Monday, December 11, 2006

Day 14 starts with us on the go at 0650. There’s no wind at all so we motor south along the Alligator River on our way to the Pungo Canal. It’s flat as a pancake but we are getting about three quarters of a knot push as the tide is coming in.

At the south end of the river it becomes a very winding stream through a swamp, it’s hard to imagine that there’s this much nothing anywhere today. When the winding stream ends it becomes the Pungo Canal, pronounced “holy crap this place is deserted Canal”. The canal is a lot like the Dismal Swamp Canal except there’s no locks and is probably 100 yards wide at some points. The downside is that of these 100 yards that it’s a false sense of security as there’s tree stumps and fallen trees in the water everywhere along both banks. It’s not nearly as well maintained as the Dismal, some of the stumps are alone, just at the surface and thirty yards from shore. It makes what could be a very relaxing trip very tense.

The Pungo (from the Arapahoe word meaning Godforsaken) Canal, unlike the Dismal is not a “no wake zone” so you’re forced to share this limited space with mega yachts barreling through as fast as they dare. The place is so remote though that we only get passed three times in 20 miles and all 3 captains were cooperative in slowing to a no wake speed while we slowed and hugged the edge and let them past before we both resumed our previous speeds.

We stop for the night at the Dowery Creek Marina about 4 miles or so from Belhaven, N.C. The place was recommended in Ken & Carol Small’s account of their trip last fall to deliver their boat to their new home in Oriental, N.C. We arrive around 1430 hours and do laundry and take showers as soon as we’re tied up. I tackle a couple of small boat chores while Christy starts diner. There’s no internet but there is cell service unlike last night.

Just for the record Christy’s ankle is much better but I am screening her calls in case Charlie tries to call again. That’s about it for today, we should make it to the Small’s home by tomorrow evening, and I hope they realize how hungry I am.

On a side note tonight while listening to the VHF during the evening we heard a Notice to Mariners broadcast by the Coast Guard concerning a report of an I-beam awash at the mouth of Alligator River, looks like someone else found it as well.

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