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Archive For: NC5 – Alligator River to Pungo River

  • Response to Recent Grounding in N. Alligator River, AICW Statute Mile 81

    Talk about a lesson in hard knocks! And kudos to Jerry for owning up and sharing his experience with all of us! Like so many spots along the east coast, a little research done on your float plan can save you big hassles down the way. The northern entrance to the Alligator River demands our attention and respect, as Jerry’s experience proves.

    I’m the Eastbay that made the mistake of relying upon the magenta line and thought I’d offer some reflections, in hopes of helping others.I sincerely wish I had known of this site [Cruisers’ Net] and will do a LOT more research in the future, including spending hours of bandwith here. I am relatively new to cruising and unfortunately believed (ignorantly so) that I could rely on current charts. I guess my many years of flying taught me to religiously count on them, especially when they are current. Nuff said and believe me, it won’t happen again.
    My approach speed was closer to 18 kts right before entering the dog leg past the green 9. I slowed to about 15 entering the turn (NE) when the ground started coming up. There were no boats ahead of me to notice any other course.
    The depth finder said 5′ (below the hull) and then 3 so I immediately shut down the props to idle. There was a large hit, but not really a grounding. I heard a “metal on metal” sound. We were completely stopped but floating (albeit just barely). I could feel the keel bouncing on a hard surface as the chop ran by.
    My starboard engine was all that was affected and appears to have taken the full hit; pulling the engine off it’s mount and slightly moving the strut. There is no damage, not even a scratch, to the hull. The starboard prop and shaft were moved 8-10″ aft and the prop was impacting the rudder… possibly the “metal on metal” sound. The port engine, strut, prop and shaft were fine.
    A couple of boats came by, about 100 yds east of my location, both going from green 9 to green 7 and said they were in good water. I was facing due east at the time as the tide and chop continued to rotate me about a point. It was clear the starboard prop was hung up on something hard.
    Using the port engine and bow thruster, I was able to slowly continue to rotate (until facing due west) and back off whatever the starboard prop was sitting on, eventually getting to the line between the green 9 and green 7, which is the preferred course.
    We motored to the Alligator Marina (nice people who know quite well what the problem area is… saying they see 2-3 every month) and the next morning was able to get it to a marina for repairs. At present, I have no estimate for repairs but am confident it’ll be a lot less than $50k, but in any event. it was clearly my fault for not researching the area more.
    I guess I just wanted to weigh in and admit my error and at the same time, correct the rumors which do seem to get a bit out of hand.
    Finally, it seems like even in this period of “no money Corps” that the preferred course on charts and chartplotters could be simply adjusted for these kinds of areas when it’s apparently been known for a long time that a problem with a magenta line exists. I realize they don’t have funds to dredge, but it doesn’t seem like changing charts would be difficult since the cost is ours when we buy updates.
    Well, while I was a pilot, we used to say there were only two kinds, “those who have landed gear up; and those who have yet to..” I guess the same goes for boating and I’m now in the former.
    Cheers, Skipper Jerry

    Click Here For Recent Comments On This Problem Stretch

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Stretches” Listing For Northern Alligator River

  • Reminder: High Winds Will Close Alligator River Bridge, AICW Statute Mile 84

    Our NC Bridge Directory states that Alligator River Bridge will not open when winds were 40kts or more, but when I spoke with the bridge tender today, he said that even gusts of 35kts will keep the bridge closed. Several years ago, my family and I were held up for three days in Elizabeth City (not a bad thing!) waiting for the winds to subside enough to allow the bridge to open. Just another part of the adventure! Alligator River Bridge has a closed vertical clearance of 14ft.

