We really enjoyed our stay at Belhaven but as this trip goes, it was time to get moving again. I forgot to mention that Belhaven has a 6 million dollar breakwater to provide some protection from the open waters of the Pungo River. Rhonda read somewhere that it really doesn't work so well, but what do you expect for 6 million?
Once again, we hit the open waters perfectly with smooth water.
After about a 10-mile run, you enter the really narrow section of the Alligator River which continues for about 22 miles. (There are no alligators here!)
The terrain was "wide open nothing" with huge pine forests in the distance.
Then right in the middle of all of that nothingness, there is a beautiful home on the river - probably the folks that own all of that.
A couple of weeks ago, our grandkids put in requests for animal sightings. Connor wanted closeups of alligators. Well, we thought we were pretty close to the gators in the Everglades, but I think Connor means "put your head in its mouth or something close like that." Alexis wanted elephants! She may have to be happy with the elephants at the zoo until we can get that float plan together for Africa maybe!!! Bryce wanted to see bears. Some of the tour guides for this river predict the possibility of bear sightings so we were hopeful, but unfortunately never saw any. BUT, hopefully this will be interesting for them - a deer swimming across the river. We had seen several running along the bank and then all of a sudden, one decided to take the plunge.
You have to be attentive to the stumps along the edges in some sections, but all in all the river is very nice.
Some states post the waterway mile markers, usually every 5 miles. Rhonda likes these as reminders of our progress. Portions of this trip are starting to run together, but we think Louisiana was the last one to do this. So, kudos to North Carolina for having them available again.
There was a lot of traffic on this river and we had a little bit of a traffic jam at one point (not really but it sounds good)! Three fast powerboats had just passed all of us slowpokes and then we had us, 3 sailboats, and the crabber if you look closely on the left bank.
The narrow stretch of the river finally runs out and there's another open area for about 10 miles just before you get to Albemarle Sound. There's a huge swing bridge there that funnels traffic out to the Outer Banks and back.
On the left end of this bridge is a Shell Station that doubles also as a marina. It was surprisingly very nice to be in the middle of nowhere. There is a restaurant inside where Miss Annette cooks everything from breakfast biscuits to steaks to alligator chunks. We passed on the alligator chunks. We had our own little lighthouse by the boat but we're not sure if it's functional or not. Either it's not or we were too tired to notice it during the night!
Rhonda got some shots of some hummingbirds while we were there.
The next leg of the trip was to cross Albemarle Sound. It's 14 miles across and there are war stories out there of 6-foot waves on a bad day. We were pleased with the forecast and left very early to take advantage of the light wind. This is the way to cross!
Approaching Elizabeth City, there's a large blimp hangar on the left that is used by Fuji, Sanyo, and Monster.com. It's called the TCOM blimp hangar.
This is Elizabeth City sitting in a bend of the Pasquotank River. Don't ask me to pronounce that!
Elizabeth City is known as The Harbor of Hospitality. It's a little hard to read on the water tank but it's there. They offer free slips for 48 hours. There's no power or water but the WIFI is strong and free also.
Elizabeth City has always had a relationship with boaters and their vessels, especially after the Dismal Swamp Canal was completed giving them access to the deep water shipping lanes and vessels of Norfolk (more on the Dismal Swamp in a later blog). There's a neat story to go with this, particularly relevant to pleasure boaters coming through the city. Read it for yourselves on the monument to "The Rose Buddies."
You can see the roses in the background by the monument. I told you it was a neat story!
The docks are right along the waterfront (duh!) near the historic downtown area.
And as usual, Rhonda got some shots of pretty flowers.
OK, confession time. She took those at Lowes in the garden department while I was inside buying a new WetVac! Well, they are pretty, right? We rode our bikes to Food Lion also and then got a good shot of a Great Dane back at the marina. (Significant because our older son has one.)
Speaking of bikes, Rhonda continues to get all kinds of comments on her pink and yellow bike. One lady literally hollered at her from the porch to say she liked it! There were some ladies this morning taking pictures of it while strolling the waterfront - you know, where the slips are!
Elizabeth City has a huge museum, called Museum Of The Albemarle, which gives the history of the area from the time of the native Indians to early settlements to the Civil War to now. I could show you a hundred pictures of interesting stuff, but here are just a few that caught my attention. First a Corvair, in great condition as you can see, representing the 60s and 70s and the beach life in this area.
Posters noting some of the beach music performers.
A restored shad boat, adopted by the state's general assembly in 1987 as the official state boat.
A Griffin and Scudder square grand piano, ca. 1850. (Looks like a rectangle to us!) Never knew they existed.
Interesting wheelbarrow from the pre-Civil War era.
This outside shot gives you an idea of how big the museum was - huge.
There's also more park and waterfront around the corner from where we are docked.
After our long day and museum tour, we went to Quality Seafood for dinner. It's nothing fancy but the food is great, and only about $9 for a platter. (I'd already eaten a lot before Rhonda took the picture.)
There are blocks and more blocks of beautiful homes.
We were able to attend church at First Baptist, established in 1786 and listed on the National Historic Register of Churches by the Department of the Interior.
The interior was beautiful with lots of stained glass. Check out the ceiling also.
OK, I'm about toured out and I need to rest up for tomorrow. We've got rain and thunderstorms forecast, so I've got a date with the engine room - that's always an all-day affair. We hope to enter the Dismal Swamp on Tuesday and move into VA via Norfolk on Wednesday. See you there.