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Archive For: NORTH CAROLINA – All Cruising News

  • Memorial Waterways

    What a WONDERFUL idea!

    Subject: Memorial Waterways?
    Cruising News: Good Morning, Claiborne
    After arriving safely in Vero Beach for the winter, thanks to your books, cruisernet, and weather underground, I rode the Greyhound back up to Belhaven to retrieve a car for use while we\'re here. I spent a lot of time on I-95, a large portion of which is named the Purple Heart Memorial Highway. I know that many of the bridges on the ICW are named in honor of someone (George Munson) or something (Memorial Bridge). As I was driving on I-95 I wondered if anyone had ever tried to get portions of the ICW named and signed as Memorial Waterways? I also knew that if anyone knew about it, it would be you. As someone whose son has made the ultimate sacrifice and has posthumously been awarded the Purple Heart, Bronze Star, and others, it would be most meaningful and gratifying to cruise the AICW with the addition of signage indicating the nation\'s honor and respect for those who kept us free. I would like to hear your thoughts on the subject of Memorial Waterways.
    Dave Friedrich

    Subject: Memorial Waterways
    Cruising News: As a veteran of 24 years military service I fully support this idea.  As a veteran of commuting for several years on sections of the Blue Star Memorial Highway in the DC area, I don't think we can stand for the waterways to be that dangerous/neglected.
    Chris Wain

  • Changes to Columbia, NC (Scuppernong River) Town Docks

    The charming, historic river town of Columbia, NC, sits on the banks of beautiful Scuppernong River. This stream, in turn, flows into the southern shores of Albemarle Sound, well west of the AICW’s crossing of this often rough body of water.
    Just received a note from Captain Ray Smith, which provided a link to a scanned newspaper article concerning changes to the Columbia town dock regulations. This scan is not really in a form easily displyed here on the Cruisers’ Net, so I’m going to summarize.
    Effective immediately, the first three nights at the Columbia town docks are free. Thereafter, a charge of $1.00 per foot, per night, will be levied. Free nights can only occur within the span of a single week. In other words, you can’t leave the town docks for one night, come back, and expect three more free nights.
    There is also a charge (as has been true all along) for waste pump-out!
    Hope everyone finds this helpful!


    Click Here For More Information On The Columbia Town Docks

  • Additional Dockage Space in Elizabeth City (Statute Mile 50.5)

    Click to learn more about our Little Loop programAs I said in the introductory remarks concerning another message I posted earleir today, “you learn something new on the Cruisers’ Net everyday.”
    I have met Elizabeth City’ s Mayor, Steve Atkinson, and I can tell you without any fear of spreading an inaccuracy, that he is SERIOUS about attracting the cruising community.  The messages below cite but one example, and another is that Elizabeth City is now a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    If you are looking for dock space in Elizabeth City and all the “in town places” are taken, for the price of signing a waiver you can dock North of the bridge on the West side next to the Jennette Bros Provision Co. building. Say hello to Eric the bridge tender.

    When we passed through Elizabeth City last summer, the docking looked a little tight for us and we were going to just anchor. But, “some guy” waved us over to the area just about 50 yards south of the free city docks and helped us tie up. I was a little concerned since the bulkhead had a sign “no docking”, but since the “some guy” turned out to be the mayor, we were all smiles. How many places do you know in which the town’s mayor grabs a line for visiting boats???
    Ken

    Hi,
    We had the same experience in early Oct when pulling in late, about 1700, at Elizabeth City. The guy ran across the park and waved us in to where the tour boat used to dock. The pilings were a little treacherous, but we managed to tie and enjoy the evening. Our two dogs enjoyed the park as well as ourselves. The mayor is Steve Atkinson and he was heading to the Annapolis sailboat show the next day, so I gave him my card so he could use the Annapolis Yacht Club. A very nice fellow and a credit to the city.
    Bob and Claudia


