Spent 3 nights in Elizabeth City, NC at the Jenerette Brothers restaurant supply business (free) bulkhead. It was right by the new bridge with a fair amount of construction noise during the day and traffic day and night but we slept well and, while waiting on the noreaster (which never really materialized for us) it was a good, secure place to be. Pam and John had a rental car and took us to see Edenton, NC, a truly beautiful, friendly small town. Most of the residents seem like northern transplants – but still friendly! Left Elizabeth City when the weather looked favorable for transversing the (notorious) Albemarle Sound. We got to see why its reputation is so deserved. Once again encountered lumpy, big seas on the beam driven by strong NW winds. Once again ran this way and that to make the ride more tolerable. Once again upset G but this time she got seasick. While the rough ride was only for an hour or so, we were dodging crab pots and all-in-all it made for an exciting time. We then got much smoother waters up the Alligator River and anchored in a place that looked immense. At night, it was pitch dark. Had a huge commercial tug come by at around 8:30 that head headlights which could be seen for miles. He appeared to be pulling a large piece of industrial equipment. Winds continued to blow NW thru the night but the hook held and we slept fairly well.
With Compass Rose, we had decided the night before to depart at daybreak (just before 6:30 a.m.) and try to make it to Oriental, NC (about 80 miles). The first 15 or so were thru the Alligator-Pungo Canal, a wide, straight body of water with no waves – also no alligators or Pungos (Native Americans? John L thinks probably). Also very little wildlife with one big exception – bears. We heard a radio call reporting a citing the day before and again when we were in the canal but never saw any. Thankfully smooth passage across the Pamlico River and later across the Pamlico Sound/Neuse River (a very notoriously rough place). Heard some boats talking that were getting ready to go off-shore to the BVI. We headed for the River Dunes Marina, not in Oriental but a beautiful new housing/marina development. We had read about this place in Coastal Living. It was begun in 2007 and has struggled but now had 35 houses – and they are trying to support a restaurant within the development. Apparentlyh, the quite successful marina has helped with that. Had dinner with Lovings and some other Kadey-Krogen people (“Muddy Waters”, Michael Sagway who just had a long article in Passagemeaker about he and his young family (2 kids under 12) spending 2 years cruising from Canada thru the Bahamas. Great dinner and great conversation.
Heard from our other BCYC pals that they would wait for us in a harbor by Camp Lejeune, NC (a marines base, I think). So once more, at 0 dark daybreak, we sat off. And once again, we were blessed with calm waters and no wind, plus it’s finally getting warmer! G may start a line of clothing for cruisers – PJs all day with large pink fluffy slippers topped off by a ball cap! Came by Beaufort, NC ( a beautiful smalltown) and encountered our first dolphins and first serious current. Our speed slowed by about ¼. Ran in this current for over an hour before we got back to our typical breakneck speed of about 8 mph. Beaufort inlet was chock-a-block with fisherman competing, it looked like, with dolphins and pelicans. Saw some large sailboats early in the day but in the Bogue Sound all were small, a couple with men on their own, having that weather beaten, been-in-the-sun look. Had dolphins briefly surfing in our wake.
Met up with our BCYC friends at around 4. One couple had gone to Wilmington but 2 were still here so we rafted up with them (the Yates and Kranzers). It was a wonderful truly joyful moment when we saw Quaich and Indy at anchor with fenders out waiting for us to come alongside. We hadn't seen them since they left in late October. We had been delayed by a hurricane, strong winds, and a noreaster but here we were, rouhgly 450 nautical miles from home seeing our pals. Karen broke out the champagne and a normal BCYC drinking and talking late day was begun. What a fabulous dinner and time we had! Too much food. Too much to drink. Too much fun. Oh well . . . Off for Wrightsville Beach tomorrow.