Saturday, June 25, 2016

"Got Mud on My Face..." Yup We Are Back to Finding Good Anchorages!

We have been traveling longer distances than our normal pace because we want to be in the Norfolk area where Al's college roommate, Dana Helsley and his wife Marion live, because he is Al's ride to the airport for another jaunt to Miami to have an eye check up.  Plus the weather and choice of anchorages allowed for the longer days.  In four days of travel we covered 245 miles!  The title of this blog is in memory of the last 2 mornings of pulling the anchor in windy conditions!  My job is to man the anchor pulpit while Al drives the boat to reduce the tension on the anchor chain.  Part of my job is to spray the chain and anchor with water to clean it as it rises out of the rivers so when the chain drops into the chain locker is is not caked with mud.  So when I spray I sometimes get wet as it blows back and the last two mornings, the chain was more muddy than usual, the wind was stronger than usual so I got much more mud sprayed on my face in the process.  And I haven't been able to get that old song out of my head!!  (When Erik was young, he loved to sing it). And despite the mud and wind, we still love to anchor out.
See how happy Al is enjoying his new chair as he drives the boat with the remote in his hand that directs Mr. Auto to turn one way or another.  Our first anchorage was called Mile Hammock and is adjacent to Camp Lejeune. It was spacious and we had it all to ourselves except for some soldiers that looked to be enjoying some R&R on the water.
Early night fall with the moon rising over the beautiful horizon. 
And yet another beautiful sunset to begin a quiet night.
Leaving the anchorage, we passed by this area used for firing practice for the base and sometimes there is live fire crossing this section of the ICW.
There were signs like this one marking the beginning of the danger zone and the end of it warning boaters to stop if the lights were flashing.  We read that if there was live fire, army boats would be posted to physically block the waterway so the signs are not the only warning signal.
We passed this pretty momma Osprey sitting with a baby tucked in the nest with her.  Just about every channel marker has a nest with a mom and baby Osprey along this area. Our second night was spent in an anchorage in the harbor for Moorehead City where we had a great walk along the water and ate at a good waterfront bistro.  It was a windy night but we were set tight. 
On our third day of travel we briefly stopped at RE Mayo, a fish pier where we could have stayed the night only to enjoy these lovely outhouses but opted instead to go on to a beautiful finger creek off the Alligator River. We did buy some fresh/flash frozen fish and scallops and took our afternoon walk on local streets before cruising another 20 or so miles to our anchorage. 
This is us leaving the anchorage after I got mud sprayed on my shirt, shorts and face!  But we both agree that wind is our friend when it is hot as it keeps us cool on the bridge. We then cruised another very long day covering 78 more miles. 
This is our view as we entered a canal that connects the Alligator River with the Pungo River. 
The water here is like tea or coffee because of tannin staining which comes from leaves and natural breakdown of forest debris. 
Then when it was time to stop, we nosed out into the Ablemarle Sound and found the wind prediction was correct and the water was fairly calm.  This is an area we were warned to only cross with decent wind.  So at 5:30pm we chose to cross this open area and then drop anchor along the Pasquotank River.  It seemed like a really good idea because the weather prediction for the next two days was questionable and the winds could be high.  So drop the anchor we did and started with a peaceful night.  But the wind did rise and by 2am, I was up taking Dramamine and waiting patiently for morning.   So again, when we pulled anchor I had mud on my face and a grin to go with it thinking of that crazy song that Erik always loved to sing!   ON to Elizabeth City and the Dismal Swamp!!

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