Hot and still
06/13/2008, Goat Island, NC
June 8th.. Elizabeth City to Goat Island
We spent most of the day on Sunday watching the races but when they were finished in the afternoon we shoved off for a short trip north and anchored on the back side of Goat Island. On the 8 mile trip we found lots and lots of folks playing in the river. Some were skiing and tubing while many groups were just floating in the water next to their boats.
Our anchorage was quiet and secluded and made for an easy trip in the morning up the South Mills lock for the 8:30 opening.
The air was still and the waters so calm that we got some great "reflection" photos of both boats. Nancy and I both spent some time swimming. The top 10 inches of the water was hot... quite a bit warmer than body temperature. Three feet down it was much cooler and felt good. I washed some oily soot from our water line but didn't do much damage to the brown ICW waterline.
06/13/2008, Elizabeth City, NC
June 6th... Little Alligator River to Elizabeth City.
Happy Birthday Annie!
The Albemarle Sound and Pasquotank River were both like glass today. It was foggy with visibility at about a mile and nothing in sight except crab pots. The 30 miles to Elizabeth were uneventful. The heat however was noteworthy. It was the hottest day that we have had in almost a year on the water. Arriving at Elizabeth City which has been known for years for their hospitality toward cruisers, we found that we were in the midst of the Carolina Cup Regatta.
After docking, the crews of Sapphire and Solitaire headed for the nearest air conditioning which was a restaurant adjacent to the wharf. It was so hot that we were exhausted after simply getting six lines on the boat. We had a late lunch and talked with some other cruisers spending as much time inside as we could.
The waterfront where we were staying held a carnival atmosphere... with food vendors, and parent organizations selling all kinds of things that we didn't need. We did all go for a walk to a market and purchased a few groceries. On the way back to the boats we found a seafood store and stocked up on shrimp and scallops. After a short deliberation that afternoon the decision was made to stay and watch the hydroplane races instead of moving north tomorrow.
June 7th... Elizabeth City
In the morning we walked over a block the see all the race boats lined up on the streets. The crews had erected tents over most of them and were getting everything tuned up for the days racing. There were at least four different classes and some vintage race boats from the 50's and 60's that were there to put on an exhibition.
The races started about noon and continued to about five in the afternoon. It was loud. The race course was a little more that a mile in diameter and stopped traffic on the river. Every three or four heats they stopped action and let boat traffic pass.
There was just a slight ripple on the water and some of the faster boats were hitting speeds in excess of 140 mph. Like car races, there were many blown engines, breakdowns, and other mechanical problems. One of the boats caught on fire in front and the driver had to jump in the water to avoid serious injury.
The more we watched the more we appreciated the better drivers. Track position was critical because on the rooster tails on the corners. If a boat was caught behind and just outside another, they were blinded and had to slow.
We had a nice day in the heat and had snacks on "Solitaire" in the day. Nancy invited the boat next to them which was owned and crewed by a young couple ages 18 and 19. Somehow we stayed up until midnight.
Smoke on the water
06/08/2008, Little Alligator River, NC
June 5th... Belhaven to Little Alligator River.
Happy Birthday Katie!
Anchors were up at 7:30 and we left Belhaven for the Pungo River. After about 8 miles we left the river for the Alligator - Pungo Canal which is wild. In 16 miles there were fewer that twenty homes and cottages. We saw a few deer and an eagle, but a boat behind us saw a bear swimming across the canal.
Most of the time for the last two days approaching Belhaven we could see a plume of smoke on the horizon. Today on the canal we drove through it. Visibility was down to about ½ mile and ash was falling from the sky. With 90 degree temps, little breeze and lots of smoke, the ride was not much fun.
However, when we entered the Alligator River we motored out of the smoke and into a north east breeze. Our plan was to anchor at the south end of the Alligator but it was early and very pleasant on the water so we all decided to continue on another three hours to the mouth of the river where there was an anchorage.
After anchoring and reading for a couple of hours we dropped the dinghy and ran over to "Solitaire" for snacks a drink. We took some chips and salsa, much of which seem to end up on me or the floor of their cockpit.
We grilled hamburgers for dinner and listened to the sound track to "Captain Ron" that Nancy got form a friend who had some connection with the studio. Kathy had tried without much success to find the songs on the computer.
....for those of you who have expressed concern for our dinghy I'd like to report that it seems to be doing as well as can be expected. I to have to give it a few pumps of air every few days but other than being a little ugly with patches and excess glue everywhere, It is completely operational. Our goal is still to wait until the Boat Show in October to purchase a new one....we might actually make it.