Great Bridge, VA to Belhaven, NC-Day 4

The day before, since we didn’t get very far I made a bet with Dad.  If it was over 70 we would just go to Coinjock, which put us another full day behind.  If it was under 70 we would cruise to Belhaven, which was about 120 miles away, a little further than we planned for any one day.  As you can tell by the title of this post, it was under 70, supposed to get up to 68.  So we would go to Belhaven.  We did however have one giant body of water to cross, the Albemarle Sound.  The people we talked to the day before said to be careful there, they had crossed in there 70’ boat once and actually had water splashing over the flybridge.  On our little boat that would definitely be too rough.  So when we got to Coinjock we would stop and see how it looks. 

Oh, forgot to mention, at some point the night before I fed the toilet a bunch of used beer and pushed the flush lever and half of it went down and then a it back fired and shot used beer all over me.  That was the end of the toilet.  It doesn’t work anymore.  Dad is peeing in a water jug now, and I, being the Jacksonville redneck that I am, just pee over the side.

We topped off the fuel tank and resupplied our cooler with beer at the gas dock.  When I started the boat to head on our way, the engine buzzer wouldn’t turn off.  Something was wrong.   This made me nervous and reminded me of Explorer Spring Break 09.  The oil pressure was fine, the temperature was fine so we had no idea what it could be.  We were a quart low on engine oil, so we added one.  It made no difference, the buzzer kept sounding.  Dad, against my better judgment added another quart of oil.  No change.  We got out the owners manual, and there was only one other reason the buzzer goes off… Low drive oil.  Sure enough, it was a little  low, so I filled it and it solved the problem.  And we are off.

The ride to Coinjock was very nice.  We had to get under our 2 bridges which took the better part of an hour.  This is the Centerville swing bridge opening.

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Once we got past the bridges, it was narrow cuts for a while, then it opened up to a wider river.  There was a slight chop in the river, maybe 1/2 foot but we were following it so it didn’t affect us at all. 

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Once we got to Coinjock, we checked the fluids again and topped off the tanks.  The drive oil was a hair low, but I think that’s were I left it last time, or maybe the drive sucked some of it down.  Nevertheless I topped it off right to the full line so I had a point of reference.  The engine oil was of course a quart overfilled which isn’t good, but not much we can do about it now.  Toilet still is broken.  Dad asked the fuel dock people about Albemarle Sound.  The guy said that its usually about 3 times what we just went though, but that the waves were heading south, so once again it would be a following sea which makes for a much smoother ride.  That added up to 1.5 foot chop, nothing to us after the 7 foot seas in the Chesapeake.  So we decided to go for it. 

Here is a small house in Coinjock.

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3 times bigger my ass.  There were probably 6 foot seas and the waves were headed south, east and north.  We were getting it from nearly all sides.  And we had about 20 miles of this.  I tried my best to read the waves and keep our speed up so we could get it over with quickly as possible.  Our speed dropped by 10 mph even though the throttle was about the same.  20 mph for 20 miles, we had about an hour of this, but it wasn’t scary like the Potomac was, just uncomfortable. 

After Albemarle Sound we entered the Alligator River which is still pretty wide open but much less sloppy.  The waves were about all the same size as in the sound, but they were uniform and following so it was much nicer.  The river narrows and eventually we get to another canal and we figured once we made it there, it would calm down considerably.  But before we did, the winds really picked up and it got a little violent.  Luckily we weren’t in the Sound at this point, I don’t think we would have made it.  This area was much more sheltered so the waves weren’t bad, but the wind was howling and it was hard to control the boat.  The wind kept pointing the bow wherever it wanted regardless of the direction I turned the wheel.  We didn’t have much of this however because we arrived at the canal, which is protected enough that there was virtually no wind.  We slowed it down and cracked some beers.  Time to relax again.   

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The sun was out, we lathered up in sunscreen and relaxed.  This was the nicest part of the trip so far.  From the entrance of the cut, to our destination, Belhaven, it was about 30 miles, most of it in this cut.  We cruised at about 8 mph for about 2 beers, and then kicked it up a notch for a while.  Dead calm and 30 mph it was awesome.

IMG_0648  On the other side of the cut was Pungo River and then shortly after was Belhaven.  Pungo River is pretty wide and pretty deep.  We passed a bunch of sailboats and enjoyed the ride.  It did get a little rougher and a little wet, but at least it was warm.  I even had my one sweatshirt I brought off for the first time.  The air was warm, the water that splashed on me was warm so it was all good. 

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We arrived at Belhaven at about 4:50 and relaxed on the boat for a while.  We listened to some tunes and lightened our cooler a bit.  Tied up next to us was a MacGregor sailboat and two older gentlemen on board.  One of them had something wrong with his hip, and one leg was about a foot shorter than the other.  Not to be rude, but it was pretty funny looking.  We also met another gentleman who was on his 58 foot powerboat.  It was basically the same setup as our boat, except much larger.  Oh and it had 3500 horsepower and cruised at 45 mph.  He was heading to St. Thomas, his home.  I asked if we could sleep in his two spare staterooms.  He didn’t really respond.

IMG_7263The sunset was at about 7:30 and was gorgeous.  At about 8pm we decided we should head into town and find some dinner.  We wandered all over the place and everything was closed.  I guess this town closes down at about 8.  After a couple mile walk, we came back to the boat and reheated some spaghetti and talked for another hour or so.  We decided it was good that everything was closed, spaghetti was just what the doctor ordered.  We lightened the cooler a little more and called it a night.  Overall a very good day.

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