Thursday, May 26, 2011

On to North Carolina

On Saturday, May 21, we departed Osprey Marina and traveled 9 hours and 45 sometimes grueling minutes to Deep Point Marina on the Cape Fear River in Southport, North Carolina.  This 58.2 nautical mile day was tough because the weekend warriors were out in their center console fishing boats demonstrating just how rude yahoos can be.  Docking next to the ferry to Bald Island was a pleasure in comparison.

We decided not to travel on Sunday, so we simply rode the current 9 nautical miles to the Carolina State Park Marina, which was recently reopened with all new docks.  Dockage was only 30 bucks, and Sue was able to replenish the fridge by walking to the Food Lion.  We enjoyed a peaceful Sunday, as we were the only boat in the whole marina, which was staffed until 10:00 p.m.  Amazing!

On Monday, May 23rd, we departed Carolina Beach, aided by a strong southerly breeze.  We negotiated a number of poorly timed restricted lift bridges to reach Dudley's Marina in Swansboro, 59.4 nautical miles later.  Dudley's is a rough marina, but was only 75 cents per foot. 

The next morning we left at 7:50 a.m. for Oriental.  We motorsailed quite a bit, but when we arrived in Oriental Harbor the free dock was full.  So we moved another 6 miles down the Neuse River and anchored in Broad Creek.  This anchorage set us up perfectly for our sail to Ocracoke.

On Wednesday, May 25th , we hauled anchor by 6:45 a.m., and 30 minutes later we were on the Neuse River under sail!  We had a great breeze until we approached Pamlico Sound.  However, after 75 minutes of sailing our speed had dropped from 6.5 knots to 3.9 knots.  So we ended up motoring the rest of the was to Silver Lake in Ocracoke Island, a distance of 34.1 nautical miles.  We found a nice dock at the National Park docks for 22.88 a night, so we were set with air conditioning in the Carolina heat.

Almost immediately upon arrival, we were made honorary members of SCOO, which meant we could attend their 4:30 happy hour.  What is SCOO?  It is the Sailing Club of Oriental.  They are a great bunch of people, and we enjoyed visiting with them through two happy hours.

Thursday was our lay day, so we did the tourist thing, which was an easy thing to do since Ocracoke is really not much more than a tourist trap.  We walked quite a bit in the morning, visiting the British Cemetery.

In addition to the graves of four British sailors who died when a German U-Boat torpedoed their warship off of Ocracoke during WW II, there are graves dating back to 1806.

After our walking tour, we enjoyed a lunch at the Anchorage Marina Grill.  We tried the grilled Spanish Mackerel sandwiches, since the fish were fresh caught.  Mackerel is pretty good, but not on a par with mahi-mahi or grouper.

After lunch we dropped 10 bucks on a golf cart to broaden our tour of the island.

Of course we had to motor out to the Ocracoke lighthouse.

An hour on the golf cart was all we needed to see most of the island. 

After happy hour with SCOO, we are preparing for our next leg, which is to Manteo on historic Roanoke Island.  Hopefully, the winds will hold, and we can sail more on Pamlico Sound tomorrow.

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