NC Crusing News – AICW, Alligator River to Pungo River (Statute Mile 65 to 145)
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Please Note That Postings Below From Fellow Cruisers Are Listed in Chronological Order, Based on Publication Date
Yellow Background Denotes Navigation Alert Postings
Deadheads (nauticalese for logs or stakes temporarily anchored to the bottom) can really ruin your whole day on the water, if they make contact with your underwater hardware! Pay close attention to the message below as deadheads are frequent in the canal, especially after flooding. A big thank you to Jim Healy for this warning from today’s Healy Report as Sanctuary makes way south. The Alligator River – Pungo River Canal is a 21-mile (33.8 km) man-made canal connecting the southern Alligator River with the northern Pungo River.
BE ADVISED that in the Alligator-Pungo Canal at approximately MM116-117, there is a LARGE DEADHEAD in almost the visual center of the canal. It is easy to spot, as it sticks up at least a foot above the water line. It appears to be the remains of a piling.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary
Monk 36 Hull #132
Experienced cruisers, Jim and Peg Healy, continue to generously share their observations and advice as they make their way south for the winter. Thank you Jim and Peg! Belhaven, A CRUISERS NET SPONSOR, sits on the northern shore of Pantego Creek which meets the western shoulder of the Waterway at Mile 135 south of the Alligator River – Pungo River Canal.
Today is Thursday 19/18, 05h15 hrs…
Sanctuary and crew transited the Dismal Swamp Canal from Chesapeake, VA to Elizabeth City, NC on Tuesday, 10/16. There is about a mile of duckweed in the canal south of the Deep Creek lock. South of the South Mills lock, there are several miles of duckweed across the canal. Our engine cooling water intake is about 30″ below the waterline, and we had no issues with the sea strainer.. AT THE FEEDER DITCH AND AGAIN IMMEDIATELY SOUTH OF THE SOUTH MILLS LOCK, THERE ARE POSTS PAINTED RED AND GREEN THAT MARK A NARROWED CHANNEL. HONOR THOSE POSTS. The canal carried at least 7′ of water, and we had zero bangs and bumps. We traveled with four other boats, and they made me the lead dog. The trick to avoid bangs and bump is to SPREAD OUT. Follow the boat in front of you by 1/2 to 3/2 mile, so if prop wash does bring something off the bottom, it has tome to settle back down before you get to it.
We traveled from Elizabeth City to Belhaven on Wednesday, 10/17. BE ADVISED that in the Alligator-Pungo Canal at approximately MM116-117, there is a LARGE DEADHEAD in almost the visual center of the canal. It is easy to spot, as it sticks up at least a foot above the water line. It appears to be the remains of a piling.
We’re staying on the Belhaven City Docks. They take reservations, but many treat this as first come first served. It is full tonight, but we did get our reserved space.
There is ample 30A power available all along the dock, and self-serve pumpout. This is an excellent option at $1.00/ft and $5.00 for electric.
Goal for today is Morehead City.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary, currently at Charlotte Harbor, Punta Gorda, FL
Monk 36 Hull #132
Dowry Creek Marina, longtime CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, lies off the AICW/Pungo River north of Belhaven, NC.
Our brief update on what happened, and our current status is below. The main point I wanted to express is that we have our piers open for business and started accepting boats, and our diesel pumps are operating so we are able to pump again. We will have gas by Monday. Our high speed pump is operating, so we can handle any size diesel-fueled boat, up to 120 feet with a 7 foot draft and up to 175 feet with a 6 foot draft. We are open from sunrise to sunset daily, and can fuel or dock boats in our marked and lit channel 24 hours a day if we get at least a 6 hour advance notice.
Located 4 miles north of Belhaven; Dowry Creek is Belhaven’s largest marina, and the largest on the Pungo River; with 73 boat slips and over 400 feet of deep water access face dock transient space. The decision was made three days prior to the storm hitting that the docks would be cleared of boats, to ensure both the safety of the boats as well as the integrity of the docks themselves. All boats were removed from the piers and either pullout out on trailers, pulled at the yards and put on stands, or driven up into Dowry Creek and further up into Hyde County along the Pungo, to anchor and ride out the storm.
