Oriental to Elizabeth City

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.

Coast Guard Tender off the starboard bow.  ICW Channel Marker 55.
Coast Guard Tender off the starboard bow. ICW Channel Marker 55.

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.

Anchoring in Alligator River - a long, hot day, but a good day.
Anchoring in Alligator River – a long, hot day, but a good day.

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.

Weeksville Dirigible Hangar
Weeksville Dirigible Hangar

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.

Yes, I know it doesn't look low, short and narrow, but trust me, it is.
Yes, I know it doesn’t look low, short and narrow, but trust me, it is.
Maybe I can get it close enough to hop off??
Maybe I can get it close enough to hop off??
That piling is my new BFF!!
That piling is my new BFF!!
Okay, I got off.  Can I get back on?
Okay, I got off. Can I get back on?
On is a breeze!!
On is a breeze!!

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.

Mariners' Wharf Docks
Mariners’ Wharf – Elizabeth City’s free docks

Later that afternoon, we head up the Pasquotank a bit and turn into Lamb’s Marina for the night.

They make it easy to find!
They make it easy to find!

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!

Every marina should have docks like this.
I think every marina should have docks like this.

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.

6 thoughts on “Oriental to Elizabeth City”

    1. Deb: We saw info about the Albermarle Loop while we were in Elizabeth City. Since we call North Carolina home, we are embarrassed to admit that it was the first we heard of it. Still, we are glad the smaller towns are giving cruisers another reason to spend time in NC. Hope you’re back on the water soon!



  1. Terry and Terry say hi and Lamb’s Marina is a nice place. It is a stop on my magazine route. Lots of people are in and out of the store there, let me know if you spent time there. Terry Lynn says happy birthday Steve!!!


    1. Terry,
      We stayed one night, you know how I like a deal, it was a good value for the money. He could do a few things and make it much better, but overall we enjoyed it. Some real characters at that place.


    1. Ed,
      Thanks for the HB shout, Marci does a great job on the blog. You know my writing skills are really bad. We had a great time at your place on the river, really nice.
      Hope to see you guys again on the way south.


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