Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Sound Sailing

Because of extremely high winds on Friday, October 25th, we elected to spend a third day in Manteo.  We enjoyed  visiting with Jim and Bonnie Cleary on S/V Dana, whom we first met in Chesapeake City.

The following day the winds were down and Passage departed about 20 minutes after Dana.   By the end of the 12 mile channel out of Roanoke Island we were closing on her, and as we sailed and then motor sailed down Pamlico Sound, we caught and passed Dana, whose crew were being purists and continued to sail in the dying winds.

While Dana continued down the sound to Okracoke, we turned west and entered Far Creek and the little fishing village of Engelhard, North Carolina.  We could see many shrimp boats up the tiny creek, and we docked at Big Trout Marina.  Not much of a marina really, and it gives fish camps a bad name.

On Sunday, October 27th, we could hardly wait to cast off our lines.  We sailed down Pamlico Sound, but the winds died late that morning, forcing us to motor.  We completed our 55 nautical mile voyage to Oriental by 4:30 and docked right down town at the Oriental Marina and Inn.

We spent two nights in Oriental, eating in the excellent restaurant right in front of our dock.  The second day Dana came in, and we enjoyed happy hour and dinner with them.  The food and camaraderie were great.  Life in Oriental wasn't all food and drinks though.  We did explore the village shops, walk up to the supermarket for groceries, and change the oil in the Westerbeke engine.  We even enjoyed a lovely sunset.

Still, all good things must come to an end, and on Tuesday the 29th we motored to Morehead City and then down Bogue Sound.  By 2:15 we arrived at Dudley's Marina in Swansboro, which we enjoy because of the seventy five cents a foot dockage fee.  Since the nights are so cold, we are enjoying our reverse cycle heat at night.  Good sunset here too.

Wednesday the 30th we started late because the navy was firing across the ICW at the Camp LeJune firing range.  We arrived just as they opened the waterway, and continued to the Harbour Village Marina.  Not much there, and a loooong hike to the restrooms.  Actually, we lowered the dingy & rode over to shower!  It's important to start & run the Mercury every once & awhile.

Thursday, October 31st, we motored down the Cape Fear River and passed
Southport, North Carolina, to St. James Plantation Marina. We planned on spending two nights here at a very reasonable dockage fee to wait out bad weather.  The first night we shared the marina with a good size alligator.

We enjoyed a fine meal at the marina's restaurant and browsed through their shops and art gallery.

Saturday, November 2nd, we cast off at 7:30 a.m.  Spending two days at St. James allowed Passage to pass through Lockwood's Folly Inlet and Shallotte Inlet at or near high tide.  These areas have terrible shoaling near the inlet, and many vessels, even catamarans, run aground here.  High tide made the passage easy.  We motored against the current most of the way, but 51 nautical miles later we reached Osprey Marina.  We picked up mail for the first time since early in our stay at Annapolis. Because of the continuing cold weather at night, we plan to travel every day possible in our push to find warm weather.

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