FL to CT Day 21
Oriental, NC to Columbia, NC
We had a great dinner at the Toucan Grill located at the Oriental Marina. I had an awesome burger called… Dragons Breath Burger… habanera jerk sauce, pineapple, roasted red peppers, and provolone cheese… I opted to hold the pineapple… just did not sound good to me on a burger… Susan had one of the Monday specials… 4 burger sliders... French fries and several cold beers… it was fantastic. For dessert we both had a huge mud slide and was it good. When we got back to the boat it was straight to bed for both of us.
We woke a little later than normal today… think the beers and mud slide may of caused that… anyway, we did manage to get away by 0730 and headed out to the Neuse River. The winds were forecast for 10-15 knots out of the NE producing maybe 2 foot waves making the cruise up the Neuse River a very comfortable ride.
I tried hailing “Sanctuary” several times on the VHF… they had spent the night at River Dunes Marina and I thought they were heading out with us today. Found out later in the day that they had decided to stay another day at River Dunes. So, we were cruising alone today. Although, I did hear from “Serendipity”… Peter called on the cell phone to inquire about any troubles we might have had with shoaling for the area they were cruising through today… told him I had not experienced any shoaling and found there to be plenty of water in the notorious trouble spots.
We had planned to cruise to the top of the Pungo River and anchor just before the A & P Canal… however we arrived at 1400 and it seemed far to early to stop. I had read on Active Captain about Tuckahoe Point Anchorage at the northern end of the A & P Canal. We had never tried this anchorage due to not having any place to take Beecha to land, However, today when I was researching an anchorage location I saw a note about a boat ramp up a small canal that the locals use to access the Alligator River… it was just to the west of Tuckahoe Point… so, we decided to continue on for another 20 nm to Tuckahoe Point… 2-1/2 to 3 hours more making it 1700-1730 when we would arrive.
We had not seen much boat traffic today at all… heard a few on the VHF but never really saw anyone until the A & P Canal when we were passed by a high speed ferry out of Boston… they hailed for a slow pass and I slowed to idle… it was a fairly large vessel and I could see the wake it was putting out behind it… just did not feel like rolling around… thus the slow to idle… didn’t help… he still came by putting out a 5 foot wake and talking to me on the VHF that he was passing us as slow as he could to not wake us… NOT! It was not terrible but just very discourteous… :(
We reached the end of the A& P Canal and the Tuckahoe Anchorage was just off to our port side… I had done some further research on the anchorage and was not thrilled with everything I had read and the forecast for winds tomorrow was not the best… the Alligator River can be nasty with 20-25 knot NE winds… and after that is the Albemarle Sound… NE winds are never good on it… Anyway, change of plans again…. Continue on… to Alligator Marina…. Only another 20 nm further.
There was no cell phone signal so I hailed Alligator Marina on the VHF to find out if they had room for us and to let them know I would be arriving around 1930. Ms Wanda was on the VHF and said… “Not a problem… we close at eight o’clock… see you when you arrive.”
As we exited the narrow portion of the Alligator River and started heading north up the river we became fully exposed to the winds... which were now blowing over 20 knots… so much for the 10-15 not forecast… anyway, it did slow us down and checking our ETA we were arriving closer to 1945 now… not leaving us a lot of leeway for when Alligator Marina closed… even if we arrived later than 2000 we could still dock. Just wanted to make it before Ms. Wanda left… she sort of a reputation of sometimes being.. how do I say it… “Difficult? “ anyway, I did not want to upset her by arriving late.
Only one more thing to deal with before the marina… the Alligator River Swing Bridge… we had to have it opened to get to Ms Wanda’s marina. We were still on schedule for arrival at 1945. Just about 3/4 of a mile away from the bridge I was hailed by bridge tender on the VHF. He asked if I could slow down… he had a commercial tug southbound and wanted to open just once for us and the tug. What could I say… No? I responded that I would slow my approach. Shortly, the tug hailed the bridge and informed them that he was 8 minutes away… I was sitting at the bridge at this point waiting. We informed Ms. Wanda that we had been delayed by the bridge and we would be there as quickly as we could.
The bridge tender did not wait the full 8 minutes and opened the bridge earlier and we were able to pass through before the tug reached the bridge… we had to make a 90 degree turn to port directly after the bridge to enter the channel to the Alligator River Marina… but the tug was too close for us to cross his bow in front of him… so we waited till he passed and then made our turn to port and headed toward the marina. Plenty of time to make it… had 5 minutes to get in.
We arrived right just before 2000 and was met by Ms. Wanda at the dock… she was giving us docking instructions… her way… not ours… we have a system to our docking… Susan knows what lines we need first and where they need to be placed… Ms. Wanda also has her system and her and Susan were not agreeing…what did I say… “Difficult”… anyway, we made it in on time and we were securely docked at 2000.
Our location for the night is N35°54.344, W076°01.762’. We traveled for 12.5 hours covering 85.2 nm averaging 6.8 knots.
Posted at 10:37 PM by:Jay