FL to CT Day 28
Columbia, NC to Great Bridge, VA
We had a fun evening at Alligator Marina... about 8 others stopped for the night that were all heading to north... several were great loopers. One of them came around and organized a little get together for everyone up at the grill in the marina office... so, at 1730 we all gathered and had a great time telling all our boat stories... only lasted about an hour and a half but t was fun... made some new friends that I am sure our wakes will cross again in the future.
We left the docks at 0645... There was a great forecast for winds today... we were only going to go to Coinjock but with the forecast we decided to continue on to Great Bridge, VA… the Albemarle Sound and Currituck Sound were nearly flat calm… was a nice crossing... only thing that would of made it better would of been some sunshine... was very overcast all day.
So, for the third or fourth day we have been part of a parade of boats heading north... believe there were 12 of us today all in line... a few split off and went the Dismal Swamp route... the rest stayed further east taking the Virginia Cut… that is the way we went... every time we do the Dismal Swamp we end up having to change the props on SAILS… just too shallow and too many deadhead logs.
One thing out of the ordinary toady was the North Landing Bridge was half down for maintenance. Only the north span of the swing bridge was functioning... this left 38 feet clear between the bridge fenders and the south bridge span... more than enough but it sure seemed tight...
Our plans were to dock at the free docks across the ICW from Atlantic Yacht Basin... upon arriving they were full... no room for SAILS... So, we requested an opening at the Great Bridge Bridge... we had arrived right at 1600 which was perfect timing for on the hour opening schedule. There is another free dock or bulkhead just after the bridge... it was wide open and plenty of room to dock. We did go through the bridge with another boat we had been dock neighbors with at Alligator River Marina... TREASURE ISLAND... a 42 ft Island Packet sailboat... they also went to the bulkhead and docked just ahead of us. We have been traveling with them around us for days now.
We were securely docked at the Great Bridge Bulkhead at 1615... no power or water but a nice place to stop. Our position for the night is N36°43.281', W076°14.503'. We traveled today for 9.5 hours covering 63.2 nautical miles averaging 6.7 knots.
Posted at 4:59 PM
FL to CT Day 27
Belhaven, NC to Columbia, NC
We never really got the storm during the night that was forecast... Susan said it rained but I did not hear it raining... we were up early to attempt to beat the forecast winds today... we left at 0730 and the winds were around 10 knots out of the north... a bit chilly out... felt nice. The winds soon picked up to over 20 knots steady and gust well over 30 knots... this was not the forecast... why should I be surprised.
Even with the high winds the A&P Canal was not bad... narrow canal and very well protected with trees... however when we exited the canal and started north on the Alligator River... the north winds really kicked up the waves. The river is not deep enough to get really large waves, but we had short choppy 2 to 3 footers that send spray over the pilothouse... a nasty ride but not uncomfortable.
We were in the middle of a parade of boats again today... had 4 ahead of us as we left the marina, and I could see 6 behind us on AIS... plus there were numerous other boats that passed us that did not have AIS. I don’t remember there being this many boats heading north last year...
With the high winds I was a bit worried abut the Alligator River Swing Bridge opening... they will not open when the winds are over 30 knots and we were seeing gusts to 35 knots. But as the first of the parade of boats reached the bridge, I could hear them on VHF and the bridge was opening for them and when we reached it they opened for us… YAY!
We arrived at Alligator River Marina at approximately 1415. We were secured with power at 1430… Our position for the night is N35°54.324', W076°01.689'. We traveled today for 7.0 hours covering 43.0 nautical miles averaging 6.2 knots.
Posted at 3:04 PM
FL to CT Day 26
Eastham Creek, NC to Belhaven, NC
After a very windy night and not a lot of sleeping the alarm went off at 0600... which was way too early after the night we had… winds howling at 20 knots plus till about 0300 when they settled to around 10-15 knots. Started pulling the anchor at 0630... the chain was very dirty... the links filled with a mud and sand mixture... mostly mud... so it was very slow retrieving the anchor as I washed the mud from the chain... anchor up and underway at 0700... destination today Dowry Creek Marina... Storm supposed to hit us tonight so we would be safe at a dock.
Very short day... but we had a lot of boat traffic... looking at AIS we had two boats ahead of us and six boats running behind us... and we had several pass us that did not have AIS... all boats appeared as cruiser or delivery crew heading north.
We arrived at Dowry Creek Marina at approximately 0945. We were secured with power at 1000… Our position for the night is N35°31.962', W076°32.126'
. We traveled today for 3.0 hours covering 19.7 nautical miles averaging 6.6 knots.
Posted at 11:06 AM