Hurricane Florence

Hurricane Florence

When we left Blue Sky safely docked in Portsmouth there were no hurricanes. Within a week there were three named storms in the Atlantic and it looked like Florence was going to do her best to clobber the lower Chesapeake. I was able to communicate with the dockmaster who was able to double the lines and make sure things were extra secure. I was feeling okay until the Navy moved the warships out of the Norfolk area. As the week…

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Portsmouth, Norfolk, and end of Phase Three

Portsmouth, Norfolk, and end of Phase Three

Upon exiting the Deep Creek lock at the north end of the Dismal Swamp, we were soon surrounded by civilization and industry. Around each bend there were large commercial ships being loaded or unloaded. We soon found ourselves in a holding pattern with several other boats, waiting for a railroad bridge that had remained closed after the train had passed. It took a call from the local police boat to get it to open. There are a lot of US…

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Dismal Swamp

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Today was all about schedules. We started early so we could get through the Elizabeth City bridge at 6:45am. It opens on demand before 7am and then it opens only at 7:30 and 8:30am. Our next scheduled thing was the south lock of the Dismal Swamp. It operates four times a day at 6:30am, 11:00am, 1:30pm, and 3:30pm. We traveled slowly, knowing that we had four hours before the 11am scheduled time.  The scenery was amazing. We enjoyed the slow…

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Elizabeth City, NC

Elizabeth City, NC

The next morning we awoke early to a forecast of zero wind on the Albemarle. So we got underway and had the glass-like water all to ourselves. It was perfect weather and calm seas. We glided across the Albemarle Sound, and aside from numerous crab pots we were all alone. Crab pots or traps are marked with floats. Usually they are in lines where the crabbing boats have dropped them. In the area we were traversing the lines seemed to…

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Alligator River Marina

Alligator River Marina

We carefully checked the weather before departing Belhaven. Our goal was the Alligator River Marina, which would put us on the edge of the Albemarle Sound for a continued trip to Elizabeth City the following day. The conditions were much better than the previous day and we had an enjoyable ride. We continued along the Pungo River to the Alligator River. The water started to get a bit choppy near the end, but nothing compared to the conditions on the…

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Belhaven, NC

Belhaven, NC

To get to Belhaven, we first retraced our route back to Oriental Marina so we could have a shorter trip the following day. As this was our second visit to Oriental we decided we would get the bikes out and grab some groceries. There is a Piggly Wiggly about a mile from the marina and we easily made this trip with the bikes. We also enjoyed looking at the riverfront houses, followed by a great dinner at M & M’s….

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New Bern, NC

New Bern, NC

We took a side trip off the ICW to visit New Bern. It was about three hours up the Neuse River. The river was as calm as could be and we had an enjoyable ride. We were able to clear the 16’ overhead height at the bridge, so we motored directly into the marina without needing a bridge opening. The dockmaster, Jeremy, met us at our assigned slip and was very accommodating.  New Bern is named after a town in…

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Oriental, NC

Oriental, NC

Each day we change our surroundings. That is one thing that makes this trip so cool. We are always discovering new places and meeting interesting people. We left Beaufort and traveled up Adams Creek to the Neuse River. The trip up Adams Creek was tranquil and scenic. We followed three large shrimp boats the whole way. When we entered the Neuse River there was a big change. The 1 to 2 foot waves were from the west as we traveled…

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Beaufort, NC

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Swansboro was a nice stop, but we were only three hours from Beaufort so once again we got an early start. The ride was easy and relatively straight. The ICW channel is narrow in this area so I had to pay attention to the depth most of the way. There were no bridges to account for, so only the no wake zones stood between us and Beaufort. Beaufort is where the infamous and notorious pirate, Blackbeard, had spent some time….

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Swansboro, NC

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We took advantage of the great weather and headed north. Our trek was long but rewarding. We retraced our path as far as Snow’s Cut, and then we were in new territory on the ICW. This was mostly an uneventful trip but there were three low bridges along the way. The first one we had no trouble with, as it had 16 feet of clearance. The second one, the Surf City Swing Bridge, has 12 feet of clearance. We were…

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