We had a nice stay in Oriental. We ended up being there for 8 days which was about what we expected. We had quite a bit of work done and SeaClearly is in good shape to take off again. We met some great people. The variety of heavy cruising boats here is impressive and makes for interesting walks around the marinas and boatyards. Everybody you meet is either going to faraway places on boats, have been to faraway places on boats or are hoping to go soon.
Billy was painting the bottom of a little skiff right next to where we were tied up at the dock and we enjoyed talking to him. After a couple of days, he invited us over for dinner and, like bringing home a couple of puppies that he found on the docks, he took us home so he and Donna could feed us. We had a great time and will definitely catch up with them in the future at another place and time.
|Mast chocks - in matching teak.|
On Monday, we got Mark-the-rigger from Sailcraft to go over and tune our standing rigging. All of our mast chocks (little blocks that go around the mast where it passes through the deck) had fallen out. Actually, there were only ever a few and we knew we need them replaced. The mast was re-centered, Mark fitted the chocks and then adjusted the tension in all of the shrouds and stays to give us a nice, straight stick.
Shortly after Mark finished, Mark-the-sail-guy from Inner Banks Sails and Canvas showed up with our refurbished mainsail. With his help, we re-installed it. We also added some new turning blocks to help with the reefing. And so, by 2:00 pm, we were all ready to go. We paid all of our boat bills (not insignificant) and started preparations to take off. Then we changed our minds and decided to hang out one more night and leave early on Tuesday.
|Our tight spot on 'the wall' at Sailcraft|
We were, as usual, concerned about the water level leaving Whitaker Creek. But, even though we did read zero feet under our keel on occasion, we never touched bottom and, therefore, did not lose any of our new bottom paint on our way out. A very good start. We eased our way through the channel, cleared into deeper water and cranked up the motor which gave us our some more good news. Our prop cleaning, combined with a clean, newly painted bottom, seems to have solved our speed loss issue. We were back to running in our normal range of about 5.8 – 6.0 knots of boat speed at 2500 rpm. Much better than the 3200 rpm we required to make that speed recently. Good to have that extra punch available for those inlets in the future.
|ICW headed for Beaufort|
We made a quick and uneventful trip down the Adams Creek section of the ICW and out Beaufort Inlet by noon-ish. We went out into the real ocean again for the first time since April and it felt good. The forecast called for winds out of the southeast at 17 knots gusting to 23 and seas running 5 feet. Last year we got a lesson in NOAA forecasting from Hank in Southport. NOAA forecasts the middle of the ‘bell curve’. If they say ‘waves 5 feet’, you can expect that 10% of the waves will be double that. They were not, on this day. But they were 5 – 6 feet with occasional eights so it was fun. When we turned east to aim towards Cape Lookout, we were on a beam reach (meaning that the seas were running directly at our starboard side) and we rolled a bit. All in all a nice reintroduction to the ocean.
We cruised into Lookout Bight around 2:00 pm. Once again, this place astounds us with its beauty. We have been here several times now and, every time, we are amazed at the wildlife, the setting, the peaceful beauty and the diversity of activity in this special place. The lighthouse, the sea turtles, recreational and commercial fishermen, the isolation, the quiet nights – all just come together to form a perfect picture.
|Bright and clear...|
|austere and beautiful...|
|And, of course, a lighthouse.|
|Me, in the 'hole',|
working on the watermaker
|Junie, capturing pictures for the 'New Adventures of|
Millie Mermaid'. Look closely.
Today dawned bright, clear and, relatively, calm. We dropped the dinghy and took a ride over to the lighthouse. We walked over to the ocean. It was beautiful and we did not see any of the shark feeding frenzies that have been posted on the internet.
|Old house at Cape Lookout|
Our goofy issue of the day turned out to be lunch. We decided to throw a couple of hotdogs on the grill. Seems simple. But our refrigerator is stuffed with months worth of food. We had predicted that it would be a problem finding things for a while until we started using up the overflow. We practically emptied the contents trying to find the hotdogs, relish and mustard. Some things had fallen down behind all of the baskets in the fridge, so far into the back, that they couldn’t be reached otherwise. We had food all over the floor just for the sake of hotdogs on the grill.