Altogether we were in Washington NC 9 days. On two of those we went to the outer banks and visited several places, among them Kitty Hawk and the Hatteras Lighthouse. I never realized what an effect the outer banks barrier islands had on most of North Carolina’s Atlantic coastline and all the waterways inland. They let some of the ocean in, but very little. All the water west of the islands is brackish, with only 1/35 the salt of sea water. This changes a lot of things, but what we noticed most since Swan Point marina in Sneads Ferry was no tides, and so no currents for us to contend with when traveling and docking.
With our repairs finished we were ready to leave Washington Wednesday, but decided to wait one day on the weather. When we left the next day all agreed we missed traveling on a perfectly safe but cold, wet and miserable day.
Thursday morning was still cool and foggy enough that I turned on the radar in case it suddenly became worse. The weather report indicated things would get better eventually, and they did. Visibility was good enough that we could always see the channel markers before we really needed them. It was good practice to see if we could spot them first on the radar, however, and sometimes we did. If the fog had gotten worse our chart plotter would show marker positions on its navigation charts but it might be out of date. The Coast Guard moves markers as conditions change. The radar overlays little blobs onto the chart to show where the markers really are.
We traveled east 30 miles down the Pamlico River until we rejoined the ICW, turning north up the Pungo River. These “rivers” are more than 2 miles wide for most of the distance we were on them. Then it was 20 miles on the Pungo-Alligator canal which is a narrow straight cut that only bends once. The canal ends at the start of the Alligator river where we intended to anchor out. Because of a little trouble with our electronics we continued 20 more miles down this also very wide river to Alligator Marina where a technician could help us with what turned out to be a simple fix.
Pushing on to the marina had us travel 90 miles, so our next trip to the jump off point for the Great Dismal Swamp would be much shorter. This trip was not terribly scenic or terribly anything else, but traveling by water is still pleasant. Maybe we’ll get tired of it someday, but not for awhile.
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