Sailing the Albemarle Loop
Cruising up the Roanoke River to Plymouth
Blog submitted by Brian FritSimons, Realtor
We found ourselves unexpectedly in Edenton for the weekend when we had planned to be in Asheville. So, it was sort of a free weekend when we could do something spontaneous. One trip we had never taken by boat was from Edenton to Plymouth.Edenton is graced by a restored lighthouse that used to be stationed at the mouth of the Roanoke River, so it seemed fitting to pay a visit to its original location.
We set off in our sailboat, complete with the cat, and sailed gently towards the corner of the Albemarle Sound that housed the mouths of the Roanoke and the Cashie Rivers. Would we be able to work out which was which?
Lighthouse in Edenton Bay
The land is low lying, so there are few landmarks to indicate your location and we did not have GPS on our boat so we were feeling our way towards the shore with an eye on the depth sounder. The Albemarle Sound is quite shallow, only going down to about 18ft, even in the middle. As we neared the land the depth dropped to 10ft, our boat draws 5ft, so we were OK.
Eventually, we picked up the navigation mark that had taken the place of the lighthouse. Certainly, it would have made finding the river mouth a lot easier if the lighthouse was still in operation. However, the reduction in river traffic has made it unviable so we have to put up with a post with a Red triangle.
Once we were in the river, we had to motor as the trees down each bank shielded us from the wind. The wildlife and unspoiled landscape on each side were probably exactly the same three hundred years ago, so we were able to pretend that we were the first people to find it.
That illusion was rudely shattered when we rounded a bend in the river and came upon the bridge that takes Route 45 across the estuaries of both the Cashie and Roanoke rivers. Shortly after passing under the bridge signs of man’s activity became apparent with homes and commercial buildings peeping through the foliage on the south side of the river.
Soon we were at Plymouth where we located the town docks by a replica of an earlier Roanoke River Lighthouse. The docks where we tied up have been recently completed in an effort to attract itinerant boaters. They are brand new and offer Water and Electricity and you get two nights free dockage, once you have checked in at the Maritime Museum across the road.
Plymouth is one of the stops on the ‘Albemarle Loop’, which is a suggested side cruise for boats heading up and down the Intra Coastal Waterway. Each of the stops is only half a day sail from the last one, it is very relaxing, and each stop has a completely different flavor, you will not be bored.
That evening as we relaxed before supper, we reflected on our lifestyle and how fortunate we are to live in an area with such a variety of unspoiled destinations. The Albemarle Sound, affectionately known as the ‘Inner Banks’, where the ‘Albemarle Loop’ beckons cruisers, offers miles and miles of undeveloped coastline and is amazingly undiscovered, except by a few fishermen, kayakers and cruisers.
As a Realtor, I am always happy to introduce visitors to the charms of this area and when the visitor wants to become a resident, I am happy to help smooth that process as well.