We pushed off before first light and poked holes in the fog to go
through the next lift bridge before it closed for morning rush-hour traffic. I bundled in winter layers against the 41º chill. The temperature was undeniably bone-chilling when Keith switched from flip-flops to socks and shoes for the first time this trip. Time to head further south!
We spent a couple long days on the waterway motoring and motor-sailing through straight land cuts, winding rivers, and shallow sounds. At one moment, marsh grass and cypress panoramas stretched as far as the eye could see. Minutes later, we were on the wide-open waters of a sound that extended for miles in every direction. We delighted in the gifts of beautiful scenery, our first pelican sighting (made our boat very happy), and dolphins frolicking around us. At the end of these days we anchored and turned off the engine. The wind died, the water flattened to a perfect calm, and the stillness was heavenly. The sun set, silhouetting the cypress trees on the shoreline against the red twilight.
Otherwise remote anchorages were populated each night by a few of the hundreds of seasonal transient boats traveling south in a line that stretches for over a hundred miles. We pulled in to Morehead City Yacht Basin and decided to stay an extra day, partly to rest and partly to research trouble spots where many boats have run aground south of here. The Army Corps of Engineers is responsible for maintaining the ICW, but hasn’t had enough funding in recent years to dredge all of the areas that need attention. Forearmed with detailed soundings, we hope to stay afloat!