Beaufort, NC to Ocracoke, NC – August 6 through August 19

(Photos at bottom of page)


We left our little anchorage in Beaufort Town Creek late on the morning of 8/8.   We knew we had just a short jaunt up the Neuse to any of a number of appealing anchorages.  Chose Clubfoot Creek while still underway – and what a great choice it was.  Unlike the busy and crowded Beaufort Town Creek, Clubfoot Creek was wide, calm, scenic, tree- and marshgrass-lined, rural, bereft of other boats at anchor, and thoroughly delightful.   We immediately got the kayaks down and set out to explore the shores.  Running the generator later caused some alarm – the instruments were all reading a little crazy.   Temperature was bouncing from 205 to 215, instead of its normal 190.  Oil pressure was 30 instead of its normal 50.   Mmmm.   All needles were doing a little jig.  Quick VHF call over to our traveling companions on “Bodacious” confirmed my own suspicion:  loose ground wire someplace.   What was good about having a knowledgeable consultant was that he had earlier had the same experience and knew just where the grounding bolt could be located.   I feel confident that I could have found it myself – it is rather obviously located on the block of the genset – but it was nice to know just exactly where to go, especially since soundproofing panels needed to be removed in order to see and then access any such bolt.  In any case, the bolt was indeed loose, and tightening it cured the problem.   If I cruise for enough years, I might even accumulate a measure of mechanical ability!

The next day (8/9) we moved on up the Neuse River to Sheraton Marina in New Bern, NC.  Getting into the slip entailed backing up – my first real experience with close maneuvering in that direction on “Tusen Takk II”.   Thought I had done a marvelous job only to discover later that I had scraped the hull against the dock.  Barb had been yelling – but not sufficiently loudly – and I was watching an incompetent dock hand that gave no indication that I needed to alter my course.   And so in later discussion Barb and I resolved in such situations to always wear our headphone/walkie-talkies, even though we probably look more than a little like nerds when we do so.   (See photo below, taken later in Manteo, on Roanoke Island.)  The wisdom of that decision was affirmed at Oriental (see below.)

New Bern was a very pleasant little town.   Ran twice.   We all went on the 1 ½ hour trolley ride/tour through the historic district.   Barb took some pictures in the historic grave yard.  Jo rented a car and we all at one time or another engaged in shopping expeditions --in addition to grocery shopping (known in "boatspeak" as "reprovisioning") Bodacious got a new set of cockpit chairs.

I should also mention that we were deliberately NOT moving on up the ICW during the time frame covered by this entry, since we were watching very carefully hurricane Irene, and we were doing a lot of thinking about where and how to hide if she continued to come toward us.   Soon enough we began to relax a little as Irene began to turn away.

But Irene was still very much on our minds when we left Sheraton Marina on 8/11 to explore the waters of the Trent River.  We were looking for pleasant anchorages, to be sure, but also looking for hurricane holes.   The Trent River was nearly as scenic as Clubfoot Creek, but not nearly so peaceful.   Lotsa upscale housing on the shores, and lotsa bass fishing boats buzzing by, and lotsa runabouts pulling water skiers or tubers.   Down came the kayaks and soon we were exploring cypress-lined side creeks that were somewhat reminiscent of Ebenezer Creek.  (See photos.)  On 8/12 Barb dinghied me to a bridge that crossed one of the creeks, and I set out for a run.   Got lost and my intended short run turned into a long 60-minute run – or what passes for a long run during these hot and humid days.

On 8/13 we moved back down the Neuse River to Upper Broad Creek – a very wide creek off the Neuse.   More kayaking here.  We were just a little upstream from a large sailboat marina – and that gave us the opportunity to witness a bit of organized madness: the annual “raft-up”.   As evening approached sailboats began coalescing into dynamic cells of 8-10 vessels tied up together per cell.   “Dynamic”, because the cells would grow too large and the anchors would drag.  Panic would ensue and vessels would break off to form a new cell.   Sometimes an internal vessel with anchor down would panic first, and so the cell would undergo asexual reproduction.  It would break away and take all of its non-anchored attached vessels with it.  Where one cell had formerly been, there would now be two.  Fun to watch.   At the conclusion of our kayak exploration Barb and I visited the raft-up.   Lotsa drinking going on in the cells.   And shrimp eating, apparently.   Barb was told they initially had 100 pounds of shrimp.  That must be part of the explanation for all of the cross-membrane migration we observed, as dinghies darted from cell to cell.

