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We pondered the 2 route options to get from Albermarle Sound to Norfolk and settled on the ‘most scenic’ Great Dismal Swamp route. It was an excellent choice but a little spooky due to the shallow drafts and very skinny channel width. It also included 2 locks along the way.
Good news was that we were the only boat headed north that Sunday and we met only one sailboat headed south which was easily passed about midway through.
We did have a few ‘bumps’ along the way from floating stick debris and experienced a ‘high temp alarm’ on our port side engine shortly after entering the canal (so we pretty much ran the entire trip on only the starboard engine).
After the Dismal Swamp, we passed under the Great Bridge on our way to the Atlantic Yacht Basin for the night. On our way to dinner we learned that the Great Bridge is a national historic site where a battle took place in 1775.
We found Vino Italian Bistro Sunday night — a great little Italian Restaurant and had a 3 course meal — Salmon and Veal Parmesian, WOW!! Too much food — we had leftovers for Monday.
On Monday (8/24) we had Atlantic Yacht Basin take a look at the port engine to see what the issue was with overheating. We ended up pulling the boat out of the water to find and fix the problem, and while it was out also to fix the bow-thruster, touch-up some bottom paint and check zincs.
We learned quite a bit during this:
1) They fixed the bow-thruster, but this could have been done while in the water we were told — good to know for next time…
2) They said there was an oyster shell in the port engine water intake, and this was causing reduced water flow causing the heating problem. When we left AYB the next day however, the engine heating problem resurfaced. They said we could come back and they would take another look at it, however we were already underway to Norfolk area — Fort Monroe, VA. Still need to figure out what is happening with the motor overheating.
3) When back in the water, the air conditioner stopped working and the pump overheated. They said the pump may have needed to be re-primed after the haul-out. We learned this after the pump was not working anymore, so ordered a replacement pump, and went to Walmart to get 3 more fans to make the next few 90 degree days more bearable.
Manteo to Elizabeth City / Lambs Marina (8/19 thru 8/22). We stayed 2-nights at Lambs Marina which is very near Elizabeth City but in the very rural village of Camden NC. This was our last night in NC before we headed up the river to the Dismal Swamp.
Outer Banks / Pamlico and Albermarle Sounds / Manteo / Nags Head / Alligator River (August 17th – August 20th)
Monday morning (8/17) we got up and walked around Washington, NC looking for shopping places open. We had lunch with Logan and Dawn at the Seafood Shack before they headed out on their 7 hour drive back to Kingsport.
We were sad to see the girls leave on Monday and spent that night at the Waterfront Docks again in Washington, NC. We did a walk around and read about some of the historic buildings in the downtown area.
We found an excellent local restaurant Down on Main Street that was serving ‘fried green tomatoes with homemade pimento cheese on top’, fresh local seafood and… running a special on Highland Brewery’s Oatmeal Porter for 2 bucks‘… a great way to end a Monday.
After a brief overnight stop Tuesday back at Dowry Creek Marina in Belhaven, NC we departed early Wednesday (8/19) for Manteo, NC on the north end of the Outer Banks. It was a long but beautiful trip that included a canal. We also had an awesome view of a crop-dusting plane that flew right over the boat — just couldn’t get to phone quick enough to get a picture. Along the Alligator River, Larry saw a couple of alligators and lots of birds, Mary worked out and cleaned on the boat some…
The Alligator River and Albermarle Sound are filled with crab pots. We were racing a storm into the marina at Manteo. The canal into the harbor was very shallow and complicated but we made it into our slip just in time before the storm hit. Very near our docked boat wat the Queen Elizabeth II.
Later that evening we visited the town of Manteo where we found the Lost Colony Brewery (highly recommended).
Wow, what a crazy busy week! New Bern NC (Bridgeton Harbor Marina) then Oriental NC (Oriental Marina and Inn) then Outer Banks Ocracoke (Anchorage Inn and Marina) then Belhaven NC (Dowry Creek Marina) then Washington NC (Washington Waterfront Docks)
We arrived in New Bern, NC from Beaufort on Wednesday (8/12) and rented a car to pick up the girls on Thursday (8/13) at Washington NC. Wednesday evening, we drove to downtown New Bern for a stroll around.
