I spent the penultimate night on my solo trip up the ICW from Cape Fear back to the Chesapeake Bay at one of the most beautiful and peaceful anchorages I can think of: Logging Camp Anchorage at the south end of the Alligator River in North Carolina. It is not a usual place for High ZZ’s to spend the night, always striving to find shelter from contrary winds or inclement weather. Up north, our big weather usually comes in from “Nor-Easters”. But in the spring and summer, those of us scurrying north to escape hurricane ally sometimes hide from “southern fun” (don’t know why they call it that…it is usually not that fun). This recent case of southern fun, the remnants of tropical storm Alberto, had been chasing High ZZ’s north all the way from Florida, and had finally caught up in Swansboro, NC. After two days in monsoon conditions, everything above deck was soaked, below deck was dank, but thankfully, not wet (remarkably, I still have not discovered any deck, hatch or port leaks in our 21-year-old boat). I was getting tired and feeling a bit melancholy. And the sky still looked quite gloomy, although the southern winds had diminished. With no other boats around, it promised to be a quiet night “on the hook”…or so I thought.
Anchoring by your self is easy, as long as there is plenty of space to drift while you are on the bow…but, luckily, going forward with no one at the helm is unnecessary for me as High ZZ’s also has windless controls in the cockpit. I can power forward or back as is necessary while controlling the anchor chain as it feeds out. The engine is still running when dropping the anchor as I always power back hard in reverse to insure that it is well set. Since Miss Deb and her smarty-pants phone, with its anchor watch APP, was AWOL, no alarm would go off if High ZZ’s started dragging. I needed a good night’s rest, so I set the anchor extra-hard! But my vision, or should I say hearing, of a quite night was immediately trashed as soon I shut down the engine. The cheerful clack-a-ty-clack of our trusty Yanmar turning over at idle was replaced by the almost defining sound of croaking frogs, chirping swallows, laughing gulls and screeching ospreys. I was “at home”. I loved it!
Logging Camp anchorage hits a home run in my ballpark on several fronts. The cacophony of nature was just what an old forester needs as white noise for a good night’s rest. And what could be better than a logging camp? I miss the, sights, sounds and smells of the woods, having spent the vast majority of my time on the water or on the beach for the past 4 years. A special channel was cut from the ICW into the camp to allow log barges to be loaded for transport to distance mills. That same channel, long since abandoned, was still deep enough for High Zz’s to cozy up to the shore and woods. And what a beautiful woods it was. Loblolly pine, sweetgum, and even numerous baldcypress stood straight and tall where once, only stumps remained. The forest was rejuvenated, and so was I. I had been tired, and lonely without Admiral Deb, but in the morning, I was refreshed and ready for the last push up the ICW to the Chesapeake Bay where High ZZ’s and I would be reunited with our love.