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Long days with lots of wind – all from the north.  But that works if you’re going south!  We are now anchored in Spooner Creek, about mile 210, just past Beaufort, NC.  A perfect spot – great marina with fuel and water and shopping within walking distance.  Loved having fresh food today.  We won’t starve on the boat – too many cans of food – but it sure is a treat to have fruits and veggies that don’t come out of a can.

We left Elizabeth City with a weather report of rain and winds NE at 10-15, building to 15-20 in the afternoon.  We actually had a lot of discussion about the advisability of going, but knew we’d be in Elizabeth City for 2-3 more days if we didn’t leave then.  We decided we could reach the partial shelter of the Alligator River before the wind built and almost did – we rolled through the entrance marks on big waves and spent the rest of the day surfing to the south end of the river.   We anchored just off the channel in a very secure and quiet spot – the 20 mph winds from the north came overnight, but we were just fine.  This is what we could see from our anchorage – it may be the darkest, blackest place I’ve ever anchored.  [The yellow is our life ring on the back of the boat.]

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Monday and Tuesday were more of the same – very cloudy, occasional light rain, some fog, and winds 10-15 from the N/NE, and cool.  We were in a canal/ditch a lot of the time, so the wind wasn’t a factor and we motor-sailed when we were in open water, using our headsail to steady the boat and help our speed.  It was exhilarating and tiring at the same time.

We saw lots of bald eagles.  Here is a really bad picture of two of them.

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We went by a bunch of shrimp boats:

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We left Hobuken Cut early this morning; we’d anchored just off the ICW.  The wind howled all night, but we were very secure.  Again, no sunrise – we haven’t seen the sun in 3 days.  As we entered the Neuse River, we saw dolphins again – I love seeing them.  I wish they weren’t so camera shy.  I run all over the boat trying to get a picture of them – lucky I don’t fall off.

Goldwin and I take turns steering, although I prefer it.  He does the boat checks and works on projects.  We both look for the next marks and check ourselves with the GPS to make sure we are staying on course.

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Although we love both Oriental and Beaufort, NC, we decided to skip them this time.  Here is all we saw of Beaufort – the 65 foot bridge.

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Sixty-five feet is the controlling height of fixed bridges on the ICW; there are lots of lower bridges and we have to call the bridge tender and ask for an opening.  Some open on request and some at particular times; some don’t open on weekdays during peak traffic times.  Each is different and we have our “Skipper Bob” book to let us know the schedules.  It also tells us where the anchorages are along the ICW, where the marinas are and even how much their fuel costs.

But Spooner Creek is a lucky find passed along to us from our daughter and son-in-law who made this trip last year on their 27’ Albin Vega, Velocir.   It’s a good provisioning stop with a secure anchorage.  Great advice from those who know.

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