We left Mile Hammock Anchorage with the plan to stop after Morehead City for the night. It was a beautiful day and the cruising was so nice. We passed a sailboat who had serenaded us on his guitar the night before in Mile Hammock. The name of the boat was "The Answer My Friend". We did not know how prophetic it was.
We checked the weather and saw that the winds were going to pick up. We decided to cross the Neuse River, as it is a fairly long crossing that is unprotected. We crossed without incident. R. E Mayo Seafood is a working dock in the river. Although we arrived after they closed, we called ahead to get permission. No water, electricity or wifi, but at 40 cents a foot, we were safely tucked in. When they opened in the morning, John paid for our dockage and bought some newly frozen shrimp and scallops for dinners to come.
The winds were starting to rise. We left the river to cross the Pamlico Sound. Winds were about 15-20 sustained. The crossing of the Pamlico was not calm. The winds continued to increase and so did the waves. Finally, we turned north into the Bay River heading toward the Pungo River and Belhaven, NC. The predominant waves were at our back but it was not calm, for sure. Dowry Creek Marina was our plan for two nights. We have stayed at Dowry before and always liked their pool and club house. About 5 miles before it, the Pungo River turns east and the rocking and rolling started again. As we got closer, we called in. The dockmaster suggested that we stern in to the slip to give us a more comfortable ride for the coming storms. Well the winds and waves were already up and try as John might, the Hydrophilic could not be made to bring her stern in. Finally, we docked bow in. It was only a little after noon and we were both beat. We were the last boat tucked in for the day.
The winds were pushing the 5 to 6 foot waves on our stern. The winds were sustained in high 20's. All loopers were tucked in and planning extra nights. Walking on the docks, I was sure I would blow away. At 5:30, there were docktails at the club house. Overtime and her crew, that we had met in Chattanooga near the start of their loop, were there as well as Aurora B that we had met at Joyner, and about 7 other loopers. The courtesy car was available for a really nice dinner at Spoon River Market and Restaurant. They are known for their farm to table menu and the food was great. We pushed through the wind to get back on the docks. Now the winds were up in the 30's gusting to the high 40's. That lasted through the night. John and I were both surprised that we slept as well as we did. That is not to say that were weren't awakened several times with particularly stiff rocking of the boat.
Today, Friday morning, we woke to continued wind and waves. Around 9 a.m., the heavy rains came in with tornado warnings, thunder and lightning. The rain is scheduled to decrease about 3. The waves are down some so we are rocking less now. We have scheduled another day here at Dowry Creek to let the winds die down some more. Then we will head up the Alligator River to position to cross the Albemarle Sound.