Latitude 35 40.469'
Longitude 76 03.583'
Deep Point Upper Alligator River
We went to our boat in Edenton (western Albemarle Sound NC) on Friday May 11. We would not have left on Saturday, even if we could have, because of predicted evening severe thunderstorms, but the truth is we were totally unprepared to do anything of the sort. We normally sail From March 15 to December 15, but for many reasons, the last time we had the boat out was the beginning of November and had much to do to prepare for even for a short trip. Also, someone has coined the term, 'Mal De Port', meaning that the longer you are safely tied up, the more reluctant you are to leave. Amen! Sunday would have been a good day to leave, the winds were perfect for an exciting sail down the Albemarle. We are not into exciting, a wise sage once said 'While sailing, anything that does not kill you is by definition fun' ( well actually it was me). We have had all the fun we could ever want. Monday looked perfect, winds 10-15 from the North and we are headed East. Perfect. We headed out early Monday and going through Edenton Bay, I, keeping a lookout, said: "I think you should move a little to the le.." Bam Wham "Damn" (George Carlin could have said it better). Here we are now up on two tree stumps, like on a pedestal. I had nightmare thoughts of having to, once again, get in the dinghy to lighten the load and raise the waterline so that Kay could power off and having Kay speed away leaving me stranded again in the dinghy, feeling much like a somewhat pudgy Teddy Bear riding in a little red wagon being pulled by a kid on a bicycle with a mischevious grin on HER face.
After awhile we managed to back off and I am glad it happened so early in the trip, we always run aground at least once and it was nice to have it over so soon. I truly believe that even if we had a hovercraft we would find away to run aground.
We knew that the next day we had to run the Albemarle-Pungo canal and both thought that we remembered from last year a high bridge under construction to replace the existing swing bridge. ( A most unpleasant bridge to negotiate.) As we went up the Albemarle, going south, we called boats heading north from the canal, to ask them about the bridge. None, save one, answered, and when he answered I, already deaf in one ear, thought I was losing the other, until I noticed he was flying a Canadian flag and realized he was speaking French.
The rest of the trip was uneventful except that the 10-15 mph wind turned out to be 0-5, until, of course, we anchored and it became 15-20. We made the trip in record time, 60 nautical miles in ~9 HOURS averaging 6.7 knots according to the GPS, courtesy of the newly painted boat bottom.
Latitude 35 30.607'
Longitude 76 38.595'
Pungo Creek off the Pungo River
It is strange to be back here since this where we started, at the Pungo Creek Marina, as did several boats currently sharing space in Edenton with us at Edenton Marina. It was great fun to be here but eventually the marina was destroyed by storms, as well as, the death of one of its owners. We are anchored across from it, and all I see now is rows of pilings. Very sad.
We had (for us) a relatively simple trip today.The one exception was when preparing to enter the canal (you must negotiate a long narrow channel) we encountered a tug pushing a barge coming out. The problem was that the tug was taking the middle of the channel leaving us 1/2 of what we should have had available. We could have lived with that but alas at that point a very slow moving trawler decided to pass the barge from behind, on our side, forcing us out of the channel. Fortunately we never hit hard aground.
I am amazed at how much courtesy on the water has improved over the past few years. With only three exceptions every boat we encountered went out of their way to ensure the comfort of other boaters. One power boat nearly ran us down on our side of the canal forcing us over to the wrong side and badly rocking us. A big motor yacht slowed down, as we approached, to reduce its wake only to have a *SAILBOAT* with too much testosterone decide to pass it right into our bows. The Power boat immediately pulled over to the stump lined shores and stopped, leaving room for the two sailboats to pass each other. As we passed the power boat we tipped our hats.
