Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Crossing Albemarle Sound

Sailing under main and Screacher

[Kyle]Our next day had us heading south from Elizabeth City to the mouth of the Pasquotank river into Albemarle Sound, the first large body of water south of Chesapeake Bay. From there, we joined the standard ICW route into the Alligator River, which, as far as I know, doesn't actually have alligators.

We left about a half hour after sunrise and seemed to be on the tail end of the migration, most af the boats had left right at first light as Maryanne and I were preparing Footprint for departure.

After Elizabeth City, the river becomes nice and wide and we were able to sail under main and screacher once the wind came up about an hour later. We were even faster than we were going under power. Just before I shut down the engine, we got a crab pot float line wrapped around our prop. We had the screacher up and it's kind of a pain to furl or heave to with, plus the river is very shallow with only a narrow channel so we just kept going. I managed with Maryanne's help and some tools to extricate the line while hanging way off the back with water whizzing by inches away.

With that drama over, we had a nice fast sail across the shallow sound and entered the Alligator River. The only real snag was the freakin' wind. I would get everything all set up and we'd be going nice and fast. Maryanne would bring out some nice, tasty, hot food (It was in the low 50s F). I would get the food 2 inches from my mouth and the wind would shift just enough that I would have to stop everything, put my food down and reset all of the sails. Then, satisfied, I'd go back to my lukewarm food and get it 2 inches from my mouth when the wind would shift back to where it was before, so I'd have to put everything back, and so on. It made me wish we were in the ocean with plenty of room to turn left or right fifteen degrees to keep everything set until it passed.

The second time that we used the engine was to go through the Alligator River bridge. We furled the screacher and went through on main and engine. A couple of days earlier, a couple of people we know from Ocean Marine (on the Island Packet Cat's Cradle, had the swing bridge close on them and turn their beautiful rig into a pile of twisted metal piled on their deck. We could see no evidence of the accident on the bridge and we were glad to get through without incident.

The Alligator River gradually narrowed over the next ten miles and we were able to anchor under sail in a nice protected (from waves) but windy spot (wind generated electricity!) around the first bend. We ended up right next to Whisper, the other Gemini we had seen in Elizabeth City the night before.
More cocoa please!

[Maryanne]The weather has certainly got colder. Kyle enjoys sailing, and I find reasons to work in the cabin! Every so often Kyle pokes his head in for a fresh host cup of cocoa. Jeez, he deserves it!

1 comment:

Mommy Dearest said...

Just to let you know, I'm grinning and feeling warm and satisfied to have you back sailing with your wonderful posts.