Neuse and Alligator Rivers
Last night’s forecast for today was 2-3 foot seas with 10-15 knot winds out of the east in the early morning, dying to 1-2 foot seas as the morning progressed. Captain’s plan was to run the Pamlico Sound to Manteo. We were up and going before the fuel dock opened at River Dunes, but were confident we could make Gibbs Point for fuel. About 1 nautical mile from Oriental along the Neuse River, this river’s name became evident. 6-8 foot waves with a light chop were cresting in 3-second periods. I wanted to hang myself. Life jackets went on, I tumbled to the stern and cursed the bitch that bore me. (At 13 years, I am the sole survivor of my litter.) Four hours of this? No way! We opted for the Bay River and once we hit Gale Creek were never so happy about the potential prospect of going aground in the ICW. Much of the rest of the day we puttered along at 8 knots.
A stop for gas at Dowry Creek Marina just north of Belhaven along the ICW allowed me to find solid ground. A cute, quiet and pet friendly place, I immediately spotted the pool. (I did get my wish last night, but don’t think I’ll be invited back as mom left my collar, tag and all, at the foot of the pool steps…a dead give away.) Captain announced we were heading north and would most likely stop at Alligator River Marina unless the wind died down, in which case we’d cross the Albemarle Sound to Coinjock. “Call ahead, she doesn’t like surprises,” the dockhand warned, “or men.” Seeing as though there is no cell coverage here or for the next 40 miles, this wasn’t an option. We’re now at Alligator River Marina and in hindsight I understand that this man’s warning was about as critical as a polite southerner can muster.
With a monopoly on the market (it’s the only marina this side of the Albemarle Sound with the next being 50 miles from whence we came), the Alligator River Marina is the only place to lay down in the wind. The finger docks extend only about 15 feet. Docking stern in is impossible due to rock ledges. How I am going to get off the boat remains to be seen. Greg popped off the front vinyl windows with the idea of lifting me over the windshield but mom is skeptical.
Miss Wanda is the proprietor of Alligator River Marina and seems to have a penchant for strict rules. Dog zones are limited and, as the “welcome” sheet explains, strictly enforced. “You will be expelled from the marina without refund” if rules are not obeyed. Dinner for the kids tonight is at the Shell gas station, which triples as a store and a restaurant. Luckily I have a full bag of food. Now I just need to get off the boat.