After we left Solomons Island, we were ready to get south as the temps there were dropping. We had several long days of cruising with a few extended stops in places we visited on the way north. We buddy boated with SV Ocean Cowboy and SV Nickelby from the Solomons to Langley, VA where we anchored near the Air Force base. From there, we headed to Norfolk, VA with Ocean Cowboy. The weather was cold, gray, and gloomy. While Ocean Cowboy headed on to the free docks just past the lock in Chesapeake, VA, we opted to stay in Norfolk an extra day to provision and do laundry. We paid the $12 dinghy fee at Tidewater Creek Marina (where we stayed on our trip north) so we could use their laundry facilities. We also went for a run and walked to the nearest grocery store. While at the marina, we met cruiser and author Annie from Have Wind Will Travel. You just never know who you’ll run into while cruising!
Once we had our clean laundry and groceries, we left Norfolk. When we got to the Gilmerton Bridge, we realized there were 6 sailboats ahead of us waiting for a bridge opening. We were surprised to see that most of them were Canadian. We later learned that the influx of Canadian boats making the migration south is because they weren’t allow to travel for the last couple of years due to Covid. We also had multiple boats locking through with us at the Great Bridge and Lock in Chesapeake, VA. Since Ocean Cowboy let us know there was space at the free dock, we decided to stop for a night. With Ocean Cowboy, Blue Turtle and 37′ Equinox there, we had a mini CSY meetup. We enjoyed the free dock with its walking trails right nearby. We finally had some beautiful, sunny, fall weather to enjoy the trails with Sophie. Later in the day, we did happy hour on the docks with other cruisers. It was a nice stop after battling the boat traffic and bridge openings.
The next morning, we left to continue south to an anchorage in North Alligator River. With a front coming through, we had winds 15-20 knots gusting to almost 30. When we got to Abemarle Sound, we had 20 knot winds at the stern which pushed us to 8 knots. We were making good time, but the last couple hours on the Abemarle were a bit sporty. After 71 miles that day we were exhausted. We continued our trek south the next day with 55 miles that brought us to the Slade Creek-2 anchorage on the Pungo River. From the Pungo River, it was another 60 miles the next day that got us to Beaufort, NC. After 3 long days of travel, we were ready for a shore break. We visited Beaufort on our trip north and loved this little town. We decided to spend 3 nights there to do some laundry, get some groceries and enjoy walking around town. We took the dinghy ride over to Morehead City so I could visit the Knit Knook, a local yarn shop that I visited on our way north. We had perfect fall weather to enjoy Halloween and our time in Beaufort. After 3 days, it was time to move on to our next destination, Wrightsville Beach.
Solomons Island to Cockrell Creek = 50 nm Cockrell Creek (anchorage) to Langley, VA = 52 nm Langley, VA to Norfolk, VA = 25 nm Norfolk, VA to Chesapeake, VA = 11.5 nm Chesapeake, VA to North Alligator River = 71.5 nm North Alligator River to Pungo River = 55 nm Pungo River to Beaufort, NC = 60 nm Bridge Openings = 5 TOTAL Miles to Date: = 2,031 nm TOTAL Bridge Openings to date = 39