Surprisingly, few vessels stayed the night.   By 10:00 pm most had broken away and made their way back to the friendly confines of the marina docks.   When we left the next day  (8/14) at 10:30 am, we passed a few very quiet vessels still at anchor.  Somewhat later we heard VHF chatter about nausea and headaches.   Too much shrimp, perhaps?  J

We moved back onto the ICW and on up to Oriental, NC.  When we arrived we radioed a request for an “outside” slip, but on getting closer realized that was on the outside of a breakwater dock and quite exposed.   So we spontaneously agreed with the dock hand (via VHF) to back into an internal slip.   Thus, I was presented my second opportunity to back in.   This time both Barb and I donned the no-hands-required full duplex walkie-talkies.   My goal was to use single-screw techniques to back in WITHOUT using the bow thruster.   And I did!   Only to discover, after getting most of the way in, that pilings were up against the rub rails on both port and starboard.   The d*mn slip was too narrow!   So out we went to the outside slip, which, given the mild southerly winds, presented no obstacle to a peaceful night.

Next morning (8/15) we separated from the “Bodacious” crew, who were about to drive a rental auto up to Norfolk to pick up grandkids, and proceeded up and out the Neuse River to the Cape Hatteras chain.   The waters were smooth, the auto-pilot functioned like a charm, and I sat in the fly bridge as happy as a person has any right to be.   Arrived at Ocracoke to discover a small channel leading to a totally enclosed anchorage with lots of room, fully embraced by the little village.   Delightful.  (See pictures of the sky line in various directions, and of the kayak storage and bike storage arrangements on the deck of TT2.) Took a hike to the post office and to the famous watering-hole/restaurant (“Open 365 ¼ Days a Year until 2 AM”) called “Howard’s Pub”.   Hundreds of different beers, including at least eight IPAs.   My kind of place.   So, a different IPA for Barb and I, an order of steamed clams (yummy!), and then another hike off to “Backporch Café”, highly recommended by Claiborne Young, who never met a North Carolina restaurant or marina he didn’t positively love.   But, it was a good meal.   Next day, I intended on getting up early enough to beat the heat, and go running.   Alas, I didn’t start running until well after 9 am, on a very hot and humid day.  Got lost again and turned a short run into an exhausting 45 minutes.   Happiness is a boat big enough to have a good-sized refrigerator large enough to hold a nice supply of Gatorade.

We spent a very pleasant several days hanging out in Ocracoke.   Bicycle rides through the shaded town, many visits to art/craft/jewelry/ice cream/fudge/restaurant establishments.  On the very first dinghy trip to shore we had trouble finding the public dock; when we asked a young woman on a nearby dock if she knew the location, she invited us to use hers, and subsequently urged us to continue using it.   We did  so for the remainder of the visit, when we were not heading for our bikes, which we stashed near the National Park docks to the northwest of the waterfront business district.   Kept running into the friendly soul, and subsequently invited Cathy and her husband Joe (vacationers from Baltimore renting the unit for a week) out to the boat for late afternoon cocktails.   Interesting folks that we enjoyed getting to know.  They brought along a large bottle from a micro-brewery called the "Weeping Radish" in Manteo, NC -- our next destination.  Yummy!  We will definitely visit the brewery while there.


Should also mention that Tuesday night during the summer on Ocracoke is BINGO night at the local fire station, with all proceeds used to support the fire department and/or its good works.  Just for kicks we went, and discovered an absolutely packed hall filled with vacationing families.   Neither Barb nor I had played bingo in years and found it was a hoot, although neither of us won anything.

