LAT: N 35° 40.5'
LON: W 76° 03.5'
50s-60s, sunny, winds NW 10-15 kts
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Blimps, Bridge and Borealis
845 - We leave the Harbor of Hospitality.
1000 - Almost out of the Pasquotank River.
1101 - About half way across the Albemarle Sound, the seas are a little rough but we get pushed along fairly fast.
1204 - Entered the Alligator River, no gators in sight.
1303 - Just skimmed under the Alligator River Bridge.
1510 - Anchored North of Deep Point close to the mouth of the A&P Cut (Alligator River - Pungo River Canal).
Arggg me maties, this bridge be low, says ole' Slow, ly.
Duck, Duck, Duck, Gull!
Low Bridge Everybody Down!
Jonathan Livingston - Guest Editor
We took our Harbor of Hospitality tokens with us this morning when we said goodbye to Elizabeth City and took off down the Pasquotank River towards the Albemarle Sound. On our way we passed a blimp base (how phat is that?) and many houses along the shore. When the land dropped behind us we found ourselves in the big sound with a good wind coming at our starboard stern, pushing us along. The sun was out and we soon realized that we were not alone. There was a flock of swarming sea gulls behind us, hovering and occasionally diving in the water. They must have thought we were a fishing boat, or perhaps we were churning up some eats for them in the relatively shallow water. [I swear it wasn't conditioning, we were just admiring your swim platform. -Ed.]
We lounged and soaked in the sun until we got over to the mouth of the Alligator River. The draw bridge we had to go under was down and there were a few boats waiting on our side of it. We made some radio calls and found out that the bridge and the marina beside it had lost power. One boater radioed us to say that he had squeezed under in a boat 2 feet bigger than Slowly. The bimini was already down (because of the weather in Elizabeth City) so we made the decision to take down the mast and try our luck.
Slowly, we approached with caution. Once near, it was clear that we could make it, but we had to crouch down while on the fly bridge. It made for quite a view of the underside of the bridge. We felt sorry for all the boats still having to wait for the bridge to open. We were also really pleased with ourselves for taking the mast down and making it under the bridge without breaking anything!
After the bridge, it was smooth sailing (err... motoring) on down the river. We found a large anchoring area with plenty of room, and it was easy to settle down for the evening. We spent a little while fixing our anchor light while the mast was down and put up our flag as the sun set. The sky was perfectly clear and after dark we were given an incredible viewing of the Aurora Borealis. There was a fantastic swath of deep red in the northern sky along with wide splotches of white. We assume that this unusual viewing from southern latitudes was due to the solar storm that happened not long ago. The night air gets down into the upper thirties around here, so we were soon back inside under blankets, eating dinner with Frodo and Sam (from our new Two Towers DVD).
Daniel K. wrote in from Cambridge, MA. to ask us how we pick our next destination every day. To do this, we get out the charts, the Waterway Guide and Anchorages Along the Intracoastal Waterway by Skipper Bob. We look in the guides to find out where the next good place to stop is. The ideal location for us is a place 40 to 60 miles south, which is free to stop at (an anchorage or free dock), and where there is some kind of downtown to walk around in. This is particularly easy now that we are in the ICW, which is literally a marked trail through rivers, bays, and canals. It is also dotted with historic towns, most of which cater to cruisers given the ICW's huge popularity. Our cruising days go from about 8 to 3 O'clock, so we often have time to walk in the evening. These guides are also very important because they let us know about any bridges, locks, or hazards that we may face during the day. The Waterway Guide also acts a travel guide letting us know what useful stores or museums we should visit in towns.
Animal of the Day
The Honey Bee, Apis mallifera. Most mornings we eat Grape Nuts cereal with a little honey on top. So we give thanks to you, Honey Bee. Honey Bees live in colonies of 60 to 80 thousand bees whose lives center around supporting the queen bee. The queen eats royal jelly all the time while the other bees get it only for the first three days of their lives. After that they eat bee bread, a mix of honey and pollen. Each spring the queen departs the hive with some workers to start a new colony. New queens are born the next day. The new queen for the hive is the one queen who kills all the other queens born that day. Honey Bees were brought to the US by settlers in the 17th century. Honey bees are also quite friendly, probably because they die when they sting you. They should not be confused with yellow jackets which are quite unfriendly and can interfere with a good picnic.
Back on Slowly for dinner tonight we rounded up some Boars Head Brand Natural Casing Cooked Bratwurst, Pastene Enriched Macaroni Product mixed with Chunky Gardenstyle Ragu, Pastene Non-Pareille Capers and yellow onion, fresh basil and rosemary.
Wine Review: Arqua Petrarca, Cabernet del Veneto, Boldrin Luciana. This lovely Italian cab has a mild, dryish flavor and a spicy nose. It went very well with our dinner and the quiet starry moment. Thanks Michelle! We give it 3 and half propellers.
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