Last week on the ICW! We had our deck hand Alan (Brian’s dad) with us for the week, and I think we showed him a reasonably good time
Mile Hammock Bay – Beaufort
Uneventful day, this stretch through the Bogue Sound is pretty straight, narrow, and shallow. But because the Skipper Bob book and Active Captain didn’t have very good feedback on the anchorages in Beaufort, we decided that perhaps the best thing for us to do would be to dock at Town Creek Marina (having Alan agree to spring for the marina made the decision easier!) Most importantly, I DOCKED THE BOAT ALL BY MY BIG GIRL SELF! FIRST TIME ON THE ICW! I can’t emphasize how much confidence this gave me, it’s been the thorn in my side since we first stepped on a catamaran over a year ago, my biggest fear…and I conquered it!
The marina was ok – docks were in pretty bad shape, no water or pump out at the dock – but it did give us a chance to get off the boat and have an absolutely spectacular meal at Front Street Grill at Stillwater! If you pass through there, make sure you stop in for some excellent food and drink.
Beaufort – Snode Creek
After Beaufort, we decided we were going to try to churn out long days so that we could make it to Norfolk by Thursday afternoon. We could see that we would have a nice expanse of water for sailing when we hit the Neuse River, so Brian and I made a bold decision – we would raise the main, for the first time on our own! Worked pretty well, although we think our anemometer got a bit caught in the halyard (yes, it’s officially hosed), and once we got the jib out we were flying along at 8-9 knots. The swells made it a bit bumpy, and it was cold as hell, but we were just so pleased with ourselves for finally busting out the main!
Snode Creek – Catfish Point (Alligator River)
Another uneventful day as we crossed the Pamlico River and slogged up the Fairfield Canal. We picked the anchorage closest to the Alligator River Bridge, and we knew it was a tricky, shallow entrance into the creek where we were going. Luckily, another sailboat (Calyx) was approaching the entrance at the same time as we were, and he offered to go first, as he had been there before, and draws 6’ (as opposed to our 4’). We managed to dodge the tree stumps sticking out of the water, and settled it to see one of the prettiest sunsets we’ve had so far.
Catfish Point – Coinjock
We headed out across the Albermarle Sound, with the jib flying, dodging crab pots, anxious to get to Coinjock Marina, where we knew we had legendary prime rib awaiting us. After I docked us again with my newfound finesse, we were thrilled to relax a bit. Had the chance to meet Calyx from the night before, and ate prime rib the size of our heads.
Coinjock – Norfolk
Last day on the ICW!! We left the dock, super excited to get this last stretch of the ICW behind us, and with a few days’ break to look forward to. We went through our first lock, which was fairly easy, and then we cruised on in to the Waterside Marina in Norfolk.
It was a great week, we gave Brian’s dad a view on how we’re handling the boat (and hopefully he’s a lot less nervous about what we’re doing!), and we reached a big milestone. All in all, the ICW was a great confidence-builder for us. It was boring a lot of the time, gave us some real challenges, and offered the opportunity to experience some great towns that we’d never thought we’d visit. We know that we’ll plan to make some outside runs in the ocean on our way south, to save ourselves time and boredom, but we also know we’ll revisit some of the places we found, and check out some places we missed.
Next up – a few more days’ shore leave here in Norfolk (a great little city!), and then the Chesapeake Bay. We’re bound for Annapolis and the docks at Sail Away Catamarans so we can get some work done on the boat before we head for Nantucket. Stay tuned for more about Norfolk and Annapolis!