We went to pick up King and Sharon at the Raleigh airport. They had a good stay in Colorado, despite the sad reason that they were there. We spent much of the day on the road. Pierre and I have often taken the I-95 in the past. It was funny to think that we are only a day's drive from Canada. By canoe we still have several months ahead of us to paddle before we will be in Canada. We are now always analyzing distances in canoe distance and speed. We had forgotten that we were not far from Canada (by road).
April 29, 2015
The weather forecast was not very encouraging, so we stayed put. Jasmine had fun with her friends the goats. The rain did not bother her.
April 30, 2015
We wanted to leave by canoe, but the weather forecast was not in our favour. King and Sharon had decided to leave on "Blue Moon". We did not have a place to pitch our tent while we waited for better weather, so King and Sharon offered for us to continue traveling with them. We decided to continue with them for another day.
In Myrtle Beach, over the Intracoastal, we saw gondolas transporting golfers. That was how they were able to reach both sides of the shore to continue their game. There are many golf courses in this city. I do not know how many, but the city could definitely sign up for the title of golf capital of the United States.
South Carolina is now complete. Today we saw sandy beaches. We are looking forward to our paddle tomorrow. We have stopped for the night in Southport, North Carolina.
May 1, 2015
Wow! Already May! We are a only few days away to "celebrating" the first 11 months of our adventure. June 6 will mark the first complete year of our great journey. It went fast! At this time last year we were both 100% dedicated to our final preparations. We were going a hundred miles an hour. A year later, the rhythm is very different.
Today, high winds and rain slowed down our enthusiasm. We had to stay quietly in the marina.
May 2, 2015
Since her return Sharon has not been feeling very well. She caught a cold during her visit to Colorado. Sharon's medical history suggests that bronchitis, or worse pneumonia, may develop. Her respiratory system is susceptible to colds. Therefore, King asked us if we could stay with them on the boat another day. Sharon's situation seems to be evolving in a bad way. We all hope that she won’t have any complications. We have decided to stayed on board "Blue Moon" and help crew. Sharon will be able to continue to rest.
We stopped for the night in a small marina operated by a daughter and mother. The owners were very welcoming. They gave us a cake. This marina is located in a small village called Sneads Ferry.
May 3, 2015
This morning we were anxious, we were close to Morehead City and Beaufort. At the meeting of those two cities our itinerary looks very different from King's and Sharon's. We were supposed to continue a little further east to paddle along the Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras, while King and Sharon were continuing on the Intracoastal Waterway.
Last night Sharon seemed to be better. After discussing the day with King, and hearing Sharon coughing, we understood that her condition had deteriorated. We are not doctors, but it was obvious that she was getting bronchitis. Pierre and I looked at each other briefly and we quickly made a decision. We cannot let our friends down in this situation. We will stop in Morehead City and not continue our journey, as planned, to the two capes. We will stay aboard "Blue Moon" until Sharon is better. Friendship is important. King and Sharon helped us so much and we are happy to return the favour. Cape Lookout and Cape Hatteras will be for another time.
We left early this morning and boated through beautiful scenery. Shortly after beginning the day we passed Camp Lejeune. This is a military base for the Marines. Along the Intracoastal we saw signals to alert boats when there are firing exercises. We saw tanks and targets used for the exercises. The military base is named after Lieutenant General John Archer Lejeune. He was born in Louisiana in 1867 and spent over 40 years in the Marines. He received several awards during his career, from his own country, but also in foreign countries.
We arrived late afternoon into Oriental. We docked at a free dock provided by the village. Shortly after our arrival, a sailboat named "SurpriseS" docked behind us. We had seen this sailboat, from Quebec, several times. To our delight, we finally met the owner, Philippe Pelletier! We talked a while and it was very enjoyable. This evening we were treated to a beautiful view of the full moon rising.
May 4, 2015
Today we stayed put in Oriental. Sharon spent the day in bed. Her condition has not improved. King contacted her doctor to acquire a prescription for antibiotics. We all follow her condition closely. Philippe left this morning to continue his travel towards Lake Champlain. We wished him good luck, good wind and great encounters along the way. We hope to meet him again soon. In the late afternoon, we met Ken & Terry from "Roundabout". We had met them, the first time, in Grafton (Illinois). Then we met them again in Columbus (Mississippi), in Mobile (Alabama), and finally in Marathon (Florida). We were happy to see them again.
May 5, 2015
We left aboard "Blue Moon" towards Belhaven. We had a pleasant day. Sharon no longer has a fever and is out of bed, her condition seems to have stabilized. We are very relieved. The antibiotics seem to be working and hopefully she will be better in a couple of days. Ken & Terry (Roundabout) also moved onto Belhaven, arriving before us. We visited the village and ended the evening together. It was very pleasant. The streets were not very lively in the village. It is pretty rare to cross a street without seeing a car in either direction, for minutes at a time.
May 6, 2015
We left early this morning. There is a tropical storm (Ana) that is forming over the Bahamas. We could possibly experience some bad weather in the upcoming days. NOAA is following the situation closely, and we look at the short and long term forecasts more carefully. Looking at the forecast King told us that it was a good day to travel to Elizabeth City. We have a big crossing to do in Albemarle Sound, but the waves will be only a foot today (2-3 feet tomorrow). We will also be well protected in Elizabeth City in case of bad weather.
