We were under way this morning shortly after 6:00AM. Murphy and Mom thought it was a little early, but we needed to cross the Albemarle before the threatening storms kicked it up too much. Looking at the weather map, it appears that the eastern coast of North Carolina will be convergence of two ugly storm systems from the west and south.
Although the day was cloudy, there was a nice 15-20kt breeze out of the southwest so we had a great sail across the Albemarle. Two sails in three days! We chased Tropical Breeze the whole morning and only caught up near the end when we cheated and turned on the iron genny. Once again, Jim was wishing for that spinnaker. Oh well, next year.
We made it to the town docks shortly after lunch and are now sitting cozy and dry in the cockpit as a light rain falls outside. We will probably stay here a day or so until the ugliest of the weather passes and then make tracks for home. Murphy doesn't care, he doesn't realize he's that close to home and is satisfied with a good session of stick on the fresh, spring grass and a lazy snooze on the cushions.
Today we ran up the Alligator Pungo Canal. It's a long, narrow, and straight passage and today's trip was uneventful. We passed a solitary barge and were passed by several trawlers, sailboats and motorboats. Fortunately Tropical Breeze doesn't like to motor fast so we kept each other company along the way. I did spy a pair of Prothonotory Warblers which was a treat. These little bright spots of color lit up the bushes in the cedar swamp as they chased each other in hot pursuit.
We pushed on to the end of the canal and anchored near the northern end of the Alligator River. This is another one of Dad and Murphy's least favorite anchoring spots and not because of the alligators. No, this is one of the places that Murphy has to pretend to be a swamp fox in order to move around on shore. This was the 4th different location we've tried in the Alligator and although it was a notch above the rest, it still ranks poorly in our dog-walking notes. However, it is a lovely place.
We had an easy trip up the Neuse in light winds and flat seas. As we turned the corner towards Bay River, the wind filled in a little and with only five miles or so to go, we hoisted the sails and turned off the engines. Tropical Breeze still had some hours of catching up to do so we decided to ghost along in 6 knots of wind. We were not making much headway but that's OK, it was great to be a sailboat for a while.
We pulled into the anchorage about 4:15 and the Breeze showed up about 2 hours later. They tried to run aground again as they were anchoring, just one of those days. They were ready for cocktails as soon as the anchor set.
All in all it was a nice day. It started out with us dressed in fleece and long pants and so foggy we couldn't see 1/8 mile, but ended in bright sun, tee-shirts and shorts. We are anchored tonight in a pretty little spot at the mouth of Bear Creek and were once again serenaded by Chuck-Wills-Widows as we sipped a last glass of wine in the cockpit before darkness completely fell.
I got an email last evening from an old boss. He was attending meetings in Annapolis and wondered if we could meet him for breakfast. We hadn't heard from him in years and he'd obviously lost track of us. I told him, sorry, but our home was in the Northern Neck of VA and furthermore we had retired early and were south for the winter on our boat. He replied, "Sounds like you're living the Dream!". He was right, we are.