Our buddy boat, Kookaburra (by the way, I just love being able to say that), led us to a good anchorage last night after the wild sleigh rides across the Neuse and Pamlico Rivers on Monday. It was a noisy night with strong, gusty winds and the typical 3am scramble to close the ports because of rain.
We got going this morning about 7:30 and by 8:30 we had joined the parade of boats heading North on the Alligator River / Pungo River Canal.
The water is the color of coffee in these rivers because of all the tannin from the stumps and snags. This brown water gives all the boats an "ICW Mustache". You can see just how brown the water is in this photo of a Looper's bow wave.
You're probably asking yourself what a "Looper" is. A Looper is a boat that navigates down the Mississippi River, across Gulf of Mexico, around or through Florida, up the ICW and Chesapeake Bay, out around New Jersey, up the Hudson River, through Lake Ontario and Lake Erie, up through Lake Huron, and back to the Illionois River. You can start anywhere and stop anywhere. The Great Loop typically takes about a year. After wintering in Florida, the Loopers travel north on the ICW in the spring, so we are seeing lots of them now.
Another interesting thing about the ICW is the "Mile Markers". In fact, it's all about "Mile Markers". Sometimes you actually see these little signs along the waterway, but mainly you see them on your charts, and everyone refers to their location by the mile markers. Funny thing is, they measure statute miles while boats use nautical miles. Confusion reigns in my head sometimes trying to figure out where we are and how far to the next town.
About an hour after going through the Alligator River Swing Bridge, we anchored in East Lake and are perfectly staged to cross the Albemarle Sound early tomorrow morning. Hopefully we'll have calm conditions.