    The Alligator River Bridge stopped opening due to high winds…so we anchored in sheltered area till the winds dropped.
    Mary Kathryn

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Bridge Directory Listing For Alligator River Bridge

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of

  • Northern Alligator River/AICW Anchorages (neat Statute Mile 82 and 98)

    The following question appeared on the MTOA List-Serve:

    Does anyone have any information about Frying Pan Landing? From the air it looks like a nice anchorage half way between Coinjock and Belhaven.
    Jim Powell

    Here is my reply to Captain Powell:
    Good Morning Captain Powell:
    I have been researching the Frying Pan Landing anchorages for almost thirty years now, and I can pass along some fairly reliable info.
    First, the incoming channel is unmarked. Do NOT attempt this passage unless you have a well functioning GPS chartplotter aboard, and be SURE to make your approach during fair weather and times of good visibility. As you can tell this is NOT a navigationally simple anchorage to enter.
    If you do make the attempt, use your chartplotter to cruise between the charted shoals. Watch for any number of stumps and snags which will be visible above the waterline. Stay well away from these hazards.
    Eventually, you will make a turn to the north, and actually enter the channel leading to the Frying Pan, which will soon turn west again.
    Note that you can NOT actually cruise into the Frying Pan. There is a stretch of VERY shallow water between the entrance and the large bay-like “Frying Pan.” However, there are several anchorage possibilities between the entrance channel’s westward turn and the shallow stretch. Follow this link for more info!

    Also, I noticed someone else recommended that you anchor on South Lake instead. The route to this anchorage runs east from the AICW, north of the Alligator River Bridge. I agree that this is a better anchorage, though you will still need your chartplotter to keep to the unmarked entry channel. More info at:

    Hope that helps. Good luck and good cruising!!!

  • Advice Heeded at North Entrance to Alligator River, AICW, Statute Mile 81

    It is gratifying when readers heed the advice given by their fellow boaters. In the case of the northern entrance to the Alligator River, going directly from Green Marker #7 to Flashing Green Marker #9 is good solid advice confirmed by these latest reports. Shoaling is definitely occurring beneath the magenta line to the west.

    We passed through the northern entrance to the Alligator River today, 3/22/11. We took your advice and ran in a straight line from marker G9 to marker G7, rather than following the dog leg shown on the magenta line. We saw 10′ to 12′ throughout this route.
    Skipper Larry Thackston aboard M/V PEACH

    Passed through today (23, March 2011) Southbound. Found 10′ of good water if you run a straight line from Green #7 to Green #9 rather than follow the recommended line on the chart/cruising guide. Hope this helps some folks. I’m on a 173′ Small Cruise Ship with a 7′ Draft.
    Capt. Mike Kiernan

    While our information is old, things don’t change real fast in this area either. We have encountered abandoned fish/crab-pots on the bottom in five feet around this area. Go slooooowly.
    Skipper Chris

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Section” Listing For Northern Alligator River

  • Praise for Upper Pungo Anchorages, AICW Statute Mile 127.5

    These anchorages lie north and northwest of flashing daybeacon #23 and a short jog west of the Alligator River–Pungo River Canal’s shoal-prone southerly entrance. The easternmost haven is, in our collective opinion, about as good as it gets!

    One of my favorite AICW anchorages, especially before/after transiting the mind-numbing Alligator-Pungo Canal. Always room for another boat even in Snowbird seasons. Great scenery and good holding ground (although I’ve never anchored here in more than 20 kts). Short trip between here and Belhaven, easy day to Oriental or the AICW anchorage off Adams Creek at Cedar Creek.
    Captain John Stevenson
    aboard SV Sarah

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Anchorage Directory Listing For Upper Pungo Anchorages

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Upper Pungo Anchorages

  • Captain Jones Advises on the AICW/Alligator River Swing Bridge Approach and Passage (Statute Mile 84)

    Before the removal of most swing, bascule and lift bridges, any voyage on the ICW was an adventure in bridge passages. The many types of bridges and conversations with the tenders were often memorable events. The Alligator River Bridge, at the northern entrance to the Alligator River, is particularly memorable because of its great length, making it very formidable on first approach. Captain Jones shares his thoughts on the process.
    AICW Passage South Across Albemarle Sound into Alligator River:
    It was a beautiful day and we made good progress across the Albemarle which was uncharacteristically docile. Coming into the Alligator River, we almost made a mistake by missing the approach mark. However, we caught ourselves in time and corrected our course. The Alligator River Bridge opened for us promptly. I never remember which way a swing bridge swings and am reluctant to approach too closely should it swing toward me. I like to clear a bridge even before it is fully open to facilitate its prompt closing and thereby minimize the inconvenience to motorists, who vastly outnumber us and don’t like to be inconvenienced by pesky sailboats who take forever to get through the bridge while drivers tap their foot in impatience, late for an appointment. I’ve found, too, that when mine is the only boat passing through, the bridge tender knows how long he (or she) can wait before starting the opening sequence. I confess to getting nervous as I approach the bridge, wondering if I have to slow down, but almost invariably, the second I chicken out and hit the throttle, the bridge will start to open, and I quickly throttle up again and sail through without delay. I find it helps to watch when the gates go down to stop traffic, then I know the opening sequence has begun and I can safely maintain my 5 or 6 knots. The bridge will be open by the time I get there.
    Captain Ted Jones

