Mike and Kathy
10/24/2008, Slade Creek, NC
October 22, Thursday... Alligator River to Slade Creek, (Pungo R.)
Mike and Kathy
10/23/2008, Deep Point, NC
It was cold as Sapphire left the Alligator for the 3 mile run to the entrance to the Alligator Pungo Canal, a nearly straight shot through the wilderness of North Carolina. Other than the canal itself, there was no sign of mankind for about two hours. We saw a pair of eagles but that was about all the wildlife.
Leaving the canal for the Pungo River we hauled out the jib and turned off the engine for a nice sail west across the Pungo and then south. We bypassed Belhaven which isn't the best anchorage in the winds that seem to persist, and sailed down to Slade Creek which is unmarked... we eased through the shoals at the mouth and were pleased to find more water than the charts indicated. We motored NE about a mile to the first bend and anchored with only crab pots for neighbors.
"Perseverance 2" and "Third Star" joined us shortly. I rowed our new dinghy over to visit and we decided to meet on "Third Star" for snacks at about 5pm.
We had a nice time but had to row back before dark. As usually is the case, we had enough snacks that supper was unnecessary.
October 21st... Tuesday Goat Island to the Alligator River
We left as soon as we could see which at this side of the time zone is currently about 7:00 am. We greeted the bridge operator at Elizabeth City with a cheerful "good morning" and he was nice enough to open even though we were a few minutes past the posted 8am. (Most bridges open on request except for rush hours... and then open on the half hour)
The wind was building from the west as we made our way out the Pasquotank toward the Albemarle Sound on a southern bearing. Meeting boats who had given up and were seeking shelter back in Elizabeth City was a little disconcerting but we forged ahead.
The Sound itself was rough with short square waves... much like the western end of Lake Erie. We ran on staysail and a double reefed main ... and had a great time for the most part. The side curtains kept all spray out of the cockpit.
Our GPS was coming and going which made things a little dicey at the entrance to the Alligator River but it happened to be working at that point. (We do have a back up which was on, it's just not in color)
It was about 16 miles ...straight south with a really good west wind, to get to the bottom of the Alligator River. I'm not sure how she did it, but Kathy cooked a great pizza while heeling at about 15 degrees all afternoon. Trust me; it was a challenge-there may be some pizza toppings on the bottom of the oven. Our oven doesn't gimble smoothly, so we have something else to try to fix.
The wind tonight is supposed to freshen to 25 with gusts to 30 ... so we found a spot with only about ½ mile fetch and good holding. There are about 10 boats in the vicinity ... everyone having the same idea for the evening.
Not only did I (Kathy) manage to delete all the phone numbers stored in our phone the other night (don't ask), but I had only typed the phone list up to Mark J last fall when I had fears of losing the numbers. So, we may not have your number any more, just in case you don't hear from us for a while. Also, the cell phone coverage is notoriously bad in NC, often nonexistent, so don't worry if you don't hear from us for a few days.
In the Dismal Swamp
10/23/2008, Goat Island, NC
October 20th... Monday Deep Creek, VA to Goat Island, NC
The weather was crisp but sunny for our traverse of the Dismal Swamp. We made the trip with three other boats without incident. There were a few bumps but there was plenty of water. They decided today as we were traveling to begin opening the locks 4 times a day, instead of just 2, so we drove right along and got locked through 2 ½ hours before we had planned.
The Pasquotank River (where the dismal swamp dumps us) is wild and smelled exactly like archery season in our swamp at home. There is a quite a bit of cypress but the forest itself looks to be impenetrable.
We anchored behind an island about seven miles short of Elizabeth City. Bill and Betty (Inspiration) dinghied over to invite is for after dinner socialization and we had to say yes even though it was already dark. We were joined by Tom and Cathy of (Perseverance 2) and had a very enjoyable evening as always when anchoring in the middle of nowhere with new friends.