Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Dread Albemarle

Crossing the Dread Albemarle
We left our anchorage on the Frying Pan at the crack of dawn yesterday to head up the Alligator River and out into the dread Albemarle Sound.

Boaters have been warning about this crossing since before we left on the trip.  The route across the Albermarle River is a shallow but quite wide crossing. When the wind is high, big waves kick up. Terry Darlington whined about it extremely in his book Narrowdog to Indian River and ultimately hired a pilot to take his canal boat across. No hired pilot for this crew!

Cap had been monitoring the weather reports.  "Calm in the AM . . .  gusty later in the day . . ." followed by a forecast of days and days of bad weather.  If we wanted to avoid days and days bobbing at anchor in the lonesome Frying Pan, we needed to go.

On the Alligator River the waves, at our stern, pushed us aggressively, creaming over into little whitecaps. So much for the forecast of calm in the morning.  We conferred:  If we stick our nose out into the sound, and it's too bouncy, can we bail out? WHERE can we bail out?

And then we were on the actual sound, and the nose of the boat was bobbing like a horse at a gallop. But no worse than our crossing of Lake Ontario, and this time the sky was blue, not threatening to storm.
OK, we made it safely across the Dread.

So now we have made it across the Dreaded Albermarle.  Next stop: The Dismal Swamp Canal! (you know we never miss a canal.) Today we are safely docked in Elizabeth City, a town that, like Phoenix back on the Oswego Canal, is famously welcoming to boaters.  Last night we stayed on a free dock maintained by Jennette Brothers, a hundred-year-old company that supplies meat and produce to restaurants. All they ask, in return for the tie-up, is that you go out for dinner . . . at one of the independent, locally owned restaurants they supply.  Seems like more than a fair price!

Signs of spring . . .  the boat is covered with a fuzzy dusting of yellow pine pollen. And yesterday, the World's Most Carefully Tended Houseplants got a diligent visit from a big, fat bumblebee.

(Slow internet, what else is new. Check back later today and by then some more photos may have posted to Facebook . . .)


  1. If you're getting bumblebees, that can only mean that spiders are not too far behind!

  2. Aaaaargh! The dread spiders are ALREADY starting to drape their little decorations under the solar panels. I must take up arms against the enemy! To the brooms, men, to the brooms!