    Click Here For More Information On The Mariner’s Wharf – Elizabeth City Docks

  • A Vist to Manteo and the NC Outer Banks

    Manteo Waterfront Marina is now run by the Town of Manteo.  It boasts 53 slips that can accommodate boats up to 140 feet.  The marina is situated right next to  historic downtown Manteo on a boardwalkI could not agree with Captains Susan and John more. Manteo is a great spot from which cruisers can explore the NC Outer Banks. Ditto for Manteo Waterfront Marina, and let me not fail to mention that these good folks are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    John and I have just completed our visit to the Outer Banks, NC (after leaving Coinjock) and found it to be very interesting and well worth the stop.? We based our visit in Manteo, on Roanoke Island at the Manteo Waterfront Marina where Carl Jordan is the dockmaster (252-473-3320.)? This is very centrally located and many restaurants (our favorite, Full Moon Cafe, was right across the street) and shops were close by. We rented a car from local Ford Dealer R D Sawyer which picked us up and delivered us back to the marina–a la Enterprise.? (Enterprise is located ‘out on the island about 30 minutes away’.)?
    We drove out on the Island to Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Hatteras and saw most of the sites including the Wright Brothers Memorial. I would recommend this stop which is a little off the beaten ICW track.? From Hatteras we crossed the Pamlico Sound and Neuse River to join back with the ICW and ended this part of the journey in Beaufort, NC.
    Heading south–
    Susan and John Hauge and Lily
    on “La Garza Verde”

    We agree but make Ocracoke a stop going north to Manteo.  Do not miss the Ocrafolk Opry and if you see the movie, “Nights in Rodanthe” you will hear these folks sing.
    First & Ten anchored in the Little Aligator River heading back south


    Click Here For More Information On Manteo Waterfront Marina

  • Another Great Report On River Dunes Marina (Statute Mile 173.5)

    It's getting to be almost a weekly occurrence to post a laudatory message about River Dunes Marina. This is truly a wonderful facility, and they are a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS' NET SPONSOR!

    We stopped briefly at Riverdune a development near Oriental NC off the ICW at Broad Creek They are offering to have transients stop and visit at a rate of $1/ft. They have a wonderful clubhouse, deck and pool available for use. They also have a courtesy car for trips to Oriental. The harbor is extremely well sheltered from any storm. It is like a high end yacht club.
    Prices may be higher in season.
    This is a good alternative to Oriental harbor for boats on the ICW.
    www.riverdunes.com
    Greg and Susan Han
    Allegria — Krogen Whaleback

  • Columbia, NC (Scuppernong River. off southern Albemarle Sound)

    The Scuppernong River, on which the old, river town of Columbia is located, so impressed earlery European settlers on the North Carolina coastline, that they named it “Hearts Delight.” It remains pretty much the same today. I heartily recommend a trip off the AICW to the Scuppernong and Columbia.

    Subject: Coluimbia, NC
    Message: To those cruising Albemarle Sound, Columbia, NC on the beautiful Scuppernong River, is a great stop.  The Town has recently opened a first class reatroom/shower facility right next to the free Town dock.  There is a fine hardware store about a block from the dock, which is at the foot of the main street.  There is also a pharmacy and small department store. The Town’s
    museum, in an old theater, is great. There is about 8 feet of water at the Town dock, and potable water is on the dock.  We heartily recommend this pleasant and charming Town.
    Norman and Betsy Mason,
    MV “Peggy Sue”


    Click Here For More Information On the Columbia Town Docks

  • New Facility (Galley Stores Marina) In New Bern, NC

    I know that the addition of Galley Stores Marina at Skipjack Landing will be a GREAT addition to the cruising scene in New Bern, North Carolina. And, not just because this facility is our newest SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR! I mean, after all, when is the last time you heard of a marina that “specializes” in transients vessels. Refreshing isn’t it!
    Galley Stores is located on the Neuse River side of New Bern, just upstream from the Comfort Inn. Old timers like this fellow, will remember this spot as where the now destructed Holiday Inn used to reside.
    Please stop in and welcome Mark and his fine staff to the North Caroliina cruising scene. And, don’t forget to thank him for his support of the cruising community through his sponsorship of the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net.

