Officially back in the USofA & ICW Day 1 (+ pinch punch etc...)
01 May 2018 | Snode Creek, ICW, North Carolina, USA
The extremely nice Customs and Border Protection staff arrived early Monday morning, and stamped us back into the USA, so that is both us and Barracuda officially in the country for another stint. We did raise the question (amongst ourselves) as to what would have happened if they had turned us away, but thought it best not to take that thought very far. Anyway, our yellow Q flag has been folded away and we are proudly flying the Stars and Stripes.
We have met up again with Debi and Jack on S/Y Iroquois, who we last saw in Portugal. Lovely to see them again and hear about their travels.
We used Morehead City to catch up on domestics. Thatâs probably its best purpose for us, as it does not score too highly as an outright tourist destination. That said, the marina, its staff and the customs/immigration people were just great, and itâs good to be setting off again fully fuelled, watered, cleaned, laundered, provisioned and showered.
We are now heading up the ICW - " the Intra-Coastal Water Way " - in company with Iroquois. For those of you attentively taking part in the Barracuda world geography lesson, this is a stretch of rivers, lakes, canals, estuaries, barrier islands, etcâ¦ that stretches & wiggles over 1,000 miles from Norfolk, Virginia all the way down to Florida. It provides an inshore route for travelling up and down the coast, and is used by lots of snowbirds for moving their boats to and from the warm winter south. For this particular stretch, it helps us avoid Cape Hatteras, a big headland which can be foul in the wrong conditions. And, it is also a really interesting area to drive up in the boat, with shallow water, beautiful waterfront houses, plenty of bird life and alligators (we are told) - " so why would you not do it?
There is a technical issue: the maximum mast height you can get under the many fixed bridges is about 64 feet - luckily, we come in at about 57 feet inc. antenna. But we do find approaching a bridge and looking up as the mast JUST clears the structure a slightly nerve-racking experience. We will photograph it, once we can pass under one with our eyes open.
We will hop our way to Norfolk VA over about five days, and then see how the world turns in the Chesapeake. In the meantime, we are having a bit of adjustment to do; from turquoise water to brown, from frigate birds to seagulls and from endless summer to early spring. Oh, and getting used to wearing fleeces and long trousers again, albeit only in the evenings.
Tonight we are anchored in wilderness in a muddy creek called Snode Creek.