Wednesday, August 14, 2013
I drove down to Elizabeth City the other day to see Millie, a friend of many years, and check out the boat ramp the for the fall trip. While walking along the waterfront near the old Elizabeth City Shipyard - where I used to keep my old Devlin-designed Nancy's China - I saw a gentleman having a successful morning with a piece of chicken on a string and he was kind enough to let me photograph his catch.
For a couple of years in the late 1980s I kept the original Spartina tied to the pier you see jutting out behind the boat house. I sailed there many times spring, summer and fall and like to think I know the river well. That was a different time back then, before kids, when I could jump in the car and drive 45 minutes, cast off the lines and be sailing on the beautiful dark stained waters of the Elizabeth River.
I am sorry to say that the shipyard - which dates back to the early 1900's - has fallen into disrepair. Just a reminder that nothing lasts forever.
Millie has her place down near what is marked on the charts as Cottage Point. I'll need to rig and load Spartina at the ramp (which does not have the safest area for parking, particularly for overnight), sail down to her dock, tie up and retrieve the jeep and trailer to leave at her place. It's less than a mile and I can easily walk that distance, though Millie has offered to give me a ride.
Elizabeth City is less than an hour from my home. If I leave here at 5:30 a.m. I could be sailing by 9 a.m.
Above is my spot track from a sail I did on the Pasquotank River a few years ago, driving down in the morning, launching Spartina then sailing to the edge of Albemarle Sound and back. If I recall correctly, I did not even get an early start that morning, but still rigged, launched and sailed to the sound and back, reaching the dock early afternoon. With that in mind (and a wish for good wind), I could launch and make it down the river and across Albemarle Sound by early afternoon. We'll see. The Albemarle does have a reputation for being rough water.
There is a question of which way to go, which I will probably decide in the few days before the trip. My preference is to make the trip counter clockwise, following the path to the left, above, to the Alligator River, the ICW, Belhaven and the Pungo River, sailing "inside" to Cape Lookout. Then from the cape I would come up Pamlico Sound to Ocracoke, Croatan Sound and back to Elizabeth City. I suspect weather will dictate which way - clockwise or counter clockwise - that I will go.
Looking at the calendar just now I see I have about five weeks to go before the trip.
Spell check is telling me that Albemarle, Pungo, Pamlico, Ocracoke and Croatan are words that are in the dictionary. I like that.