The 8:30 AM bridge opening and lockage at South Mills occur without a hitch. Cutter Loose is the first vessel out of the locks and into the Canal. Here the narrow confines of the Dismal Swamp Canal give way to the wider, meandering waters of the Pasquotank River. It is another gorgeous day in North Carolina with plenty of sunshine and temperatures topping off near 80 degrees.
However, a cold front is approaching the area and prudence dictates that we proceed with caution. By noon, we have covered 20 miles and decide to call it a day and avail ourselves to the hospitality of Elizabeth City.
Elizabeth City has built a positive reputation for catering to cruising yachts. The town offers free dockage for up to 48 hours. In the afternoon, all of the visiting sailors are invited to a wine and cheese party on the town dock, at which time town officials describe the various restaurants and amenities of the town. This informal event provides an opportunity to meet and greet cruisers with whom we have shared lockages during the past few days.
Our plan is to maintain a weather eye and plan our departure from Elizabeth City accordingly. In the meantime, we will explore the town and catch up on chores and correspondence.