The other Mile ‘0’

Some weeks ago, February 28th, I said goodbye to this Mile ‘0’ marker at the southernmost point of the US in Key West. On April 5th, I passed the other mile ‘0’( a second time) that marked the northern beginning of the AICW in Norfolk,VA. A bit over 4500 miles later it has been an adventure that began October 28 when I headed south.
The southern end of I-95 at Key WestIMG_20131223_174724843
Previous posts have recounted some of the sights and experiences along the path that this round trip to Key West covered. This post almost closes that loop – except for the final run up the Chesapeake to home port in Annapolis.
After a very slow up current passage of the Cape Fear River, we arrived at the Carolina State Park Marina (Mile 300). I stayed here a couple days on the way south. It is a very modern, well managed – and inexpensive marina.

 

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As you can see, I was a bit ahead of the traffic coming north. In fact, mine was the only occupied boat.
Timing the departure from here was important for heading down Snow’s Cut – notorious for very strong tidal currents. We hit is right, and in fact caught favorable current most of the day to arrive at Swan Pt Marina – a 52 mile day.
Swan Pt (mile 248) is owned and operated by a mom and daughter team. It’s hard to exaggerate the great service they provide at this admittedly rustic marina. Both were on the dock to accept lines, took the time to neatly coil the excess in proper nautical fashion, provided transportation to the nearby store for supplies, and made a special trip out to refill my cigar stash that was running low!

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At mile 185 we anchored in Cedar Creek, a very quiet anchorage. The good rest was preparation for an unexpected rough trip up the Nuese River. A Stop at R E Mayo (mile 157) was another treat that included stocking up on fresh caught seafood for the next couple dinners.

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Like so many other anchorages, the Pungo/Alligator River stop produced beautiful sunsets and sunrises.

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… and a surprise with an early AM view of the passing space shuttle (sorry, no pic).
After a night at the Alligator River Marina, we experienced a nasty rough ride across the Albemarle Sound – too busy for pictures. It had been flat, calm on the way down.

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A long day took us to the south Mills lock on the Dismal Swamp route.

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And an overnight stop at the visitors center.

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This was my favorite part of the trip – in both directions… a beautiful flow through flooded timber and marsh lands.

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At the north end is Deep Creek Lock – a picture of Valinor as we exit the lock…

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From here, it’s just a few short miles back to the AICW Mile ‘0’ post and a slip at Hampton Public Pier beyond.
There follows just some pretty pix of that section of the AICW …’

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If you’ve ever thought about doing this trip, stop thinking and start doing!

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