Enjoyed two long travel days, leaving Bonner Bay to arrive at ANOTHER marsh-lined creek, just north of Coinjock, NC, about 3 miles into Virginia.
Sunday we enjoyed the sights along the Pungo and Alligator Rivers. All new scenery, as we’d bypassed this section in favor of a side trip to Roanoke Island in the fall. The 26 mile long Pungo-Alligator Canal is a man-made stretch that connects the two rivers and allows the ICW to continue. This one, is similar to others in that it is straight with a lovely collection of dead heads (tree stumps) lining both sides.
One has the feeling that all is well as long as there are none that you can’t see, hidden just below the water’s surface. Staying in the channel is the name of the game.
We carefully approached a fixed bridge that wasn’t built to 65′- must have been an off day for the architect? It is stated at 64′, but with certain high winds and tides the clearance can go as low as 62′! We need 63′: 60′ of boat and mast plus 3 feet of wind instruments, VHF and lightning system tube. The height board showed a tad over 64′- phew- and as usual I don’t look up. No point; it always looks like we will hit and I don’t need to race my heart unnecessarily!
Didn’t have much boat company; saw about 6 the entire day. So yes, we are ahead of the pack. Fall is a more condensed timetable than the Spring schedule; even the peak crowd wouldn’t be overwhelming.
Monday we transited Albemarle Sound, known for its foggy and often rough waters. Say what? Was a clear, calm crossing for Ortolan. This contrasted with the rainy, foggy one we had on the trip south, but only for a short while. The nice thing is that the sound is deep enough not to require a dredged channel, so you can take up whatever space you’d like and not have to worry. Our hopes for sailing across were dashed by the too light winds, although I took advantage of our perfect angle to the sun! A nice warm 80 degree day; amazing.
Throughout the day the Osprey nest sightings continued and you’d think that we had short-term memory loss the way we got so excited coming upon each one. The camera got a good work-out.
Most nests were very tall and birds could remain well hidden. A couple were only 3-4″ high and I suspected they were under construction given an Osprey was nearby.
Blackwater Creek was our selected home for the night. It had plenty of depth, except at the entrance. We’d read that when southerly winds blew, the depth would increase, but northerly winds could make the entrance closer to 5 feet. Not a problem for us, but even still I was happy to have southerly winds and we crossed the entrance with 6.4 feet under us. I did make note that when we left the next morning with less wind, that the depth was 5 ½ feet.
Was eerie to see tugs heading down the waterway, appearing to float on the marsh grasses, their barges barely in sight above the grass tops.