April 28, 2016 – Thursday – River Forest Marina to Alligator River Marina – 54.1 statute miles traveled

The wind was still blowing but not as bad as it had been. It was going to be on our starboard stern quarter as we headed down the long and wide arm of the Pungo River headed to Alligater River – Pungo River Canal. This really is not a river but a large arm of Pamlico Sound. When we got out there we found the wind waves on our stern quarter as expected so it was a comfortable ride for nine miles to the canal.

Along the way we had scattered rain that was heavy at times but as it was coming from our stern it barely got the windshield wet and what did land there was easily shed by the rainex I had applied.

The Alligator River-Pungo River Canal is 22 miles long and about 200-300 feet wide. It is straight as an arrow except for one slight bend in the middle. Other than a couple of boats passing us and us passing one boat it was an uneventful but scenic transit.

As we entered the Alligator River, yet another river that is not really a river but an arm of Albemarle Sound, the wind was still out of the southwest so even though the wave height was significant it was on our stern and the ride was easy. As we continued down the “bay” the wind let up and we had smooth water for quite a few miles.

As we drew within five miles of the Alligator River Bridge, a bridge extending nearly three miles across the mouth of the “Alligator River”, the wind shifted 135 degrees and was coming directly out of the north. It continued to build . We had contemplated continuing across Albemarle Sound if the earlier weather was going to hold. Now we wondered if that would be a smart thing to do.

We radioed ahead to Building Our Wings as they had passed us and continued across the sound. They said it was quite nasty out there and they wish they had not gone across but were now far enough that they were committed. This caused us to quickly make a decision to go into the Alligator River Marina.

We arrived to find Crash already moored there and we pulled in right behind them. There is nothing around the marina but it is at the end of the long bridge and has a gas station with a convenience store inside. There we met “Miss Wanda” who seemed to be running the place and was very businesslike but lacking in a sense of humor.

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CRASH and Sea To See.  A clear comparison of a “modern” boat and one from the 1970s.  A fiberglass and a woodie.  A go fast and a plodding trawler.  

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Looks like they came from different worlds but we certainly enjoyed the crew!

Albemarle Sound is one of the bodies of water with a reputation for not being nice. Because of this we continued to research the weather forecast from as many perspectives as possible. NOAA information was calling for 15-20 mph winds out of the north with wave heights 1-2 feet for daylight hours for the next several days. The “Wind Alert” app I have been using most of the trip, and which generally is pretty accurate, indicated that the winds and wave heights tomorrow morning were going to be more than we like but less than anything else during daylight hours for the next few days. With the best information we could find we decided that we would try to go across Albemarle Sound tomorrow morning.

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