But the best was the first. A big cigarette type boat was approaching us from the south and came off its plain to reduce its wake for us, a somewhat smaller and less powerful motor boat took the opportunity to accelerate and roar by it on the other side , badly rocking the bigger boat (which mostly spared us since the big boat was between us and the offender.) Another hat tip and a smile on my face when I heard the roar of the big boats engines as it started to 'fly' down the canal and I imagined what would happen next. (I guess that is at least three "Our Fathers' for penance but it was worth it.)
The only neat boat we saw was a sailboat that had two masts of exactly the same size so I don't know whether it was a ketch or schooner but the real strange thing is that it had a spreader wider than the masts were high.
I believe I read that there are 4 million crab pots in Pamlico and Albemarle sound, by actual count, 25% of them are in Pungo Creek.
Any young couple wishing to marry should take a two week cruise on a small boat, if they still want to be married when they return they will be married for life.
Neat boat names:
"Yesterday's Dream"- A Hunter 42 sailboat
"Good Vibrations"- A Carver Motor Yacht
Latitude 35 01.446'
Longitude 76 41.776'
Oriental Marina, Oriental NC
We left our anchorage yesterday in Pungo Creek at 7:30 AM and arrived at Oriental at 3:00 PM. A nice trip with only one close call. Starting down the Pungo River, as we approached Marker 7, which marks a long shoal extending to shore, so did a commercial trawler coming from the east. For whatever reason,at that time, he decided to take in his nets. He was about 50 yards from 7 as were we. As he appeared to have turned parallel to our path, we continued, and inexplicably he then turned straight for us pinning us between him and the Marker. As it turned out there was only one person aboard the trawler and he was working aft on the nets. The 'helmsman' was moving the boat about randomly and our direction, if not our number, came up. Standing on the back of our boat I could have touched his boat as he passed behind us.
One thing we noticed on The Albemarle, as well as, on the Pungo was the common occurrence of pelicans. I don't have recent experience on the Pungo but 10 years ago they were a rare sight. In 10 years on the Albemarle I can only remember seeing one, but starting at Columbia, about 10 miles East of Edenton, they became quite a common sight. A most welcome development.
We traveled down the Pungo River across the Pamlico River up Goose Greek and then through the Hobucken Canal to the Bay River and out of there to the Neuse River and eventually Oriental NC (which is frequently described as the sailing capital of the East Coast). This was our third day on the intercoastal waterway and we have not seen another boat of any type heading South. Many boats heading North, none South. I guess we always go in the wrong direction. During the whole trip we had not encountered any sailing wind at all until we came out of the Hobucken canal into the Bay River where we had winds of 10-15 on our beam. Finally the sails go up (for the first time) and the mud dobber nests come raining down. Sadly the wind dies to nothing in less than a half an hour and it is back to the motor. The next time we see wind is in the entrance channel to Oriental where, of course, it is unwelcome. The only boat of note seen during this day was nearly identical to the one I mentioned earlier, the one with two masts of identical height and a spreader of equal width to mast height. This boat also had masts of equal height but the only spreaders where about a foot long, two feet below mast top.
The Hobucken Canal like the Pungo-Alligator canal used to be unpleasant because of the presence of a swing bridge in the narrow canal that only opened every half hour. Trying to keep a sailboat in place with a current sweeping by, wind blowing and other boats maneuvering nearby is no ones idea of fun. Now that both bridges are gone the only barrier between Albemarle Sound and Pamlico Sound is the Alligator River swing bridge which opens on demand and has plenty of maneuvering room. No problem. With the newly opened high bridge at Edenton which opens easy access to the wide and deep Chowan River on the western end of the Albemarle, cruising waters are now open on the Albemarle, 100 miles east to west and 180 miles north to south from Elizabeth City on the upper Pasquotank to Swansboro.
When we first came into the Oriental Marina we had a 38' Maine Lobster Boat tied up next to us. It was being taken North from Florida to Maine by a couple as a favor to a friend. Sort of like taking "Coals to Newcastle". An impressive boat all around but the couple themselves own a Lobster boat which at 48' would really be something worth seeing. This boat was later replaced by a Grand Banks Fast Trawler an attempt by Grand Banks at competing with the very popular Hinkely Picnic Boat. It had much the same look as the Picnic Boat but was not nearly as graceful in appearance.