    Welcome to Galley Stores and Marina at Skipjack Landing, New Bern, NC. Located on the Neuse River in downtown New Bern, (GPS: 35*06’23″N 70*02’03″W) we Specialize in the transient boater. Skipjack Landing offers the Galley Store which is a full gourmet market, Marina and coming in the spring an upscale seafood restaurant.
    The store offers full provisioning with a full line of meats, groceries, produce, organic foods, seafood and a wide selection of beverages etc. Our staff includes and grocerer of 30 years in Gwen and our own executive chef in Chef Dawn, to offer helpful suggestions from our gourmet lines. (See.www.galleystores.com) additionally you can order on the web.
    Our marina is a full service facility with 30 slips open for transient travelers. We specialize in the boater moving from other areas and welcome any one looking for a short term stay, 6 months or less, needing to move their boat. The marina offers a pump out, up to 100amp service and slips ranging from 45 to 100 plus feet. Water depth ranges from 8 to 12 feet at normal tides. New Bern is a great place to leave your boat. Home of Hatteras Yachts, we offer a regional air port, many tourist attractions and civic activities. Additionally we offer a 400 foot day dock surrounding a restaurant to open soon. The day dock houses our fuel pumps which has high speed diesel and gas and is less then 100 feet from the channel. Volume discounts are offered. Our dock masters office is located in the tower over looking the marina and can watch for your arrival as you come up the Neuse. The view is more then five miles down the river.
    For more information please contact us at (252) 633-4648, or go on our website at www.galleystores.com. We monitor channel 16 and look forward to hearing from you.

    Click Here For More Information On Galley Stores Marina

  • Watermans Restaurant – Edenton, NC

    I agree wholeheartedly with Greg and Susan. Watermans is a very good place to satisfy a healthy appetite, and it's within easy walking distance of the Edenton City Docks!

    We are looking forward to dinner at the Waterrman restaurant in Edenton and seeing friends there.  The special appetizer at Waterman is broccoli. I have never seen a dish offered like this. It does have a sauce but just the fresh vegetable is spectacular.
    Greg and Susan Han
    Allegria — Krogen Whaleback

  • Mackeys Marina and Crab Shack (Mackeys Creek, Off Southern Albemarle Sound)

    Mackeys Marina is  located on the South shore of the Albemarle Sound opposite Edenton. We offer full boatyard services, marine store and a Crab Bar & Grille.We had an earlier posting here on the Net’s “North Carolina” section about the WONDERFUL Mackeys Crab Grill and Marina on Mackeys Creek. This twin facility lies off the southern shores of Albemarle Sound, between the Roanoke and Scuppernong Rivers, on protected Mackeys Creek (also known as Kendrick Creek). Take my word for it, the food is WONDERFUL!!!

    For an off-the-beaten-path trip up the Albemarle, try Mackey’s Marina on  the south side [of Albemarle Sound] (252-793-5031) (http://www.mackeysmarina.com/)  Joanne and Henry run it.  They have a great bar/seafood restaurant now  (local crabs) and transient slips.  Deep enough water if you stay in  the channel.  Very protected.  Good tackle shop.  Fuel.   Boat lift.  It’s a working crabbers dock, so be prepared for working boats,  not pristine cruisers.  Bald eagles nest up the creek and ospreys all over  – pretty spot if you like rustic.
    No connection, just a displaced local boy. 
    Jim


    Click Here For More Information On Mackeys Marina and Crab Shack

  • Cruising the North Carolina – Virginia Cut (A. K. A. Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal)

    There have already been MANY postings here on the Cruisers' Net about the Dismal Swamp AICW route from Virginia to North Carolina waters, but less info on what is the primary Waterway route from VA to NC. This latter passage goes under several names, including the "North Carolina – Virginia Cut" and the "Albemarle and Chesapeake Canal."
    Whatever you call it, this route enters North Carolina waters and at the southern mouth of North Landing River, runs a dredged cut across northern Currituck Sound, and then past the marina rich village of Coinjock. Finally, cruisers following this passage wend their way south on the North River to often rough Albemarle Sound.
    There's some great crusiing advice and news in Captain George's posting below. I have borrowed this message from the Trawlers and Trawlering list.

