We are very pleased to present the article below, authored by our good friends, Captains Chuck Baier and Susan Landry, owners of Beach House Publications, publishers of “The Great Book of Anchorages,” (http://www.tgboa.com). They provide a really in-depth look at the strategically placed, but navigationally challenging Little Alligator River Anchorage.
In fact, Little Alligator River is the northernmost AICW anchorage, short of the often choppy (read that as “downright rough”) Albemarle Sound. Of course, you can always choose to berth at Alligator River Marina, just north of the bridge (a. k. a. “Miss Wanda’s place), or, on the opposite banks, “South Lake” is a real possibility as well.
Many cruisers, however, make the same choice as Susan and Chuck and set their bows for Little Alligator River. Read the article below, and learn a LOT more about what you are likely to discover!
The Little Alligator River anchorage is an excellent spot to wait out weather for either crossing the Albemarle Sound or heading south on the Alligator River. Either of these can be very unpleasant if the winds are high and from the wrong direction. Turn east into the Little Alligator anywhere between red “10” to green “11” and you will find 10 or more feet of water at the entrance. One other thing that requires caution is the number of floats around the entrance and in the river itself. Although there are quite a few, there is also plenty of space to pass between the floats, but vigilance is required. Once inside the Little Alligator River, the floats disappear. We aren’t sure why this is, but we have seen this in several rivers in North Carolina.
We found the depths in the river to be about two feet deeper than charted. Keep in mind that winds can affect the depths in the Alligator River and all connecting waters. The depths we found may be the norm, but may not be what other boaters find. Using the chartplotter, follow the deeper water behind Sandy Point or the wider and deeper water past Mill Point if winds are out of the east. Wind protection from any direction can be found for boats of almost any draft under seven feet. Pull in towards the shore, based on protection needed and as far in as draft will allow. There are visible stumps in some areas and the remains of an old wreck to the south between the entrance and Mill Point. Continuing in the river past Mill Point is a wide, deeper basin south of Rock Point that gives all around protection.
Because there is the possibility of stumps and snags on the bottom all along the rivers of this area, a trip line on the anchor might be a good idea. This will be helpful to pull the anchor out in reverse if it becomes seriously snagged. Be sure the trip line is strong enough to take the strain of pulling the anchor loose and long enough to get it up on deck and attach it to the windlass or a winch. We found this to be an excellent anchorage and sat out several storms in complete comfort and security.
Chuck Baier and Susan Landry,
Trawler Beach House