We found that New Bern has a bear mascot and that it was the birthplace of Pepsi — who knew!
We had a great burger and beers at the Beer Army restaurant before retiring back to the Bridgeton Harbor Marina, across the water from New Bern.
After picking up the girls on Thursday (8/13) at Washington, NC and driving them back to the boat in New Bern, we boated to get to Oriental Marina and Inn by 6 PM. We walked around this small little town and found a great restaurant where we could get fresh shrimp that was caught just off the shrimp boats docked in town.
Friday morning we headed out on a 5-hour boat ride across the Pamlico Sound to the Outer Banks at Orcacoke. It was a beautiful day to get some sun on the way.
When we got there, we hiked to the beach at Cape Hatteras for some Beach Time!
On Saturday (8/15) we shuttled back across the Pamlico Sound to Dowry Creek Marina in Belhaven, NC … it was another great day for sun on the deck of Living the Dream.
When we arrived at the marina, we took a short trip to the town of Belhaven in the courtesy car, but only one shop was open due to COVID… Bummer! We decided to just head back to the marina for some pool time and movies on the boat that night.
Sunday 8/16 we headed back to Washington, NC where we had picked up the girls just a few days before. Logan got some captain training in during this trip.
We stayed at the nice Waterfront Docks located right downtown where everything of interest is just a short walk…
Loved this place…. lots of local things to see and do…. dingy to dining… courtesy car to shopping… beautiful weather…
On the way to Beaufort, we crossed through Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune where they do amphibious assault training. On the waterway there were warning signs to indicate not to pass if the lights were flashing due to live firing!! So… no lights were flashing and we went on… We saw this sunken shrimp boat on the way — maybe they didn’t see the flashing lights — just saying…
First night in Beaufort, we ventured into town via dinghy to see whats around. After Dinner we found this great Wine Bar / ice cream shop, had a beer and glass of wine and bought a bottle of wine to take home.
Next day, we walked to town and treated ourselves to Pedicures. Later that evening we Dinghy’d to town again, did some shopping and met some boat friends, Linda and Simon for dinner.
Next its off to Wasthington NC to pick up Logan Addington and Dawn Childress for a fun boating weekend!! Here are some of the sights we saw on our way: Helicopter in a backyard and lots of Shrimp Boats!!
Thursday morning (8/6) we departed North Myrtle Beach and headed further north along the ICW up the Little River (passing many hurricane damaged docks & marinas). Departing SC and entering NC near Calabash (a famous seafood stop for anyone visiting the area).
By late afternoon (after a few shallow spots) we reached the Southport Marina and entered the deeper water of the Cape Fear River on the way to Wilmington. It was a long day on the water and we did see quite a bit of debris on the water (dock posts with nails, etc.).
We arrived mid-day at the Wilmington City docks where were located right downtown with several dining and entertainment options very nearby. Our overnight dockage was directly across from the battleship USS North Carolina.
Oysters, drinking and dancing….
On Friday (8/7) we departed the Wilmington City Docks to make a quick trip around to Seapath Yacht Club at Wrightsville Beach on the ‘beachy side’. This beautiful marina is located very close to several local restaurants such as Poe’s Tavern (yes there’s actually 3 Poe’s Tavern’s and now we’ve been to two of them) we had access to a courtesy car that allowed us to visit the farmers market and Harris Teeter to re-provision.
Saturday (8/8) was not our best departure as it started with the discovery of a failed bow-thruster and then just missing the bridge opening (which delayed us for an hour).
We stopped to top off the fuel at New River Marina — best price so far at $1.52 / gal Diesel, then just a stones throw away was our overnight port Swan Point Marina. The entry at Swan Point is ‘very shallow’ and we would not recommend this for any vessel drafting >4′ and definitely don’t try it at anytime other that high tide. This location is a working marina and they had a lot of dock repairs underway. Definitely not the best facilities.
