Friday, April 18, 2014

Sunday, April 13, 2014 No Rose Buddies to Greet Our Arrival to Elizabeth City, NC

                                     I love Dowry Creek Marina in the morning!  Both times when we've
stayed here, the mist is rising up from the water and the salt marshes.   What a sight!  the weather is still looking good so once again we're moving on!!!   To where?  We're  hoping that the weather gods will cooperate so we can make it to Elizabeth City, NC....81 miles north. That's a bit much for one day unless we get really great currents and winds!  However, we really would like to get across the Albemarle Sound today when the winds aren't so strong. Windfinder is predicting strong winds for tomorrow and since the Albemarle Sound is very shallow, it doesn't take much for the winds to form large waves and very close together.  Time will tell once we get out of the Alligator River.

                              After following the private channel markers away from the marina, we
now are in the Pungo River heading to the Pungo-Alligator Canal, 21 miles long.  Cruising along the serene canal, Chuck commented that he was surprised that we weren't seeing any birds or animal life along this waterway.  He no sooner got those words out of his mouth when, WOW, there was a deer walking in the water beside the shore!  Shortly after that, we saw 3 more deer up on the bank.  They saw us and took off running parallel with us. We kept motoring up the canal and out into the Alligator River and soon were motor-sailing at a good clip.  This  area is heavily populated with eagles.  The fish must be plentiful in the river for them to feed on and the river is lined with tall trees which make a great habitat for their nests. Before we knew it, we were at the Alligator Swing Bridge. Beside this bridge is where sv/Whisper spent the last 3 days at the Alligator River Marina but when Rita called this morning, they had left for the Welcome Center in the Dismal Swamp.  If they were still there, we were going to stop and spend the night with them.  Instead, it's through the swing bridge and very carefully following the day markers out of the mouth of the river into the Albemarle Sound.    We made it without a hitch!  Now it's another 47 miles to Elizabeth City and their free city docks!
tannin tinted brown water

Out in the Albemarle, we have a little chop which isn't bad at all. However as the afternoon progressed and we're half way across the 11 mile sound,  the waves start to build....2 feet, 3 feet, 4 feet....waves. Lucky for us, we have southerly winds, so the waves are at our stern and at times giving us a ride.  At other times, we're actually going faster than the waves!!! These waves followed us all the way up into the mouth  and probably a good 6 miles into the Pasquotank River. We were beginning to think that the free docks might be uncomfortable and sloppy for the night...but the river had a turn to it and the wave action settled down quite a bit by the time we got to the docks.

All was well in our crossing.  It was no worse than being out on Lake Erie when it starts to get angry.  What did become a problem and really more of a nuisance were the crab trap floats!  We started dodging them about 2 miles outside the mouth of the Pasquotank River.  They were everywhere.  They even were floats for about 5 miles into the river.  Many times, boaters can navigate easily through them because they're in a line.  Once inside the fairway, it's easy to keep them to port and starboard.  These floats were crazy.  They were randomly dropped and many of them were on the magenta line on our Garmin Charts!  It's bad enough to be fighting the wheel because of winds and large following seas, but to have to dodge the floats made things much more difficult!!

About 2 miles away from Elizabeth City, the waves died down and we docked our boat.  We are the only transient boat here for the night. Unreal!  On our way south, we grabbed the last dock late in the afternoon. I was afraid at 6:30  tonight, there wouldn't be any slips available.....boy was I wrong.  As soon as we got our lines set, we went for a walk to 'Thumpers', a little bar and grill we ate at in the fall.  They stay open late and have great bar food.    We weren't there long and on our way back to the boat, we decided to check out the new shower facilities that are now finished for the cruisers.  I was disappointed because they are only open until 5 pm and they aren't free....$5 for a shower.  The only downfall I can see with the free city docks is that their docks are very short.  We have to climb off the bow of the boat and it's a good thing we have a fold able step.  Other than that,  it's a great place to stay.  Oh by the 'Rose Buddies' greeted us again. They only show up from M-F if 5 or more new boats arrive for the night.....81 miles and 11 hours...

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