We left Beaufort on Friday and motored all day.  After 13 hours and 89  miles we anchored at dusk at the end of the Alligator/Pungo river canal.  It wasn’t a bad day–just long!  The weather was very calm so it made for an easy trip across the Neuse River and the Pamlico Sound.  We did have the sails up but it wasn’t enough to keep us going at a good speed.

Today we left the anchorage early and made our way up to the Alligator River bridge.  Right after we passed the bridge we heard Windfall (Elliott and Ina hail us.  They had left New Bern last weekend and I was sure they’d already be in the Chesapeake by now.  Since they’re taking a 5-6 week trip it’s more like a vacation and they can take their time!

 Just past the bridge is the dreaded spot where the charts were incorrect and we went horribly aground on our trip south.  Sure enough, a poor sailboat was hard aground in the same spot.  We were travelling with several other sailboats and I informed them on the radio of the mismarked channel.  We made it through without any problems.  Whew!

It was a great sail across the Albemarle sound with about 10-15 knots on the beam.  It made me remember how much I enjoy sailing!  Once we turned up the Pungo river the wind died and we turned the motor on to negotiate the mine field of crab pots the entire length of the river.  They really should have a clear channel.  It would be horrible to try to sail that river on a regular basis.

As we approached Elizabeth City we saw a Coast Guard helicopter hovering near the water.  Peering through the binoculars I saw hundreds of people along the docks!  A CG patrol boat hailed as we approached and told us to stand by for a few minutes while they complete their Search and Rescue demo.  I told them that we were headed north towards the bridge so they said to continue just ‘stay out of the prop wash’.  Wow, the wind generated by the helicopter was really impressive!  It also made the approach to the bridge much more exciting–just what we need!  Thankfully, the bridge tender opened the span right away so we could move on to the beautiful Pasquotank river.

CG Helicopter creates a lot of wind!

We arrived at the South Mills lock just after they closed.  Darn!  I asked the lock tender where we could stand by for the opening tomorrow morning and he said to either anchor or tie up to the pilings.  We chose the pilings.  Right now, we’re suspended between two large pilings.  Good thing there’s no wind or current!  At least we can sleep in a little tomorrow because the lock doesn’t open until 8:30.

Here we are--hanging out on a piling outside the lock
Dark waters in the Dismal Swamp

We should make it to Mile 0 tomorrow as well as pass through the last opening bridge–yaaay!!!  We plan to stay at the Bluewater marina and hope to see our friends Marti and Rocky tomorrow night.  If the weather cooperates, we should be back in Annapolis by Wednesday or Thursday!!

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