Tuesday (8/4) after the hurricane pasted we left the safe harbor Osprey Marina for a ~30 mile journey up to Myrtle Beach Yacht Club. We stopped along the way at Barefoot Landing to grab some lunch Taco Mundo one of the many dockside restaurants. After lunch we made the brief 5 mile voyage through ‘the Rock Pile‘ a notorious stretch of narrows lined with jagged rocks. Actually it wasn’t all that scary.
By mid-day we arrived a the Myrtle Beach Yacht Club was one of the largest marina’s we’ve stayed at since leaving Florida in July. The excellent Yacht Club facilities included a pool and restaurant overlooking the marina. Staff and live aboard boaters in this marina were very friendly and helpful.
We enjoyed a beautiful and an easy ride from Georgetown, SC to Osprey, SC on Monday (8/3). Seas were calm and the scenery was beautiful along the Waccamaw River. Thousands of Cyprus trees lined the shoreline along with majestic Southern Live Oaks covered in Spanish Moss.
Once we settled in at the Osprey Marina it was time to get ready for the storm. Around 5pm heavy rains started from Tropical Storm Isaias. The wind and rains steadily increased peaking around 8 pm when they stopped briefly then reversed direction until midnight. Things were not too bad where we were, which was an excellent ‘hurricane hole’ shielded by large pine trees on all side. The next morning we learned that the storm had regained hurricane status (85 mph maximum sustained winds) just before making landfall near Ocean Isle Beach at 11pm. Significant damage occurred along the coastal areas from Ocean Isle Beach up to Southport which got the worst of the storm. We were actually suppose to spend 1 night at Southport on Tuesday (8/3), but the marina was closed due to damage from the storm.
Friday (7/31) we took a short ride up to Fort Sumter, then along the ICW to Isle of Palms.
A quick Uber ride to Poe’s Tavern on Sullivan’s Island for some awesome burgers as just the fix to start this beautiful Friday. Once we finished at Poe’s we were off to the beach for sun and fun.
The water was a balmy 80+ degrees, but refreshing.
We did get to stop in at Duleavy’s Pub a couple of times for refreshments (highly recommend this place).
Early Saturday morning we were up and gone before the fishermen heading to Georgetown. This section of the ICW is very remote, we hardly saw any other boaters for miles. Arriving at Georgetown by lunch allowed us to visit the local shops and museums just off the harbor walk area. After an excellent Saturday evening Mass at St Mary’s, we met some fellow AGLCA Loopers for dinner.
On Sunday morning we hosted our friends the Hubbards (Jared, Mallory and Hillary) for a boat ride along the Winyah Bay.
Early Monday morning we departed for Osprey Marina near south Myrtle Beach to ride out the ‘Tropical Storm Isaias’.
Saturday morning (7/25) we departed Bohicket Marina on John’s Island around 11am for an ICW trip to Charleston. The day was calm and seas were light for the beautiful ‘inland’ voyage. As we got closer to Charleston on the Stono River the boat traffic increased considerably. We took the Elliott Cut (a narrow 3 mile channel also known as Wappo Creek). Once reaching the end of Wappo Creek we entered the Ashley River which skirts the southern side of Charleston. Lots of boaters here on a sunny Saturday morning. Views of Castle Pinckney, Fort Moultrie and Fort Sumter off our starboard side were excellent.
Cruising around “The Battery” we saw several dolphins as we headed up the Cooper River which borders the northern side of Charleston. We docked at the Charleston Maritime Center just a few blocks away from history downtown with an awesome view of the USS Yorktown at Patriots Point and the Arthur Ravenel Jr Bridge.
For docktails this evening we were greeted by Kingsport friends, Craig and Tammy Kilgore, who now live in the Charleston area on Daniel Island. Later Saturday evening we took a quick walking tour of Bay Street stopping in for some pizza & beer at New York City PIzza.
Sunday morning we took a 1.5 mile walk to St John the Baptist Catholic Cathedral. This beautiful cathedral was nearly complete with some major interior renovations that prevented us from seeing the main chapel, but we did get to attend a mass in the lower chapel and tour the grounds.
After church we hopped aboard the ‘CARTA’s DASH Trolley free bus’ for a quick ride around downtown on the way back to Harris-Teeter (for groceries).