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Bridge Directory Listing For Alligator River Bridge

  • Dowry Creek Marina, excerpt from Captain Jones’ Log, AICW Statute Mile 131.5

    Captain Jones gives us some recent history of this fine family owned and family run marina. Off the AICW/Pungo River, north of Belhaven, Dowry Creek Marina has long been a favorite among cruisers.

    It was our plan to put into Dowry Creek Marina, just a few miles further on the Pungo River, for fuel, water, and ice. We had discovered Dowry Creek Marina when it was new, a dozen years ago. It was started by Ted Klapperich and his family, but Ted died early in 2007 according to Maptech’s Embassy Guide. We had stopped there in 2008 and found things in disarray, but when we stopped on our way north last spring everyone was cheerful and helpful. The marina appeared to be doing well although there were a number of vacant slips.
    Captain Ted Jones

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Dowry Creek Marina

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of Dowry Creek Marina

  • Groundings in Alligator River’s Northern Entrance (Statute Mile 80.5)

    Navigating the north entrance to the Alligator River continues to confound cruisers. That’s why we have established these waters as an “AICW Problem Stretch.” In this case, the groundings took place between Flashing Red #8 and Flashing Green #7 on the north side of the bridge.

    I came into the Alligator southbound two days ago with six other sail. One went aground on the Long Point shoal by turning too far to starboard after passing Fl Green 7. The shoal to port( southbound) does not seem to be there or is at least further east than charted. My chartplotter showed 5 feet while I was actually in 11.
    Captain Brian Walter

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s “AICW Problem Section” Listing For Northern Mouth of Alligator River

    Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Zoomed To the Location of the Northern Mouth of Alligator River

    Click Here To View An Earlier Posting on the Northern Alligator River

  • A Pleasant Night Anchored on the Pungo River (AICW Statute Mile 127)

    We assume Captain Ted’s choice of anchorage is just north of Quick Flash Green Marker #23 at the southern entrance to the Alligator River – Pungo River Canal.

    Our chosen anchorage was beside the entrance channel to the Alligator-Pungo Canal, on the non-channel side, close enough to get on with it in the morning but out of the way of traffic, should there be any. One medium size, very attractive, southbound, auxiliary sailboat anchored nearby. The wind went down with the sun, and it was so calm at 0130 when I got up to water the horses that I thought for a moment we must still be on the hard at Bock Marine.
    Captain Ted Jones

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Anchorage Directory Listing For Upper Pungo River Anchorages

  • Good Words for Dowry Creek Marina (AICW Statute Mile 131.5 )

    Captain Ted’s Log shares his positive experience with Dowry Creek Marina just north of Belhaven and long a favorite of cruisers. Had Captain Ted not been in a rush, he would have discovered much, much more to like about this wonderful little marina.

    The slog to Belhaven wasn’t nearly as bad. We desperately needed ice and given the high loads we had put on the Yanmar, I thought it prudent to take on fuel from our ice provider. A call to River Forest Marina failed to elicit a response. My second call was to Dowry Creek, who responded immediately with full docking instructions. We went to Dowry Creek which I have preferred anyway. They had four bags left, I took them all. It was the fastest pit stop on record, and we were fueled and iced in jig time and outta there lickety split.
    Captain Ted Jones

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Dowry Creek Marina

  • More Praise for Belhaven Waterway Marina (Statute Mile 135.5)

    Belhaven Waterway Marina is located on Pantego Creek in Belhaven Harbor at the 135 Mile marker on the Intracoastal Waterway We are in the center of downtown Belhaven just a short walk from the HardwarLocated on the northeastern side of Pantego Creek off the Pungo River, Belhaven Waterway Marina continues to draw praise from numerous cruisers and they are A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! The recently reworked Belhaven harbor channel moves northwest from flashing marker #10 just as the Pungo River and the AICW turn south.

