The Motor Vessel "Once Around"

The Motor Vessel "Once Around"
The Motor Vessel "Once Around" in the Florida Keys

Friday, May 6, 2011

Finally...We're Off!!!

After a great bon voyage party thrown by our kids last Saturday, Carrie and I flew out to North Carolina on Sunday and caught up with our boat in Morehead City.  The captains who brought her around from Sarasota said all systems were go, no problems whatsoever.  We sent them on their way home and spent Monday and Tuesday stocking up on provisions and doing a few minor chores, like installing a spare anchor.  We met a few fellow loopers (experienced) and got a few good tips on anchorages in the upcoming stretch.  We also tried to dispell the rumor (apparently started by our hired captain) that we were brand new to boating.  People had been told we just bought a 45 foot boat and were going to hit the waterways!  Some couldn't wait to see what kind of misadventures we would have, while others were overly explaining every detail ahead...cracked us up.  Anyway, the weather report for Wednesday looked bad, with thunderstorms predicted, so we reluctantly planned on staying one more day at the dock.  I figured I could use the time to study charts and maybe get a post in.

In typical Frank and Carrie fashion, we changed our minds about 9 AM Wednesday morning after an elderly couple of loopers asked for our help getting off the dock in the wind.  Hell, if they could do it we could do it. (Yes John and Linda, we did check the weather and confirm that the storm had been downgraded considerably).  So, with only a quick photo taken by a nice couple from Canada who were passing by, we slipped the lines and began our yearlong journey.

We did catch a bit of rain periodically, and the wind did stir up a bit in the afternoon, but thanks to the loopers the night before, we knew that Slade Creek off the Pungo River near Bellhaven would provide a good protected anchorage for the night.  Here was our view at sunset:

Thursday we ran up the Pungo River, through the Pungo/Alligator River Canal and most of the way up to Abermarle Sound.  

A bunch of gulls seemed very interested in us as we transited the Pungo.  We hadn't left any food outside, so couldn't figure why they were swarming around us.  Maybe they were just hopeful...or maybe we need to shower every day.  Anyway, they lost interest pretty quickly.
We also got buzzed by a couple of military jets along the way.  One was (I swear) only a few hundred yards above us and our chests thundered as he flew over.  The admiral said it scared the (expletive delted) out of her, and she was hereby removing fllying in a jet fighter plane from her bucket list!

There are some gorgeous (and not so gorgeous) homes along these backwoods waterways.  This one looks like a place I could hide out for awhile, how about you?

We also saw a few interesting boats.  We liked this one best:

We opened our first (of a zillion on the loop) bridges, along Alligator River,

and stopped into a cute little marina, aptly named the Alligator River Marina.  As we refueled, several loopers (including our friends Doug and Judy from Moonstruck!) greeted us and invited us to a cocktail party and a taco feed aboard some new friends' (Jim and Linda) trawler, Jeremiah.  The margaritas flowed, oh yeah, happy Cinco de Mayo!

At least 10 looper boats left the marina together this morning.  We needed a down day, so waved them off as they left.  There isn't a town to visit within 10 miles, and this morning at least, few boats in the harbor.  I've precisely timed getting this post in with my first mate completing our laundry chores...I think it's about nap thirty...but first, (just in case we don't get wifi in the next few days) a great big HAPPY MOTHERS DAY to all you moms out there. Now, about that nap...

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