Friday, November 6, 2009

Mother Nature Giveth and Mother Nature Taketh...

We awoke bright and early yesterday morning to the most glorious sight - the sun was just cresting the horizon, a hazy fog was seeping up from the waters of Broad Creek and the vegetation along the creek banks was silvery as if covered in frost.

Yes it was 6:00 AM (that is in the morning!!) and yes it was really, really cold out (witness the frost) but somehow the beauty of the morning made up for all that - almost made up for it Doug just chimed in!! Not being sure what exactly was taking our breath away (the beauty surrounding us or the friggin' cold), we opted to think it was the scenery - that's us, always looking on the positive side of things!!! Seriously though, there is something about nature first thing in the morning when everything around you is just starting to stir that is truly special - yesterday morning was one of those spellbinding mornings when you realize that you alone are privileged to be witnessing such an amazing scene. Gradually the birds, fish and creek critters started to wake and we heard the normal creek sounds intrude - but for those few precious moments we had the stillness and beauty all to ourselves.

And then it was time to haul anchor and move our butts out onto the waterways to head south.
Pulling Anchor in Broad Creek
We crossed the Albemarle Sound before the winds had a chance to kick up much of a sea although towards the end of the crossing, things were starting to get interesting. Glad we got an early start!! There was much radio chatter regarding a tricky spot heading into the Alligator River across the Sound where a number of boats had recently gone aground - not really sure how since we never saw less than 9 feet the whole way, unless they weren't paying attention to the markers which you really do need to watch out for since they zig zag you through the tight spot. We approached the Alligator River Swing Bridge well behind two sailboats (they had started across the Sound well before us and we were catching them - no they didn't pass us!!) but the bridge tender was very cool and held the bridge for us to catch up.
Alligator River Bridge Closes After We Pass Through
We told him we gave it everything (all 9 knots Gypsies had!) and really appreciated the hold - although I'm sure the trucks, buses and cars waiting on the bridge were not all that happy!! There were a whole group of seagulls, terns and pelicans sitting on the bridge to greet us as we went through - what a great welcome!!
Birds on the Aligator River Bridge

The long stretch down the Alligator River was relatively uneventful except we did catch and pass those two sailboats - whew!! Oh yeah and we had two fighter jets doing loops around us for kicks I guess - just when I thought they were gone, the sonic boom would reach me letting me know they had circled around in back of us. Guess those shorts will need to be laundered - Doug got a couple great shots of them so now I guess they'll be after us in earnest!!
Fighter Jet Buzzes Gypsies' Tower
We then headed into the very narrow 20 mile stretch of the Alligator River/Pungo River Canal being trailed by about 9 or 10 power boats. Now you have to understand that this is a really narrow stretch of water with tree stumps, logs, fallen trees and deadheads lining each side of the bank - not a great place for two large boats to be side by side!!
Alligator River - Pungo River Canal
One by one they seemed to catch up to us and wanted to pass - most did it the right way with a call on the radio and a slow pass, although one just laid on his horn and passed within about a foot of us (butthead!!) But each time one of them wanted to pass, we had to slow down so they could give us a slow pass and not wake us - tired of this about mid-canal, I just called out and told the rest of them to pass us now while I had slowed down or forever hold their peace. Several boats as well as a couple seagulls took me up on the offer!! OK we don't go too fast but we go in comfort!! As always we had some fun radio conversations with several of them and hope our paths cross again down the waterways! One boat even asked if there was someone named Snake aboard (had he seen Doug's hair??) - if you're a true Parrothead, you'll understand the reference...

About an hour away from the end of the Canal, the wind started to really pick up and the sun started to fade, so what had started as a beautiful day on the water rapidly became not as much fun. By the time we reached the Pungo River, we had an all out gale going but we still had about an hour and a half to go to get to Belhaven. With my contacts plastered to my eyeballs from the wind, we donned yet another sweatshirt and made the best of it - we had Scotty, Kenny and the Barefoot Man blaring from our ipod so we were thinking sun even if we weren't feeling it!! After watching boat after boat pull off into Dowry Creek Marina, we finally reached Belhaven only to realize that with the howling NW winds racing down the channel, our thoughts of anchoring there didn't look so good anymore. We didn't relish a night of waves slamming into the bow making the inside of the boat sound like a bowling alley nor the evening of anxiety high winds create. So we decided to forego Belhaven and try around the corner in Pungo Creek - voila, once we got up into the creek and tucked up against the northern shore, the trees blocked most of the wind and we dropped the hook for a relatively peaceful evening. It was pizza night so Doug was a happy boy!!
Puss and Boots are Happy the Day is Over

This morning we woke to a bright and sunny day - but boy is it cold!!! I got up with the boat kitties early to check the weather but soon crawled back under the covers along with Bootsie!! The wind was still kicking out on the Pamlico and Neuse Rivers which we have to cross to get to our next destination (20-25 knots) - neither of those bodies of water do you really want to cross with that kind of wind. So once again thanks to Mother Nature we are having a "chill day" - the kitties LOVE her!! Although the wind has switched around to the N/NE and it has picked up somewhat in our anchorage, we are sitting tight and plan to spend a quiet, restful day. For tomorrow we head to Morehead City, NC to meet up with Rickshaw (Lynnie and Rick) and Tide Hiker (Vicki and Norm) to PARTY! We will have about a 70 mile run but we plan on getting up around 6:00 am and the weather forecast looks great, so we're keeping our fingers crossed for a nice day so we can be sipping a sundowner G&T with our friends by about 5:00 pm tomorrow!!!!

Click here to see our anchorage in Pungo Creek.

1 comment:

  1. At 5:00 we will look to the North, toast the six of you, and tip one ourselves.