Friday, July 20, 2007

Washington, NC to Pocomoke City, MD

We arrived in Washington, NC on July 4th and departed on the 10th. During that time we enjoyed visiting with daughter Kate, hubby Paul, and grandson Rondo the bulldog, in Greenville. Washington is a quaint little city, where the stores are open at the proprietors’ convenience! Everyone was friendly and laid back, and thought it would be good for us to move there. The city did put on a good fireworks display, but it didn’t come close to Jacksonville’s top notch display.

7/10/07 on to Dowry Creek Marina

We departed Washington at 8 am on a lazy hazy morning without Beth, the Swab. No, she did not abandon us, but did decide to stay in Greenville with her sister and check out some career options for that day when she does go back to work. Thunderstorms rolled through around lunch time and seemed to pass in front of us and behind us, so our timing was perfect. We turned back onto the ICW and headed for Dowry Creek Marina, just outside Belhaven, where we took on fuel, looked at the sky, and decided to stay at the marina for the night. The marina was really nice, very friendly and a great place to ride out the evening storms that rolled through. We did manage to get in a swim at the marina pool before the storms blew through. I liked the rocking chairs on the porch, the open-24-hours boaters’ lounge, the swimming pool and the great staff!

7/11/07 to South Lake Anchorage

From Dowry Creek Marina to South Lake anchorage though the straight and narrow Alligator – Pungo River Canal was an easy run. There was a boater-friendly dredge operator that helped us pass him by with ease. We then moved on to anchor in choppy waters at protected South Lake. We had the anchorage to ourselves and rocked a little with the evening storms. The anchor held and we slept well. Definitely a nice anchorage, especially when you need to wait out the weather before crossing the Albemarle Sound.

7/12/07 on to the hospitality of Elizabeth City

We pulled the anchor at South Lake and headed to Elizabeth City, Mariners Wharf on the other side of the Albemarle Sound. There were 1 to 3 foot waves with wind on the nose, which made for a challenging ride. As we approached Elizabeth City we received a radio call from Sam the volunteer dock master, who had been watching us come up the river. Sam was so helpful in getting us docked at the 48-hours-for-free face dock. Elizabeth City has to be one of the friendliest places to visit. It boasts of its’ hospitality and certainly more than exceeds expectations! We met Fred, the rose buddy, and shared some fun conversation with him. We enjoyed a fabulous pulled pork NC bar-b-que sandwich at the grill by the theatre, and then went into the theatre to see Harry Potter. What a nice evening.

7/13/07 day in the Dismal Swamp

We left Elizabeth City and headed for the Dismal Swamp Welcome Center. After passing though the bascule bridge, we enjoyed the cruise to the south lock and made it through without a hitch. At the lock we met Bill Ainsley, who was looking for the British ‘green’ boat. The green boat was behind us but didn’t make that lock opening. Anyway, we chatted with Bill, a rather friendly and interesting person, and learned some local history. He presented us with a picture of the Elizabeth City welcome sign, laminated with his name on it. How generous of him! The Dismal Swamp was absolutely beautiful, so peaceful and quiet, especially since we didn’t encounter any other boats. We pulled up to the Welcome Center and walked up to meet the staff. They were anxiously waiting to see the now infamous British green boat. The green boat arrived later that evening. We met the Brits and learned the story of their journeys. Barry was on point from the staff to take a picture of the green boat and send it to the Welcome Center staff. He’s completing that task here in Pocomoke City.

7/14/07 let’s meet the other Victory owners at Salt Pond Marina

We slipped away from the Welcome Center early enough to make the north lock at 11 am and went on to Salt Pond Marina. It was fascinating to see the huge vessels, both military and commercial, in the Norfolk waters. At Salt Pond Marina we met friends Rudy and Lori. Fortunately the whole family was there to walk the boat into a 17 foot slip that was really only about 16 feet 6 inches. Well, our beam is 16+ feet so the task required all 7 of us! We did make it in, stayed for two days and won’t try that again! There were two other Victory 35 cats there Navis Argo and Dessert First), just like ours. In fact, that’s what drew us there. Barry and Rudy met over the Internet and now we met in person. Rudy and Lori own one cat, while Ron and Debbie have the other one. All three boats were on the same dock. We shared experiences about our boats, such as how to fix or change this or that. The conversations were lively and the hospitality superb. We really enjoyed meeting everyone and had a great time! We’ll definitely be back. Oh, and we learned that Danny and Peggy waited out Floyd here for 7 days, and they’d suggested stopping here also.

7/16/07 the Chesapeake Bay and the Nassawadox River?

Tight slip, so we walked the boat out, which was much easier than getting in. Beach Cruiser headed to the Chesapeake Bay where we promptly put up the sails and enjoyed turning the engine off for the first time since Florida waters and headed northeast across the bay. We enjoyed sailing a good portion of the day until the skies started to turn gray and questionable. So in came the sails and we started to head for an anchorage in Hungars Creek. The ground came up to meet the keel, so hard aground we were. Barry used his expert skills to get us off the shoal that mysteriously appeared in the 7 foot waters of the middle of the channel. Needless to say, we abandoned that anchorage, pulled out the charts and quickly started to look for another, deeper anchorage. It was now getting late and storms were on the horizon. We ended up about one mile off the eastern shore near Nassawadox River where we anchored. It seemed like we were in the middle of the bay, which was quite an illusion. The waves rocked and rolled us all night long. So with little sleep we were up early and took off at 5:45 am for Pocomoke City, MD.

7/17/07 Pocomoke City here we come…

The channel was very tricky getting up the Pocomoke Sound, where we saw depths as low as 4.5 feet. We made it through and traveled up the Pocomoke River with plenty of depth. This is supposedly one of the deepest rivers for its width, in the world. Bob, Dora and Sailor were waiting at the city dock to help us tie up. We’re staying for 6 nights, the first two of which are free! We like free, especially when electric and water are included.

7/20/07 we are chill-axin…

We’re enjoying spending time with Bob, Dora and Sailor. Sailor now runs down the dock to our boat and happily hops aboard without hesitation. I think he thinks it’s his second home here in Pocomoke City. Well, yesterday the 5 (that includes Sailor) of us took 2 dinks up to Snow Hill, MD, to explore for the day. The river was breath-takingly gorgeous. We saw numerous bald eagles and in particular, one juvenile sitting in a tree. Snow Hill presented us with beautiful old homes on a walking tour, delicious crab cakes and refreshing ice cream. After dinking home, thunderstorms blew through within the next 30 minutes. We enjoyed a peaceful night at home.

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