In the middle of the night of 8/19-20 we had a noisy, windy thunderstorm blow in.   Lightning all around and heavy rain and winds gusting to over 30 mph.   Have I mentioned how lucky I feel to have such a game, unflappable crew mate?   She was up before I was even awake, watching the sailboats around us and making sure neither they nor we were dragging an anchor.   We stayed on watch until the wind and lightning died down and the storm weakened to a mere shower.   And then back to bed to get some rest before our planned early-morning departure toward Manteo -- a departure somewhat delayed by a slight need to catch up on our sleep.


General thoughts after 45 days of cruising:

Non-cruising readers may be curious about what extended cruising is like.   Here are some random thoughts about that, and some thoughts about the differences between “Tusen Takk” and “Tusen Takk II”.

Q: How do you spend your time when you are not actually traveling with the boat?

A:  Futzing, mostly.   A little varnishing here.   A little stainless steel polishing there.   A little bottom cleaning.   A little hull washing and waxing.  Installing small improvements here and there, like new hooks for hanging towels or new trumpet horns on the flybridge or mending the chart-reading light in the pilothouse.   Reading one of the many systems manuals on board, attempting to get more comfortable with the many systems that need to be maintained on a 48’ boat.   And then doing the actual maintenance.  Changing oil and filters.  Cleaning through-hull filters.  Changing zincs.  But not always futzing.   Sometimes, more actively recreating:  tours, walks, runs, and happy hours on board.   Shopping expeditions.   I’ve read much less than I thought I would.   Not enough time!   But that will surely settle down as I spend less time “improving” and far less time attempting to arrange and re-arrange all of the “stuff” we brought aboard – stuff that needed a home but hadn’t yet been assigned a place.   The guest stateroom is now nearly clear enough to receive a guest!

Q:  What differences do you see between your first and second Krogens?

A:  The obvious answer is that we have much more room.   The lazerette under the cockpit is enormous.  Thank goodness, because I have it stuffed.  But as the captain, another striking difference is in the feel of the controls:   the wheel must be turned much farther on the larger boat in order to effect the same degree of turn.   The new boat purrs where the old one roared.   The autopilot is much newer, and so much better behaved.   The old one, when asked to go in a straight line, would weave back and forth along a slow sine curve.   The new one goes surprisingly straight, with very little wobble.  The old one didn’t want to make sharp turns in a preset route.  It just kept going straight in the original direction, with no message until it finally got far enough off course to raise an alarm.  The new one will ask for permission, and when granted, will swing to the new direction.   Overswing, actually, in order to get back to the line of route in a manner that will minimize crosstrack error.   I like the new autopilot a lot.   I like having so much instrumentation up on the flybridge.   After I add a radar screen up there I will be in heaven.  Well, closer anyway.   I won’t really be in heaven until I install a compressor for filling scuba tanks.   But that is another story, for another time…

Click on photo for larger view..

Anniversary dinner w/Jack and Jo

Sharing a chair on Bodacious (before she was refitted with four in New Bern!)

Barb kayaking on Clubfoot Creek

Gravestone in New Bern used as operating table during Civil War

Gravestones of children (with both head and foot stones) in historic graveyard in New Bern, NC

In front of Tyron Palace in New Bern

Birthplace of Pepsi-Cola in New Bern (no Coke in that town!)

Chuck looking beat after a sixty-minute run; waiting for his dinghy ride

Barb dinghying to pick up Chuck after his run

Kayaking creeks off the Trent River

Jack kayaking on Trent River

Jo getting out of the kayak in a small lake we discovered at the end of a creek off the Trent

Chuck in the dinghy he wants to trade-in

Sailboat raft-up in Upper Broad Creek

Sailboats dragging with Tusen Takk II and Bodacious in background

Bikes stored on flybridge

Kayaks on flybridge

Ocracoke harbor

Ferries in Ocracoke harbor

Barb reading up on Ocracoke after arrival (lighthouse in background)

Chuck at Ocracoke campground

Barb on path in dunes above Ocracoke beach

Ferry arriving - very efficient system

Joe & Cathy joined us for cocktails

Chuck with lighthouse in background

Lighthouse light just came on

Ocracoke lighthouse

Tusen Takk II at anchor in Ocracoke

Chuck writing the log

Can you hear me now?