    Yesterday early  afternoon, there was a large stationary snag in the middle of the A&C just south of the Centreville Bridge. I called to the boat in back of me to give them a (dead)heads up. The bridge operator came on the radio and also asked location, he said the USACE was on its way to do some cleanup and wanted to verify locations. There were a few other  pieces of wood of various sizes of various levels of threat to navigation so we called them all out as we went on down. Just be observant, if the Corps didn't get something ot the ongoing winds have created something else.
    Winds have reduced depths in Currituck Sound about a foot. Stay in the middle of the channel; it gets shallow on the green side quickly.
    Starting about 3 miles south of Pungo Ferry, there was a substantial slick on the water extending to Pungo Ferry. The guy behind me thought I'd sprung an oil or fuel leak. I had to call three numbers 
    at the Coast Guard, then called Hampton Roads on 16, and they got me to another number which then referred me to the National Response Center. I then talked to a nice operator who had no idea of local geography or the ICW and apparently no access to it. Luckily, I gave my name and number to them. A few minutes later I got a call back from the Coast Guard and then the Virginia authorities and we got the position right, which had been mangled by the NRC. The Virginia guy  suspected it was coming from the derelict marina north of the Pungo Ferry Bridge, and indeed it ended just as you passed there. A Coast Guard boat went speeding north past us about an hour later, so the response was pretty quick. I'm glad I was persistent and didn't get dissuaded by the bureaucracy.
    We spent a quiet night at anchor with about 10 boats here off Broad Creek [off the North River – Ed.] ; the Albemarle should be doable with lighter winds out of the north; if I don't like what we see, we'll sneak back in here as conditions should be quite good tomorrow. We will head for Belhaven today, seas permitting.
    George

  • Overflow Dockage in Elizabeth City, NC (Staute Mile 50.5 – Dismal Swamp Route)

    You learn something new every day here on the Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net. I've been covering the Elizabeth City (A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS' NET SPONSOR) waterfront for 28 years, and I had no idea that boats could dock north of the bridge (see below), if the town docks happen to be full!

    Message: Claiborne,
    The free city docks in Elizabeth City were full yesterday when we arrived.  We noticed a trawler tied to the long face dock just north of the Elizabeth City bridge, and the bridge operator said we could stay there.  The docks are part of the Jennette Brothers food distributors service.  This locally owned company will make you sign a form excusing any liability, but otherwise they are very accomodating to cruisers when the city docks are full.  No power, but water is available. 
    The Dismal Swamp was beautiful with the changing Fall colors, with depths averaging 7 ft.
    As the morning temp. was 42, we\'re heading south!
    Capt. Miles

  • River Dunes Marina (Statute Mile 173.5)

    Yet another glowing report about this fine facility. No surprise, as River Dunes is a SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR!

    Subject: River Dunes
    Message: River Dunes is a fantastic Marina. It has everything and is brand new. JC was much more than just welcoming as he gave us a tour of the facility and even took our lines on arriving. This is one of the best Marina´s I´ve stayed at and with the cost of $1.00/foot, the best bargain ever. Broad Creek is well marked and the marina entrance is straight forward. The marina basin is very protected from any direction. Depths were in excess of 8 feet.
    Chas Hamilton


    Click Here For More Information On River Dunes Marina

  • Good Experience On The Dismal Swamp Route

    Pier 88 Diving: Join the Pier 88 Network!  Be covered for emergency underwater service for only $99 per yearWe have received as many postings on the Dismal Swamp AICW Alternate Route lately, as just about any other concernng the North Carolina coastline. There's a real divergence of opinion on this passage within the cruising community. Some really like it (see below), while others worry about striking deadheads and semi-sunken debris. Below, you will hear from one cruiser who came through with nary a problem!

    Skinwalker with its 4.5 draft uses the Dismal going and coming.  The speed limit is 6 mph in the swamp and that seems too fast when your there.  You might thump a  dead head once in a while but at that speed it usually is not a great problem; take it slow & easy.  I personally have had more trouble going the other route with shallows then I have had with the Dismal Swamp thumps. I especially enjoy the south end between the lock and Elizabeth City–simplybeautiful.
    Bones,
    As posted on the MTOS listserv by Wayne Flatt
    MV Skinwalker departing Baltimore in six days.

