In preparation for our trip to Cape Lookout, I reviewed the chart, looked up all the Local Notice to Mariners (these are published by the Coast Guard each week with items that boaters need to be aware of, such as bridge construction, waterway closures, etc.), and made sure we would fit under all of the bridges along our route. We would go under two bridges on our way to Cape Lookout: an unnamed “fixed bridge” and a second bridge, on the chart called “Bascule Bridges”. Both bridges show clearance of 65 feet (we’re 54 feet so no problem).
When we get to “Bascule Bridges”, we are alarmed to see that it is so low. There is no way that we are going to fit under this bridge. As we get closer to the bridge, we see that it might be a drawbridge. So, we hail the bridge on Channel 13:
Me: “Bascule Bridges, Bascule Bridges, Bascule Bridges, this is Free Range, over”
Bridge: “This is the bridge”
Me: “Ummm….can you open for us, over?”
Bridge: “We open at 1400 hours”
Me: “Thank you / over” (Stephane tells me I don’t have to say “over” every time I speak on the VHF).
Okay, so the bridge opens at two o’clock, no big deal (it’s 1:50).
After we get to Cape Lookout and safely anchored, I am kind of upset that after all of my careful planning, I did not know that the Bascule Bridges was a drawbridge.
Hmmmmm. Should have paid more attention to my reading:
“Bascule bridge” is the generic name for a drawbridge. It is NOT the name of the drawbridge that we encountered on our trip to Cape Lookout and you just know the bridge operators at that bridge were cracking up at the rookies.