I've definitely noticed a trend on this migration south. We are all alone. In marinas, at anchorages, there are really no other cruisers out here. Last time south, we traveled in a pack, lots of us grouped together each day, headed towards warmth. The anchorages were full, as we all jockeyed for our little piece of bottom grabbing.
We are very late this year and it shows. We see a few crabbers and small fishing skiffs out doing what they do, but outside of one or two big power cruisers headed fast towards the sun, we are really bringing up the rear this time around. So as we head south, we are turning out all the lights. We are the last ones in the ICW.
We made it to Southport Marina today around noon. Our batteries are overcharging, and Al has it isolated (we hope) to the internal regulator on the alternator. I figured it would be a lot easier on him to change to our spare alternator in a marina, plus if it turns out we are wrong, we can get parts since we are in town. He changed it out and says it is working fine so far. Here's hoping!
We must be invisible. I say that because the other day we had the kite boarding guy zig-zagging in our path like we weren't there and today it was fishermen. Now here we were, headed down a distinct channel, shallow water to each side. A small john boat type skiff can be seen ahead, far in the distance, barreling towards us. No problem, there is plenty of room to pass us on each side in a small boat like that.
But wait, the guy pulls short a few hundred yards in front of us and his partner tosses out a bouy. They proceed across the channel in front of us (one side of the channel to the other) laying a freaking fishing net! What the Heck?? Then they proceed to signal us that they have a net in the water. Oh yeah, get it deep buddy, 'cause I'm about to go right over your several hundred dollar investment. No way I'm running out of the channel, or coming to a dead stop because you were too lazy or stupid to go 100 yards further and lay it behind me. It's not like there another boat out here for 50 miles. So over it we go, with them mouthing off at me like there's no tomorrow. I play as deaf as they played at being blind.
I told Al: next time we pull the boat, I am installing one of those line cutter thingies. Nets under the boat, crab pots in the channel, with the line cutter, they will all be fair game.