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The Honeymoon!

 

May 28, 2005 - June 5, 2005

Mary and I stayed at the  Manteo Waterfront Marina  for our union.  Directly across from us was the Elizabeth II   , a replica of a sailboat slightly newer than the one that brought the colonist to Roanoke Island in the late 1500's.  A wonderful place to stay  - highly recommended.  Leaving Manteo, we motored pass the Roanoke Marsh Lighthouse there in Shallowbag Bay.    As noted, we were motoring because there was no wind at all!      Eventually the wind did build as we sailed across the Albemarle Sound for the Pasquotank River and Elizabeth City.  We hoisted the flags that spelled Fansler and had been signed by guests to our union.    The swells were small and the heel was not much and this was more than Mary could stand.    Admiral's prerogative!  Meanwhile, I headed up front to make sure there were no ice burgs in our path.    Heading up the Pasquotank River you pass an enormous building that is a blimp factory (still operating) constructed during World War II.    Keep in mind this is the smaller of two buildings that were built.  The larger (one of the largest wooden buildings in the world) burned in the 1990's.  Just outside of Elizabeth City is a large Coast Guard base.    We stayed at Pelican Marina in Elizabeth City.  A friendlier group of people we have never met.  As we docked, we were invited over for a wonderful dinner which included a crab dish, barbeque, shrimp, hot wings, pasta and much more - not to mention the deserts.  And to top it off, we were invited back the next night as they did it all over again!  Pelican Marina is a great facility with the most reasonable rates we have found anywhere.  From the boat we could see an Osprey nest located in a Cypress tree.    From Elizabeth City, we headed across the Albemarle Sound into the Scuppernong River to the sleepy little town of Columbia.  Free public docks were at the end of Main Street, where Annabelle's Banner could clearly be seen.   A beautiful setting, the waterfront is visible from the highway 64 bridge passing over the river.    There is a visitor center there which features a walk into the wetlands on a boardwalk.    The sunset that evening was delightful.    We started out early the next morning (5:30 AM) knowing it was going to be a long day.    Once out into the Albemarle Sound, the wind was coming straight at us at 20 knots with a 3-4' chop.  This made for a rough ride for 3 hours.    The chop calmed down once we entered the Alligator River.  After passing through the Alligator River Swing Bridge, we hoisted the sails and motor sailed at speeds of up to 8 knots.    Along the Alligator-Pungo Canal we saw unspoiled nature, including this doe and her fawn.   We finished out a 13 hour, 97 mile day in Belhaven, NC with a light rain falling.  The next morning it was still raining, and the wind had stiffened to  20-25 knot , but we had our hearts set on leaving Belhaven and getting to Washington, NC.  The wind was blowing on our stern, the boats on either side of us were stern in, sticking out beyond their pylons with anchors on the bows ready to chew us up.  We worked out a plan of how to release the dock lines that kept us off the pylons and anchors - not to mention the rock barrier 100' behind us.  The planning worked and we were out of the dock and marina without a mishap.  Motoring down the Pungo River we had the wind and chop off our port beam, making for a rough ride.  But as before, the hardtop and totally enclosed cockpit kept us dry.  Once out into the Pamlico River the seas and wind were on our stern, so we unfurled the Genoa and surfed our way to Washington - at one point the GPS showed us making 9.4 knots.  Arriving in Washington was a delight.  The waterfront has under gone urban renewal and is clean and well maintained.    With our banner flying, we caused enough of a stir to have the local newspaper take a picture of Annabelle and another picture or us which they placed on the front page of the Saturday edition, along with an interview.  It was lots of fun.  As I noted, Washington is a great place.  There is the N.C. Estuarium there that has wonderful exhibits about the Pamlico-Tar river.  Items of interest were a floating duck blind, , and several tanks of live aquatic animals such as this blue crab.    The food available just off the waterfront is wonderful.  Our favorite place was "A Slice of Heaven" - a coffee and desert shop, were we had a piece of chocolate cream cheese cake that was to die for.  As with all good things, we had to eventually start back home.  Leaving Washington, it was a foggy morning   on which the chart plotter earned its keep.  As were were about half way down the river, one of the NC Ferry System ferries crossed our stern.    Passing by Hoboken Coast Guard Station, we passed a dredge as it moved up the ICW.    From the dark clouds you can imagine we ran through some more rain.    Late that afternoon, as we approached Oriental, the sky started clearing.    We had a wonderful time on our honeymoon.  The "Just Married" banner was the source for many well wishes and fun conversations (several we heard on the VHF radio).  It brought joy into our lives and to others as well.  A trip to always remember
 


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