Thursday, May 7, 2015

Elizabeth City to Albemarle Plantation

The famous Elizabeth City rose bushes

Odin docked in front of the Elizabeth City park

Day 2 Elizabeth City:  We're hung around for another day.  This was supposed to be a mail stop, but we are now going to use the Albemarle Loop for that (free dock for 48-hours ).  We went to Muddy Coffee for breakfast, then walked 2 miles to the grocery store.  On the way out, we were repacking the groceries into our backpacks, when someone stopped and offered us a ride back to the marina.  We politely declined, saying "it's our exercise and we're going to stop for lunch."  The stranger said, "you should eat lunch at my restaurant!"  So we did--Monteo's was open for Sunday brunch.  The Captain had a salad, iced tea and a french dip.  I had shrimp & grits, a bloody mary and a mini creme brulee.  It was excellent.  Good thing we walked!

Monteo's Sunday brunch
I headed out for an afternoon paddle and my Captain walked to the hardware store (because we haven't seen a West Marine in over a week!).  Dinner is cold pasta salad with Country French vinaigrette, tuna, olives & peas.

Some of North Carolina's cypress knobs

On & off the boat was a little tricky.  Did I mention it was free?

Leg 9:   Elizabeth city to Albemarle Plantation marina (see separate Plantation report).  A warmer night on the boat--60F when I got up (couldn't see my breath--yeah!)  We departed at 7:30 am.  We're headed out for a few reasons:  1)  We are only allowed 48-hours on the free dock in Elizabeth City 2)  We need to do laundry  3)  The next marina is also free.  As a result, we didn't wait wait for favorable winds to sail.  As we left the Pasquotank River and entered the Albemarle Sound, we leave the Dismal Swamp route (and converge with the Virginia cut route).   We motor-sailed, then motored with less than 5 kts of wind.  It was a 35 mile hop (20 miles off the ICW) to arrive at the Albermarle Plantation (watch your depth). 

Broke free of the ICW and the main sail is UP!

The Dismal Swamp has been gorgeous.  The people are INCREDIBLY friendly.  We never saw less than 6.0 ft of water under the keel.  We saw a few logs on the side that were easily avoided.  The other boaters have been very nice (and I hate to say it, because they may take our sailor club card away, but the trawler crews have been especially nice to a couple of newbie sailors).  We would do this again.

We expected the usual "T-head" at the Plantation, but instead we're directed around to an extra-wide slip.  Wow!  What a treat.  It's our first full slip.  The harbor master is very friendly and a few other people nearby stop to grab a line.  We got a tour of the grounds on a golf cart and then arrived back at the boat for more visitors.  We finally get all settled and head for the Dockside Cafe.  It's the most reasonable wine collection I've seen in awhile, and we ended up sharing a bottle of chilled bottle of 120 Sauvignon Blanc.  Back at the boat, I confirmed we have free, strong wifi while the Captain disappeared below after a short deck cleaning (odd!)  Amelia reluctantly joined me until hubby pops out and says, "The air conditioning is working!"  SHUT UP!  It's our warmest day so far--76F.  We're just not acclimated yet (yes, just like Missouri.  It jumped from 50's to 80's overnight.  Not complaining!  Just sayin')

Stats:  Total time 6:46, 5.2 kts average, 35.5 miles

"You can't have those.  Those are for the Captain."  Um, OK.

I did several loads of laundry in their brand new washer & dryer (allowing me to packing away flannel sheets, blankets & sweatshirts and unpack t-shirts & shorts!)  We buy two more bottles of wine (another Sauvignon Blanc & a portugal Tawny Port) and go out for our second lunch in a row, exceeding our normal allowance.  We're a little giddy from all the free docks, water and electricity (afternoon espresso!)

A new breakfast recipe was inspired by the trawler, Diva Di--a scramble of onion, bell pepper, hash browns & spam (just because we're sailors).  (Normally I'd add eggs, but the Captain doesn't eat eggs and he said it didn't even need the spam.  Also a variation of a vegetable hash I keep meaning to try). For dinner, the captain also whips up his signature stir fry (with bagged vegetables & "tube" ginger but it was still wonderful!)

Captain cleans the exterior and does a few chores (apparently, regular marina visits will be required for this task that requires LOTS of water!)   For the first time, it's nicer outside so I move out into the cockpit to enjoy the breeze.  Apparently, it's the first sailboat race of the season today, so we watch the parade of golf carts to the marina and boats headed out into the bay.  My Captain tackles the water tank situation (trying to empty, change valves and refill our tanks).  The kayak was also pressed into service (even the Captain went out to explore!)

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