How did the Captain get to look like this? Read on.
After a “lost day” waiting at Belhaven for predicted thunderstorms to pass, which never came to pass – – – listen quietly here for the deep chuckle from Eurus the god of the unlucky south wind.
With a clear forecast we set sail early, our destination the top of the Alligator River only 30 miles short of Elizabeth City, which is the entrance to the Dismal Swamp. Don’t be alarmed by the name. This is a man-made channel that George Washington had dug to provide transport in the War of Independence. It is iconic and from our point of view a “must do” passage.
Sooooo… Everything is going well: good progress to our intended anchorage; clear weather; clear forecast; only another 4 hours to Elizabeth City – let’s push on and plan a couple of days at Elizabeth City before transiting the Dismal Swamp. (Eurus’ chuckle has just become sinister.)
Beeyootiful crossing of the Albermarle Sound which has a reputation for blowing up. Into the Pasquotank River with only 15 miles to go.
“Wot,” says Heather, “is that grey stuff ahead?”
“Just a passing shower,” says the skipper. (Eurus is holding his sides with mirth.)
The grey becomes black. The skipper is nonchalantly looking at weather radar. He confidently predicts that this passing shower, now a thunderstorm, will pass to the west and we might get some rain. We do! It clears! The skipper predicts a dry arrival at Elizabeth City.
“Wot,” says Heather, “is that white stuff ahead.”
“Just the end of of the squall,” says the skipper.
WHACK – 50 knots on the nose. The Bimini took the full force of rain and hail and exploded inwards, shattering the Perspex windbreak and hurling it at the crew followed by the foul breath of Eurus. As Mark fought to hold the boat into the wind and rain, Heather, with great presence of mind, dashed through the hail to man the lower helm.
So the skipper was kinda right. It did pass; we did control the boat. Eurus gave Mark a black eye but we got docked in peaceful Elizabeth City.
Could the day have got worse? Yep. After settling down we went ashore for dinner about 7pm. That’s the time Elizabeth City closes. After a nice walk dodging the pit bulls we returned and cooked dinner.
Mark commenced the insurance claim.
Such is Life!