Saturday, April 22, 2017

And, so it begins

Day 1   Thursday, April 20, 2017 -  53.48 miles, 8.0 hours travel
Campbell Creek to Tuckahoe Point on the Alligator River, NC

After five years of dreaming and planning ... we (Cally, Rip and I)  have started the trip of a lifetime. I call day 1 a success.  We spent the prior night on the boat at the home dock, just to make things easier for leaving this morning.
Morning coffee before we start ... the white AGLCA burgee ready to fly
America's Great Loop Cruisers Association flag showing we are in the process of "Looping"
We left our home dock earlier than I thought we could or would and easily cruised out Campbell Creek, out Goose Creek, across the Pamlico River, up the Pungo River and through the Alligator-Pungo Canal to an anchorage at Tuckahoe Point on the Alligator River.
Leaving our home port; thanks for the pic Mel & MJ
We have been to this anchorage once before, with friends Dick and Cathy Harville, on board. There is a boat ramp and finger pier to take the dinghy for Cally to go ashore. The canal back to the ramp is long,  and a bit creepy, yet nice. I always think I am going to hear Dueling Banjos, think Deliverance, playing somewhere off on the shore.
Hard to see, but there are a series of white PVC pipes marking under water stumps
we hit twice on ones not marked on our 2 runs in & out
We were serenaded by 4 fighter jets overhead for an hour after dark. You could only see their lights as they whizzed by us. Guess they were on training flights out of Cherry Point. First night's sleep on the boat came early and was wonderfully uneventful. One of the upgrades to the boat was a new memory foam mattress. Huge comfort improvement over the expensive custom mattress a prior owner had installed.
Cally did great! She really loves the dinghy rides with the wind blowing her ears.

Day 2    Friday, April 21, 2017 -  57.85 miles, 7 hours travel
Tuckahoe Point on the Alligator River to Coinjock Marina, NC

Nice cruise this morning; down the Alligator River and across the Albemarle Sound. After an uneventful crossing of the Sound, Cally was doing great and not fussy about the time, we pushed past our planned stop up the North River and on to Coinjock Marina.
Boats on the face dock and restaurant on the other side; quite convenient
Cally's ramp for getting on and off the boat

Known for their Prime rib, we thought we should make this our stop for the day. FYI - Coinjock should also be known for their homemade potato chips! They were really good. Rip and I got Prime rib and Cally had lots of grassy areas to walk and do her business; plus attention from all the other boat owners on the dock and some of the staff, too. Folks at Coinjock Marina are very nice and super accommodating. Their reputation preceded them, by way of Active Captain reviews, and they did not disappoint. Great dock hands to help boat tie up. Nice bath facilities. The dinner was very good, plus the restaurant had a couple playing playing and singing music until 9 pm. They were good and a fun time was had by all.
A little celebratory bubbly to go with our Prime Rib
We do not like glass on the boat ... so, DuraClear Champagne flutes for us
Concert by the docks!!
Day 3   Saturday, April 22, 2017   -  43.1 miles, 6.0 hours travel
Coinjock Marina, Coinjock, NC to Deep Creek Basin, Great Bridge, Va.

Today took us North on what is called "the Virginia Cut" towards Great Bridge, VA. A route we had not taken previously, but our usual route, the Dismal Swamp Canal, is still closed from damage by Hurricane Matthew. This was a very scenic route. We had a flotilla of 6 boats thru 2 bridge openings and our first lock of The Great Loop. All in all a good day.
The view today; one of the bridges we easily fit under ... 65' clearance underneath

The end of the Albemarle Sound heading into the North River up to Coinjock
That said, there was a mistake on my part when planning for the first bridge opening. I read it opened on the hour and half hour M-F, basic daylight hours. On demand all other times. Rip called the bridge tender ask him to hold an opening as we wouldn't be to the bridge until slightly after the hour and with a large group behind us. He came back with, "On Demand". Yep, today is Saturday and I had no clue. Thought it was Friday. So, the bridge opened on demand once we got close enough. Lesson learned. I need to keep up with the days of the week, not just the date.
We are anchored at Deep Creek Basin tonight; a small anchorage with deep water and sandy beach on all sides for Cally to go ashore. The roar of I-64 can be heard; heck I can see the traffic on the highway from our anchorage. I doubt it will stop any sleep tonight. Since shore is so close by, I used the SUP to take Cally to shore. Rip outfitted the SUP with an attachable seat back; so it really works as a flat kayak. Cally with her leg issues sits weird and off to one side, never straight, so standing to SUP is hard. Seemed to work well. No one fell off. Now it is raining and getting cold ... so the SUP goes up and the dinghy comes down. Way too wet and cold to SUP to shore now. Humm ... lightening and thunder ... someone might have to wait until morning to go back to shore. Cally really doesn't like to go out in the rain at home, betting she will not like going out in the rain off the boat either. stay tuned.


  1. Catfish is our problem child but I wouldn't dream of leaving port without him. In Stuart FL we had to wheel him to a nearby vet in our collapsible grocery cart. He loved it! Good luck y'all!

  2. Love the blog! Next best thing to doing the Great Loop ourselves! Stay warm and dry. It is chilly up this way! Judy

  3. Sounds like a great start. I love your blog already. Thanks for including exactly where you are...hard to tell on some peoples blogs. I hope we run into you on your way north.