Friday, April 22, 2011

Over the River and Under the Bridges

We have been in some remote locations and internet service has been very spotty this week, preventing me from keeping up with the blog. Here is a recap of our week:

Mile 309 - 229
After Monday’s adventure through the rockpile, Tuesday brought us a series of bridges through northern South Carolina and southern North Carolina. Many bridges along the ICW are 65 feet or higher, but others are anywhere from 7 to 12 feet. Freedom needs 26’. Some bridges open on the hour every hour, some on the hour and the half hour, and some by request. Some of those are drawbridges and some are swing bridges. Before every bridge on Tuesday we asked the question: do we throttle up and go for it, or slow down, relax and wait for the next opening? It made for some exciting moments, particularly when the tender of a “once an hour opening” bridge told us we needed to “put a beat on it” and that we did, just slipping through at the last minute. Phew!

Meanwhile on Freedom, Christine organized my galley -- what a treat! I’ll write more about that later on our companion blog, FreedomFare

We spent Tuesday night at Casper's Marina in Swansboro, SC where we foolishly ignored advice to go to Cap’n Charlie’s Seafood Paradise Restaurant.

Mile 229 - 141
Wednesday’s trip was much more relaxing than Monday or Tuesday’s - but just as long, covering 88 miles. We bid farewell to our cruising companions Gene and Carol on September Rose as they turned into Oriental, NC, and we continued on up the Nuese River. The Nuese’s wide body reminded us all of the Chesapeake Bay - a welcome relief after the narrow and rocky waterways of the past few days.

Wednesday night we found a remote, pristine anchorage off near the mouth of the Pungo River. The meandering shores were lined with grasses as far as the eye could see. Some locals stopped by, out for their first ride of the season, to say hello and ask where we were coming from and where we were going. The first and last boat we saw all night.

Mile 141 - 104
Right now (Thursday evening)I am writing at anchor at Tuckahoe Point on the Alligator River. We stopped here just after noon upon hearing the swing bridge a few miles ahead had been closed due to high winds (gusts up to 30 mph). We can see at least a dozen other boats at anchor waiting out the weather. Although the bridge opened a few hours ago we decided to stay put for the night. The Albermarle Sound lays ahead, and it should only be crossed in the best conditions -- even in an ocean going vessel like Freedom. It turns out to be a gift from Mother Nature -- we have all enjoyed the chance to rest, read, and recharge for the final days of our trip. Scrabble Tournament after dinner.....

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