Monday night I crawled into my berth in Watermark’s forward cabin, tired and lulled to sleep by the gentle slap of wavelets against the hull. But this was just a rest before the midnight shift, when we needed to get ready for the passage through The Great Bridge Locks. We arrived an hour early and anchored in the narrow channel to wait for the lock door to open.
Our hopes for a routine lock-through evaporated when a pair of tugboats towing 600 feet of pipe as well as a small barge joined us in the eye of the needle at the lock’s entrance.
Amid lots of chatter on the radio, the lock mistress sardined eight recreational yachts and the tugs into the lock and closed the door behind us. It was well after two a.m. before we were through.
Next morning the crew was up, and at ’em intent on logging a hundred miles for the day. The day, sunny and warm, promised a good run. The ship’s diesels, throbbing their happy murmurs, marched us into the wilderness of the Carolina waterway. Edges of the channel are lined with the wreckage of the battle between the waterway and the forest.
We steered southward, staying in the narrow channel, well-marked with navigational aids, many of which do double duty as condos for ospreys.
The Watermark galley continues to put out five-star food.
The pancake and fresh blueberry breakfast was exceeded by the mid-afternoon snack: chocolate muffins flushed out of their hiding place in the ship’s oven.