Week 2: Highs and Lows from Portsmouth, VA to Wrightsville Beach, NC

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!

We’re chalking this one up as a lesson learned for when we transit the Panama Canal.

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.

The perspective as we approach a bridge…it always seems too close to the top of the mast.

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!

Dolphins swimming alongside Vinyasa on the ICW in North Carolina.

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.

Early autumn morning on the Alligator Canal.

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.

Sunrise leaving Swansboro, NC.

6 thoughts on “Week 2: Highs and Lows from Portsmouth, VA to Wrightsville Beach, NC”

  1. Enjoyed reading your journey and challenges. Love the scenery pics and dolphins. Safe sailing

  2. Glad to hear of your southward progress. We’d probably have had…pause at your locking maneuver too -LOL- glad it turned out OK. Great fall scenery! We are enjoying the sunsets here at Clearwater Beach for a week.

    Ben & Chantale
    m/v At Ease

    1. I’m pretty sure they were thinking “what the freaking *&#!”

      So glad all turned out well 🙂

  3. Hi. I ran across your blog on Facebook. I think we were moored near you in Spa Creek in September. Sorry we didn’t get a chance to meet you then. We are in Georgia now. Perhaps our paths will cross again. In the meantime I will keep reading your adventures.

    1. Hi Thom,

      I remember our waved greetings at Spa Creek!

      Thanks for reading and for the link to your blog. We also obsess about our power consumption, and are going to turn off our inverter tonight to gauge the impact, per your findings.

      Until next time!

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