    I agree with Jon. We were at Belhaven earlier in June and it was the most relaxing stay. We love the gazebo and Brenda and Les couldn’t have been nicer. They definitely have the cleanest and most tastefully decorated bathrooms.
    Captain Bob Bundy

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Belhaven Waterway Marina

  • High Praise for Belhaven Waterway Marina (Statute Mile 135.5)

    Good words for another SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS NET SPONSOR! Thoughts shared by so many of you! Belhaven has long been a favorite stopping point, not only because of the fine marine facilities, but because of the friendly and welcoming town.

    There is no nicer marina on the whole ICW. Brenda sees to all of the details that will make your stay here utterly pleasant. Les is fully professional and a really nice guy. This is the only place I will stay when I sail through Belhaven.
    Captain Jon W.

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Belhaven Waterway Marina

  • Report of a Good Evening on the Upper Pungo River Anchorages (Statute Mile 127.5)

    The Upper Pungo Anchorages lie north and northwest of the AICW’s flashing daybeacon #23. This is an idyllic pace to drop the hook. One possible anchorage lies hard by a tall, pine woods. Whenever the winds blow through these trees, the swishing always lulls us to sleep!

    Submitted on 2010/05/27 at 8:20am
    We anchored here on 5/11/10. We have anchored here just off the G23 on other occasions. This time we went about a mile up the river to the basin. We experienced good depths all the way to the basin. We found a couple of boats anchored along the way. we saw a few crab pots. Holding appeared to be good although one boat did make a couple of attempts before finding a good spot for their CQR. Nice quiet anchorage. A total of 10 boats in the anchorage between the basin and G23.
    Captain Dick Litchfield aboard S/V Ninkasi

  • An Evening at Tuckahoe Point Anchorage (Statute Mile 104)

    A lovely setting amid cypress trees at the entrance to the Alligator-Pungo Canal and just off the ICW , Tuckahoe Point can be a very pleasant anchorage.

    Submitted on 2010/05/24 at 10:00am
    We anchored here on 11/09/09 while heading south to FL. We were running out of daylight so we stopped off Tuckahoe Point. There was only one boat there when we arrived, but by the time we were anchored and had a glass of wine, there were seven boats anchored for the evening.
    We anchored with a danforth type and trip line. Turned out the trip line wasn’t needed. Holding was good. We experienced some bugs at dusk.

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Anchorages Directory Listing For Tuckahoe Point Anchorage

  • Dowry Creek Marina (Statute Mile 131.5)

    What else can be said about Dowry Creek Marina, on the Pungo River, a few miles upstream of Belhaven. This is a great place and Captain Mary is always ready with a warm greeting!

    We hunkered down at Dowry Creek Marina for four days (11/10-14/2009) to ride out the effects of a nasty front and Hurricane/TS Ida. Riding out the wind and rain was not bad, but it wasn’t pleasant either. The piers were almost ninety degrees to the wind so we were broadside to the wind which gave us a pretty good heel right in the slip.
    We enjoyed happy hours and pot luck dinners with transient boaters from England, Canada, and US. One night all the transient boaters and Mary, the Marina owner, piled in to several vehicles and went into Belhaven for dinner. We dined at George’s Sport & Oyster Bar. It’s nothing fancy, but obviously a locals’ favorite. Seafood was either grilled or steamed, no deep fry stuff here. Hatteras style clam chowder was steamy good, but a little heavy on the potato. The grilled Crab Cake sandwich was tasty, but not as spicy as I like it. We all returned to the boaters’ lounge for after dinner libations and conversation.
    A great place even in bad weather.
    Dick Litchfield

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Dowry Creek Marina

  • Alligator River Marina (Statute Mile 84)

    Alligator River Marina lies on the western shore of the Alligator River/AICW, just north of the swing bridge and southwest of flashing daybeacon #12. A good layover spot when high winds keep the swing bridge closed.

