Albemarle Plantation – Hertford, NC – Sunday, 5/9
Last night was a beautiful sunset and calm remained throughout the night and into the morning around Edenton Bay. Our new friends Ann & Steve (“Hallelujah”) had told us they would be leaving early as they had a long way to go (past Elizabeth City) and travel slower than we do. So it was no surprise that they were pulling out at 7:00 am and Denise went out to say good-bye. We hope to see them again up on the Chesapeake Bay, or some other time cruising.
Once they left, Denise went for a short walk around the marina. For the first time in 2 days she had a chance to go to the restored Roanoke River Lighthouse without anyone else being there.
We knew the wind would be picking up as the morning went on, however our journey today was going to be short; it is only 20 miles to the Albemarle Plantation (AP), our next stop on the Albemarle Loop. Since this should take only about an hour and the marina there does not open until 9:00 am, Captain Mark was in no hurry to get underway.
Finally, just after 8:00 we left the town of Edenton and headed out into the bay. It was mostly calm, but we had noticed the wind had actually picked up a little in the last hour. We turned into the Albemarle Sound (AS) and headed east, with the wind and waves on our nose. The forecast called for 1 foot waves, but we noticed they were already 1 to 2 feet and were thankful that we didn’t have far to go. By the time we got to the Albemarle Sound Bridge, we were seeing waves of 2 feet consistently and Denise was wishing we would have left at 7:00 with “Hallelujah”. After all we could have tied up to the fuel dock at AP if we arrived before they opened; we were going there anyway.
Once we got through the AS Bridge we tried to head directly to the entrance of the Yeopim Creek, but that put the waves on the side of the boat, causing a rolling action. This was most uncomfortable and so we headed in a slightly more eastern direction hoping the piece of land that jets out into the Sound at Harvey Point would help block the waves. However, it was too far off and so we had to slow the boat down a bit. We were seeing some waves as big as 3 feet before we could actually make a left turn into the creek and the very narrow channel. The Captain did an awesome job of driving through this slim entrance without hitting either mark, all the while getting pummeled by waves which wanted to take the boat in a different direction. We were very happy when we arrived at the fuel dock and we were greeted by JE Darnell, the Dockmaster. Here we filled up our tank with the cheapest diesel around, and pumped out our holding tank before moving to our slip.
All the while this was going on this morning, Denise was in contact with Karen, new friends on “Island Girl” whom we met in Beaufort, NC. They were leaving the AP and were trying to decide which route to take north: Dismal Swamp or Virginia Cut. Their biggest concern was Monday’s weather if they took the VA cut as you have to cross Currituck Sound; another large and shallow body of water that causes big choppy waves. During the text messages back and forth they reported getting rocked by significant waves and chop, and they were further east than we were, not having to deal with the stack up as the waves build heading west across the Sound. We were grateful we were now in port and not trying to go all the way to the North River (another 2 hours).
Once we settled the boat, JE (Dockmaster) showed us the golf cart we get to use while here. He then gave us a short tour of where things were located (restrooms, laundry, ice machine, barbeque grill, etc.). He also gave us a welcome packet that included the 2021 Albemarle Loop Brochure (we had an outdated one), a map of the area, menu for the dockside restaurant, discount card, disposable wet wipes, a travel kit, and other brochures about things to do in the area. We truly felt welcome! We then took the cart and drove around to some of the key places in the Plantation so we could get our bearings.
The AP is a large development area that has single family homes, town homes, condominiums and a golf course that runs throughout. In many ways it reminds us of the Deercreek Country Club where we lived when in Jacksonville, or Killearn Estates in Tallahassee where Denise’s sister lived.
We drove by the pool area and Clubhouse, both of which overlook the Albemarle Sound. There are lots of established trees and nicely landscaped areas, as well as natural habitats for wildlife, especially various types of birds.
Also near the marina is the Dockside Café, a casual eating establishment with a wood fire oven, and has indoor and outdoor dining on either the deck or screened porch. Next door is the Osprey Yacht Club, a small but nicely decorated club with comfortable seating and a small kitchen area.
After our quick tour of this small part of the grounds, we went back to the boat to do a few chores. The most important one was trying to figure out the source of dripping water from the front windshield. Although not a big leak, it is a nuisance and we need to figure it out sooner rather than later. After about 10 minutes we were able to deduce it is coming from the windshield wiper washer and Mark felt it was easily fixed. It is now on his “honey-do” list.
After lunch Mark washed the boat which was very filthy. This was the first real chance he has had to remove the salt and remaining bugs since before Belhaven. Denise worked on cataloging pictures and started working on the last blog, but quickly got frustrated with the slow internet. Karen on “Island Girl” had warned us about this, but usually we can use our hotspot if a marina does not have a good Wi-Fi signal. However, the AP is in a pretty remote part of NC and even the AT&T cell signal is not strong here.
We also made several short and intermittent cell calls to family and friends. It was Mother’s Day and although we talk to Mark’s mom almost every day, we wanted to let her know we love her, appreciate her, and miss her. Denise did find the picnic table by the fuel dock was a good location to talk, but it was in the sun and she got a bit of a sunburn while chatting with her sister. Eventually she moved to sit in the golf cart on the dock near the boat so she could have some shade. While sitting there she was approached by a couple in a golf cart who looked vaguely familiar. They saw our boat, recognized us, and re-introduced themselves: Sherri & “Sax” (“Red Eagle”).
