Well after a long winter the time has finally come to start cruising the C-Shel North bound through the Intracostal Waterway. This comes with feelings of excitement and nervous anticipation as we try to make sure that everything is planned and prepared for all of the things we can foresee for the next few weeks. As for the unknown that usually happens once we start our journeys, there is a special place in the pit of our stomachs for that. :-)
We planned to leave New Bern, NC on Saturday morning with the foul weather destination of Oriental, NC and the fair weather destination of Belhaven, NC. The day turned out to be overcast and cool but fair seas so we arrived at Belhaven, NC by late afternoon and anchored off the town. We were so happy to be on anchor as it was our first time since the Fall of 2014.
The next morning was sunny, warm and a beautiful cruising day. We got up bright and early with a plan to head up the Alligator River, cross Albemarle Sound to arrive in Elizabeth City for the evening. We had a lovely cruise up the river and entered the Albemarle Sound. We decided to take the C-Shel on plane to cross some of the Sound but as we did we lost our steering and almost ended up in crab pots. We for sure were shaken so we headed back to Alligator River Marina to recover and to find a solution to the problem.
We had to wait in Alligator Marina for the most part of the next morning trying to get our steering issue fixed. When all got fixed, we were eager to get underway to Elizabeth City, NC. We knew the bridge in Elizabeth City was broken but was in the process of being repaired. We needed to go under the bridge to go through the Great Dismal Swamp ICW route so we took a chance that it would be repaired by the next day.
The next day we planned on going to Hampton, VA. We got through the bridge in Elizabeth City, NC at 7:30am in the morning and headed up The Great Dismal Swamp. The weather was rainy and very fitting for the lush surroundings of this beautiful river - it was almost mystical. As we headed deeper into the river we came upon the first lock of our trip - South Mills Lock. This lock was on a set time so we waited for the 11am opening. After the lock many of the boats that were with us on the way up through the river stopped at The Great Dismal Swamp visitors centre for the evening. We wish we could have checked it out as well but we are on a little bit of a time constraint which we know should never be on the water.
We continued on through the Swamp to the next lock - Deep Creek Lock which was also on a schedule of 3:30pm. As the day was longer than expected due to lock schedules, we decided to not proceed on to Hampton, VA and choose an Active Captain 5 star anchorage just below and around the corner from the Deep Creek lock. This was just a beautiful anchorage and we got to take our new dingy for ride.