  • Cape Lookout Bight Anchorage

    Even though it's not near the AICW, Cape Lookout Bight remains the most popular anchorage on the North Carolina coastline. That's because it's a wonderful natural habor, and the nearby beachcombing can be spectacular.
    The best way to reach the bight is to cruise out Beaufort Inlet for a safe distance, and then cut east, paralleling Shackleford Banks (staying WELL offshore), and then enter the harbor by a marked entrance.

    One anchorage NOT to miss: Cape Lookout Bight.  it's worth the 6 miles out the inlet, beautiful place!  We took the tender around the back of Shackleford to see the wild horses. Good holding (although our 110lbs Claw started dragging just a little in 40kts wind…), plenty of water, great beaches to walk on.  It's going on my mandatory stop over list.
    We spent one night on the hook in Cape Look Out bight, a must do stop if the ocean isn't too rough between beaufort inlet and the bight (unless you draw little and can sneak inside).  Take the dink to the beach, lighthouse, etc… and the back side of the Shackleford banks to see the wild horses. Terrific anchorage, plenty of room, good holding although our 110lbs claw started dragging early in the night when the winds reached about 40kts. didn't come loose but a slow drag forcing me to haul anchor and move up toward the entrance… Not much fun to relocate in 40kts at night although I
    can't blame the anchor, 110lbs on a 70 footer enclosed FB isn't storm anchor grade…  
    Pascal
    M/Y Charmer (70' Johnson)
    live cel helmcam at www.sandbarhopper.com

  • Oriental Marina (Statute Mile 181)

    Oriental, NC is often considered the sailboat capital of the North Carolina coastline. This charming river village is blessed with several good marinas, two of which have similar names. Oriental Harbor Marina is the outermost, while Oriental Marina (along with Toucan Restaurant and a complex o adjoining condos – A SALTY SOUTHEAST CRUISERS’ NET SPONSOR), occupy the inner harbor! This is a GREAT marina to spend an evening or two, and stock up on fuel!

    Oriental Marina, good location, friendly folks.  A few good stores nearby to get whatever you may be missing, the local supermarket is within (long) walking distance.
    Pascal
    M/Y Charmer (70′ Johnson)
    live cel helmcam at www.sandbarhopper.com


    Click Here For More Information On Oriental Marina and Toucans Restaurant

  • Midway Marina – Coinjock, NC (Statute Mile 50)

    I have often said that the main industry in the tiny community of Coinjock, NC is marinas. There are two, Midway Marina, overlooking the canal/ICW/s western flank, and Coinjock Marina on the opposite shore. Both are first class facilities. Looks like Captain Pascal had a good time at Midway Marina. Note the excellent service he encountered!

    Two thunbs up for Midway Marina in Coinjock who were booked when I called in the morning but took my number just in case… they did call us just as we had passed by. nice service, saved us crossing the Albemarle in 20/25kts winds.
    Pascal
    M/Y Charmer (70′ Johnson)
    live cel helmcam at www.sandbarhopper.com


    Click Here For More Information On Midway Marina

  • Why Albemarle Sound Is Considered the Roughest Inland Body of Water On the Eastern Seaboard

    I have been asked about crossing Albemarle Sound as far north as Prince Edward Island, Canada, and as far south as Key West. There is no doubt that, with its long wind fetch and relatively shallow depths, short (close together), steep chop can quickly build to a point where it jars the fillings out of your mouth. Below, you will read an account from sailing vessel Swan, which confirms this notion. Try to pick a day of light winds and fair weather to cruise the waters of Albemarle Sound. You will be ever so much happier!

    We stopped in Coinjock to take on some diesel fuel and continued on for 11 more miles to anchor in Broad Creek which is more like an open roadstead. During the night the wind came up and it didn’t get any warmer. We left and headed for Albermarle Sound. What a terrible crossing! Now, Tom was bundled up and had his foul weather gear on and he took Swan across. He said there was no reason both of us should get wet. I hardily agreed. It was blowing a sustained 20 knots and gusting to 25. The sound is relatively shallow causing a considerable chop or crashes as they felt on this crossing. Tom was more than ready to give up the helm when it was over. When the wind reaches 30 knots, the Alligator River Bridge will not open. Fortunately, the wind did not reach 30 and we were able to continue down the Alligator River to the Alligator River/Pungo River Canal to an anchorage at the south end. During all the crashing I was below reading a book, but I did take us down the canal while Tom rested below.
    Pat & Tom
    S/V Swan

  • Grand Marina – New Bern, NC

    The Grand Marina (also known as the Sheraton Grand Marina) sits on the northern banks of the Trent River, just west of the old swing bridge which is currently undergoing major reconstruction, in the heart of downtown New Bern.

