Thursday, 11 October 2012

Sunday October 7, 2012

We decided to stay in Elizabeth City Monday morning to get groceries.  We learned from the Visitor’s Centre that Farm Fresh would send a vehicle to pick us up, get our groceries & bring us back to the boat for free.  So we took advantage of this.  Ed, the young man who picked us up also gave us a bit of a tour of some of the older homes in Elizabeth City.  

Elizabeth City is known among boaters for a group called the “Rose Buddies”.  This started in the early 80’s when Fred Fearing & Joe Kramer welcomed boaters by giving all the ladies roses from Joe’s rose garden.  Even though both have passed, away a group has formed called the “Rose Buddies”, who have continued the tradition of welcoming boaters to Elizabeth City.  Any time 5 or more boats arrive at the wharf, they hold an impromptu wine & cheese party.  There were 7 boats at the wharf, so we were invited to a wine & cheese party Monday afternoon.  There were 3 speakers & we got to meet the other boaters.  One of the “Rose Buddies” gave us advice on when to cross Albemarle Sound & how to get around the shoaling at the entrance to the Alligator River.  

The weather wasn’t good on Tuesday for crossing Albemarle Sound so we decided to stay an extra day & got caught up on some boat chores in the morning.  In the afternoon we toured the local museum.  

Wednesday was calling for rain & a chance of thunderstorms in the afternoon, but the morning was looking good for crossing Albemarle Sound.  So we decided to sail down the Pasquotank River, across the Sound & just into the Alligator River.  We stopped for the nite at the Alligator River Marina, & were able to get fuel & a pump out before the rain started.  They had a small restaurant in back of their gas station/variety store.  So we treated ourselves to dinner out.  Dave asked the waitress if there really were alligators in the river & she told us about the 12 to 14 foot one they had in the harbour last year.  He asked how they got rid of it & she explained that they had to just wait until it left on it’s own, as they are a protected species in North Carolina.  They had alligator bites on the menu, so we ordered them to try.  The waitress was quick to point out that they imported their alligator from Louisana, & was not from North Carolina.  The alligator bites were really tasty, similiar in colour & texture to chicken.  

Thursday we left & headed up the Alligator River to the Alligator River - Pungo River Canal.  We ended our day anchored in a bay just off the start of the Pungo River.  After supper, while we were sitting in the cockpit watching a beautiful sunset, Dave spotted something in the water swimming across the bay.  It turned out to be a black bear.  We could tell when he reached the other side because of all the dogs barking.  

We went down the Pungo River, through the Bay River & Gale Creek, through a series of canals.  As we were just about to enter the Neuse River, we hit a shoal hard enough that I thought the bow was going to go under the water & Dave thought the propeller had come out of the water.  We were able to back off but were not able to find a way through the channel until a boater from North Carolina came along & said he had no problem going through this area.  We ducked in behind him & followed him all the way through, thankfully.  We had planned to anchor off of the Neuse River in Broad Creek.  When we got to the anchorage, it was very shallow, & after our earlier experience, we didn’t feel comfortable being in water that shallow.  We had passed the entrance channel to a marina, that we had read about, on the way in to the anchorage, so we decided to try it out.  Grace Harbour at River Dunes is part of a planned community that was started just as the economy went bad.  As we entered the channel, the homes alongside it, looked like they came right out of “Gone With The Wind”. So we decided to stay an extra night to take advantage of some of the amenities that they had available.  

Sunday we headed for Morehead City, NC.  When we arrived, there was a Seafood Festival going on so we walked over to it.  Our Thanksgiving meal included shrimp, flounder, crab cakes & hush puppies, but no turkey.

The "Rose Buddies" rose bushes in Elizabeth City, NC 

Club House at Grace Harbour at River Dunes, NC

House on the ICW anything goes for colour here

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