11/09/2011, Oriental NC
We have been having soooo much fun it has been hard to stop to write this blog!!
We had a fantastic stay in Elizabeth City and left with a good weather forecast from NOAA for Sunday with a North -NE wind 5-10 with seas 1-2'.. We wanted a good North wind and flat seas to cross the Albemarle Sound. The sound is about 15-20 miles across but shallow 10 feet or so. If the wind picks up the sea becomes a steep difficult choppy mess. Well NOAA was wrong as usual and we had 20-25 knots from the north and 2-3 foot waves -vey closely spaced together not the smooth sea rollers.. It was a bumpy ride!
WE got across in about 3 hours and entered the Alligator river (it got its name from -yep the gators that used to eat the cows crossing!! The gators have all moved south I thing they are the Florida Gators now (grin) !
After the long run across the sound and the river we anchored at the bottom of the river head in a most delightful quiet bite in the river with about a half dozen other folks that made the same passage. Full moon and bright stars--and a good night's sleep were our reward to the days 'work'!
On Monday we moved on at dawn and sailed down to a place we have visited before and had great expectations of the River Forest Manor. We arrived early (1:30 pm) and took a dock. We then immediately went ashore to make our dinner reservations for their world famous buffet.
The last time we were here 20+ years ago this was a beautiful mansion -today it is a haunted house!@!! It is not only closed but has fallen into disrepair--it is a shamble! We were very disappointed of not being able to swing in the hammocks, lounge in the hot tubs and feast on the buffet!!
We fueled up -and left !!!
We were told to try the Dowry Creek marina early in the week so that's where we went.. What a delightful spot! Happy hour 4-6, nice showers, all the amenities. It was everything a Southern Marina should be. We were disappointed however in the shocking changes to River Forest in the past 20 some years==things do change with time -but let's not get too philosophical -after all I am retired now!!
On Tuesday we shipped out and did a short trip in Pamlico and the Neuse Rivers to Oriental N.C. Here we are at the $1.00 foot dock in Oriental.
Next posting will fill you in on that.
11/05/2011, Elizabeth City, NC
Well, Jim is finally up and about!! What an incredible city this is! It is known as the "Harbor of Hospitality"...and it has lived up to its' reputation! The docks are FREE; there is a welcome party w/wine, soft drinks, cheese, crackers, etc FREE; every woman gets a "welcome rose" FREE; the local grocery store sends a van to and from the docks FREE; the museum of the history of this area is beautiful and...yup...you guessed it...FREE!! We went to an Artists' Gallery Stroll last night w/displays of photos, paintings and pottery (the town has a history of pottery making) and were served yummies...yup...you guessed it...FREE! However, don't be lead astray, I purchased a beautiful pottery bowl which was a tad bit pricey $$$$$.
We have met wonderful cruisers along the way, and we 8-of us went out to breakfast this morning. Lots of fun...and I think some long term relationships! We are going tonight to join another boat to learn "dominos"...apparently a real cruising game where each time you re-connect you pick up where you left off...and LOTS of cruisers are playing in the same game. Haven't figured it out yet, but more to come tonight...
Weather is as Jim described...winds last night up to 65knts!!!! boat rocking and rolling even at the dock...cold winds!! Hope to be underway tomorrow, cross Albemarle Sound...and have been told the other side begans a "southern" climate as we will be past the latitude of Cape Hatteras! Stay tuned....
11/05/2011, Elizibeth City, N.C
Just a quick update. We are in Elizabeth City NC. Jims cold almost became a pneumonia but fortunately he got o a doctor and got some medications. Antibiotics and cough suppressants. He is feeling half human again.. (guess thats about normal ?!)
The weather that has been moving with us down the coast is still driving us crazy. The last few days -30 60 knot winds from the North East (cold and rain). At least were at a dock and Dede can go ashore while Jim sleeps it off. We'll post photos later and tell you about the next hurdle of Abemarle Sound.
We have always said it is the journey not the destination that counts --so far the journey has been --let me say 'interesting'--- highgest tides and flood ever recorded in three of our ports of call and now record non storm winds in Elizibeth City and Albmarle Sound!!
11/02/2011, Dismal Sound
Here we are docked after a day's run down the 'ditch' from Norfolk VA. It started at the break of dawn, as we left Portsmouth, to catch the bridge openings and locks. We encountered hazardous but beautiful "sea smoke" again. Hazardous because local marshes can't be seen on radar so Dede had to go on the deck and guide the Capt and boat thru the 1st few markers. Once the sea smoke broke up, we were surprised at the beauty of the ICW. Offically, the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) runs from the Annisquam River in MA, north of Boston, all the way down the East Coast and across the Gulf Coast to Brownsville, Texas. Most people refer to the ICW as the "ditch" from Norfolk to Miami. The section from Norfolk to Albemarle Sound was dug during the Revolutionary War by Geo Washington...it is the oldest continuing locked waterway in America (locks on both ends). This area is affectionally called the "Dismal Swamp." As you can tell from one of our many pics, it is anything but dismal!!!! It is beautiful!! We made it to the "Visitor Center" in the swamp. Jim and I enjoyed a late afternoon trail thru the woods, around the swamp...usual wildlife encountered includes snakes, fox and the brown bears!! We will leave in early am...to catch the next (last) bridge opening and lock in the swamp...to head to Elizabeth City. I am learning sooo much on this adventure...among other things, "red, right, return" is no longer the navigational protocol to use!!! (Fr Bob...aren't you proud of me????)....Stay tuned...
11/01/2011, Portsmouth, VA
We laid over at the town pier in Portsmouth, VA, for the day. Weather predictions precluded us from traveling thru the "Great Dismal Swamp;" however, our day here was well worth the time (we seem to be experiencing that everywhere we go...I had no idea the "world" had soooo much to see and do!!). We spent the day in Historic Downtown Portsmouth...which has been revived w/brick walks, lovely old homes and MANY churches (most dating back to the 1700's.) One of the churches had history which included segregating the "colored people"...as they were called...into the basement. 315 of these people left the Baptist Church, and founded one of the earliest African-American Zion churches, still in existance today! Jim got into Portsmouth Naval Museum w/history of Revelutionary War, War of 1812 and Civil War. We took the little, continuous ferry over to Norfolk, where we visited another Navy museum (Wisconsin Battleship). Of course, our day was not complete until Jim visited w/local Coasties!!!! Up early tomorrow am, under the bridge, thru the locks and into the infamous "Great Dismal Swamp." (PS: "Dismal" was a term used for Southern swamp...is NOT a reflection of it being dismal....). Stay tuned....
We are anchored -and it's pouring. Glad I got this shot before supper.