Intracoastal Waterway, A “Ribbon of Dreams”

Throwback Thursday: CBC History

July Throwback Thursday continues with the Dream Theme. Today we revisit the 2002 documentary titled “Ribbon of Dreams.”

Ol’ Huck Finn had the muddy Mississippi River, but WRAL News anchor David Crabtree and photographer Keith Baker had the mighty Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway. Instead of a home-made raft, Crabtree and Baker opted for seaworthy boat.

In late summer 2001, Crabtree and Baker made a voyage down the tricky currents of the North Carolina section of the Intracoastal Waterway, also fondly called “the ditch.” Thankfully, they had a qualified skipper named Whit Powell. They met “river people” – those who have kinfolk who have known the waterway long before it received a government name, and they found hidey holes (similar to crooks and crannies), seafood shacks next to boat docks, and met a few black bears that must have taken a wrong turn in Asheville.

WRAL News photographer Keith Baker got the nod to capture the spectacular scenery along the coastline. This assignment left a lasting impression on him.

“It was one of the best weeks of work I’ve had in my 34 years here. I’ve done so many wonderful things in my career to be able to say what was the greatest assignment, and this one obviously ranks up there. 

We were on the ICW for a full week. We started on the Virginia line and in 5 days we made it to the South Carolina line. Along the way we told stories about the people who live and work on the ‘ditch.’ We had a few stories set up but we were always looking for interesting people and places along the way.

You know the old saying about how you never forget where you were for the huge historical events and editing; this documentary is one for me. The day I started editing was 9/11/2001. Needless to say the edit ended that day as well. I think I may have edited for an hour.  We actually waited a few months to pick the project back up because the time wasn’t right to air the piece.”

The documentary aired months later on Saturday, April 13, 2002, at 7:30pm.

So…”Just sit right back and you’ll hear a tale
a tale of a fateful trip,
that started way up in Coinjock,
aboard a tiny ship.” (Apologies to Gilligan’s Island)

Click on the link and set sail down the ICW!

Thanks to Corp’s Pam Allen for this capcom story & these photos. Pam Parris Allen is a former WRAL newscast producer/director who now works as a researcher and producer on the CBC History Project.

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