During the storm, the marina piers were under 3 feet of water, along with most of the marina property to include the swimming pool, which for about 24 hours was turned into a wave pool with 1 ½ -2 foot waves crashing over the pool and on under the Clubhouse building. About 10-12 trees and large pier pilings plowed into the docks during the night, and 8 of them were still lodged in or on the piers when the sun came up in the morning as the hurricane was coming onto shore far to the south. When the water subsided, the staff was left with a huge cleanup across our 18 acres of marina. But the piers came out in very good shape, beaten but still mainly intact. All of the buildings and structures suffered little damage, and within 48 hours were cleaned and ready to open as the power was restored to the facility.
The convenience store, clubhouse and main pier opened for limited business on Wednesday, and to full operation on Thursday as power was restored to the pedestals on the piers. On Friday the marina diesel pumps were brought back on line, and Dowry Creek is now pumping diesel, which is hard to come by at this time anywhere else on the Pungo or Pamlico Rivers.
The Marina is fully open and receiving boats, although in a limited capacity over the next several weeks as the repairs are made to damaged sections of the pier. The high speed internet is 100% functional across the entire facility, laundry and clubhouse fully functional, diesel pumps in operation (and marine gas expected to be up and running by Sunday or Monday at the latest), and boat septic pump-outs back in operation.
In addition, Dowry Creek Marina also offers day passes, for boats that want to either anchor in Dowry Creek and come in by dinghy, or just pull in to the pier during the day for up to 5 or 6 hours between 9 am and 4 pm. For a small fee, boats not spending the night at the pier can use the internet, clubhouse, free laundry and showers, barbeque grills, and shuttle service to the Belhaven stores and restaurants for re-supply.
Dowry Creek Marina
110 Spinnaker Run Rd
Belhaven NC 27810
The Chartview opens to the entrance to the northern entrance to the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal where 3 anchorages are found off Tuckahoe, Bear and Deep Points. David has been referred to Cruisers’ Net’s Anchorage directory for the Alligator River, but if you have dropped the hook recently in that section, let us hear from you. Thank you!
Does anyone have updated information on anchorages on the Alligator River section of the AICW (Statute Mile 80 through 105)? I am especially looking for information in the middle third of this section (roughly half way between Coinjock and Belhaven). Thanks.
A CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR, Dowry Creek Marina, now under new management and ownership by The Zeltner family who want to “roll out the red carpet” to transients, doing whatever you might need during your visit to this highly praised and transient friendly marina lying off the AICW/Pungo River north of Belhaven, NC. Upon their retirement from shore life, the Zeltners went shopping for a trawler and ended up buying Dowry Creek Marina! Steve, Connie and their grown children, Teresa, Zac and Nicole will treat you like family!
CLICK HERE FOR A FINE ARTICLE ON DOWRY CREEK MARINA by Matt Debnam in the Washington Daily News
U.S. Coast Guard 5th District Mid-Atlantic
Contact: 5th District Public Affairs
Office: (757) 398-6272
After Hours: (757) 434-7712
5th District online newsroom
Coast Guard, others searching for person in Pungo River near Hobucken, NC
WILMINGTON, N.C. — The Coast Guard and other agencies are searching for a man in the Pungo River near Hobucken Thursday.
Watchstanders at Station Hobucken received a call at approximately 1:20 a.m. reporting a 21-foot TowBoatUS vessel had capsized while towing a 47-foot recreational boat near the Pungo River entrance.
A 45-year-old TowBoatUS captain was aboard the capsized vessel and is still missing. He was reported to be wearing coveralls, rubber boots and a lifejacket.
A 45-foot Response Boat-Medium crew launched from Station Hobucken and an MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter crew launched from Air Station Elizabeth City. Coast Guard crews are on scene searching along with North Carolina Wildlife and Beaufort County crews.
The one man aboard the recreational boat being towed was taken to shore by a North Carolina Wildlife crew to be evaluated by EMS.
“We’re working closely with our state and local partners,” said Cmdr. Matthew Moorlag, search and rescue mission coordinator for the case. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family as we continue to search.”
Our most recent report on clearance at Wilkerson Creek Bridge is from experienced tall-master, Rick Dammeyer, and dated 10/14, so update comments are needed. If you carry 64ft mast height and have passed under this bridge successfully (or not!?!), please let Bill hear from you.
Wondering about the height of the water at the Wilkerson Bridge and whether or not a boat with 64 ft mast will be able to get under the bridge.