We hope to leave tomorrow for Beaufort NC weather permitting (but that looks grim).
Best boat name: on a Manta 42 Sailing Catamaran, which really can "fly",
with the T in a script facsimile of the bird itself.
Carl on Spindrift
Longitude: 76 39.887
Our 4th day on the intercoastal and still the only boat heading South. We left Oriental at 10:15 AM and were docked at the Beaufort Docks at 2:00 PM. Prior to leaving we spent a lot of time meditating on our situation in life at the moment. We were in a slip roughly pointed East, 50 feet North of us was a concrete breakwater, South was the way out and the wind was blowing South to North (Of Course). Fifty feet is not enough distance to back and stop and move forward into a contrary wind. Directly behind us, that is west, is a public dock about 70 feet away, however a boat tied up along its side reduced the distance to about 60 feet and shortly before we were to leave another boat rafted up along side the first boat making that direction also impossible. The only way out was South going backwards until the public dock was cleared than executing a 'script V' maneuver to the West, going into it backwards and coming out of it forward. Which was executed flawlessly. Someone even said over the radio "Nicely done Spindrift". Shortly thereafter our good friend Chuck Bland on 'Loon', a Pearson 40 in a nearby marina, called on the radio. (He had been visiting earlier and knew we were in a tight spot.)
Chuck:" I heard the radio message I assume Kay was at the helm..."
Chuck: "and you were down in the cabin."
(Carl: "Heartless Calumny. I was up on deck glaring at any piling with the termidity to approach us.")
Chuck is not the only one that shares the view that I am not the prime weight carrier on the boat. Before we left, I was standing with several friends at the marina and another friend and his wife walked up. The friend was caring a boat brush and held it out to me saying at the same time "Carl, do me a favor, hold this for a second". Upon my cooperation, he said, "My God it does fit your hand after all."
From Oriental to Beaufort you cross the Neuse River to Adams Creek and then to the Adams Creek Canal. From whence you enter the Newport River and then under the high bridge into the Morehead Turning Basin and around Radio Island to Taylor Creek and Beaufort. The only tricky part is the Newport River, wide and mostly shallow, and, dotted with a bewildering assortment of markers guiding the boater through various intersecting channels. We made it through, possibly for the first time, without even the slightest misadventure. Upon entering the turning basin, we belatedly remembered that we had said in the past that we never wanted to be there on a Saturday or Sunday. Talk about boating Chaos, dozens, possibly hundreds of boats, seemingly heading in every conceivable random direction, made navigation a challenge. None-the-less, we made it to the Beaufort Docks in a freshening breeze (Of Course) and prepared to enter an inside slip. Beaufort Docks, as usual, sent a couple of dock hands to help us dock, but, unfortunately , at the same time as we were attempting to dock, a 65 foot sailboat, with an apparent death wish, decided to attempt a docking on the adjacent face dock. He came in at what would be for us maximum speed with a head sail flying shouting "I do not have a reverse." This, naturally, acted as a magnet for every available dock hand including, mostly, ours. The first docking attempt, theirs not ours, could best be described as a grazing collision followed by a less than graceful escape. The dock hands, while this was occurring, were shouting useful instructions to he captain, none of which could be repeated here. On the second attempt he came in again much too fast, but, at least without the head sail. It was quite a sight to see a half a dozen dock hands grabbing lines and running down the docks holding them high and leaping so that the lines cleared the piling tops. They were trying to outrace the boat to the far end of the dock where they would (and did) make them fast slamming the boat into the dock port side to. Quite a crash. What really blew my mind is that he left after a couple of hours. Meanwhile we were safely docked and enjoying the show.
