We've spent the last two days traversing the Dismal Swamp. Tali and Murphy thoroughly enjoyed traveling this close to shore and I think each was contemplating how to make a break for it. Fortunately neither did.
Yesterday was the short trip from Elizabeth City to the Visitor's Center and the few heavy rain showers turned it into a movie afternoon. We've been promising to do this for sometime but the weather has been so nice we haven't had a chance. Tropical Breeze invited us over, we brought the "famous" Irish Terrier movie, "Firehouse Dog" and we settled in for the afternoon. At least two batches of popcorn later we made it to the end of the movie and the afternoon was gone. The party continued with burgers and sides, but by 8:30, both crews were ready to retire. We sure are a bunch of party animals.
Today we motored through the rest of the Canal and tied up at the north end between the bridge and the lock. Once the last lock-through has happened, you're cut off from leaving or from having other boats come in. It's a neat little spot and we always enjoy it.
You might have noticed that our forward progress has gotten slow. Instead of having a case of barn-door fever, we are getting a little sad that the trip is almost over. It's been a good one. However, all good things must come to and end or at least a transition point. Tomorrow we will pass Milepost Zero, the official start/end of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.
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.