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  Wanderlust Home and Pet Care

State #3 North Carolina

May 9:  Today we crossed the Cape Fear River (made famous in the 1962 movie and then remade in 1991) with two of our much bigger brothers (cargo carriers).  Keeping out of their way was a little stressful especially on a large body of water. Seapath Yacht Club at Wrightville Beach had space for us.  They suggested a great place to eat at the South Beach Grill. I had 2 mojitos, fired calamari and pecan grouper while Gary had fried oysters and crab stuffed flounder. The local residents were out getting their exercise as we walked to the restaurant. This was the first summer like day they have had for sometime.

May 10:  We filled up with diesel this morning.  This time we were prepared for the $ of 283 gallons of fuel. We had just missed the opening of the 12 foot Surf City swing bridge and had to wait for the next “on the hour” opening. It was a drag just drifting/re-adjusting.  We tried to anchor but the anchor wouldn’t dig-in. Six other boats a tug boat pushing a barge followed us through. Our timing to the second swing bridge was right on. The currents were strong today. The auto pilot buttons got a work out. We passed a sail boat that was stuck on a sand bar.  I could see the captain standing there with his hands on his hips probably saying to himself “OK, now what do I do?”  We also went through a military firing range. Luckily they weren’t using it as it would have been another hold-up.We docked at the Casper Marina. No they don’t have a ghost as their mascot, it’s a whale. We walked into town to the post office to mail our amend return due to the late arrival of a K-1. The town is cute with it’s 1800’s homes and the WWII box type homes. We met the captains of the boats in front of us and behind us. The boat Satisfaction is from Canada. He was trying to convince me to take the Trent-Severn canal and bypass Lake Erie and a lot of Huron to see the Georgian Bay.

May 11: predicted the winds to gust up to 30 miles per hour so we decided to stay put.  We walked to Yana’s restaurant which was full of 50’s memorabilia. They are known for their fruit fritters.  We tried the strawberry fritters and they were wonderful. My omelette had homemade sausage that was great as well.  My eggs came with grits (nothing special) and a biscuit that was light and fluffy - way too much food. Gary was cleaning the boat while I researched the Chesapeake Bay. It was nice to have a break from the water.

May 12:  Happy Mother’s Day.  There is hardly any wind this morning so we get out of Dodge.  The currents were strong again.  Gary had to do some quick maneuvering to miss hitting a marker.  The Neuse River is huge. We will spend most of the day tomorrow on the Neuse so we will want good weather.  I had reserved a slip with Whittaker Creek Harbor.  We tell all the marinas we are new at boating to ensure help from the staff and an easy ingress and egress. The gentlemen at Whittaker were very helpful. In fact, all I did was toss them the lines and they did the rest. The Harbor is located on a quiet creek north of Oriental, N. C. It was only $1 per foot. The owner offered to drive us to the grocery store a mile up the road. We could have walked but decided to take him up on his offer. We filled up our rolling grocery carrier plus a plastic bag. As we were coming out of the store Sonny from Cape Lookout Yacht Sales & Charters offered us a ride back to the marina. Are we lucky or what?

Cape Lookout Yacht Sales & Charters

May 13: Weather report was a go. BUT WAIT……Is it possible to have 5 foot waves in a sound? We thought we were going to have good conditions -HA! Gary said he was uncomfortable, I was scared. To make it worse, being scared made me have to pee. Have you ever tried to pull your pants down while holding on to the door jam and watching the water in the shower splash around (it came up through the shower pump) and keep both feet on the floor? It was hard just trying to keep my butt on the toilet seat. We obviously made it otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this. We decided to end the day early to recuperate. Before we anchored we were boarded by the Coast Guard. They were 3 very nice gentlemen making sure we had the proper safety gear. We passed that test and have a piece of paper to prove it.

May 14: The weather allowed us to run another 50 miles to the next anchorage.  No issues arose but we had to remain at the Tuckahoe anchorage for a favorable weather report. There was a warning for small vessels on the Albemarle Sound which was our next destination.

May 15: I was very glad we stayed put. The wind howled.

May 16: We left by 7 am and the water was choppy but I handled it just fine.  The waterway guide said the boater could save some miles by a more direct path between specific markers, however  the captain would need to watch for crab floats.  That was clearly an understatement. We would have been better off staying on the magenta line due to the time we wasted avoiding the floats. The Pelican Marina had room for us. The dock-master said I would have to grab the line hanging on the piling with the boat hook as Gary made the turn into the slip so as to keep our boat from being blown into the boat next to us. Now this is a no stress situation !  I got it on the first attempt and ran to the back to tie to the cleat. We put the bumper board out and all was well. Oops, how do we get off of the boat?

The gate where the ladder hangs is at the back of the boat. The slip’s walkway didn’t come down to our gate. We climbed over the railing, step down on the piling and then step down to the walkway. I will definitely have to take pictures of this.

May 17:  I ordered a taxi to pick us up at 9:40 am to take us to the Chiropractor. He was late, Gary was pissed and I had to walk back to the boat to call and get another taxi. As I’m trying to pull the boat close enough to grab the railing, Gary is yelling at me to come back - the taxi had arrived. It was a good chiropractic adjustment and I was feeling much better. We decided to walk back to the visitors center, get a restaurant recommendation and visit the free local museum.  It was a great museum!!!  The museum made the display more personal with old pictures of citizens of the area.

May 18:  As we are walking towards town we notice our marina is hosting the reunion of Vietnam Vets having served on a PBR (patrol boat river). They had a rebuilt boat we could visit. After meeting the owner and getting his life story we continued on into town.

Potato Festival!  Free french fires while they last. Unfortunately they didn’t last for us but we did purchase some chocolate homemade ice cream.  It was fun to walk around and see the different types of kiosks (several churches had a kiosk). There was a large section devoted to the cornhole toss competition. Think of a bean bag toss with a raised platform having a hole. The locals were very friendly, however the humidity is the killer.

That evening the town put on a fireworks show. We had front row seats from the boat.  It was a really good display.

May 20:  We rented a car through Enterprise- they picked us up at the marina. Our first stop was the OBX visitor center to determine what we could and couldn’t do in one day of sightseeing.

We were lucky to be following vehicles that were moving along at a nice clip. We were able to return the car around 5:30pm.

May 21:  Today was the Dismal Swamp. Brief History:  In May 1763, George Washington made his first visit to the Swamp and suggested draining it and digging a north-south canal through it to connect the waters of Chesapeake Bay in Virginia and Albemarle Sound in North Carolina. He also directed the surveying and digging of 5-miles of the canal to Lake Drummond. Work began in 1793 and was finished 12 years later. The 22 miles were dug with slave laborers. The waterway was an important route of commerce in the era before railroads and highways.  It is the oldest continually operating man-made canal in the United States.  The amber-colored water is preserved by tannic acids from the bark of the juniper, gum and cypress trees, prohibiting growth of bacteria.

There is a dam which is used to control the depth of the canal and there is a lock at each end. The canal is narrow and with a current, Gary had to stay on top of his game. As I watched for floating logs (we were warned by the lock-master) I was surrounded with the fragrance of honeysuckle.  It was wonderful. The canal crosses the state line so we ended our day in the State of Virginia. The beers tasted so good when we finally anchored after a long day.