red. That, my friends, that is not good. Tons of rain and nowhere to hide. Tropical storms in the region for the rest of that day.

It was raining so hard we had to wait for it to let up a little. 9:30 am we hoisted the anchor and made a run for it. I do have protection on the fly bridge so we were just fine. The highlight of the day is when we went by Camp LeJeune that is when the shit hit the fan, USMC helicopter’s (4) were right over our boat and had Jeeps hanging from them. They landed in the bushes,  left the jeeps, and away they went very cool. The biggest surprise was all the tanks and other heavy equipment that were laying right on the banks of the Intracoastal Waterway, all blown & shot up. They sent out military boats, shut down the waterway for 3 hours, and fired across the waterway at the tanks … there are all types of signs reading, “Keep off: live bombs on shore.” The way I see it, you won’t get arrested you’ll get a Big Bang and off to hell you go. All I can say is, wow.

With the late start we cruised 60 miles in 7 hours. When I went to sleep that night around 11:00, I heard all these helicopters over the Miami Mermaid and they were on night maneuvers. The point of the story is when we are sleeping at night we’re under the protection of our military armed forces, God Bless them all.

Sea U

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Day 11 Continued

We arrived at an anchorage late, at 8:15pm, as we could not anchor earlier. There was an unusual run of about 10 bridges covering a span of 25 miles in North Myrtle beach with no anchorage in between.

When we went to anchor the transmission would not go into forward or reverse. All I could think of was $8,000.00 new $3,500 used and lots of time for repairs. I went directly to the tranny and disconnected the cable and shifted it (nothing). There were a lot of crab traps where we anchored, so I thought a line was around my prop. After telling you I was not going into the water with the alligators, there I was, back in the water. The prop was clean. Consulting with my friend and marine mechanic, he was sure it was my damper plate inside my tranny. We have replaced 3 in ten years. They disassemble due to going into reverse and forward, and because I teach docking there is a lot of wear and tear. Called Boat US and got to Anchor Marina, where they work on Saturday. Pulled of the backend of the tranny, and sure enough, it was the damper plate. Lucky for me it cost $150.00 and 4 hrs labour $95.00 an hour. But need to order it Monday and over night it on Tuesday. In the mean time my clients were very patient, and because Carey is a Doctor he has lots of patients. Paula was right with him.

All in all they decided to rent a car and drive home 3 hours and return on Tuesday to continue on the trawler journey northbound. They were very nice when I met them and very cool and helpful under pressure. I know they’ll be back because they left a box of fine wines onboard, Ha Ha.

The part in question, there was no way to check it out no preventive maintenance could have warned me about this hidden and concealed part in my transmission. Welcome to boating! My clients got to learn a lot on how to go right into action on breakdowns. Always buy the best towing card $180.00 from Boat US so your covered up to 3,000 per tow, with unlimited tows per year.

Broken up damper plate. Please don't ask me how Pee Wee's head got in there.

Broken up damper plate. Please don’t ask me how Pee Wee’s head got in there.


We Almost Lost Captain Bob!

Day 11 Friday May 29th

When I wake up I always jump into the water and float on my noodle. About 50 yards in the swamp I heard a big splash.  It was an alligator! It jumped in and came my way underwater. I had no idea how fast they are. Well, the noodle flew from between my legs about 10 feet, and I never swam so fast in my life. I left the noodle- it was unlucky and I’m not going in the water until I hit up north with the sharks.

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Easy cruising, left at 11:00 and hit Myrtle Beach about 2:00. Filled the tank ($2.50 a gallon, what a deal) with one hundred gallons. Met my new clients, Paula and Dr. Carey, they are very cool. I’m sure we will have lots of laughs on the way to Boston, which will take about 12 to 15 days.

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We got right off the dock and cruising about 4 hours to an anchorage near Calabash, NC. My clients told me of one of the freshest seafood restaurants on the east coast, if we arrive early enough to we mighty dingy ashore and try it out.

Crossing from SC to NC

I woke up very, very groggy from the medicine I took the night before. Just a bad start, left anchor at 11:00. I was feeling better, but lost a half day. Everything was fine till about 2:00. I had to pull over and anchor took a 2 hour power nap. Heave ho, I was off cruising again.image2

The highlight of the trip was going through Charleston Harbor, seeing those old forts standing from the civil war, and buildings that were used for the arrival of the slaves. This was the major port used for that way back when. Made it into NC. Yahoo! Encountered my old friends, the horseflies there. Millions landed on the Bimini above me. I don’t know if they knew I was the serial fly killer, but without Captain Fred and I, back to back, fighting them off, I was a dead man (it was scary). They were staring at me and I was staring at them, we ended up making a deal. I would not kill them and they will leave me alone, a friendship was started. Not one of them touched me for hours. Now that their my buddies they will be coming to Boston with me.image1

Anchored in the swamps myself, in no mans land again. Nobody out there, so I kept my flare gun locked and loaded, just in case. I only saw 2 boats traveling on the Intracoastal.


I’m ready to take off its 8:00. Only did 6 hrs yesterday, 50 miles. I feel much better, no medicine last night and 10 hours of sleep.

Sea U tomorrow I hope my iPad is not charging, and that is not good. I’ll be lost without it.

My iPad is not charging, this will be a big blow to me. I use it for navigation also, if you don’t hear from me that is the reason.