We were pleased when Bill and Marci Byrd, having read that we would be here in the last message , joined us Saturday night. Fortunately they arrived at slack tide since we had forgotten to bring a boarding ladder necessary for boarding the boat at or near high tide. (We have several, since we always forget to bring them; this time I could not find one to buy.) Effectively we are trapped on (or off) the boat six to seven hours a day.
On the trip yesterday we saw what has to be the strangest sailboat I, or probably anyone else, have ever seen. I have attached a 'thumbnail' and the full sized image can be found at http://CarlAdler.org/Image07.jpg . Notice the large larboard. If anyone can tell me the purpose of the 'Ferris Wheel" I would be most grateful.
Looking around the Beaufort Docks I see that all the other boats have their mosquito screens in place. When we bought Spindrift we had screens made for every opening. We have never used them. No matter how bad the mosquitos they never bother Kay or I. I am convinced that it is because we both eat lots of garlic and I mean lots of it. Don't believe it...where do you think the legend that garlic repels vampires comes from?
(Now if only I could find something to eat that repels biting flies?)
Boat names (a study in contrast)
On a Power Yacht: "Good Sheppard"
On a dark hulled Sail Boat: "Dark and Stormy"
Carl on Spindrift
Latitude: 35 31.750'
Longitude 76 37.327'
Pantego Creek at anchor off Belhaven
We were supposed to leave Beaufort yesterday (Tuesday), but, alas, the winds presented a challenge we were not willing to stand up to, sad to report. When we arrived on Saturday we were preceded by the arrival of a large sailing club, and consequently ended up in a slip normally reserved for more maneuverable motor boats, or perhaps more maneuverable senior citizens. To back out to the left was impossible because of the concrete wall less than a boat length away, and to go straight back and execute a left turn was not much better owing to a overlong power catamaran less than 50 feet behind. So the only option was to back out to the right between the narrow line of berthed boats on each side and execute a hard right at the end to extract ourselves. That is, we had to back east and then North in a 20 knot North wind without running into a piling, boat or person and reducing them or us to floatsam . We both generously allowed the other the honor of the attempt but both of us politely demurred not wishing to deprive the other of the honor. So rather than leave we suffered another day by drinking beer and eating oyster burgers. (Not to mention reading an entire book each.)
Our plan was to leave this morning at around 6:00 AM. I awoke at 5:30 AM to Thunder and Lightning and ...WIND! Drats! By 7:30 the thunder was gone and the lightning was gone and "the wind done gone"
( with apologies to the author of the book we will probably never have the chance to read); shortly thereafter we were also done gone.
During our stay in Beaufort, besides overeating and generally over indulging in anything sixtyish aged people can still enjoy overindulging in, we saw or learned several interesting things. The highlight of a trip to Beaufort is always a shopping trip to the 'Pak and Sav', using one of the three free marina loaner cars. The one I enjoyed most is the one without a floor we were given a couple of years ago. Kept you on your toes, so to speak. Then, of course, there is the one that has a broken fuel gauge that always reads empty (and you have no clue nor does anyone else). This time we got an ancient pontiac station wagon with a bashed in back and a drivers window which could not be closed. Pretty lucky I guess. We did an extensive shopping excursion, Kay at the aforementioned 'Pak and Sak', and I at the ABC store. Returning to the boat with dozens of bags, I devised the plan to save time and trouble by dropping all the bags, not containing glass, through the front hatch. What did I learn from said experiment? The answer is simple, if you drop a dozen eggs in a standard egg carton 7 feet onto a cabin sole only 1 in 3 survives intact.
The weather today should have been great. Basically 10-15 from the North switching to 10 from the East midmorning and clearing. Regrettably midmorning turned out to be 5:00 PM and we spent all day motoring North into 15 knot winds and waves at 65 degrees ambient temperature. Still we covered, according to the speed log, 69.1 nm in 5 minutes under 10 hours, not too bad. As I write this Kay is using the grill to cook a rack of lamb to be served with new potatoes and, for a green vegetable, Greaves mint jelly with genuine mint leaves, which all goes to prove you have to suffer to cruise.
