April 25 Swansboro to Bear Creek
It was hot through the night and still quite warm when we got up. We weighed anchor at 06:10. We had quite the sunrise as we headed out of the anchorage.
The water was so calm.
Here are some of the highlights of our day:
A dolphin swimming right by the side of the boat
Morehead City. We tied on the dockside of this restaurant on the way down
Potash Plant in Morehead City
ICW mile marker 200 on the Pungo River
Jim sitting out on the back of Blossom enjoying the sun while the autopilot does the steering
Sailing on the Neuse River; a beautiful day
After lunch the wind picked up to 23 kn. The sail had to come in and it got a little wild for a while. We set the hook off the Neuse River at Bear Creek at 16:00. We had travelled 58.3 nm and had a pretty sunset.
April 26 Bear Creek to Alligator River
What a gorgeous sunrise!
We weighed anchor at 06:15 and passed by the Hobucken Coast Guard Station.
We stopped at the River Forest Marina on the Pungo River and man it was windy and hard to get docked.
Entering the Alligator-Pungo River Canal; joining the two rivers
A bald eagle catching his prey
When we got to the Alligator River, the wind was really picking up and we had a hard time getting a hook down in the anchorage at Alligator River Cove.
We finally got it set at 17:38 and had travelled 57.0 nm.
We had a spectacular sky.
Followed immediately by a storms a comin’ sky.
And just as quick as I snapped the photo, we had thunder, lightning and rain. That night, we had no cell service or TV channels in the anchorage. Luckily, we had informed our family earlier that we may not have service during our time in the Pungo and Alligator Rivers. The storm didn’t last long but it was very windy and a good evening to turn in early.
April 27 Alligator River Cove to North River
Man, it blew hard all night. We had our anchor alarm set and the wind alarm went off a few times signaling 25 kn. We left the anchorage at 06:10 and headed out at sunrise.
We went through the Alligator River Swing Bridge.
Then we were out on the Albemarle Sound. And it was wild, I was almost sick. The waves were aft of the beam and it was so rough.
We had the head sail out to help keep the boat from rocking so much.
It was a long day of rocking and rolling. I was so glad when we were off the sound and into calmer waters on the North River. We set the hook just off the river at 13:50. We had travelled 42.8 nm. We were certainly glad to have that day of travel behind us. No cell service again but the sunset was breathtaking!
April 28 North River to Great Bridge, VA
We left the anchorage at 06:00 and within a half hour, we were in Virginia! The first place we passed through was Coinjock.
Later on, we hailed the North Landing Double Pivot Swing Bridge.
The next swing bridge was the Centerville Turnpike Swing Bridge.
We waited a little while for the Great Bridge Lift Bridge.
We went through and then tied up to the free wall on the other side at 12:10 and had travelled 36.70nm.
It was a lovely warm day and we decided to walk for lunch. This is where we ended up.
Everything is so close by. It’s only about a five minute walk to the grocery store. And for eateries, they have KFC, Wendy’s, Dairy Queen, Panera Bread and more. We picked up our groceries and spent the afternoon in the sun. We walked across the bridge with Jim to a bar and grill called Big Woody’s that served a great burger and fries. And then treated ourselves to a sundae at Dairy Queen.
Here are a few more photos of our days adventure:
Jim and Mike heading in to Kroger’s
Canada Geese swimming by Persuasion
A plaza with shopping and a Panera Bread
Mike and Jim enjoying the sun on a picnic bench by the boats
That evening after leaving Dairy Queen, we noticed how it had cooled off and felt like rain as we all walked back to our boats.
April 29 Great Bridge to Old Point Comfort
After breakfast, we walked up to the town again. It was overcast and much cooler. It had rained through the night and the temperature dropped from 31C to 16C! We stopped at Panera Bread for a coffee and picked up a couple things at Kroger’s that we had forgotten. We found a place to get our propane tank filled so we went back up to do that. Getting our steps in anyway. 🙂 Then Mike walked up to the service station to fill our diesel jugs. He had quite the load on the cart coming back to the boat.
Jim wanted to go to Wendy’s for lunch so we headed back up to town. We came back, untied the boats and headed into the Great Bridge Lock for the 13:00 opening. It was a foot and a half lift.
As we headed in towards Norfolk and Portsmouth, we passed this sign. We usually prefer to go the Dismal Swamp route and stop at the Welcome Center there but the Albemarle was so rough, that going towards the route to Elizabeth City that leads to the Dismal Swamp would have been much more brutal or maybe not even fit to try that day. Great Bridge worked out good for us with all the shopping being closer too.
We had to wait for rail cars to cross on the Gilberton Bridge and then both bridges were raised for us.
A few more photos of the day captioned below:
So many terminals and loading docks everywhere
Carnival Sunrise; a newly renovated cruise ship, which we heard on the news was making its maiden voyage that night
Norfolk Southern Railroad; for all our railroad friends and followers
U.S. Naval Hospital Ship
Here is where Mile 0 would start on the ICW; although the mile marker is missing. There is Norfolk on one side of the river and Portsmouth on the other. The ICW goes all the way to Key west, FL
And just like that we were thorough the many miles on the ICW. One tidbit of information is that we always seem to buddy boat on the ICW with a Jim. On our first trip in 2014, we were with Jim from Amazing Grace and this time on the way down, we were with James (Jim) from Barry Duckworth and now on the way home, with Jim from Blossom II. 🙂
Meandering your way by boat through Norfolk and Portsmouth is really something. There are terminals, loading docks and tugs moving barges everywhere. There are also lots of bridges and many, many Naval Ships. So much to see on both sides. There are many more photos on our October 24th blog if you’d like to revisit it. We pulled in to the anchorage at Old Point Comfort by the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel in the cold rain at 17:30 and had travelled 22.1 nm.
April 30 Old Point Comfort to Mill Creek
It was a rather rolly night in the anchorage and quite foggy when we weighed anchor at 05:55.
We headed out on the Chesapeake.
Here are a few of our highlights of the day:
Wolf Trap Light
A beautiful, warm day on the Chesapeake
And right at that spot, our BBQ slid off the stand. Mike heard it quickly go and watched as it sunk in 30 feet of water! It was such a calm day too. Guess the rough waters of the Albemarle and the Alligator River were too hard on it.
Had to watch for crab pots and steer clear of them
Baby Osprey in the nest
We set the anchor at 15:50 in the calm waters at Mill Creek and had travelled 54.8 nm. We first anchored here with Greg and Lyn from Paperbird last fall. It is very serene and picturesque.