Thursday, June 23, 2016

Northbound Again

We finally left Dowry Creek Marina.  The plan was to leave last Saturday, but as is often the case, weather got in the way.  Gale warnings delayed our departure for a day.  On Sunday the winds calmed down and we were able to head out. Since that time we have been on the go until now, so I'll try to catch back up.

After leaving the dock we  were in the Pungo river for a short trip to the first of many canals that make up the remaining stretches of the ICW (Mile 0 is technically in the Portsmouth/Norfolk area) that we will use to get to the Chesapeake bay. As seems to be the case a lot when we are on the ICW, the wind was pretty much on our nose, so even when we weren't in a narrow ditch, there wasn't much option if we wanted to make any progress.  We motored from the Pungo, through the Pungo-Alligator canal, and into the Alligator river.

There isn't really a lot to say about this leg of the trip other than I have done it several times now and it is getting to be pretty routine.  The only interesting thing that happened is that I discovered that my wife is apparently the Dragonfly Whisperer.  Most pirates have parrots perched on their shoulder, but my wife had this dragonfly that landed and stayed on her shoulder for somewhere between 15 and 30 minutes.  She would walk around the boat and it would just sit there.

Is a dragonfly on your shoulder as good as a parrot?

Sunday evening was spent anchored out in Alligator Creek, just north of the Alligator River marina. Like many stops, we found this one based on the reviews on Active Captain.  It was a nice anchorage with little traffic other than one trawler that joined us about 15 minutes after we arrived.

The next day was a bit shorter trip. We crossed the Albemarle Sound and made our way up to Elizabeth City.  Yes, we are taking the Dismal Swamp route north.  After all of the high engine-power boats with seemingly low brain power captains that have been less than courteous when passing on this trip, the idea of a speed controlled option where those boats just don't go held a strong appeal. Crossing the Albemarle this time was a bit like sailing through a minefield...or at least Florida bay. Crab pots were everywhere, and it didn't seem to matter that we were right on the magenta line that denotes the ICW route.  On top of it all, many of the crab pot floats were dark colors and very difficult to see in the rolling water.  I guess if I were a crabber I would want my floats to be well seen and would avoid known traffic paths so my equipment wouldn't be lost when it became tangled up with a boat...but I guess that is just me.  As a boater, I'm wondering if line cutters on the prop shaft wouldn't be a good idea after all .(I don't really like the idea...but I like it better than the idea of a disabled engine with a possible bent prop from a line from one of these camouflaged floats).

Saw this on the Pasquotank River...thought it looked kind of
like a Blimp hangar...and it was.

We are staying at a free dock behind the Mid Atlantic Christian University.  They aren't really setup for a boat our size and we are tied to a piling on their dock, a tree, and some eye bolts in the sea wall. I've heard they have plans to build a proper face dock for larger boats in the future, but on calmer days their sea wall does work and the price is right at free. They also have guest internet, water, and we were even able to use their gym showers.

Tying to the sea wall at MACU in Elizabeth City.

Elizabeth City is trying to be very welcoming of cruisers.  With free dockage at several locations, some decent restaurants near the waterfront (we ate at Caribbean Breeze and it was pretty good), and friendly folks, I think they are living up to the goal.

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