Catching Up…

Before we go on to the next phase of our journey, I thought it best to catch you up to our present position. When last you traveled with us we were tied in Belhaven for the night after a harrowing day of repairs. Now we are in Elizabeth City, NC and much has happened including meeting a witch!

We left Belhaven early and turned into the Alligator River-Pungo River Canal which connects…well you figure it out. This is a long narrow canal that on an average day sees hundreds of boats pass through. In 2006 I lassoed a deer that was swimming across and almost drowned in the current. There is a story about it at and it was around mid-May. There are pictures too.

No real excitement there this trip. We did see many F-18 Hornet fighter jets practicing and they would turn up sideways to bank over the canal and you could see the pilots. They were too fast to get good pictures but I did get one.

As we entered the Alligator River the wind had picked up considerably and we got moved around by both wind and current. When we had enough of that we jumped up on plane and ran the last 10 miles to the Alligator River Bridge where the current was really strong and we had to work to keep the boat in place.

Just beyond the bridge is the well protected Alligator River Marina home of Wanda the Witch. She rules over her world with an iron fist and it is one of the most efficient we have seen. We stayed here in 2006.

It was a struggle to keep from getting blown sideways as we entered the marina channel but once through the entrance we were OK. We had decided to take on fuel and the wind made it tough to get tied up but we did and took on 148 gallons at $3.92.9 per gallon. As I said before you do the math; it makes me nauseous.

Many loopers were filling up the marina and by bedtime it would be nearly full. Wanda herself flew out to meet us and tied the boat. Now I suppose I should explain. Nearly all Loopers stop here before facing one of the more dangerous bodies of water on the trip, the Albemarle Sound. They want to fuel up or rest up and wait for a weather window. Some of these Loopers are not as easy going as the Judge and Mimi and do not like how in charge Miss Wanda is, so they call her Wanda the Witch. She does not let anyone do anything their way if their way is wrong. And she does not hesitate to tell them they are wrong. And she has a glare that will stop you in your tracks. Alex and Lucas, it is sort of like the look Mimi had that day of the big blowout at the Burger King if you know what I mean.

Well I get along just fine with Wanda because I am somewhat of a Wizard myself as you know. When we pulled up I threw her a line and said, “You sure don’t look like any witch I ever saw and I know several.” She replied, “You haven’t been here long enough.” I like her.

That afternoon we had a Looper gathering to share information and socialize. A bad storm was due in so everyone went to batten down. Such lightening and thunder you never heard but we were nestled in a well protected harbor and did not move.

On Wednesday the storm had passed but the weather forecast had changed. Now higher winds were predicted beginning at 1000 and that would in this area produce huge waves. When last we crossed Albemarle Sound on “Just Us”. It was the single worst day in the Searl’s loop. Wave height rose to 8+ feet and we heeled over in a 42 foot aft cabin motor yacht so far that you could almost reach out the side of the flybridge and scoop up water! Many have not made it across in one piece due to sudden west winds and that is what was coming at 1000.

I rousted the Admiral at 0600 and said if we are going we need to go now. By 0630 we were pulling away from the dock and heading out to test ourselves and Cbay.

Our plan was to quickly get up on plane and run like Billy B. Geebers to the other side 35 miles distance. Cbay performed flawlessly and we averaged over 22mph every step of the way. We left many a boat wallowing in the Sound that day while we skipped across the tops of the waves. I believe we may have set a Looper record for this crossing. We passed the blimp hanger from WWII as we moved out of the Albemarle and up the river to Elizabeth City. By 0830 we were tied up at Pelican Marina and they were not even open. Another of our most interesting characters came to our aid. He was Dave a/k/a Diesel Dave or Super Dave. He was super to us helping to show us where to tie up and hook up. He even gave us the bathroom codes. We walked into town for a big breakfast. This was our second store-bought breakfast on this trip. We went to The Colonial Restaurant. Oh so good. An egg, cheese, bacon and mushroom omelet and I ordered a blueberry pancake for good measure. Jan had same old same old. I gave her some of my sliced tomatoes.

We met Skipper the cat and he immediately took to Jan and went to inspect Cbay spending the afternoon aboard.

Took the afternoon shuttle to the grocery store and made our biggest haul yet. Here are my cart and Jan’s cart. You see where my food priorities lie.

That evening many Loopers went to the Cypress Grill. We are eating too well. Have to start pushups and sit-ups on the flybridge.