As I listen to the rain bouncing off the deck of the boat just over my head, and realize we are just two days from Beaufort, I feel as though we have moved into the ‘South’.

It is just something about Live Oaks, Spanish Moss, Saw Grass lining the waterway, and big tides that makes me glad to be here.

Of course anyone who brings a boat down the waterway in late November and early December in an open cockpit should have their head examined. Although it has definitely been milder than previous years, mild is a relative term.

When you start out in the morning with a hose in your hand, washing the mud off the anchor as it comes in, with a flashlight in your teeth so you can see in the dark – well you start cold and pretty much stay cold all day.

And you have to start in the dark if you plan on getting anywhere. If you are only moving an average of 6 miles an hour, if you start at dark (630) and end before dark (530) at best you run 66 miles. Usually it is more like 50 or 55 and glad to get it. Say 250 miles from DC to Norfolk in open water. Then another 540 to Beaufort SC, and you still have 700 to go to Marathon. It’s a hike for sure so you get in as many as you can if you do not want to spend half a year travelling south!

Last post we were anchored just north of Albemarle Sound which is just south of Norfolk. We motored a long day to end up just south of the Pungo River Alligator River Canal. This is a 24 mile (4 hours!) run at the end of the 18 mile south leg through the Alligator River. We anchored right at dusk and ran Goose ashore for his businesses.

We stopped by the other boat anchored near us to say hello and came to realize they were in Crisfield, MD when we went through the 70 mph storm this summer. Small world.

The next morning saw a norther passing through. With a 30mph wind behind us we flew under sail down the Pungo River, into the Pamlico River where it got a bit rough (and cold) and on up to visit Bath NC. It was only 12 miles out of the way but took a few hours and some rough water to get to a really nice sheltered anchorage. Bath is the oldest town in NC and was once the home of Blackbeard the pirate. He ended up coming home for the last time with his head cut off and hanging from the bow of a British warship that finally caught him. The little town is worth a visit!

With a dying wind we made Beaufort NC the next day where we hung out with out friends Kenny and Nancy Bock at Bock Marine for a few days before moving on south.

From Beaufort, a southbound boat hits the coast, turns to the west and follows it just inshore from the beach through Swansboro to the Camp Lejeune Marine base anchorage for the night where Shelly stepped out of the dinghy on the ramp, slipped and busted her patootie on the slippery boat ramp we had used to get ashore. Luckily bruises heal much more quickly than broken bones.

The path then winds through Wrightsville Beach and into Carolina Beach where we able to drop an anchor and actually walk the beach. The next day was a wild ride down the Cape Fear River with more 30 mph winds blowing us into Southport and back into the river system again. Down into Shallotte, Myrtle Beach, and into the Waccamaw River towards Georgetown took another two days.

It was fascinating to see the very clear mark in the woods 4 feet above normal from the recent storm and docks still,stuck up on top of pilings. A bridge tender told me the bridges were closed for 10 days and no traffic passed. This was in the middle of the fall north to south boat migration so I guess it was a mess! She also said she watched people’s docks float off down the river for days after the storm.

From Georgetown it is a short run down Winyah Bay into the back channels again, on past McClenaville SC (where the Oct Storm came ashore) and another 40 miles to Charleston.

We will be off in the morning and plan on an anchorage in a creek halfway to Beaufort for arrival on Wednesday to see who is interested in doing another golf fundraiser in the spring.

And that catches me up. And I can go back to the awesome book I am reading about the Washington State rowing team who won the Olympics in Berlin in 1936!

 

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