At 07:00 we started untying boats one at a time from the raft and paraded ahead to make the South Mills bridge and lock opening.
Interestingly, we were still in the Dismal Swamp Canal but the scenery was changing. Where it was fairly wooded on the northern passage, the southern passage was baron and moss hung from leafless remnants of trees.
With an early afternoon arrival in Elizabeth City, we found all the peer docks at the town’s Mariner’s Wharf open and available to us! Once secure we walked to the nearby Welcome Center to get acquainted with the community.
Elizabeth City sits on the Pasquotank River, is know as the “Harbor of Hospitality” and was voted one of the top 100 places to live on the East Coast. Boaters are treated by “Rose Buddies”, a volunteer organization that offers a Happy Hour everyday, providing wine,beer and cheese & crackers. They clip a rose from bushes at the wharf as a welcome gift to cruisers and share advice about local attractions.
We filled our afternoon with much needed long hot showers and picked up the afternoon courtesy shuttle to the local Farm Fresh supermarket. When we returned a Happy Hour was brewing. This one hosted by Captain and crew of s/v “Tattoo II”, an Island Packet from Newfoundland. It was a great time that ended with 12 of us in the cockpit singing our hearts out to songs of the past with brief pauses for a few of Captain Rock’s “stories”!
You have probably noticed that we’ve gone from nightly dinner menus to Happy Hours. It is a great way to unwind, socialize and make new friends. They usually last about an hour and a half. We have heard that some cruisers set a timer to alert guests when it’s time to leave….we have not experienced that yet. The folks we are traveling with are very courteous! But the time we get back to Dolphin we are full, tired and ready for bed in anticipation of an early rise for the next days journey. Now that daylight savings time as set in we are typically up at 06:00-06:30 to make coffee and get ready for a 07:00 departure. We chart our course for about 40 miles a day so that we insure a daylight arrival to set anchor and get settled….which happens to be early enough to also insure there is time to enjoy the next Happy Hour!
We decided to lay an extra day in Elizabeth City to enjoy the Museum of Albermarle and a few loads of laundry. We also made a short stop at the local clothing consignment shop and found a few more heavy sweatshirts for $2.59!
With 4 boats remaining we met at the Cypress Creek Grill for dessert and coffee to chart our course for the next few days.