Alligator River Marina was recently sold and its owner is retiring after many years of serving Waterway cruisers with delicious food and immaculate facilities. Ms. Wanda will be missed! Alligator River Marina lies on the western shore of the mouth of the Alligator River/AICW, just north of the swing bridge and southwest of flashing daybeacon #12. This facility provides the ONLY readily available dockage and fuel along the patch of the AICW between Coinjock, Elizabeth City and Dowry Creek/Belhaven! Here is a farewell thank you to all her cruising and boating friends:
Greetings to All ICW Travelers:
The Alligator River Marina is open for your fuel and docking needs. We will be transitioning to new management in the upcoming weeks due to my retirement. I appreciate your support and friendship all these years and wish for “ALL OF YOU smooth and happy sailing”.
God Bless each and every one of you and we look forward to seeing you soon.
March 15: Sadly, this estate sale of a fine owner-operated marina marks the end of an era. Owner, Wanda Pritchett, is beginning a well deserved retirement after establishing a reputation for personal, first-name-basis involvement with all visitors. Alligator River Marina lies on the western shore of the mouth of the Alligator River/AICW, just north of the swing bridge and southwest of flashing daybeacon #12. This facility provides the ONLY readily available dockage and fuel along the patch of the AICW between Coinjock, Elizabeth City and Dowry Creek/Belhaven! Our thanks to Tom Beaty for this notice.
Looks like Wanda is finally calling it quits and putting Alligator River Marina, the former ferry landing, up for sale. Bidding closes Tuesday April 4th. Act now!
Alligator Marina has been sold and new owners will take over in May.
In the meantime, Wanda wants to remind everyone that the marina is still open, accepting transients, selling fuel, etc. The marina is NOT CLOSED!
Tell Larry I just got a call from Alligator marina…new owners will not take over until end of May and it remains open to transients and is still selling fuel.
Evidently Wanda has seen erroneous postings elsewhere and wants all to know she is still in business.
As Bruce Franz relates and Ms Wanda confirms, dredging at Alligator River Marina has been completed and invitations are extended to Spring Migrators! ARM lies on the western shore of the mouth of the Alligator River/AICW, just north of the swing bridge and southwest of flashing daybeacon #12. This facility provides the ONLY readily available dockage and fuel along the patch of the AICW between Coinjock, Elizabeth City and Dowry Creek/Belhaven!
Yesterday, proof positive our cruising friend’s 50 ft Gulfstar with a 6 ft draft can enter/leave Alligator Marina and visit Ms Wanda.
s/v “Hemisphere Dancer”
Spoon River Restaurant has only been in business for two years and is open seven days a week. They are located just off the waterfront and are listed as:
Spoon River Artworks and Market
263 Pamlico St, Belhaven, NC ‘Ž
And their Facebook address is:
There are several opportunities for dockage near Spoon River: Belhaven Waterway Marina, Belhaven Town Dock and Belhaven/Pantego Creek Anchorage. Our thanks to Skipper Whitehead for reminding us of this excellent restaurant!
We had dinner at Spoon River last night and it was undoubtedly the best meal we have ever enjoyed. The menu choices and the food are excellent. The waitstaff are excellent and well trained. All in all a very pleasant evening. I would give them five stars!
Dowry Creek Marina is a fine family-owned and family-run marina that has received MANY laudatory reviews here on the Cruisers’ Net. This facility lies off the AICW/Pungo River, north of Belhaven. Our thanks to Phil and Sandy for their good words for A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!
Dowry Creek Marina, near Belhaven NC
Arrived at 3:45 a very long day, 7 hours. All are very tired. The crew did great, another windy cross wind type of docking, this time we had to get the stern line hooked and spring the bow into the dock. Got to fuel, pumpout and a grocery run they do have a loaner car.
The crew on the dock were great, got every thing we needed, ref the fuel, pumpout and docking. Iced up the cooler and ready for tomorrow. All the people are really friendly and want to help out in any way they can. I would like to stop in again.
Phil and Sandy Herl
Skipper McMillen is correct, the 10% BoatUS discount is on dockage and electric only, not on fuel. There is a volume discount on diesel. Our directory has been corrected: /?p=10480. River Forest Marina is located on the northeastern shores of Pantego Creek, just northwest of the creek’s breakwater enclosed entrance.
