May 29. We entered the Pungo Canal at 0800 for a 20 miles straight morning of motoring. We were only making about 5.8 knots as there was a small current against us. There was a little wind just off our bow so when we got to a wide spot in the canal I decided that we would turn, face the wind and throw up the main.
Christy steered the boat to the extreme starboard side of the channel and then turned hard to port to allow me to pull up the main as we headed up on the wind. Things aren’t always as they seem and it turned out the channel was a lot more narrow than it looked. Even with the transmission in neutral we were across the channel before the main was up so Christy got to show off her boat handling skills as she kept the boat on the wind while I threw up the sail. This maneuver was worth it though as we were now flying along at 6 knots.
The Pungo (from the Arapahoe word for Godforsaken) Canal is alive with wildlife. These are 2 of the ever so rare North Carolina Jesus deer.
Last night we were warned by some local fishermen to be careful about walking the dogs as this area is the bear capitol of North Carolina. As it turned out this morning when I was walking the dogs we came across the remains of a bear. It seems the “sportsman” who harvested this animal only wanted the head and all 4 paws and left the rest to rot, what a waste.
After we got to the end of the canal we were now in the Alligator River. We were able to throw up all sail and kill the engine. The Alligator River is narrow at the southern end and gets wider as you travel north. The wind was blowing a steady 15 knots right on our nose so we tacked back and forth for close to 4 hours to cover the 15 miles to the Alligator River Bridge. It was wonderful.
During our sail up the river we were treated to a private airshow as we buzzed by some military fighter planes. They would come across the tops of the trees and scream past at about 500 feet. The noise was ridiculous and they went by so quickly you couldn’t move the camera fast enough to keep up with them. I’m pretty sure we were the focal point of the airshow as they passed over the top of our mast from every direction several times.
Once through the bridge it was only a quick 5 mile motor to our chosen anchorage. Once we got there it took about 40 minutes before we could drop the hook as we looked for someplace that would be good for the dogs. Things are good……..