    Alligator River Marina was only $1 a foot! We were able to knock out the whole Alligator River by planning to go there, and we were ready to jump on the Albermarle Sound in the morning when the forecast changed to lower winds. It was a very nice stop. Good anchorage in the Chesapeake was at Chisman Creek off the Poquosan River just before the York River.We also anchored off the Patuxent River, by Solomons island in Mill Creek.
    MTOA Captains Good-Mikki and Joe Heinrich, aboard Asian Lady.

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Alligator River Marina

  • New Facility – Pungo Creek Marina (North Carolina AICW/Pungo River, Statute Mile 136)

    In 2009, our “mad Englishman on the Waterways,” Captain Arnold reporter that a small facility on Pungo Creek (immediately south of Belhaven and Pantego Creek) had closed. Now, below we hear from Captain Don stark of the Belhaven Yacht Club, that this facility has been reborn as Pungo Creek Marina. We’ll be getting in touch with the new owner, Captain Randy O’Neal shortly and adding his facility ot the North Carolina Marina directory. Many thanks to Captain Stark for bringing Pungo Creek Marina to our attention!

    Bayside Marina is now a new and much better facility but is operating under new management and name.
    The marina is now called Pungo Creek Marina. They have improved the launch ramps and docks. There are currently 48 slips. There are showers and bathrooms with laundry facilities. They will have Wi-Fi at the new Ship’s Store and soon it will be extended to the docks. Each slip has water and power, half of them have 50 Amps.
    Current rate for dockage is $1 per foot with a 30 foot minimum plus a separate charge for electric and use of the shower and laundry. The rates are certainly reasonable.They are reworking the old bar area to make it more of a club house setting. They will have a wide screen TV, tables, chairs sound system etc. They have begun installation of tanks and will be selling gas and diesel! That is good news for all local boaters.
    For more information contact the new owner / manager Randy ONeal ( The website for the marina is You will find Randy to be most enthusiastic and helpful. He is making some major investments here and plans to make this a success. He has made a lot of changes in a short period of time.
    You can see photos of the construction and on the Belhaven Yacht Club website for the May BYC News. The Belhaven Yacht Club site is at
    Don Stark
    BYC Fleet Captain

  • Tuckahoe Point Anchorage (Statute Mile 104)

    Located just north of the entrance to the Alligator River – Pungo River Canal, this small anchorage offers a picturesque, away-from-civilization setting among the cypress trees. However, you might be treated to low flying jets from nearby Cherry Point Marine Base, as we were during a lunch stop not long ago. It seemed the pilots used our boat as a pivot point during their day’s training – quite an airshow!

    Anchored out just past Tuckahoe Point at around MM105. Headed South and wanted to make the canal run early the next day. Tuckahoe Point is buggy (mosquitoes)! However the mosquitoes seem to fade after you cut lights for a while. 6-7 foot depths, great wind protection.
    Captain Ben

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Anchorage Directory Listing For Tuckahoe Point Anchorage

  • Dowry Creek Marina (Statute Mile 132)

    Dowry Creek Marina, just north of Belhaven, is an owner-operated marina where you get member-of-the-family treatment.

    We stopped off at Dowry Creek Marina 3 years ago and had a great time. We are returning to Virginia and decided to stop off at Dowry Creek again. We are the only transients here tonight. We took part in the nightly cocktail hour at the boaters lounge and we had a wonderful time. I do hope many more boaters will decide to stop off. We need to keep Marinas like this in business for future generations of boaters. If you want to have a memorable evening on your way up or down the ICW stop off at Dowry Creek Marina. You won’t regret it.
    Claudia Young

    Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Dowry Creek Marina

  • Dowry Creek Marina (Feb. 2010 Report, near St. Mile 131.5)

    Dowry Creek Marina guards the northern shores of the AICW/Pungo River upstream of Belhaven, NC. This facility is consistently praised as one of the friendliest marinas in North Carolina.

    Stopped at Dowry Creek Marina on Feb. 18th. We were greeted at the fuel dock by 2 liveaboards who expertly tied our dock lines. Mary, the owner, was very friendly and made us feel very welcome. The water is turned off because of the cold weather and the diesel was $2.65 gallon. We were able to watch the Olympics that night due to great reception on the dock.
    Larry Morrow

    Click Here To View the North Carolina Cruisers’ Net Marina Directory Listing For Dowry Creek Marina

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