I stopped at River Forest for fuel yesterday and they informed me they do not give Boat US discount on fuel contrary to what is posted on the SSECN site. They do give such a discount on dockage and electricity. Just an FYI.
With the Alligator River Swing Bridge closed to navigation, several of our most experienced sailors have offered alternate routes to avoid the Alligator River portion of the Waterway. See /?p=147457 and /?p=147463. One of those stops along the alternate route is Manteo, home of Manteo Waterfront Marina, A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!
This video of Manteo’s entrance channel was sent to us by our friend and genuine “Old Salt” George Barr – you can trust his judgement! See George’s comments on this alternate route at /?p=147457.
With the frequent closures of the Alligator River Bridge, longtime contributors George Barr and Rick Brass offer alternatives to the Alligator River portion of the Waterway. Information on all the marinas mentioned below can be found on Cruisers’ Net’s Homepage under CRUISING NEWS AND REFERENCE DIRECTORIES – North Carolina. See /?p=147457 for more discussion of alternate routes.
To any northbound cruisers in the interim. The alternate route starts at Oriental ‘¦down the Neuse River and into the Pamlico Sound heading north.
Possible stops/marinas are Silver Lake in Ocracoke, Big Trout Marina in Englehard (45 miles from Oriental on the Western shore of the Pamlico), Manteo Waterfront Marina off Shallowbag Bay on Roanoke Island 45 miles from Big Trout’¦and then north through the Albemarle to Coinjock 35 miles away.
The passage is open and deep and has only one fully 65′ bridge and is 17 miles shorter than the ICW. Of course, weather must be considered as it is less protected. Hope this helps in the interim.
If northbound cruisers are on a schedule during the bridge repairs, and need an alternate route, I would suggest leaving the ICW at the crossing of the Pamlico River (at about SM 150) and swing east. You will go through Pamlico Sound, with potential stops in Engelhart on the west side of the sound and Manteo on Roanoke Island, and return to Albemarle Sound and the ICW on the north side of Roanoke Island. Manteo, BTW, is a nice cruising destination and well worth the trip.
If you have time to wait for the bridge to be repaired and are looking for an hospitable spot to wait and explore, swing west about 25 miles on the Pamlico River and visit the Washington Waterfront Docks. Easy access with deep water slips. A number of good restaurants and places to explore. A good place to provision, with West Marine and a number of parts suppliers and repair opportunities. And if you need a free slip without power and water (but with nice heads and showers, and laundry facilities for boaters) you can mention this post and I will waive the 48 hour limit on free dockage.
Washington Waterfront Docks
Well deserved praise for a fine owner-operated marina! Alligator River Marina lies on the western shore of the mouth of the Alligator River/AICW, just north of the swing bridge and southwest of flashing daybeacon #12. This facility provides the ONLY readily available dockage and fuel along the patch of the AICW between Coinjock, Elizabeth City and Dowry Creek/Belhaven!
We stayed at the Alligator River Marina in early October and found both the staff and the facilities to be great. We used their ramp to launch our 22 ft sailboat and stayed for two nights at the marina while sailing on the Alligator River and touring the nearby Alligator Wildlife Refuge. (We saw a mother black bear and two cubs playing in the road while in the Refuge.) Upon our arrival at the marina one of the staff members even assisted me in lifting our outboard motor onto its mount. Although we came prepared to cook meals on our boat the food and service at the marina grill was so good that we quickly changed plans. As long as they had extra slips they spaced the boats out in the marina so that we all had plenty of privacy. As noted by one of the other reviewers there was a beautiful moon out over the Alligator River on our first night there. Mrs. Wanda and the staff went out of their way to make our stay a pleasant one.
Philip & Genie Safriet ‘“ The Venture
One of the oldest and most beautifully located marinas in NC, River Forest Manor and Marina, under new ownership, will begin hotel and dock renovations in December after the Fall migration has ended. Until then, they do have fuel and transient slips. River Forest Marina is located on the northeastern shores of Pantego Creek, just northwest of the creek’s breakwater enclosed entrance.
River Forest Marina has been sold and is now River Forest Manor and Marina, #252-943-0030. They do sell fuel but are renovating the marina and hotel. They will start construction on the docks after the traffic goes through about December 15th. Their email is email@example.com.
River Forest Marina is still operating but only for boat services [including transient slips] and repairs.