We first met Sherri & Sax in Norfolk in 2015 during our Great Loop adventure, then saw them again in Green Turtle Bay, KY that fall. Sherri and Denise were doing laundry together then, but as this location was a very popular spot on the Loop, and we met many people the week we were there, she forgot their first encounter. Fast forward to 2017 when we were at White House Cove Marina in Poquoson, VA, we saw their boat in the covered docks, but did not see them. In 2019 when we did the Down East Loop we saw their frequent Active Captain reviews in places along the way as they had done it (DE Loop) the prior year. On our return south down the Chesapeake we again stayed in Poquoson and saw their boat, but this time we left a note on it hoping to connect while we were there. Unfortunately, we missed them and had lost touch…..until today. And here they were on a short Albemarle Loop trip themselves, staying on “B” dock (we are on “C”). It never ceases to amaze us how small the cruising community really is.
We chatted awhile and discussed plans, including a must-stay in Edenton and how they have guests arriving tomorrow to join them for a few days. We had decided to get a pizza at the Dockside Café and asked if they wanted to join us for dinner there, but they had eaten there for lunch and declined. We agreed to touch base tomorrow, depending on weather and discuss our future travel plans then.
The wind began picking up and now shifted from the southwest; this was the worst possible exposure for us as it meant coming right up the Yeopim Creek, rocking all the boats around us. Our only salvation was that there was a very large Nordhavn yacht that was blocking the majority of the wind for us. However, the waves and churned up water still made it quite bouncy.
We took the cart to the Dockside café and ordered pizza for dinner. But this small café is growing in popularity and they were getting more orders (pick-up) and dine-in then they could handle. We had to wait a good 45 minutes for our meal and but it was good and we were not in a hurry to get back to the bouncy boat. While we were waiting, two women approached us to say hello. They had seen us in Edenton on Saturday night at St. Anne’s Catholic Church and they wanted to welcome us to the Plantation. They were very friendly and we chatted for a bit before our dinner arrived. Afterwards, we headed back to the boat with leftovers in the smallest possible container; it is not easy to do this with pizza but we were successful.
Once back on the boat Mark added another line to keep the boat off the dock; the winds were really blowing and we were so thankful we were in protected waters. It continued to blow strong all night long and we even got a little rain. However, the big thunderstorms are due tomorrow afternoon when the temperature will once again go from the low 70’s at night, to back down to the low 50’s – all within 24 hours.
Albemarle Plantation – Hertford, NC – Monday, 5/10
There was the slight pitter patter of rain on the hatch in our main stateroom this morning, so there was no hurry to get out of bed. It did not last, so Denise was up and working on emails and reading things she had set aside yesterday when things got busy. The day stayed mostly overcast with some areas of the sky clearing for brief periods of time. It was warm and muggy with a high 77° expected, and enough humidity to make Denise’s hair curl. This brought out the “midges” who love to make a mess of the boat. Fortunately, they were not as bad as in Belhaven, but they still made a mess. When they find their way inside the boat (almost impossible to avoid as we come and go), Mark breaks out the vacuum to kill them. If we try to squish them they leave a stain that is hard to get out.
After breakfast we saw “Raleigh”, an assistant dockmaster who was covering for JE today. We mentioned about our difficulty getting good internet and cell service where we were. Being the customer-service oriented person, he immediately got on it as best as he could. Meanwhile he gave Mark access to the Osprey Yacht Club room where he was able to get a good connection and make phone calls. This was a very nice thing as Mark had a lot of work to do and he was busy all day.
In the morning Denise went on an adventure in the golf cart. We needed milk and as there are no markets on the property she thought she would venture to the Dollar General (DG) located not far from the main entrance of the AP. According to Google, it was only 1.1 miles away by car, and with the golf cart she could take a few short cuts. But, we are not allowed off-property with the carts. We were told that the Dollar General was directly across from the “construction entrance”, and if she could find her way to it, she could leave the cart, walk across the street and get some milk there. And that is precisely what she planned to do.
With the Plantation map in hand she set out in the golf cart. Soon she realized that the map had only the names of the different housing sections of the Plantation, and no street names. But, with her keen sense of direction she was able to find her way all the way through to “Plantation Estates” where the road was for the construction entrance. However, once arriving she realized there was no way this was going to work. There was a gate with a chain and lock, and the road was gravel. There was no way to take the cart down it, even if there was no gate. Denise contemplated leaving the cart and walking it, but the threatening rain and the fact that milk may get warm made her nix the whole idea. She drove around a bit to see the new “estate” houses under construction, and then returned to boat. Right after she told Mark about her adventure, he ran into Raleigh (Asst. Dockmaster) and told him about us wanting to get some milk. It just so happens his wife was headed to DG and agreed to pick up a half-gallon for us. Here are some pictures from her adventures around the AP:
While Mark was still working in the yacht club, Denise made a big salad that would last for a few days’ lunches. She also completed two loads of laundry, and did some picture cataloging in prep for writing this blog. During that time Raleigh showed up with the milk and refused to take any payment for it. Now this is real southern hospitality!
In the evening we were invited aboard “Red Eagle” to have drinks with Sherri & Sax, as they had guests on board who had arrived earlier in the day. We spent quite a bit of time talking with them about the airlines (Sax is a retired American Airlines pilot), about our mutual cruise experiences, and about their living in Virginia. We also had a chance to meet Sharon & Dwight, friends of theirs since the days when their kids grew up together. We spent some time with them (and yes, we forgot to take pictures), then went back to the boat for a dinner of leftovers (steak and pizza). We also were able to use our hotspot and stream a movie (barely) while working on this blog.
We also discussed our plans for leaving, or staying here a few more days. We are in no hurry and we really want to take a few days somewhere to get caught up on work items. Since the amenities here are so nice and the people are so friendly, we decided this was the place to hang out. It also helps that the dockage rate is free (we pay only a daily rate for electric), the laundry and ice are free, the golf cart rate is only $25 for the whole stay, and they have two good restaurants to visit. There are far worse and more expensive places to get stuck!