Next on the agenda... make some miles north towards the Chesapeake. So, leaving Beaufort Sunday morning, Patti reflected that there was nothing she'd rather do for Mothers Day. At the Neuse River, we were able to sail FAST for a couple of hours, then turned up the Bay River to settle in for the night in Bonner Bay. Monday we were into Goose Creek and came out motorsailing in the Pamlico River, then up the Pungo when the winds got up over 20 knots - in the ICW?!? Motoring into the Alligator-Pungo Canal, the wind was blocked and we had a few hours of shear boredom ahead of us. Guess that's better than shear terror. Coming out the other end of the 20-mile ditch, we anchored in the Alligator.
Tuesday morning was beautiful, we saw two bald eagles perched in the same tree, and had a great time motorsailing up the Alligator. We decided to try the alternate route north through the Dismal Swamp Canal. As we entered the Albemarle Sound, the skies all around us were shades of gray and we saw storms everywhere. It was difficult to tell which way the storms were going. We listened to VHF weather radio and conditions were still forecast to be ok, so we ventured out for the 10-mile crossing to the Pasquotank River. Halfway across, a storm closed around us, and visibility diminished to 100 feet. We took our sail down and throttled back till we could figure out how long this storm would be with us. The good news is, we were getting a nice freshwater washdown for the deck with the hard rain. And, the wind and water didn't feel too strong since we were going downwind.
The storm cell moved on and we were clear to enter the Pasquotank. Turning on the weather radio again we NOW heard there were storm warnings for Albemarle Sound. The National Weather Service was warning mariners to get to port as soon as possible, and if in port, to stay there! They said that the winds in the storms were 33 knots (just under gale strength) and waves were up. Well, we certainly didn't feel all that, but the water was definitely breaking with white caps (though we would call them brown caps - the water here is brown from the wood tannins.) Now there was little wind, but we put the sail back up for some stability in the waves and motored into Elizabeth City, jumping off spot for the Dismal Swamp Canal. Anchor down in Forbes Bay, a beautiful place with pretty houses lining the shore.
Bonner Bay: +35° 9' 48.96", -76° 35' 41.70"
Alligator River: +35° 40' 23.70", -76° 5' 58.44"
Forbes Bay, Elizabeth City: +36° 17' 25.56", -76° 12' 3.06"