A real tarpit harbor...
16 May 2009 | Eastham Creek Anchorage NC (N35*17.680 W76*36.514) to The Pungo River, NC (N35*33.715 W76*28.557)
Saturday, May 16, 2009
Yucky, rainy morning out. I made some oatmeal with raisins and brown sugar for breakfast and at 9am we started to pull the anchor up. The helm kept feeling like it was binding up and when Wayne gave the signal for "anchor up", I couldn't see where we had moved at all. I would have sworn we were still at anchor but I throttled forward, no movement, backward - no movement, then forward and then a little movement - but we were pretty stuck. Wayne wanted the helm so I gladly turned it over to him and he tried to get us "unstuck". Around noon the engine overheated so we cut the engine and around 12:30 I called Towboat US. Towboat Oriental called back and said that we were to far for them to assist and to try hailing River Forest or Belhaven for Tow Boat. They never responded, so Oriental said they'd give them a call. I asked if this was the Tow Boat from Deaton's and he said yes ma'am... I laughed and said we remember you from last year - twice in one day on our way down and told him about our favorite mechanic there! Tow Boat from River Forest finally called back on the radio, wanted our vital statistics (unlimited towing basically) and said they'd be there in 30 minutes. In 30 minutes they called back to say it was to rough (choppy) and they were going to slow down and so wouldn't be to us until 2pm. Okay... I guess we'd wait LOL - did anyone see a choice other than that? We're now in an area where the tides don't affect us so we can't float off at high tide and our dink only has a 5 hp motor so it can't push our nose out... hmmmmm... The part that frustrated Wayne was that we were less than a yard away from 12 ft water and he couldn't break us free from that tenacious black mud and clay no matter which way he tried to plow the boat.
At 2:00pm, they showed up; 2:10pm we were free and back on the ICW. We couldn't really see where it was really choppy in the waters from Belhaven to where we were stuck in the mud for them to be delayed for so long, but hey... back into the dark, red brown, tannin laden waters to the Pungo River.
Talking about the Pungo River (and Alligator river) I can't remember if I ever mentioned... The Pungo/Alligator Canal opened a gap for salt water to invade fresh water in these parts forming a brackish cocktail if you will. Along the area you can see the silvery, skeletal remains of cypress rising up out of the marshes. Bald Cypress will tolerate brackish water if it's not to salty, but when the salt content rises and the water becomes to saline, the cypress die and the swamp is replaced by salt tolerant cord grass. I never thought I'd like taking pictures of stumps and the skeletal remains of trees, but I find that I keep snapping pictures of them. The Alligator River is one of the last eastern areas of black bear and red wolves. I keep looking for them and listening at night, but no musically, eerie howls of the red wolf, or sightings of black bear. Loblolly pine replaces the long needle pine along the Alligator and Pungo the further north we go. I love the smell of N. Carolina and the sight of the tall pines. They both remind me of home and the upper peninsula of Michigan. There's a nice earthy, rain kissed, pine scent with a faint sweet odor of flowers along the banks of the river.
We anchored at 6:30pm in 10 ft of water along the Pungo River and managed to go 24.7 miles, even with quite a late start. This is a nice anchorage, but we had to play dodgem with all the crab pots sprinkled throughout the area. After we anchored, a speedboat came by and slowed down. While Wayne was draining the dink of all the rainwater, a lady called out "Welcome" to him, and then they sped back up and continued on their way. That was really nice of them. I made an Aloha Salad with turkey earlier while we were stuck in the mud (hey can't bake brownies all the time) for dinner and it was a hit with Wayne. But then of course it had to be - it had pineapple, mandarin orange, coconut, pecans and lots of meat in it served up with crackers and cheese. It would have been great with blueberry muffins (I'll make it with these once we get home - blueberries should be in season).
A couple of small blunt nosed porpoise were hunting dinner in the anchorage - they surprised me - another unexpected treasure...