Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bight to Beaufort to Oriental to Ocracoke

We checked and double-checked our weather sources as we sat in Cape Lookout Bight. It was starting to look like we either jumped out during a 6 hour window when a front was passing through or sit there for two more days. We were a little nervous but resolved to get up in the morning, aim for an 11:00 am anchor-up and make a quick sail back to Beaufort Inlet. It seemed like a very small slice of OK weather with nasty on both sides.

USCG Albacore
The night was dark, rainy, strong southwest winds from the backside of the front moving through. The expectation was that there would be a switch to the northwest, followed quickly by a switch to the northeast. When we woke up, we found that, sometime in the dark and rainy, we got new neighbors. The USCG Cutter Albacore had come in sometime during the night and had anchored right beside us.

Junie, never afraid to actually reach out to other people for help and advice, suggested that we just call them and ask them what they thought. So I did. They were extremely courteous and said that, while they did not know the current conditions, they were weighing anchor in 15 minutes and would radio back with a condition report. How cool is that?

And, they did. Conditions: 3 - 4 ft swells, 10 knots of wind. Our weather window had arrived. We pulled up the anchor and took off. The first part of the trip was as perfect as could be. Rolling up and down over smooth swells.

As the trip progressed, and the weather forecast unfolded exactly as predicted, we got the confused and building seas we were anticipating. The wind had been blowing from the southwest for 5 days. After the initial switch to northeast, we got the flattened swells. Now, we started getting multi-directional waves, some breaking, occasionally big. We made it without issue and slipped into Beaufort Inlet.

Beaufort Town Docks Courtesy car. Is this a ride or what?
It was a total POS, complete with bald tires and door panels
falling off but it did get us to the grocery.
Then, we got to deal with the current getting into Beaufort Town Docks - our destination for the night. After passing the turn once to gauge what we were in for, we turned into the channel and made our way to a slip for the night. In quick succession we walked Roux, borrowed the 'courtesy car' and went to the grocery, went for Mexican food, got showers, found a laundromat, gave Roux a shower on the dock and listened to live music from the Dock House from our cockpit. Needless to say, we were tired. The musicians were not and played until about midnight. At least they were pretty good.

We left there mid-morning the next day for a trip back up the ICW to Oriental to anchor for the night. Then a long slog across the Pamlico to Ocracoke for another visit to the Silver Lake anchorage. We stayed here last night, will stay again tonight and head out early tomorrow to try to make it all the way back to home. We may have to bail out at Manteo if it gets late or anchor outside Colington if the wind doesn't leave enough water for us to clear the inlet. Either way, we should be home, or at least close. What a trip this has been.

1 comment:

  1. I loved reading about your trip. Glad the last leg was a perfect 10 instead of a perfect storm :).