Monday, June 14, 2010
A lot of progress in the past two days, Sunday and Monday. Sunday I traveled from Southport, NC to Oriental, NC; and today from Oriental to Coinjock, NC - both about 135 mile days. Due to starting early I had time both days to walk around the towns a bit in the afternoon. Oriental is called “the sailing capital of NC.” The population is less than 500 but many more boats are kept here in the marinas by people from many locales. The town is beautiful with pine trees and well kept homes - the ones along the Neuse River are particularly scenic.
Sunday I traveled through Moorehead City and Beaufort on the Beaufort Inlet to the Atlantic. Industries include commercial shipping, sport fishing and recreational boating. Camp Lejune Marine base is nearby as well as a naval air station.
Today, Monday, began at 4:30 AM as I planned to cross two of the most dreaded open water crossings on the Loop, the Pamlico and Albermarle Sounds. Depending on wind direction I chose to do both today based on the mild wind forecast. The prediction was off a bit on Neuse River past Oriental when I left this AM with whitecaps building rapidly. After that I crossed the Pamlico River/Sound and it was a moderate chop on to Belhaven which I reached by 8:00 AM. Then it was on to the Alligator/Pongo River and canal. I traveled through a naturalist’s paradise of birds and quiet water lined with Cypress Swamps. There are alligators present and reports of bears seen swimming across the canal. The canal opens up to the Alligator River and the potentially very rough Albermarle Sound. It got breezy half way across the 30 miles but the wave direction quartered my path so the boat took the water in stride maintaining 20-25 mph.
Coinjock is located along a canal - a peaceful village with two marinas. There were some very large 60-65 foot cruisers tied up by 4:00 P.M. I'm in the Midway Marina and Motel, my favorite combination of accommodations. I met a couple from Nova Scotia who are returning north in their sailboat and we had quite a nice discussion. We took their dinghy across the canal to the only restaurant open in town. Tomorrow will go 40 miles north to vicinity of Great Bridge, VA just short of Norfolk, to plan my trip up the Chesapeake and down the Delaware.