10/22/2009, Broad Creek, NC
October 18th, 2009 Alligator River to Broad Creek, NC
10/22/2009, Alligator River, NC
The wind continued to howl all night from the NW. The alarm didn't go off so we weighed anchor closer to 8 than 7am. It was cold. Our new wind gauge has a wind chill calculator and it didn't hit 40 degrees all day. Some of you know that I don't believe in wind chill, but I must say that living outdoors day after day in damp, cold windy conditions begins to make a case.
We motored through the Alligator Pungo Canal, hoisting the staysail a couple of times to take advantage of the few open areas where some wind was present. Mostly we motored. After 20 miles we hit the Pungo River and were able to sail along nicely. Kathy and I had discussed stopping a Belhaven for a day to get off the boat and walk to the store, but it was too miserable to go anywhere out of doors.
Turning the corner we checked the time and decided to cross the Pamlico and continue south for a while. The winds were at 20 but mostly behind us so the trip across relatively open water wasn't too bad. Coming out of the Pamlico and into Goose Creek we met a shrimper. We were under sail maneuvering through a narrow spot when we decided that a game of chicken was in order. As I moved to the starboard... out of the channel he aimed right at us and matched every move I made. Finally, he backed off when we were about 50 feet away and I had no more room.
We were aiming for Bear Creek just out of the canal and into the bay river, but when we arrived there it was still daylight so we motored out into the Neuse for a couple of hours, finally turning into Broad Creek for the night. The Neuse was rough and winds were at 25 to 30kts with higher gusts. At times the wind was blowing spray off the breaking waves. On bare poles and with the engine idling we ran at 8 knots for an hour before making our way into Broad Creek to get out of the wind.
The engine keeps our cabin reasonably warm, but we like to cook in the oven when it's this cold. I tossed in a sweet potato and later some ham which we had with the last of the broccoli. It made a very nice dinner after a long cold day.
October 17th, 2009 Goat Island to the Alligator River.
10/22/2009, Goat Island, NC
Daylight brought a cold mist and some fog rising off the river. We put on all the clothes we have aboard to face the 45 degree temps. In an hour we passed through the Elizabeth City Bridge and headed out Pasquotank River. The wind was mostly behind us for the two hour run out to the Albemarle Sound which is notorious for rough water. We raised a sail for stability and motor sailed across without incident. Winds were about 15 from the northwest and although we rolled some, we have definitely made this passage in more disagreeable conditions.
As we approached the Alligator River we doused the sail to maneuver through the maze of day marks at its mouth. The shifting shoals here are really not that difficult if you just use the navigational aids and forget about your GPS. I used the GPS to find Green "3" and never looked at it again until we got to the bridge.
Once past the bridge we got our sails back up and had a wonderful sail down the Alligator listening to the MSU/Northwestern game.
Reaching the bottom of the Alligator at around 4:00 pm we moved north of the channel and anchored for the night in what has to be one of the most desolate places in the US. We are in the middle of a 50-mile square where there is nothing but scrub, ponds and lakes.
I wilted some fresh spinach (that wasn't going to be fresh much longer) in olive oil and garlic and made some beef and noodles for a nice dinner. We watched the movie "Once" which was great, and I went to bed listing to the wind howl. Kathy stayed up a watched a couple more episodes of "24. At one point the wind was so loud that I got up and set the anchor drag alarm on the GPS. It makes for easier sleeping.
October 16th, 2009 Deep Creek, VA to Goat Island, NC
We only went about 28 miles today but it seemed to take forever. It was a cold dreary day... perfect for transiting the Dismal Swamp. Everyone on the dock walked up to Robert's office, (read newly re-roofed and re-sided hut... with a conch garden and banana tree in front) for coffee and donuts. There were no boats locking through. So we wasted some time and around 9am left the dock. All four of us were ready Robert opened the Lift Bridge and we were on our way.
It was an uneventful trip. We hit things with our prop a couple of times bout nothing too hard. We slowed to a crawl for the last four miles and were locked through South Mills by 2pm. It is an hour and a half to Goat Island from there and we were anchored by 3:30.
The weather calls for 15 to 20 in the Albermarle Sound tomorrow, which may be a little dicey. I think we've been there in worse, so we'll just give it a go and turn around if necessary.