Finally in North Carolina!

Captain’s log.      Day 12 Tuesday June 2nd

The damper plate $150.00 arrived over night, and at 9:30am the crew to install it (5) guys had it in in an hour. The cost for 4 nights and labor was… are you ready for this $305.00. Unbelievable- what a gift. I gave the boys a very good, and I mean good, cash tip but that was not it, they got Wilma’s twin sister. They are going shopping and buying her an outfit and posting her onto the haulout lift, they were a bunch of honest good guys.

My clients returned at 11:00 and we were off the dock at 12:00. They are at the helm. Now it is 2:10 and we finally crossed into NC. Thank God, I thought I was never getting out of SC.
I’m trying to get 60 miles 7 hours to Southport it is a sleepy town 20 miles from Wilmington NC.

I cruised 600 miles and have 1,100 more to go. Feels really good being on the water again.

Sea U
Captain Bob

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Parris Island Flashbacks & Singlehanding

Day 9.       Tuesday      5–26

Hilton Head was Captain Fred’s place to hop off and head back to FL. Now I’m on my own for the next 4 days until I pick up my new clients Paula & Carey on Friday night in Wrightsville Beach NC. I never did long range cruising alone before. I will take the advice and experience of Captain Fred’s 45 years of experience on both power and sail, and along with my trawler school training, I should be just fine.

One problem: I became sick with the flu, fever, whatever, last night and felt a little groggy. I never get sick and this is the worst time ever. I must be fully alert at the helm. I’m by myself, must concentrate.

Left at 9:30 anchored at 6:00 went by a place I’ll never forget, Parris Island, SC. Yes Sir, the Marines were out marching and I could hear the Mr. Drill Instructor yelling, “Hamilton, you knuckelhead, we didn’t promise you a rose garden!” I just increased my speed wide open until I was safe.

Went 7 hours, 65 miles no problem. I’m receiving a lot of navigating information with no one to turn to but myself. I’m anchored between Charleston SC and Beaufort SC.
I’m taking medicine and going right to sleep for about 12 hours see if I can shake this cold. Good Night!

Sea U
Captain Bob

One person on the beach with there dog pretty cool.

Parris Island USMC ARRORRA
Captain Robert Hamilton

Waxford Marina, Hilton Head, SC

Day 6             Saturday    5–23
Short day 7 hours 65 miles hit Hilton Head around 3:00. Captain Fred got us into exclusive Waxford Marina. You had to go thru its private lock that holds one boat at a time for $5.00. My dock was surrounded by an 18 hole golf course. Captain Fred’s friends live there. Got to clean and supply the boat, we will be here till Tuesday morning, then back on the water, heading to Boston. Someday I’ll be there. I feel like I’m on the Mayflower.
Been partying at some of the way down south bars meeting deep rooted southern folks, I wonder why we cannot understand each other?
Sea U Tuesday
Captain Bob

Fly Me to the Moon: Horse Flies!

Day 5 Friday 5–22
Bad Northeast winds 15 to 20 kts in the ocean, rough and not good. We decided to cruise the inside of the Intracoastal thru Georgia. It was exciting, and what a view- twisting and turning. You must be on your toes at all times, one mistake and you’re in no-mans land. 100 miles of swamp and marshes.

Just as we were getting tired, out of nowhere came the horse flies (HELP!). First there was a few, I was beating them off with a shoe. Then an army of them came. I got better at killing them, then another million of them surrounded us. We were on the fly bridge, back to back, armed with one shoe each, and the battle went on for hours. By the end of the day there were so many dead flys on the deck we needed to sweep them off the boat. We are now certified serial fly killers, the word out is don’t mess with the crew of the Miami Mermaid!

10 hours and 105 miles we are 50 miles from Hilton Head SC. My friend who came along to assist has been a great help and I learned a lot from him. Thank you, Captain Fred from Key Largo, I put him thru Captain’s school 15 years ago and he was my back up Captain on my charter school. All my clients loved him, he is a great teacher and friend. We have a huge party to attend in Hilton Head tonight. We will be pulling in there about 3:00 pm, we’ll stay a couple days to laundry, clean the boat, get supplies, change all the oil in the engine and generator- this is very important. And of course, relax. More info on the Hilton Head big party tomorrow.

Hit rough waters on the way, went through it in 1 hour.

Big Decisions

Leaving Cocoa Beach 7:00 am covering a whopping 115 mile range in 11 hours was fantastic. Going North from this point on, we left the big cities behind us and the Intracoastal was just beautiful, totally scenic, and it made our cruising very relaxing.
We anchored in Fernandina Beach on the border of Florida & Georgia at sundown. I read in one of my books that the Palace Saloon is the oldest bar in Florida (1918). We had to have a drink in there. The bar was old and very cool, wise decision. Tons of history there, the little town was like you went back in time, old train depot, busy seaport for cargo, two huge paper mill factories, lot of employment, commercial fishing fleets. The first settlers built strategic, profitable ports along the protected inland waterway.
Big decision: going out in the ocean for the 100 mile trip across Georgia tomorrow, or the Intracoastal Waterway. That route is like a snake, lots of twist and turns, and sand bars, heavy currents. It would be nice to bypass it, but only the weather will be the judge of that.
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Sea U
captain Bob
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