We started off our week with a bit of excitement getting through the Great Bridge Lock. The kind lock tender looped my bowline on a bollard before trying to grab a stern line from Allan and in the interim Vinyasa pivoted toward the lock tieup wall with her stern swinging out to the center…causing the folks on the boat tied up in front of us a moment of, shall we say politely, pause.
Fortunately, with the lock tenders’ help we were swiftly tied up on the opposite side of the lock, facing north. Once the lock’s water level dropped and all the other boats exited south, Allan turned us around 180 degrees and we were heading in the right direction once again. We really appreciated our bow thrusters for that move!
Bridges are the bane of sailors on the ICW, and this week we’ve passed beneath or by 27 of them. If they’re fixed height bridges, going beneath their 65 or 64 foot clearance is always tense, unless at low tide.
If they are operated on a schedule by bridge tenders…well, as I write, Allan is motoring Vinyasa as slowly as possible towards the Wrightsville Beach bridge, which will not open for another 37 minutes. We are 1.2 nautical miles away with water too shallow to anchor outside of the ICW channel. Our top cruising speed was 10 minutes too slow to make it from our most recent bridge to the once an hour opening of the Wrightville Bridge, so here we are.
Dolphins, meanwhile, are beyond delightful! Who isn’t overjoyed to see dolphins frolicking in the wild? We’ve seen many of them in North Carolina’s waters, including our first “swim along” this morning when a trio swam alongside both sides of our boat for several minutes. What a sweet morning rush!
Early morning light makes many things breathtakingly beautiful, including the Alligator Canal where earlier this week the reflection of autumn foliage on the water’s mirror-like surface was food for the soul, especially when we saw a juvenile alligator blink its yellow eyes at us as we motored past it.
Catching up with friends for dinner in Swansboro was one of the best highlights of the week. We loved our stop in Swansboro in 2017, and it was terrific this time, too. We met Kim and Ja at the Seven Seas Cruising Association’s Annapolis GAM, and got to hang out with them some more at the Annapolis Boat Show. So it was such a wonderful coincidence that their home is close enough to Swansboro to meet up for dinner out. We look forward to seeing them at an anchorage sometime, somewhere, as they will soon begin cruising, too.