Wrightsville Beach, NC to Beaufort, NC July 25 through August 5

(Photos at bottom of page)

Barb:

Chuck had the generator problem under control Sunday night (just a minor leak in the raw water pump probably caused by overheating after the impeller went) and the Brinckerhoff's arrived on Monday the 25th, so we moved out of the marina and back to the anchorage.  Much more peaceful and pleasant!   Since we had to order a new pump on Monday and overnight it to a store 10 miles away, we rented a car so we could pick it up.  The rental car gave us a chance to run some errands and knock off many items from our "to-buy" list.  On Tuesday Chuck replaced the pump and the generator was as good as new.  Wednesday we rented a hobie-cat and Jack gave us sailing lessons.  It was lots of fun.  We met Ted and Rhonda from the catamaran "Wingin' It" that evening.   I learned that Rhonda is a hair dresser from Charlotte, NC and a common connection was that she has cut Sharon Ellison's hair for years.  Sharon and husband Mike are now living in Savannah and Chuck and I had recently gotten to know them through a group in which we were both members.  Small world!  Rhonda offered to give me a badly needed haircut, which turned out great and saved me a lot of hassle finding a good hairdresser.  Now what will I do next month?  Maybe catch up to Rhonda and Ted somewhere on the Chesapeake.

On Thursday we all dinghied over to Masonboro Island (a beautiful deserted island) to do some bird watching.  Had a nice walk on the beach but didn't see all the birds that were supposed to be there.  Maybe next time.  We were next headed to Beaufort / Morehead City, NC and discussed going on the outside (out in the ocean) for the 60 mile trip.  We considered doing an overnight passage that evening, but the distance wasn't a long enough passage for that.  We'd be ready to head into port early in the morning while it was still dark.  Instead we decided to leave the next morning.  About 3:30 am Friday morning a helluva storm came through and our anchor started dragging.  Fortunately, the strong winds woke me up and I was out tying things down in the cockpit when I realized we had a dragging problem and were headed straight for the Brinckerhoff's boat "Bodacious".  We picked up the anchor during the storm with 30 knot winds and moved "Tusen Takk II" upwind to reset the anchor.  It sure was not much fun but it all worked out well.  The Brinckerhoff's were happy about our move as they too had been up and had started sounding their horn when they realized we were dragging and were not sure we were up.  After re-anchoring I stayed up to ensure we didn't drag again during the storm and Chuck got some badly needed sleep so he could captain us to Beaufort the next day while I slept.  At 7:00 am the wind was still brisk although there was no rain, so we headed our two boats out through the sound into the ocean but found the seas to be rougher than we wanted to deal with for the day.  We all agreed to turn around and head back in and up the ole' ICW again.   

I was sort of glad we did as we saw some interesting sights along the way like a fake palm tree and parking meter on a little spit of sand in the middle of the ICW.  Also saw a goddess in a back yard as well as a giraffe in another.  Very strange, but I guess we often see strange things along the roadside when driving too.

We spent the night in an anchorage adjacent to Camp Lejune (the marine military base).  Saw a tilt wing airplane flying there.  Sort of like a helicopter only the airplane's side wings tilted.  Pretty strange looking beast.   We'd never seen one before.  The next day we stopped in at Swansboro, a historic North Carolina town, for lunch.   Did a walking tour of the town and had a great lunch before we headed on to Morehead City. 

We arrived in Morehead City at the same time as "Wingin' It" and another cat they were traveling with.  We had intended to stay at a community dock but all four boats were headed to the same dock where there was room for only two boats.  We let the sailboats have the space and docked at a marina as there weren't any decent anchorages and to make it more convenient for Chuck and Jack to dive the next day.  We saw advertisements for a "concert in the park" that evening, so we headed to the park after our evening cocktail hour.  We caught the last half of a concert given by a band named "Second Time Around".  It is a good thing that the band members all have day jobs as they aren't the most talented group I've ever heard.  They did play some fun songs though and the charm of the setting and the antics of some of the folks attending made it a lot of fun.

