Friday, April 15, 2011

Old North State

There is no other way to put it than we are on the move.  With time running out on our Great Loop adventure we are buckled down and forging North.  I must say when we first left Florida we felt sad as we looked around and saw less and less boats doting our horizons.  Now as we find ourselves alone most days on the waterway we are finding it to be rather peaceful and special.  Anna and I have really enjoyed the time we have spent together on the trip, it may be a wonder how we did not kill each other, but as completion approaches we find ourselves wondering how it will be once we get back to life as we new it before.  As we run up the outer banks of North Carolina we find ourselves taking more and more time to enjoy the peaceful landscape.  In a few short weeks these waters will be filled with charter boats and weekenders, it is a real treat to see it so quite.  Upon our arrival to the base of Pamlico sound we got a opportunity to visit with my Cousin Sue in Beaufort NC.  It was a great weekend and she was a great host showing us around the town.  We all enjoyed a beautiful walk on the beach with here new puppy Beau.  I got a kick out of seeing all the Christmas Trees buried in the sand.  I remember some years ago people would put their trees in the dunes of Nantucket in an attempt to slow down the erosion on the beaches.  Well they got that theory in full operation here and amazingly it seems to work very well.  You can see the mounds of sand building around the trees making a sort of artificial sand dune.  It makes me wonder why they banned it on Nantucket.  It seems to work very well.  Our entrance into pamlico and Abermarle sounds did not go as well as our time with Sue.  Our first attempt to run up pamlico sound had to be aborted due to the size of the seas.  Anna and I were not to upset as it left us with a great excuse to run into Oriental NC one of our favorite little towns in NC.  Our evening in Oriental was as wonderful as we had hoped and a great evening was had with our fellow loopers on Dragonfly, a solar powered Erie Canal boat that has been doing the loop this year as well.  We first bumped into Dragonfly in Canada.  I must say it is an amazing accomplishment to have done the loop in their boat. They have truly had an unbelievable adventure.  Our arrival to Abermarle sound just south of the Dismal Swamp Canal showed us the biggest seas we have seen so far on our trip.  We stuck our necks out into the sound only to see our lives flash before our eyes.  I can truly say we ran back to port with our tails between our legs.  I tell you some times it is just not worth it, and this was one of those times.  We tied up to a dock at a Shell Station and were happy to pay their price even though it was pure Piracy.  In the morning we made way for the Dismal Swamp Canal.  There are a few cool things I learned about the Canal, first, it is the oldest Canal in the United States having been used by George Washington in the Revolution.  It also has the purest water known to exist in the US.  It seems the acid from the pine trees kills the bacteria in the water, allowing it to stay fresh indefinitely.  Our Navy use to fill barrels of the water to provision for long voyages.  Even more shockingly NASA planned to use water from the Canal to send up to the moon with the Apollo Astronauts.  We learned many of these facts as we waited for the last lock to open.  The Lock attendant was one of the nicest guys and treated us to a truly amazing musical rendition on one of his many Conch Shells he has collected from northern travelers over the years.  We may be alone on the waterway, but we sure our getting the full tour.  Our next stop is the home of our Nations Navy.  Can't wait to see the Ships!

Love the Candy Cane Shudders on this home in Southport

We loved this sign as it showed we were half way home

Beautiful Sunset from our back deck

How embarrassing, we got lapped by this tanker

This lovely dredge was in he middle of the ICW and did not answer any of my hails so I had to go ahead and guess on which side to pass.  Luckily I guessed correctly

Great to see surfers again

My cousin Sue and her beautiful dog Beau on a beach walk

OK, this is like looking at a train wreck

What is it you ask.  Well in the home that Sue rented the owners decorated the bathroom walls with all different cans stretched out floor to ceiling

Oh yeah!!  They used the front as well as the back of the cans.  So Bizarre

Great to see a little 26 on a lift along the waterway

It may be hard to see but this boat and this home have identical paint jobs.  I am all for matching but this is extreme


Beautiful Old Homes

Our peaceful anchorage behind Goat Island

It really is a Dismal Swamp

It was very eerie to be here all alone

Anna was going overboard with the water reflection shots

Our second to last lock on the whole trip

Locking again made us feel like we really had come full circle

If you come down the swamp or stop off the highway it is great to read about the history of the area here

We tied up blue along the swamp and went and checkout out the visitor center

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