Departing the Alligator River Marina, we found a decent southwest breeze waiting for us. As soon as we cleared the troublesome spot near mile marker 81, we shut down the engine. We found a course of 000 degrees gave us a nice broad reach. Albemarle Sound was not too boisterous yet. By the time we were 2/3 the way across, the breeze had freshened to 22-25 kts from the SW, we were getting wave trains from the Alligator River and the western end of Albemarle Sound crossing at a 45 degree angle from astern.
And, yea verily, the crab pot floats had gone forth and started multiplying. They gave the Sound a coat of many colors (well, a light spring jacket maybe). We put a reef in the main (oh, I love in-mast furling), the boat sat back up and off we took. We logged our best speeds of the whole trip but took a wave or two aboard (those peaky ones where the two sets were crossing). The peaks of the waves looked like weak coffee from all the tannin in the water. Even so, they left no stains on deck where they dried.
The crab floats made using the autopilot tedious, so we disengaged it and played dodge’m for the next two hours. The Pasquotank River looked like it had had many hands full of cupcake sprinkles tossed across it. There was no discernible rhyme or reason to the crab floats. The black painted ones were the worst. Frequently, the first we saw of them was as they bobbed past a too few feet from the hull. Normally the best way to avoid this problem is steering close to the floats you see, because they tend to be well spaced apart. The theory is if you are close to one you are far from the others. Doesn’t work here.
As we made our way up the Pasquotank, the wind began to pull ahead without abating all that much, and by Davis Bay, near the Coast Guard aviation facility, we furled the sails and went back to African Queen mode. About the same time, the water lost its saltiness and the crab floats thinned to nothing. The Elizabeth City Bridge gave us a perfectly timed pass, and we reached Paul and Joyce’s dock about 1400.