Sunday, January 13, 2008

11/14/2007 Starting the ICW - Mile Zero

We made our way past the Norfolk shipyards in a fog that wasn't thick enough to present a navigating problem but did shroud the shore. The Naval ships were quite impressive as they emerged from the fog. Soon the sun was shining and other boats began joining us making their way to mile zero and the start of the ICW . This particular boat was an older catamaran with her mast lashed to the deck. We discovered why one would do this as they slipped under the first bridge before it lifted.

By the time we reached the 1st bridge there was a group of boats waiting for the lift and we wound our way along the waterway to Great Bridge and the lock.
We had anticipated going through the lock, but not what we would do once we passed through. Boats ahead of us started pulling over and tied up before going under the bridge. We quickly decided to do the same once through the bridge. As I was hustling around to get lines ready and fenders over the side, a line slipped off one fender, it fell into the water and headed back where we came from. A single handler behind us scooped up our fender, and tossed it like a football to Bob as he sailed by! Hey, we saw him at last nights anchorage. He's rushing to meet his wife in Florida. Thanks Mark. The next morning we headed down the ICW with our group of 8 boats. Looked like a parade!
This part of the waterway began to have stumps along the bank that we had to keep an eye on.
We often saw fishermen along our route. These are retrieving their net.
Hunters pass us by. Looks like someone has a nice piece of driftwood.
We docked at Midway Marina in Coinjock. Several groups of hunters were staying at the motel and eating at the restaurant. That was about all there was in this spot. Did our usual laundry, took showers and headed out the next morning. One of our coldest mornings there was ice on the docks...brr, even the cats didn't want to get out from under the covers.
After you have been following a Waterway canal or creek it comes as a shock when you enter a bay, wide river, or sound. Albemarle Sound was intimidating as we made our way from marker to marker. The sound was a wide span of water but very shallow if you ventured off the channel. You had to really mind your markers. We were fortunate there wasn't a strong wind blowing what water we had out, so we made it across with no mishaps and anchored for the evening in Little Alligator Creek...thank goodness no alligators in sight but there was a visible wreck.
Hakuna Matata made her way from Alligator River to the Pungo River and then headed into Pantego Creek.
We anchored for a couple of days in Belhaven, NC harbor. Visited with friends and shopped in the hardware store where we bought a stick horse for grandson. Unbelievably helpful, friendly store...packaged and shipped horse to Connecticut. Restaurants have limited hours but food was good and plentiful at the Farm Boys stand just a short walk from town dock. We had the company of several boats as we left Belhaven on a sunny warm November day and entered the Pamlico River.

We entered the South River anchoring near the abandoned town of Lubken. Put the motor on the dinghy and went ashore to visit the old cemetery that could be seen from the water. Interesting old markers and a few more recent ones. It was being lovingly kept up.
We returned to the boat and made our way further up the river to a secure anchorage as we intended to spend Thanksgiving Day at this spot.

The day was exceptionally warm and we made sure we took full advantage of it by going ashore at a sandy beach and wiggling our toes in the sand.
Dolphins joined us in the river as we ate. Think they were having fish.
Unfortunately the weather turned bad and the next couple of days was a little rougher than we liked even at anchor and pretty chilly. Good thing we soaked up that sunshine. The first promising day we ventured back out past Oriental, NC and to Adams Creek Canal.

Just before the bridge we take a right...
to Moorehead Yacht Basin Marina.

From Moorehead City we enter Bogue Sound.
There seems to be a review stand of birds...o0h yes they are standing.
At mile 235 you enter an area that is occasionally closed due to manuevers at Camp Lejeune. Fortunately we made it through with no holdups. Then we begin to pace ourselves to make the opening of The Onslow Bridge. Along the way we encounter some shoaling at Browns Inlet and go aground. Somehow there's only about 2' of water at one spot and we find it. Spent some time trying to get off, success when Bob uses the dinghy to push the bow and we slip into good water. I'm at the helm and relieved to see Bob climb from dinghy back aboard. For days boats went aground in this area. At one time there were as many as 7 aground at one spot or another in this inlet. Wouldn't it be great if there was funding to do some dredge work!

Onslow Bridge opening for Hakuna Matata
There's a beach over there somewhere.
Anchorage for the evening in Mile Hammock Bay looking at an old navy landingcraft
We enjoyed a relaxing evening and a beautiful sunset before setting out again.
We're up for an early start the next morning as we ponder what lay ahead at the New River Inlet where boats were going aground regularly. We successfully navigated through it and took time to enjoy the interesting houses & trees along the shore as we moved on.

We made the Surf City bridge and headed for Harbour Village Marina as we had tackled enough of this shallow water stuff for one day.


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