    Subject: New Bern Grand Marina
    Message: The parent company that has the marina as well as the Sheraton Hotel has just completed a major renovation of the entire property including the Boaters’ Showers and Laundry.  The Laundry now has (2) Washers/Dryers which are FREE.  There are (3) showers in both the Men and Ladies areas which have new tile and fixtures plus large basins and super size mirrors.  A nice touch is the hopper with clean bath mats.
    Note that visitors to the marina are considered guests of the hotel and. therefore, can use the Fitness Center which is located in the same building which has the Dock Master’s office the Showers and Laundry.
    Joe Monroe

    Subject: New Bern Grand Marina
    Message: I forgot to mention when passing on info about the renovated marina facilities and boaters’ amenities that the Sheraton Hotel also offers a shuttle service that can be used for shopping, going to West Marine or to visit some of the many historic sites.
    Joe Monroe

    Click Here For More Information On Sheraton Grand Marina

  • A Detailed Log of Cruising the Dismal Swamp Canal and Elizabeth City, NC

    The author of the account below, Ted Jones, is the former publisher of the late and much lamented "Coastal Cruising" magazine. Ted is a good friend, and an excellent reporter. There's LOTS of good cruising news in his story!
    Below, Ted comments that the Dismal Swamp Canal locks are only operating twice a day. THAT HAS CHANGED AS OF TODAY! NOW THE LOCKS AND BRIDGES ARE OPERATING NORMALLY, FOUR TIMES A DAY!
    Note Ted's laudatory comments about Elizabeth City. This fine community is now a SALTY SOUTHEST CRUISERS' NET SPONSOR!

    The passage down the Great Dismal Swamp Canal has its contrasts as well. I have often marveled that an ocean capable sailboat could cut through the middle of an impenetrable jungle — masts almost kissing the tree limbs overhead — in such surene surroundings far from her intended element. It is wonderful. Although we were second boat out of the lock, I let the faster boats go ahead, and after awhile we were alone on the canal. The State of Virginia has improved and moved Route 17 away from the canal, so there was virtually nothing to remind us that we were still in a populated area. We opted to stop at the North Carolina combined highway, boating welcome station and tied to the bulkhead for the night along with other cruisers, making new friends both human and canine as we all settled in for the night. I was pleased that my friend Penny Leary-Smith, long time manager of the welcome center was in her office. I reminded her that I had been present at the official innauguration of the center which she reminded me was 20 years ago.
    The NC welcome center has recently opened a Great Dismal Swamp Museum which is located on the north side of the canal, connected by a floating aluminum bridge which is rotated 90 degrees to allow pedestrians (and mantanence vehicles) access to the museum. It contains quite comprehensive and well-done vingenettes which illustrate the various aspects of the swamp, its flaura and fauna. Danny and I wondered if the other had pushed a button to start birds to sing, but realized that it is triggered by a motion sensor when one is looking at the avian illustration.
    Another new museum is located near the waterfront at Elizabeth City which chronacles the development of the Dismal Swamp from native american days to the present time with impressive life-size dioramas of life in the area including the history of the building of the canal and its strategic value as a transportation system from pre-civil war days through world war II. Both of these exhibits have opened within the year and appear poised to expand their offerings as time and money permit. Neither museum charges admission.
    We all shoved off from the welcome station at 0800 to be ready for the morning lock opening. At this time the canal locks at both ends open at 0900 and 1500. A liesurely neander down the Pasquotank River brought us to the Elizabeth City Bridge (highway), and again we were “tail-last-charlie.” We were motioned into the last available spot along the steel bulkhead and were greeted by David, of the Rose Buddies committee who made us welcome and answered our questions. We had counted on obtaining provisions at Elizabeth City, and a call to the Fresh Food Market summoned a car, driven by the store manager, no less, whose name is Ken. His description of the market did not prepare us for the bounty which lay within the area’s newest supermarket, which is one of the most comprehensive food stores I have ever been in. When we had finished our shopping, Ken drove us back to the dock area and helped us unload out groceries.
    I had just enough time for a quick look inside the large and impressive museum across the road while Jack and Danny went in search of hot showers (Ocean Gypsy has two — solar and engine heated water as well as an electric water heater when plugged in [no plug-ins at Elizabeth City] — but they were each hoping for more sybaritic luxury than these). I was successful, they were not, having been confused by second hand directions. Then it was time for the Rose Buddies wine and chese party. Original Rose Buddy, Fred Fearing, passed away recently, but there are many who have stood up to carry on the tradition, one of whom is the recently elected city mayor, Steve, who spent a few minutes welcoming us snowbird cruisers, telling us of his plans to expand the waterfront facilities (bathrooms with showers are on the agenda in the near future). All of this is free, BTW, including dockage for up to 48 hours! Alas, there is no marine diesel, water, or pump-out available, all of which we thought we needed. Jack and I walked two blocks to a nearby convenience store and filled our five gallon diesel can for insurance. We didn’t need the brush handle we had brought along to share the load coming back to the boat as we were offered a ride by a pleasant young man hanging out at the conveniece store. We tipped him accordingly.
    After the wine and chese party I found Steve prowling the docks looking for space for new arrivals. Elizabeth City’s mayor is not above working the docks in his bretton red shorts and Topsiders as one of the Rose Buddies. Indeed, he is one of us, a sailor.
    Ted Jones