Sharon looks better today and is regaining some of her colour. She coughs less and has a bit more energy.
May 7, 2015
We stayed put today. We had a good breakfast with King, Sharon (Blue Moon), Terry & Ken (Roundabout) before beginning our preparations for our departure the next day. In the afternoon, we met up again with Philippe (SurpriseS).
Walking through the streets of Elizabeth City we discovered that there is a lot of history in this city. The Wright brothers made their first flight tests in the area (1900-1903). The U.S. Lifesaving Station was there to help in case of problems. They later became, in 1915, the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Civil War also raged in Elizabeth City. In the same park where we stayed there was a battle, February 10, 1862. On February 9, 1863 an execution took place (Addison White). On the day of the battle on February 10th, 1862, the city was set on fire by the Secessionists, who preferred to destroy everything, than to see the control of the city pass into the hands of the Federalists. Two thirds of the city was destroyed before the Unionists were able to extinguish the fire.
In the evening, to our great surprise and happiness, Denis and Danielle (our great friends from Quebec) came to visit us! What a wonderful reunion! It was late, so we did not talk too long. They had just arrived in Elizabeth City after driving all day.
May 8, 2015
We are finally back to paddling and we are very happy. We had a great time with King and Sharon and we thank them very much for their help.
Before we left we met again with Denis and Danielle. They brought us coffee. It was pretty funny to see them as we were starting a new stage of our journey. Nearly a year ago, they were also with us at our departure from Ottawa (ON, Canada). They had accompanied us during the first weeks of our trip. Good memories!
We also had the chance to attend a ceremony in the park where we were; the park opposite the Museum of the Albemarle. Police men and woman on bicycles arrived with an escort. They were from many states and they left Georgia to pedal to Washington (DC). They pedal in honour of their brothers and sisters that have fallen in duty. Their brothers and sisters in Elizabeth City made a tribute to them upon their arrival.
The scenery was superb today. The canal was becoming narrower and we saw several snakes swimming in the canal. We also saw lots of turtles. The reflection of the trees in the still water was very special. At times, it was easier to look at the trees in the water than to lift our heads to see them. Late in the afternoon, under a steady rain, we met Philippe from "SurpriseS". We went through the lock together and stopped for the night at the same place. Philippe invited us for dinner aboard his sailboat. We spent a wonderful evening. Thank you Philippe!
May 9, 2015
We are now in Virginia. We spent most of the day in the Dismal Swamp Canal, before passing the second and final canal lock. The scenery was still very beautiful. We saw a deer, and a bobcat that was swimming.
The Dismal Swamp Canal is an alternative route from the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway (AIWW). In 1728, Colonel William Byrd II proposed the construction of a canal to allow for the transport of goods. The name "Dismal" comes from Colonel Byrd who was repulsed by this region, because of the many swamps. It was not until 1793 that construction of the canal began. The canal was built entirely by hand, by slaves from the surrounding plantations. The slaves are reported to have adapted so well to the environmental conditions, that many of them escaped. This place was also an important battalion for the "underground railroad". It was not until 1805 that the canal was completed. This canal has had its ups and downs during construction and since. It is the oldest, artificial canal still in operation in the United States.
We stopped for the night at a shipyard named Chesapeake Yachts. The owner was very happy to help us set up our tent on his land. Philippe moored at the dock and joined us on land for dinner. Another beautiful evening in particular scenery.
May 10, 2015
We listened to the weather forecast this morning. The Tropical Storm Ana is on route, we should begin feeling her presence tomorrow. We had no place to camp tonight and it was impossible for us to enter Chesapeake Bay with the wind we had. We travelled with Philippe to Norfolk (a trip of about nine miles). We intended to cross the long bridge, the "Chesapeake bridge - tunnel", and find a campground on the Atlantic side, on the piece of land east of the Chesapeake Bay. This strategy would have saved us many miles in the Chesapeake and the Delaware Bay, and there seems to be more opportunity to camp on that side.
When we arrived at the Waterside Marina, located in Norfolk, we started looking for options. We wished we could have taken the opportunity to visit the city, but the tropical storm is arriving quickly and we do not want to spend a week in one place. We finally found a rental car available for Philippe to drive us to the other side of the bridge-tunnel. By chance, the taxi driver who was taking Pierre and Philippe to the rental car place offered to transport us with his vehicle. An hour later, we said goodbye to Philippe and we were on the road with Mr Kelly. We learned a lot about the region thanks to Mr. Kelly's knowledge. We arrived at Virginia Landing RV Resort & Campground in late afternoon. We were well received. The staff is extraordinary!
This morning when we got up we had a plan for which we had not yet found a way to achieve but in no time everything was organized. It's fascinating how everything just works out for the best when you are receptive to your surroundings and take the opportunity to talk to people you meet. The solutions multiply fast and we meet nice people.
May 11, 2015
We stayed on site at the campground. Again, the service is outstanding here! Thank you to all the staff who have taken such good care of us. We experienced rain and wind during the day, but safe inside our Hilleberg tent, we stayed dry and warm.