Thursday, November 7, 2013

Heading South

November 2 - 7, 2013
Deltaville, VA to Oriental, NC

Sean and Maggie
November 2 turned out to be the day we’d been working toward. All systems go, we cast off and Pelican began her southerly migration.

The trip back home for the wedding was worth postponing our departure for a while, with chances to see lots of friends and family, especially our son Sean and his girlfriend Maggie. Afterward Keith’s parents drove us back to Deltaville and came on board to experience part of the ICW with us. They had joined us for different parts of previous journeys: Dad from Chicago to Mobile, AL and both through the Erie Canal and from Georgetown, Exumas, to Nassau in The Bahamas. 

The Dismal Swamp
Just south of Norfolk, ICW cruisers have two canal options: the faster, more commercial Virginia Cut preferred by most power boats or the more scenic and serene (read: slower) Dismal Swamp Canal. We chose the latter. The last time we had passed through the beautiful Dismal Swamp route, a range of early spring greens heralded the arrival of warmth. This time, the fall spectrum of oranges, golds, and reds floating onto our deck announced its disappearance.

The Dismal Swamp

At anchor
Weather pushed us south quickly. After a brief overnight at the city docks in Elizabeth City (leaving no time to enjoy its legendary hospitality to cruisers), brisk northeasterly winds served up a spirited sail down the Pasquotank River. The next two nights we buried our anchor, literally, in secluded, out-of-the-way creeks far from the reach of cell-phone coverage. Wildlife sightings so far have included a swimming fox, dolphins, bald eagles, and multiple birds. 

Alligator River swing bridge
Through winding rivers, narrow land cuts, and wide open sounds, between nautical markers, crab pots, and swing bridges, we continue on our way. Every moment trying to recognize and be grateful for the gifts of grace God offers us right there.

At the moment we’re tucked in at Oriental, NC, the “sailing capital of the Carolinas” near the southern end of the Inner Banks. The cook is happy—she’s had a break and restocked the galley. And the captain is thrilled with a new GPS antenna installed through a fortuitous Deltaville connection. Now we’re ready to keep heading south.

Oriental Marina


  1. Very happy to hear you're on your way and all is well - looking forward to following you all the way - and dream of warm weather(we had our first snow of the winter this week). Sure do miss you. But happy for you!
    Love - Joyce

    1. Love you too, Joyce! Stay warm up there. It hasn't exactly been toasty here, but getting better the farther we go.

  2. I'm really enjoying your journal and the great photos. God speed on your journey.

    1. Thanks, Donna! We're sure enjoying having Loren and Clairice with us right now.