Tuesday starts early since we want to re-verify the weather conditions and make sure it’s safe to travel today, and if we do go, we want to be on the water by 8 am to give ourselves the most time before the potential small craft warnings. With all that done, we make the decision to shove off, so we go into pre-departure mode and Kailani is moving away from the dock of Alligator River Marina at 8:05 am. The marina water is dead flat, but we can see a bit of chop out on the river. Immediately after leaving the protected waters of the marina, we’re going to need the Alligator River Swing Bridge to open, so I call the bridge tender on VHF channel 13 and he says to pull right up and he’ll get us through. Can’t ask for better service than that, especially on a busy bridge with commuter traffic at this time of morning. So we pass through the span after it completes its swing and thank the bridge tender for the service. Then we look down 16 miles of Alligator River and proceed to cruise southward. After about a third of the way down the river, we hear a vessel asking the bridge tender for an opening. We hear him say that he’s a north bound vessel, but that seems strange to us because he didn’t pass us anywhere on the river, so how could he be travelling north? Turns out, he was probably just mixed up because soon after, he’s at our stern and we get a request on the radio for the north bound trawler (us) to allow a slow pass to port. We acknowledge, slow to no-wake speed and he is alongside us in short order. I mean he’s so close we could see the patterns on the drapery inside the salon! Anyway, he completes his pass and accelerates back to his cruising speed and as fast as he came up our stern, he’s out of sight as he passes into the canal about 7 miles ahead of us. I wouldn’t want his fuel bill.
Eventually, we make it into the canal and this is 26 miles of man-made waterway with literally one change of course, or two extremely long straight-aways! As we’re approaching the entrance to the canal, there’s a smaller boat ahead entering the canal at a very slow speed. He’s so slow, that we have to slow to avoid a potential collision, and the nearness gives us a chance to identify this vessel as a Marine Police vessel. Then as soon as he’s in the canal he accelerates out of our clear sight. Later, when we have to make the only turn on the whole canal, there he is just waiting in the water. Tracy is at the helm and she says she’s going to slow to no-wake to pass him and we complete the slow pass without incident and he doesn’t approach Kailani, so we’re still not sure what his goal was, but as long as we don’t get boarded, it’s all that counts. Once we come out of the canal, we’re on the Pungo River and in the 11 miles of river, we pass only one sailboat, so all in all there was very little boat traffic today.
Greg, the General Manager of the Marina is on the radio with us talking us into the marina and we first pull up to the town dock for a pumpout. We’ll be staying on the boat the rest of this week and Tracy correctly decides we should start our short week with clean tanks. After the pumpout, we maneuver over to our slip, which will be Kailani’s home for the next 5-6 weeks.
We started this journey when we left Chester Marina on November 7th and after a one week delay for our inverter replacement and another 8 day delay in Staten Island for our Atlantic City crossing, and other shorter 1-2 day pauses for various reasons, here we are 36 days later and 602 nautical miles from our home port in Belhaven, North Carolina. We cruised a total of fifteen days for a daily cruise average of 40.133 NM per day. We stopped in: Milford, CT; City Island, NY; Staten Island, NY; Atlantic City, NJ; Cape May, NJ; Greenwich, NJ; Bohemia Bay, MD; Annapolis, MD; Solomons Island, MD; Kilmarnock, VA; Hampton, VA; Great Bridge, VA; Coinjock, NC; Columbia, NC and Belhaven, NC. We’ve met some spectacular people along the way including AGLCA Harbor Hosts like John Caliscebetta, Foster Schucker and Doug Smith. We’ve met some awesome people like John Scarcella, Al Redfield, Marc Robinson and Joy Brewer. We’ve had some extremely helpful dock masters, and we fully expect this adventure to keep getting better when we resume our travels in January. We’re truly fortunate to be able to experience this adventure together.