Just wanted to provide update on my Portsmouth to Oriental trek last week:
We left NYC
area last Saturday evening, and made it to Portsmouth (Tidewater Yacht Marina; $2/ft, with pool, restauarant, and megayachts abounding) near MM Zero around 7 PM Monday. Trip down NJ and DelMarVa coast was uneventful and mostly pleasant. We stayed 3-4 miles off the coast, and actually enjoyed light northerly breeze for first 15 hours. TY Marina worked well for us, as they brought the fuel
right to our dock
, and we were able to get underway Tuesday morning at 0530, with plenty of visibility from all the lights in the Norfolk area.
Our early departure put us in a good rhythm to clear the the lock and three bridges that had time restrictions, so we were passing Coinjock by early afternoon, despite our reduced speed (around 5.5 kts @2500 RPM-definitely due for prop and bottom cleaning!). We decided to press on through Albemerle Sound, which allowed for some nice sunset sailing and dining. We made it across to the bizarro gas station tie-up in Alligator River (Miss Hatties, or something like that).
After an early, unispired breakfast on Wednesday at the aforementioned gas station, we left around 0630 and continued down the Alligator and Pungo Rivers, and fianlly out into a short open run in Curricutick Sound, were we finally able to raise our sails
for a bit. We dropped sails
just in time to motor
into Dowry Creek Marina at about 3 PM, which was the favorite marina so far. Nice place, good prices, and great people.
We left Dowry Creek at first light on Thursday, and had an easy motor
down to Neuse River. We got caught mid-afternoon in the shallow and unprotected open water
of the Neuse only a few miles short of Oriental. A cold front came in suddenly and the wind
jumped from 10 kts up to 35+ kts in seconds. My worn out old jib
was blown in minutes, and I heard another boat under full sails had been knocked down. After about 30 minutes of white caps and slamming, the sun came back and everything was placid again. We motored the last few miles to our assigned slip at Oriental Waterway Marina. Beautiful place, but the depth
can get below 5' when the wind
pulls the water
away for a couple of days. Fortunately, we had at least 5 1/2 feet to into the slip, and were able to tie up by 3 PM Thursday.
We'll be back down there to continue the trip to FL in January, and will appreciate more tips on the southern ICW
. I hope to try the Dismal Swamp route
on the way up next Spring, as it sounded beautiful.