Intracoastal Waterway Fall 2016

Two hundred miles in the waterway and we are ready for an exit! Most sailors have a love/hate relationship with this beautiful stretch of water. Sailing is often impossible due to the tight canals and tricky maneuvers around huge power boats, but the scenery ranges from amusing to breathtaking, and when we do hit open bays, we rejoice with a refreshing sail.

Having dinner underway to Norfolk.
Having dinner underway to Norfolk.
Can you tell this is the Zumwalt?
Can you tell this is the Zumwalt?

We arrived at mile mark zero, Norfolk, after dark, having made a spontaneous stop to see our Swedish friends on Blå Ellinor. Passing so many Navy ships was spectacular. It seems like a lifetime ago that we both were engineers at Bath Iron Works where some of these were built.

Waking up at anchor in the heart of Norfolk was surreal. You could hear the water slapping at our hull and the birds overhead much more clearly than the surrounding sounds of ships, trains, cars, trucks, and cruise ship bow thrusters. After years of my mama voice saying “look both ways before you cross the road”, we were looking both ways before crossing the chaos of this river in our tiny dinghy with its wimpy 6 horsepower motor.

Safely across, we ventured into the city. Norfolk is huge but everything we needed was a short walk from the river.

My new iphone SE.  The last one went swimming
My new iphone SE. The last one went swimming

First, a new phone to replace the one that proved to me that iPhones don’t float, then to a cafe for some internet to update its function. Playing tourists was fun too, as we admired the many mermaid statues and the Navy museum.

Battleship Wisconsin.  Such a weird skinny bow
Battleship Wisconsin. Such a weird skinny bow
Tourist Bill taking photos for the Dutch tourists.
Tourist Bill taking photos for the Dutch tourists.

m1

m2

m3

m4Leaving Norfolk at 4pm, only allowed us to get through the locks and tie up at Great Bridge free docks, about 12 miles down the ICW.

Arriving at Great Bridge after dark
Arriving at Great Bridge after dark

Here, we squeezed in between another sailboat and a trawler. There was about 45 feet left of the pier for our 42 foot sailboat. Moving Alembic sideways is impossible without a bow thruster, but luckily, two gentlemen jumped off their boats to catch lines and pull us sideways into the pier. I like to think they were kind, but others might say they were protecting their boats from being sideswiped as we parallel parked in a tight spot.

Rush hour
Rush hour

It looked like rush hour with all of us untying from the pier and lining up to go through the first bridge opening at 8 am. We cruised together for most of the day, waiting at each bridge, and carrying on again until we finally hit open bays and spread out. Finally dropping anchor as the sun set, we enjoyed a quiet night.

Little Alligator River at sunset
Little Alligator River at sunset
Mirror calm in the morning
Mirror calm in the morningOur first peek out of the hatch in the morning was the most tranquil scene of calm water across the Little Alligator River, but then I noticed we had been hosts to a serious party at night!
One of the thousands that didn't survive the arrival of the sun
One of the thousands that didn’t survive the arrival of the sun

Thousands of mosquitoes were either dead on deck or hovering in lethargic swarms in every piece of shade they could find. They left disgusting green stains all over Alembic’s fiberglass, sails, and flags.

ICW water is darker than tea
ICW water is darker than tea

Bill’s efforts to clean was kinda gross with the tea water he scooped out of the ICW. After hours of scrubbing and swatting as we motored along, we were still covered in green polkadots.

Grand Opening??
Grand Opening??
Airstream becomes a part of its surroundings
Airstream becomes a part of its surroundings
Sunrise at Oriental NC
Sunrise at Oriental NC
Matthew may have something to do with this grounding.
Matthew may have something to do with this grounding.
Lil Hobo fishing boat
Lil Hobo fishing boat
We all need a helicopter, don't we?
We all need a helicopter, don’t we?

A few more days of motoring, sailing, and anchoring in Belhaven, Oriental, and Beaufort NC, and enjoying the wildlife, canal life, and anchorages, we were ready for an exit out to the ocean.

Fishermen fill the beach and channel as we arrive at Beaufort NC.
Fishermen fill the beach and channel as we arrive at Beaufort NC.

One thought on “Intracoastal Waterway Fall 2016

  1. Gordon & Grete November 1, 2016 / 2:59 pm

    What a nice vicarious cruise this morning. Have never been to these places. Thanks. Keep the blogs coming.

    Like

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