  • Why You Should Consider “Doing the Dismal” This Fall

    Peg and Jim's message below (copied from the Great Loop list) is a fair testament to the good and less than good qualities of this historic, alternate ICW route. As I've said many times. when not in a hurry to get somewhere, and the water levels and lock openings permit, we usually choose to run the Dismal Swamp route! Of course, if you need to get somewhere by a certain date, or are just fleeing south to find warmer weather, the NC-VA cut via Coinjoick is clearly faster and generally easier to navigate. And, don't forget as Peg and Jim note below (and already mentioned on several earlier Net postings), that the Dismal locks are currently only operating twice a day!

    Sanctuary and crew decided to travel the Dismal Swamp Route south this fall. To avoid the morning bridge restrictions on the Elizabeth River, we spent last night on the hook at the Deep Creek lock. There were several other boats there with us. As of today, there are two lockings per day; 09h00 and 15h00, at both Deep Creek and South Mills. We were the third boat in line at the lock, and we passed a sailing cat because they were stopping at the North Carolina Visitor's Center and we weren't. We followed the first boat (trawler) at a distance of about 1/2 mile. We traveled between 6 and 7 mph.
    The canal from South Mills to the "Administrators House" has been dredged, and we saw nothing less than 8 1/2 feet of water. South of the "Administrators House," we saw areas of 7 ft. The rest of the route to Elizabeth City held at least 7 ft.
    There are a lot of dead heads, and a lot of flotsam. We saw one 15" diameter by 10 ft free floating log. We bumped something once, but at slow speed so no damage. Stay alert!
    The lockmaster at Deep Creek (not Robert) said the reason for the restricted locking schedule was a fire in the swamp in May that severely depleted Lake Drummond's huge water reserve. The lockmaster at South Mills confirmed that, but said the folks at Great Bridge "were totally swamped" with traffic because of the Dismal Swamp restrictions, and said he'd been told they would go back to 4 locking per day "next week." Those of you headed south who might be interested in the Dismal Swamp route should keep an eye on that.
    We were warmly welcomed at Elizabeth City. The Rose Buddy party is still running under the auspices of the Visitor's Welcome Center. It starts at 16h30 weekdays. All the slips were full when we arrived, but there was space at the wall to the southwest. No problems.
    Others will disagree, but we heartily recommend "the swamp" to those who might not have tried it. It's a very lovely trip; some of the wildest country on the A-ICW, and no go fast boats!!! Go slowly (placidly); you will be rewarded with nature at it's best and no damages to props. Peg and Jim Healy, aboard Sanctuary currently at Elizabeth City, NC

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