Friday, April 15, 2011

Elizabeth City

Elizabeth City, North Carolina is known as the 'Harbor of Hospitality.'  We had heard that this was a friendly town before we came.  The "Rose Buddies" date back to 1983 when two gentlemen would greet new boaters into the harbor with roses and information about their town.  See the monument on the third picture down.  They have 14 free slips for transients which is a real treat due to the average rate on the east coast ICW to be $2 a foot.
 This gentlemen, Ben, and his wife Jan were dockside waiting to tie our lines when we arrived.  Although they aren't the actual 'Rose Buddies' they are volunteers that love new boaters and welcome all traveling boats to their harbor. 
Craig had the opportunity to get to know Ben as they had lunch together with the kids while I was getting a much needed cut and color (it had been 4 months since my last cut).  Craig's convinced Ben should write a book as he's done everything from working with Ringling Circus (stories are spine tingling) to an retired pilot and now a minister in a maximum security prison dealing with the worst of the worse. We are going to label him as the most out going friendliest individual we've met on the trip!! He wins the good guy award and we could all use a few 'Bens' in this world!

 Backing up a bit......going back to Oriental. Craig was actually on the boat 'Peace' pictured here and owned by Nevil and Ann.  They are originally from the U.K. and have traveled the entire Atlantic 5 times between the two of them. She did a solo run on a 27 footer years ago and they built this boat which took them over a full time 3 and a half years. It is called a Wurm and this is the prototype. The hulls were fastened together by pure line!  Shortly after it was built their first major journey was crossing the Atlantic when a category 4 storm came upon them with 32 foot swells and 80 knot winds for two and half days. The damage they endured was a box of cereal had fallen over.  Nevel and Ann are in their 70's and live in each hull of the boat (two separate sides).  Each side consisting of 5 water tight compartments. For example, if you're sleeping in bed and need to use the restroom you need to get up and climb out a seven step ladder - slide hatch over - go out to next hatch and slide it over...this is how you go room to room. Their stories are amazing and this is their home and they're happy to be doing what they're doing. It was a real treat to be invited aboard to hear the stories. 
 We left Oriental at 6:00 am to travel through the Pamlico Sound which is known to be a bit rough due to the size, then up the Alligator River. It was uneventful and enjoyable and we were glad we waited for a good day to do our run.  100 miles later we put the anchor down in East Lake which is right before the most treacherous sound called Albemarle Sound.
The day was hot and sunny and the kids made a tent on the bow of the boat. 
 Perfect place to do homework!
 This is one serious beaver dam!
 Once the wind picked up the tent was moved to the aft deck and became much larger. 
 Since we drove for 14 hours they even ate their dinner in the tent.  We grilled chicken and potatoes watching the sun go down. 
 It was a rough windy night which made for limited sleep and an early start on the Albemarle Sound.  Thankfully we were taking the waves on the bow so very comfortable. I drove most of the way and we were pleased to have waited for a great crossing.  The following day was reported to be six footers!
 Now in Elizabeth City the kids were ready to stretch their legs and have some fun!!  We found a great local museum and enjoyed the exhibits very much. 
 The entry had this huge boat and car to welcome visitors.
 The kids played dress up and pretend!

 Elizabeth City is known to be the largest Coast Guard Station on the east coast.  The kids loved playing the role.
 The serious faces portrayed the role of an actual Coast Guardsmen on duty!

 Fighting to save lives!
 After that we walked the town and found a Childrens Museum full of fun things to play with.  The staff was great and we enjoyed our time there. 
 Ryann made friends with Lily the RAT!
 Morgan liked Squeakers.
 Ryann begged not to take him back and was able to show him around the facility in her arms. 
 Playing hospital was a favorite along with the store.
 Morgan is holding a cockroach.
We will head up the Dismal Swamp soon. The weather is suppose to thunderstorms and over 35 knot winds, so we will time accordingly.  Not sure if we'll have internet and cell tower, but will be in Norfolk, VA soon. 


  1. It has been quite some time since I commented for which I feel badly. Sure hope you managed to avoid the storms that came through NC over the weekend. That may have been a good time to be out in the Dismal Swamp instead of on big water. We all look forward to your next post. Please do so as soon as you can so we know that all is well.

    Morgan, is that a hissing cockroach? Very cool!

  2. I found your AGLCA blog finally. We were your harbormates at Elizabeth City last weekend. Glad you fared well during the storms and didn't end up with a red sailboat stuck through your hull! We were holed up in Portsmouth at the time. Let us know if you are coming to the Yorktown area.
    Pete Showalter (757) 719-0199
    "A Pretty Penny"