We will leave today for the Alligator River marina near Albemarle sound. We leave with regret because we have learned that our friends, David and Audri Watkins will be here tomorrow on their trawler CiDiDa (sp?). We have to be back in Greenville on Monday for an important appointment and I want to leave a 'cushion' for picking the right day for the Albemarle. We have turned our boat over so that the mast was under water, I have been washed out of the cockpit (with lifeline attached, thankfully) midway between Bermuda and our coast, but the only time we have really been scarred on a sailboat was once in the mouth of the Alligator River and we will pass on that this time if we can.
Some more on Beaufort:
(I have attached a picture of Spindrift in her slip at Beaufort for those who have not seen her.)
While there we saw what for us was a great looking sailboat. The boats name was 'Columbine', I wonder if by coincidence or tribute? The emblem was a 'Y' with a 'V' in the crook of the 'Y' and a star in the 'V'. I hope someone can identify it for us. Also, I have attached a picture of a motor sailor (?) we passed on the Pungo River yesterday. I really liked it and tried unsuccessfully to contact them to find out its make/model. Can anyone identify it? (Note: that it trails its dinghy backwards.)
Neat Boat Names:
On a Trawler going by, "Pride", which, while not notable in itself, would have been so, if they had the foresight to name their dinghy "Fall". Opportunity lost!
On a motor yacht that looked as a cross between a sleek yacht in front and a condominium in back, a name to make you think "Summer Snow".
And possibly our favorite sailboat name ever "Rhumboogie", a Rhumb line being a straight line course between too points on a standard chart. Cute.
Carl on Spindrift
ps: In my last msg. I used the term 'larboard' when I should have used 'leeboard', it was in reference to the very strange looking boat whose picture I attached. As fate would have it, one of the people receiving the message has been on the boat and even wrote an article about it.
Now several of you expressed opinions about the 'Ferris Wheel' on the boat, the most popular of which was that it was for very large squirrels. The true story is stranger. The boat is evidently a Dutch Canal Boat:
" I believe this is the barge we saw at St. Mikes a couple years ago.
They travel up and down the east coast (don't know their limits) and
put on theatrical productions. As I remember, they originate out of
Canada. The time we saw them, I believe they were putting on
something written by Farley Mowatt. The ferris wheel would be part
of the production backdrops etc. - nothing to do with the operation
of the barge"
" If you think it's odd on the outside, you should see the interior,
which looks like something from a middle Eastern nomad's tent"
Alligator River Marina
We left Pantego Creek at 8:00 AM yesterday. Pantego Creek was a good place to anchor, great holding for anchoring and quite pretty, especially at night. We were encouraged to use it by Skipper Bob's "Anchorages along the Intercoastal Waterway". We have many books of this type but this is by far the most useful. Further most of the information is current. If we had the latest edition when we were going South we would not have made the mistake of anchoring at Pungo Creek, since the 2001 edition (which we now have) notes the extraordinary number of crab pots present there.
The boat in the slip next to us at the Alligator River Marina, a Hunter 36 with a dog aboard, named, what else, Hunter, also was anchored in Pantego Creek Wednesday night. The boat Summer Snow, the large and somewhat different looking boat that was near us at Beaufort, also is here (picture attached). The stern has been modified by the owners which explains why it looks like two different boats joined in the middle . The unusual name was inspired by their home in Colorado.
