We set sail from Oriental on Monday, June 29 at 8 AM.
Up the Neuse River, into the Bay River, through the Hobucken Cut, across the Pamlico River and into the Pungo River, we are in Belhaven by early afternoon. We discuss stopping for the day but it makes sense to continue on because the next stretch – up the Pungo-Alligator Cut and into the Alligator River – is a long one. Getting some of that behind us today, will make for an easier tomorrow. Averaging about 6 knots, we motor most of the way but get in a couple of hours of sailing. I have no idea how far we’ve gone. Steve says we’ve gone 75 nautical miles. We have a GPS and I’ve been using an old fishermen’s paper chart book to follow along. Seeing as how we navigated across 4 pages of those paper charts that sounds about right.
At 8 PM, we drop anchor in the Alligator River. The Coast Guard Tender that passed us earlier is anchored on our port side and we see a catamaran off our starboard side. We fix dinner and have drinks in the cockpit.
We up-anchor around 8 AM and make our way up the Alligator. Our passage across the Albemarle Sound is uneventful. Steve entertains himself swatting flying ants.
Motoring up the Pasquotank River, we pass the Weeksville Dirigible Hangar. It’s one of eight remaining blimp hangars built by the Navy during WWII. It is currently used as a commercial manufacturing and testing location. First (and probably last) dirigible hangar I’ve seen so I’m impressed.
The shoreline approaching Elizabeth City is absolutely gorgeous.
I log onto Active Captain once we have cell service again and check out Mariners’ Wharf, the free docks in Elizabeth City. They look nice and the reviews are great but I am hot and they don’t have power. Pelican Marina does and at $35/night, we decide that air conditioning takes precedence over the Rose Buddies’ wine and cheese welcome party at the city docks. We call Pelican Marina and tell the dock master we’re on our way.
We pull into the slip around 4:00. Steve secures the boat and washes all the dead flying ants off the deck. I stay down below to unsecure all the things we had to secure while traveling, catch up on email, and get cool. After an early dinner, we are ready for a shower. Oh, my. These docks have low, short, narrow, fixed finger piers, and the wind is blowing the boat off the pier.
Remember me blogging about how Finley and Rootie had trouble figuring out how to get on and off FNR? Well, I’m right there with them. Should I climb over the bow pulpit or can I pull the boat close enough and then climb over the lifelines? Either way, it’s a long way down to the pier. I am a little freaked out. No, I am a lot freaked out. I can’t get off the boat. Steve stands there looking at me like I am an idiot. He finally gets the boat positioned in such a way that I can grab hold of the piling and jump off. Luckily, climbing up on the boat is not as intimidating as climbing off. Otherwise, Steve may have left me on the pier.
We walk around downtown Elizabeth City the next morning. There is not much going on. From what we understand, the folks here really cater to boaters but we have missed the snowbirds’ northward migration. Still, we enjoy walking the waterfront and spend an hour or so in the Museum of the Albemarle.
Later that afternoon, we head up the Pasquotank a bit and turn into Lamb’s Marina for the night.
We may end up spending a week or so in this area when we head south later this summer and want to check out possible places to stay. A friendly little marina in a protected harbor, we enjoy sitting on the front porch of the restaurant and visiting with the locals. I like their docks!
Just a few days underway and we’ve met quite a few characters. A dock master from Newfoundland with an English bulldog whose lineage can be traced back to the 1400’s (the dog, not the dock master). A live aboard in Camden County who used to sell real estate in New York City. We are looking forward to meeting more people and sharing their stories.
Today, it’s a trek up the Dismal Swamp Canal. Steve has talked about this leg of the trip since we started planning it. Happy Birthday, Captain! What a great way to celebrate your 64th birthday.