And Dockmaster Henry Boyd provided more details:
Thanks for your phone call and email. On 10/23/2014, the historic River Forest Manor and Marina was purchased by a 10 member LLC with the purpose of renovating the existing facilities. Our first priority is the Marina building and docks. Construction began on 10/27/2014. We are upgrading the Marina dock house with a new exterior, including new windows and doors, new decking, renovating the bathrooms /showers, marina office, and adding laundry equipment. The main dock is operational, but upgrades will be added in the next several weeks. Both diesel fuel and gas are available now together with Wi-Fi and city water. Our gas is non-ethanol 89 octane. 30/50/ and 100 amp electrical service are available. Pump out should be operational by next week. Our goal is to provide excellent service and value for our guests. The 10 LLC members have a connection to Belhaven either by living here or are from here.Thus our reputation is on the line. Our new telephone number is 252-943-0030 and my cell is 252-943-1937. Call ahead for fuel pricing, We want to be competitive. Current dockage is $1.50 a foot. Long term dockage will be available soon, once renovations are complete to our second dock.
As a further note, Belhaven is the birthplace of the Intercoastal waterway. (see your article: /belhaven ). This past September was the 86th anniversary. Belhaven has had an annual celebration beginning last year with plans to commemorate annually.
Our thanks to Skipper Dammeyer for sharing his experiences and advice with these two bridges in reference to an earlier report, /?p=125800. Wilkerson Creek Bridge, at Statute Mile 126, is generally accepted to be only 64ft and SSECN has recommended a low wind water level for vessels needing the full 65ft clearance. Fairfield Bridge with a vertical clearance of 65ft crosses the ICW at Statute Mile 114, west of the charted Fairfield Canal.
We passed under the Fairfield and Wilkerson bridges yesterday Sept. 29 and dragged our antennas under both. This is our third trip South on the ICW with our Catalina 445, with air draft of theoretical 63′ 10’³. We did several tricks to heel the boat over and didn’t do any damage. There are no bridge boards at Fairfield and Wilkerson was reading just below the middle of 64. We did not expect to touch Fairfield, but were prepared to heal at Wilkerson. Water levels are high right now so know your air draft and be cautious.
And this Facebook local knowledge comment from Skipper Friedrich:
There is no lunar tide in this area, so you cannot plan ahead for low water here. The wind tide can be a foot or more. We have experienced high water here in Belhaven for several weeks.
As we have said many times, it’s always good to hear good things about Miss Wanda and her crew! Alligator River Marina lies on the western shore of the mouth of the Alligator River/AICW, just north of the swing bridge and southwest of flashing daybeacon #12. This facility provides the ONLY readily available dockage and fuel along the patch of the AICW between Coinjock, Elizabeth City and Dowry Creek/Belhaven!
We stayed in Alligator River Marina for the first time June 11 and 12, 2014. The entrance is well marked. The 17 or so individual docks are on starboard as you enter. The first few are longer and have four posts on each side. The smaller docks are further in and have three posts on each side. Most of the posts have cleats on them. The bulkhead is supported by a line or rip-rap so be careful backing in. The piers are about 25 feet long. The rest of the marina has alongside tie-up with ample power stations.
A slender man named Logan came to greet us and help with our lines. I could hear the hospitality in his southern drawl. He was knowledgeable about clove-hiches and spring lines.
We met Wanda in the restaurant and she was sweet as southern tea to us. She told of the recent death of a local favorite alligator called ‘˜Cheeseburger’. He had wandered onto the highway one night and was hit by a passing car. Pictures on the wall of the restaurant tell the story of him and the many black bears that live nearby.
They have free Wi-Fi but we never used it. We did use the roomy boater’s lounge with Dish TV. The restrooms, washers/dryers are in the same house north of the boat ramp.
I loved watching the moonrise at the end of the long pier that looks over the river.
We recommend this marina and hope to get back in the fall.
On our way North this spring we attempted to anchor in the alligator river but the wind was too strong and getting stronger ‘“ the radio was busy with boaters looking for alternatives ‘“ we hailed the marina and were told there was plenty of room with a side too tie up we requested. The marina is very sheltered and well taken care of ‘“ Wanda is great ‘“ and for all those who still like good old fashioned marketing and customer service I got a card from Wanda thanking me for using the marina!!!!
Wells Moore `Flying Corgi’