19 May, 2016
Been really busy. That’s my story, and I’m sticking with it. Sure beats getting’ old and scattered. This episode was written a month ago, and has been sitting on my desktop- thought I’d put it up. Oh well, a day late and a dollar short.
We spent the night at Morehead Yacht Basin, a familiar locale for us, then headed up the ICW to Oriental, NC. There, we stayed at Whittaker Marina. The marina is a pretty small operation, but is very nice, with a modern clubhouse and a swimming pool. The best attribute, however, is that they have a courtesy car, which would allow us to do a little exploring. Since we arrived a bit after 12h00, we had “first dibs”, and set out to West Marine and the town of Oriental. There, we had lunch at “M&M’s”, highly recommended, but maybe a bit overrated in my opinion. On the way home, the Admiral had us drive to River Dunes, a residential development that also has a pretty swanky marina. The marina was gorgeous, but was a looooong way from anywhere by land, virtually trapping you on-site if you were visiting by boat. (note to self) Back at the Girl, we decided to abandon the ICW the next day, and head out to Ocracoke island to do some tourist stuff, as we had a few days to burn.
So, let’s talk about Ocracoke. The first folks known to be here were Algonquin speaking Native Americans, who never had a permanent settlement here, but used the island as a base for hunting and fishing. The first European to describe area was Verrazano, in 1524. He was unable to navigate the tortuous channel here, but assumed that China lay on the other side. Later, in 1585, Sir Walter Raleigh ran his ship aground here. Attempts at colonization were made, but met with failure. Although uninhabited until 1750, Ocracoke was a favorite hangout for Edward Teach (a.k.a. Blackbeard), until his demise here in 1718. From the 1750’s until the turn of the century, Ocracoke (then named Pilot Town) was the home to a group of skilled captains, who piloted small schooners trading on the North Carolina mainland from the Atlantic through the ever-changing shoals into Pamlico Sound. By the late 1800’s, the shipping industry had died, and the main economic engine for the area became tourism, and remains so today.
We pulled in to the National Park Service dock in Silver Lake, the harbor at Ocracoke Village, and tied to the wall. With my “Seniors” National Park pass, dockage was $.60/ft. Yeah, Baby! We cruised the dock to meet our neighbors, and the guy on the sailboat adjacent to us had a “Dunleavy’s” T shirt on. (one of our favorite joints for mussels and beer-located on Sullivan’s Island, SC). I had mine on too, so I said “Hey, nice shirt.” He looks up at me and asks how long I’d had it. “About 3 years, but this is my third one.” Yeah, he’s had a couple too, and by the way, his name was Bill Dunleavy, and he owns the place. We have a nice chat, find out that he lives on his boat-down south in the winter, Block Island in the summer. Suzanne walked away with a new “Dunleavy’s” visor, and we gained a new boat pal. The next morning, we rode our bikes to the ferry landing at the north end of the island. Most of the north end is just a narrow dune, with the ocean on one side, and the Pamlico Sound on the other. It made for a nice, albeit windy, ride. After 28 miles, we had plenty of sand in our ears, and a couple of sore butts (after not riding since Eleuthera). We treated ourselves to some Ahi and baked oysters at Oyster House when we returned to the village. Back in the harbor, we had a couple of brewskies at “SmacNally’s” while we watched the rain roll in. The winds were predicted to be 15-20 knots with seas of 3’ as we left the harbor the next morning. In reality, we had 30 knot winds, pouring rain, and 2-4’ seas, right on our nose as we began the 12-hour trip to Manteo, site of the “Lost Colony”. Good thing that boating plans are written in sand. We decided to catch Manteo in the fall, and altered course to the east to catch the ICW. We had 2 hours of “cupboard cleaners” on the beam, which sure beat 12 hours of beating upwind. By 18h00, we had the hook down in 25 knots of wind at one of our favorite overnighters, Deep Point.
This morning, we were up and out of the anchorage by 05h45. As we passed the Alligator River bridge, we were joined by 2 other Krogens, Evergreen (a 44’), and Gratitude (a 48’). We planned on getting some boat chores done while taking our usual leisurely ride, timing to hit the Centerville Turnpike at 18h00. It’s closed for rush hour between 16h00 and 18h00, and the 2 other boats decided that they’d pedal to the metal to make it before 16h00, so we didn’t travel together very long. Later in the day, Suz and I witnessed a first-over the VHF a Krogen (!) being scolded for going too fast, throwing a wake into Coinjock Marina. We’ll have the opportunity to give them an earful when we see them at Atlantic Yacht Basin tonight-Just Sayin’.
Just left North Carolina, crossing the Virginia state line. The Girl will stay here in Chesapeake, Virginia for the summer while the crew returns to dirt for house chores and some travel. We’ll stay with her for the next week or so to do some maintenance, varnishing, cleaning, and waxing, so we’ll talk ta ya…..