Posted by: nosmokingsails | November 30, 2010

Sunsets, Sunrises, and Possibilities

We made it to Beaufort, NC, a beautiful little town at the bottom end of the Outer Banks of North Carolina.  We’ve had no phone signal since we left Elizabeth City, and we spent three days motoring or sailing as far as we could.  This is me trying to sum those days up.

***Photography Notice: If you’ve tried to open my photos and they seem to take a long time to load on your computer, that is because I’ve been uploading photos with a much too large file size!  From now on, I am taking Rob’s advice and my photos will be a smaller size so they will open faster!***

My one picture from Elizabeth City:

We left Elizabeth City on Saturday the 27th, after docking there since before Thanksgiving.  We found it to be a fairly quiet place with many people who told us what they thought of it:

Kids at the park said: “There is absolutely nothing to do here.”

The Assistant Harbormaster said: “Elizabeth City is a great place to raise a child!  You should stay here!”

Multiple people said: “You HAVE to go to the China Buffet!”

I think we agreed with the China Buffet supporters, since we ended up eating there on Thanksgiving and it was really amazing.  The best part of the city for us (which is either sad or charming, I guess!).  I did like the Museum of the Albemarle, though.  And the free town docks were great!

Our crossing of the Albemarle Sound, which is notoriously stormy and has a bad rep due to it’s shallowness and the fact that it only has wind currents.  This creates really choppy waves that just end up smashing against the boat over and over as you cross.  We picked a good day with NW winds so we were able to sail across it despite the, once again, “small craft advisory”!  (Why do these keep happening to us?)  This one was pretty tame, though and we even sailed through the Alligator Bridge once we crossed the sound!  It was a little scary and fun to sail through an opening highway bridge, but Rob did it perfectly!

The Alligator River was wide and the woods around it supposedly have a lot of animals in them, but they were too far for us to really see anything.  We anchored near the top of another canal, right before sunset and this was our view:

We paddled our dingy down this creek and scared some birds, played with pussy willows, and made pathways through the tall marsh grass.  I was nervous about animals, though I was also dying to see them.

This is our boat in one of the most beautiful anchorages we have found yet:

And Rob thought the sunset reminded him of Arizona:

We woke at sunrise the next morning and motored through the canal and down another river to Belhaven.  Belhaven seemed to be a neat place to spend more time, but we wanted to push onwards.  We got fuel at a marina, and the man there said, “Here’s what you gotta do: you anchor down near the bridge and dingy down the creek to the convenience store and get yourselves some cheap beer, then you sit on your deck and drink and it, and you think about how lucky you are to be on a boat.”

It was really funny, and we did anchor in another great spot, close to that creek he mentioned, and now we know that the convenience store actually is a HESS Gas station that sells much cheaper gas than a marina (obviously), and when they couldn’t take my credit card because their machine was down, we walked outside and saw yet another HESS Gas station across the street!  Very strange, and sooo convenient for getting a dingy-full of gas for the boat in the future!  A definite stop to remember!

The only problem we had with Belhaven was this:

In case you can’t tell – this is my bare footprint in the FROSTY ICE that was covering our deck when we woke up at 6:30am.  We both slipped on the deck and were not happy.  Actually, our exact words to each other were, “Ahh! Let’s get the f_ _ _ out of here!!”  While shaking and drinking coffee and hustling to get moving.

For my mom, this was the beautiful sunrise as we left Belhaven:

We sailed down some wonderful rivers on our way south and were overjoyed to be able to sail downwind and motor, covering almost 70 miles in one day, from sunrise to sunset!  Yay!

This is Rob helping our jib sail us downwind faster:

When we were almost in Beaufort, I saw this house on the side of the canal and I think my mom should buy it for herself:

We anchored in what the charts say is 2 feet of water in Beaufort, which is actually okay for our boat, since although at low tide we sit on the ground with our cute little keel nestled in the sand – with a trimaran it is really okay to do that.  We even plan to beach her somewhere at some point to inspect the bottom!  And at a higher tide we can easily motor away!

Beaufort is really amazing.  We’ve seen pelicans and relatives of palm trees and it is warmer here!  No frost on deck in the mornings and we actually don’t like to keep our 20 degree sleeping bag on us throughout the night now!  I love how small this town is – and the wild horses that are on an island nearby (though I have not and probably won’t see them this time).  There are pecan trees here and a sweet old man offered us one to try!  We also were able to find showers for less than $5 dollars each!  And they were great showers.  We definitely LOVE Beaufort.

One funny thing about this town is – the library is inside what used to be a grocery store.  we had to walk up a four lane road with no sidewalks (for a few blocks anyways), and almost turned back.  But then we saw Rite Aid right next to the Public Library in a plaza.  So strange!  And the library is really cool – I wanted to sit in the children’s section because they have these wooden boats with stuffed animals for kids to sit inside of and read!  Ah!  But I decided to act like my age, and sit in the proper computer study areas while Rob is out wandering in the darkness.

Disclaimer: We will be going through some really remote parts of the ICW in the coming week or more – so updates here might not be too frequent!  But I will write when I can!  (And Rob WILL write on here — eventually.)

One more fun fact:  people from the north who sail south for the winter are called “snow birds” – so pretty!

Though I have to admit, I realize more and more that I don’t really want to live in the north much longer…maybe it’s my frequent trips to India, Kenya, and the north island of New Zealand that have killed my love of winter, but regardless, I can only be thankful for Rob’s ease of adaptation to my needs and his own adventurousness that allows him to sail with me so far – with a completely open horizon before us.  We can really just decide to end up anywhere we wish to, and that’s such a beautiful feeling to have and know inside your heart.  (Though Mom and Dad, be warned, if I do decide to settle in the south, I will be coming up to get my doggie!)



  1. Glad to see your post, was begining to get concerned! Spot had you in one place a long time, but Art filled me in on the battery problem. Look forward to seeing your progress, and certainly you details of the adventures.

    Bill Gilmore

  2. Hi Kris & Rob: Your adventure seems so interesting. I would love it, stopping at all those small towns especially. The only difference is, I would enjoy it traveling by car, Stopping wherever you felt like it for however long you wanted, till you started getting the urge to see the next town. That I would love. Boats are nice—for other people.Your boat is beautiful though and I’m glad you are enjoying it. As for living in the south, the winters are nice, but the summers are too hot. I hope someday, Kris, you make a lot of money with your writing, then you can spend your winters in the south and your summers on Block Island.Then when you and Rob get old, you can sit out on a porch at Block Island and reminisce . Just think of all the beautiful memories you are making now,memories to be cherished forever. Be careful, take care of each other and love each other always. Love you Grandma.

  3. You two don’t get too cozy down there; we want to sail with you at BI this summer. Thank you for the blog updates. Love you both ! FACS

  4. Glad you are enjoying Beaufort, Kris! Hope you were able to spot some of those wild horses or other wildlife today! Sounds beautiful there! Hope we can now start tracking you again, as your journey south continues. Safe sailing! Love, MOM

  5. Hi Guys! I love reading about your travels. It sounds very exciting 🙂 Any time frame for your travels (like where you will be and when)?
    Love, Stace

  6. Sure hope it is getting warmer for you guys. Weatherman is not being very cooperative. Maryland is 33 tonight, and I can not imagine SC is much warmer.

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