We have made significant progress. Because of the delays with weather we didn’t get to see all the places we wanted but its been an adventure. We left Rock Hall planning on two days of good weather. Once again, the weatherman lied to us. The marina we chose for the night was simple and out of the way. When we pulled in and said we wanted a slip for one night he said “you might want to check the weather.” I had glanced at it later in the day and it wasn’t looking as good as it had been, but I didn’t pursue it. I should have.
The weather had changed from the original forecast, our two day window shut after the first day. We spent 4 days at Smith’s Point Marina. It was at the mouth of the Potomac on the south side. We were 18 miles from the nearest grocery store. It was pleasant enough. The owner was very nice and lent us his car to get provisions. We met the folks on a neighboring boat and were invited for dinner and cocktails.
The delay caused us to skip going to Tangier Island, which we were very much looking forward to. We were just one day away from actually getting to the Intercoastal Waterway. From then we would be safe from rough water, kinda. Waves splashing up over the bow isn’t my idea of fun. I was ready for some calm enclosed water.
When the weather did clear we headed back out onto the Chesapeake. It was clear and calm and we made it to Portsmouth, Virginia. Going by the Naval Yard was impressive. We stayed at a marina a few miles before the entrance to the Dismal Swamp. It’s the slower route but more scenic. We went through locks and draw bridges and rafted up along other boats for the night at the North Carolina, Dismal Swamp Welcome Center. Locks were not as scary rey as I had thought they’d be
Continuing on we had to cross the Abelmarle Sound, which brought us to the Alligator River. We spent the night at a marina right off the mouth of the river. It had a great space for Tigger, nice showers and fried chicken! Several more boats pulled in after us. Several left in a group in the morning so there would just be the one bridge opening of the Alligator River Swing Bridge. At it’s mouth it was quite wide and a little challenging until we turned into another canal. It was remarkably quite and we didn’t see much wildlife. It was until we reached the Neuse River that things began to get crazy again. Waves and wind had started up. It was a rather nasty end of that trip at Oriental, North Carolina.
Oriental is a popular spot for people traveling the ICW. The town docks were free, so that was nice. It was also right on the road so we could walk to where we needed to go. We also knew bad weather was coming and we would be there for a couple of nights. When we woke up in the morning the road was under water. Once again we were stuck on the boat until the water receded. We met some of our fellow travelers. When the weather did clear the next day we were off. Again, several boats were leaving that day to continue the journey. This time the Neuse river was much more accommodating. Amazing how different a body of water can be from one day to the next.
Not wanting to get stuck again some place we didn’t want to be, we made our reservation early for the next marina. It was a good distance and the web site made it look very inviting. What a nightmare! How could a place named Swan Point Marina be so horrible? Holes in the dock, no power, no means to get to a restaurant, despite the mention of a concierge service on the web site. When the dock master did appear 3 hours later, Tim let him know our displeasure. The owner came to the marina (not down the dock) and said he knew nothing of the web site – yea, well bless your heart! No charge for the night but none was deserved.
The next day was very nice. Good weather, calm water and a lovely helpful marina in Southport. Since I had refused to get off the boat after initially walking Tigger when we first got to Swan Point, it was lovely to be in a safe place with good showers and a place for Tigger to run around. There were also several restaurants in walking distance. My nerves were once again starting to settle down. That is, all except for the time issue.