The guys had a dive scheduled for the next morning at a dive shop five blocks away.  They loaded their dive gear into one of the marina carts and pushed it down to the dive shop.  Jo and I went with them to walk the cart back and have breakfast at a cafe.  The dive was an all day affair so Jo and I decided we had time to walk to the post office to get her packages that had been shipped general delivery.  It turned out to be farther than we had anticipated, but was great exercise for us.  I think we walked ten miles in all that day.  We stopped at numerous interesting shops along the way and were offered the use of a car by one of the friendly shopkeepers.  We took her up on the generous offer as we had propane tanks to fill, a post office run to Beaufort to make, and our liquor cabinets to restock.  (The daily 5:00 pm cocktails hour was making a dent in our liquor supply.)  We finished up all of our running around just as the guys returned from their dive trip.  Unfortunately, the dive turned out to be a bit of a disappointment for them as they did their two dives on the same wreck (the Papoose).   They would have preferred to dive a different site on the second dive, but the majority of divers requested a shark dive on the Papoose for the second dive.  I guess there were about 30 sand tiger sharks milling around the stern of the sunken wreck Papoose.  It was interesting but not interesting enough to spend an entire dive on.  Overall they weren't too excited about the dives or the dive group Olympus.

Jo and I made it back to the boats in time to greet the guys when they came back from the dive.  They took us out to a great restaurant that night.  The next day we headed out to Cape Lookout to spend a few days.  Cape Lookout is the barrier island off the coast of Beaufort / Morehead City.  It reminds me a lot of Cumberland Island in Georgia  but much narrower and not covered with live oaks.  The island is still pristine and protected by the national park service.  It has a lot of shoreline with a sandy beach on all sides of it, so lots of boats and people can use the island and still feel like they have the island to themselves.  The fabulous anchorage area is called Lookout Bight as it has a protective arm and elbow on the north western side that protects vessels from all winds except from the north or northeast.  It was a wonderful place to spend a few days.  We were far from the lights of the mainland, it was almost new moon and the sky was clear, so we saw the Milky Way as clearly as I've ever seen it and more stars than I can ever remember.  We had a great evening laying out watching the stars. 

The lighthouse on Cape Lookout has a unique black and white diamond pattern that helps you determine your direction.  If you look squarely at a white diamond, you are looking north or south, and the black diamonds are east or west.  I may have that backwards but you get the general idea .  Chuck took the lighthouse tour, he ran on the beach, and we toured the area on foot and by dinghy.  There are 144 wild horses on nearby Shackleford Banks.  We tried to spot some of them by cruising by on the dinghy but missed them.  Jack and Jo went searching by foot and saw a number of them.

Jack had decided to get his Nitrox certification so we headed back to Beaufort so he could attend his class, and he and Chuck could go on another dive.  Beaufort has some nice anchorages, but the one next to the downtown was too crowded so we anchored in Town Creek near the dive shop.  This time the guys could dinghy over to the dive boat and we girls could sleep in.  They had a much better dives on this trip and incredibly saw both a large frogfish and a lionfish (a Pacific species that has recently begun appearing along the Atlantic coast).  Jo and I dinghied over to the the downtown area and spent the day checking out Beaufort and finding a great restaurant for lunch.  We discovered that the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort has three loaner cars for mariners, so we borrowed one to take a trip to West Marine for a new horn for TT II and to run some other errands.  We picked up our mail again in Beaufort and got a number of Netflix movies.  We had the Binckerhoff's over for a Friday night dinner and to see "Million Dollar Baby".  Great movie but pretty sad.  We are going to spend this morning (August 6th) going through the Maritime Museum now that the guys have some free time.  We plan to weigh anchor this afternoon and head for Oriental, NC.  We will either stay there for a few days, head up the Neuse River to New Bern or head east to Ocracoke.  I guess we'll decide on which direction we go when we get there.  Sunday, August 7th, is our 23rd wedding anniversary, so my goal is for us to find an excellent restaurant for our anniversary dinner celebration.

Click on photo for larger view..

Palm tree & parking meter on sandbar?

Strange house on ICW

Giraffe in backyard

Goddess in backyard

The Brinckerhoff's boat "Bodacious"

Getting hobie cat ready

Chuck learning to sail

Jack & Chuck on Morehead City diveboat

Shuttle to Cape Lookout

Anchoring dinghy at Cape Lookout

Cape Lookout lighthouse

Chuck and lighthouse

Diveboat in Beaufort