Wednesday, October 14, 2009
Well, we're sitting in Belhaven waiting for some predicted high winds to pass by. So far, the prediction has been dead wrong as there is no wind at all right now, not the 20 to 25 knots predicted by NOAA. Once again, NOAA proves that their name means "I have NOAA idea what the weather will be."
It is raining a bit, and we have some chores ashore so we will wait a while and see what develops.
So far the trip has been interesting. The first day out we sailed from Port Haywood to Hospital Point in Portsmouth, VA. We had a great sail and the boat performed gloriously. We were able to do 5.5 to 6 knots on the mainsail alone. We had none of the rounding up problems that plagued us earlier. I guess the new skeg works.
The next day we motored up the Deep Creek channel to "Elizabeth's Dock" near the Deep Creek lock. We met some other boats there and all the crews had breakfast with the lock tender the next morning. See the picture of the other crews and us in the lock tender's house. The little boy's name is Morgan. Of course, we had to introduce the two Morgans to each other.
The following day we stopped at the NC visitor's center. We spent two nights on the dock there so we could finally explore the Dismal Swamp. We took a 6 mile bike ride, visited the museum and walked the boardwalk through the swamp. This is a popular stop on the ICW and at one point during our stay there were 10 boats rafted up on a dock that only holds 4.
Our next stop was Elizabeth City. The town dock was crowded when we arrived, but fortunately there is one slip that is too narrow for most other boats to use. Our 7'10" let us slide into the 9 foot slip easily. We stayed 3 nights to avoid the south winds on the Albermarle Sound. (Since we're heading south, a south wind would be right on the nose and we would have had to motor directly into the waves all day. Yuck!)
Once we headed out, we had a nice sail down the Pasquatank River. When we reached the sound the wind picked up and it got uncomfortable. By the time we reached the shoals at the mouth of the Aligator River, it had gotten to be too strong for our already reefed sail, so we took the sail down and motored through the shoals. As we rounded up to take the sail down, a big gust hit us and almost knocked us down. Bev was on deck and almost went for a swim! The boat has a high toe rail on the mid deck and it did its job and kept her dry. We made it through the shoals safely. Two other boats behind us were not so lucky and ran aground.
We had a pleasant night at anchor in South Lake, and another at Tuckahoe Point. Our next stop will be Oriental, as soon as we are sure of decent weather to make the crossing.
The cannon is from Blackbeard's ship, the Queen Ann's Revenge. It's in the Museum of the Albermarle in Elizabeth City. Bev's friends, the black bears, are in the Dismal Swamp Museum. The conch collection is kept by the lock tender at Deep Creek.
Note the picture of me explaining our new wood stove to Morgan.