Beaufort, NC to the Great Bridge and Lock, VA

27 May

I have a little catching up to do… we had some busy days heading north and spent quite a few at anchor. Once in VA, the heat hit again and I wilted so blogging got neglected… here’s a bit of a catch up:

May 24
Up and off at 0730.  From Beaufort we headed up Newport River to Adam’s Creek Cut where we got a nice little current boost. Exiting the Cut to Neuse River we came across a huge double barge carrying phosphate so manoeuvred around him. The wind was building and we began to experience wind driven current (instead of tidal). We decided to stop at  Oriental, which we were both curious to see. In search of secure wifi we ended up at Town Hall and they let me onto their own secure Internet – how accommodating and nice is that! Oriental has a nice feel to it and indeed is well populated by many retired sailors amongst their population of 2000.

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May 25
Coffee at the Bean where all the locals and sailors hangout then head out at 0730. Once we got outside, it was a bit knarly. These Sounds and large bodies of shallow water are not to be taken lightly and that includes the Neuse River. It is advisable to wait for amenable weather. However the forecast was not quite accurate this day, we were out there and so we bashed through it making just 10 nm in the first 3 hours – cold windy and a bit rough. It seems so crazy – you look across this huge open expanse but you can only take one route along a charted channel and huge barges want to share that channel with you! The ICW is fascinating. We had a brief reprieve through the Neuse-Pamlico Cut and then we were out in Neuse River which was open again. Winds were 15-20 gusting to 25 and then some. As we got a bit in the lee of land further north, things settled and we decided to  skip Belhaven and go to Upper Dowry Creek. There is a nice marina there and they are known to be friendly to those anchoring. There was a ketch aground waiting for SeaTow so we opted for a berth and hose to de-salt. We met other yachties at their happy hour, then a meal and to bed, wiped from the wind whipped fresh air.

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May 26
Up, shower and off by 0730. We were by the entry to the Alligator River- Pongo River Cut which was 21.2 miles straight as an arrow. Some traffic but no barges today. Lucky as we were the height of fashion – me with boots and shorts and David with his Lawrence if Arabia hat (that really does give good sun protection for ears). Once in to Alligator River, we had a bridge opening and when we radioed, she said I will try but am waiting for a mechanic and there may be a delay. When we got closer, she said “let’s see what we can get this old thing to do” – and voila she got it open for us (phew!) shortly after we turned into East and South Lake anchorage but the charted depths of 8 were barely over 6 so we shoved a little mud around and then retreated to the entry for a little deeper water. It was a rather unprotected spot but winds are forecast to go light and back from north to west to south by midnight. A beautiful sunny lazy evening.

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May 27
We were the first to haul anchor and putted out with a cloud of Mosquitos in tow. They don’t seem to bite but we chased them with the fly swatter anyway. We were also joined by a few little critters we call “helmet bugs” that we flick overboard. We crossed the Albemarle Sound and she was oh so sweet to us – a lovely breeze, light chop and jib up. We crossed in jig time and then up North River to an anchorage just north of Buck Island. Three other boats joined us but they anchored pretty much on the edge of the ICW, not where we nested in a tiny pocket of 7 ft in the lee. It was only 1150, so we had lunch, David napped, I varnished the combing (yes I know I need therapy) and we cleaned and puttered and relaxed. It was a beautiful sunset.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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