Despite the fact that yesterday's winds were supposed to be from the Southeast and, in fact, were at most locations in Eastern NC, the winds at the Alligator River were from the North (7-12 mph) which meant several more hours of motoring into the wind. I do not believe that the NOAA weather forecasts have been correct for a single day on this trip. This is hardly news as it is usually the situation. On a trip long ago, when we were constantly being frustrated (deluged,battered,swamped,...) because of highly inaccurate forecasts, putting into Cape Lookout from the ocean we came upon a NOAA boat coming out. Kay wanted me to go over to them so she could throw stones at them. Fortunately, stones are hard to come by on a sailboat. I should not complain about the adverse wind,we were lucky. Another sailboat coming out of the Alligator River-Pungo Canal at about the same time broke its prop on a floating log and had to be towed 20 miles to the Marina. Talk about spoiling your day. I am sure when the owner named the boat 'Serendipity' he had another meaning of the word in mind. Later that day the Coast Guard dragged in the 'log'; it turned out to be a tree complete with root system.
When we entered the canal going North yesterday we faced the same situation that we faced when we entered it a week and a half ago going South, a tug and barges at the most critical point of access. Access at both ends is a bit tricky and it is not where you want to meet a barge. But other than the beginning, the trip was uneventful, with very little traffic either way. A few of boats were large yachts and being passed by them in a narrow canal with stumps along the edges is always a 'wake me up' experience (picture attached) but really not a problem. We made the 20 statute miles in 2 and 1/2 hours for an average of 8 mph, not bad for a 33 foot sailboat with an 18 HP motor.
While we were in Beaufort there was a constant movement in an out of large yachts (~100 ft) on a daily basis. Typically they all had a Captain, some crew, and a owner in his 60s plus, usually, a young blonde lady who I always assumed was a daughter or granddaughter of the owner. But now I am not so sure, one showed up here last night and its name was 'Trysting Place Too'. My faith in human nature trembles as I contemplate the implications. I did always wonder why all daughters on large yachts were blonde?
Latitude: 36 03.460'
Longitude: 76 37.436'
Yesterday started well, but certainly ended unpredictably. We were the last boat to leave the Alligator River Marina and thus the focus of all spectators. We executed a perfect extraction and departure thanks mostly to Kay ignoring my shouted instructions. (Not a small accomplishment, at that particular marina we have witnessed many fights between husband and wife trying to get their boat out of the slip, including one that was so intense that they pulled over to the side to continue it, leading to the wife leaving.) When the Hunter 36 left before us, the wife was at the helm and the husband assumed the glaring at pilings position. He also shouted instructions which his wife with equanimity ignored. They also had an easy exit; I sense a trend here.
The mouth of the Alligator was placid, a first for us. After we cleared the several billion crab pots in and around the entrance, the wind came up and we decided to raise sails, a novelty for us on this trip. Somehow I managed to get the main halyard tangled around the steaming light on the front of the mast at the first spreaders and the "Lazy Jacks" attachment on the side of the mast just below the second spreaders.It took about an hour to get everything unentangled and the sails up, just in time for the wind to die. I was so aggravated after all the struggle, that I was going to sail even if there was no damn wind. We sat there for a hour and a half gently rocking back and forth when happily the wind came up (and up and up...) We 'flew' up the Albemarle at 6-6.5 knots and later 6.5-7 and then 7-7.5 and finally we hit 8. It was a great sail but I was getting worried, the forecast for the day (that is, yesterday) was 10-15 from the South and for the next day (Saturday) 15-20 from the SW, the winds were already 15-20 from the SW and what would tomorrow bring?. Our plans were to pull into the Scuppernong River off Bull Bay near Columbia and anchor there, to be joined by friends the next day (that is today). We had to drop our sails to head into Bull Bay and as we did the wind built and now was in the 20-25 mph range and when a gust hit 32 we said enough, and turned around for Edenton. We had to be back in Edenton no later than Sunday and if this was supposed to be a good day what could we expect for Saturday and/or Sunday for which the forecast was not so good? So we returned home. Today (Saturday) I awoke to clear skys and no wind. Sometimes I wish that sailboats had stones after all.
Carl on Spindrift ( 12 days and 351.2 nautical miles later)
(Hopefully we can have more fun in the Fall if other obligations can be met.)