Monday, April 25, 2011

Outer Banks North Carolina

Wednesday evening, April 20
Oriental, NC

After I posted on the Blog, we had lunch with Phil's old friends Tom and Beverly Love at the Silos. They had good food and also have a small area selling groceries, so I bought some wheat germ to add to bread I make.  Beverly was kind enough to drive us home and then we rode our bikes to West Marine Express and exchanged my broken rigging knife for a new one.   Home again, we took D up on her offer and washed clothes and then hung the first load on the line.  Then we all (with D) rode our bikes to downtown Oriental and visited the Provisoning Company to see what they had in their getting ride of inventory sale.  Last Fall they were closed and now they are open long enough to get ride of the inventory.  Across the street was Beans, so we stopped there for something to drink and got a bonus of being able to eat the little bit of Black Walnut ice cream left in the tub.  Very Good!  Then went to the Marine Consignment and I bought a cook book.  We rode home and did another load of clothes.

Found out that Donna and Jerry Luh on S/V Blue Jacket was having people over for supper and we were invited along with Don and D.  D made a key lime pie and on Phil's request, I made a fruit salad.  We were glad to go and Patty and Gary on S/V Last Tango would be there.  While Don and D went to a wine tasting, Phil and I had showers, took the clothes off the line and folded them and I made the fruit salad.  We were ready to go just in time and left about 715pm for the dinner.  A different Jerry made sausage rolls and Donna Luh made a lettuce salad.  It was great to meet new people and we also met Jim Austin and Bentley Smith from S/V Salty Paws, which is the cat we passed on the way from St. Augustine to Port Royal Sound and were anchored with at Wappoo Creek.  Jim is a professional photographer and gave me some recommendations for storage of my 20 GB of photos that I have taken on this trip.  Will wait until I have a great internet signal with unlimited use of data (think Lakeland Comm College) to upload to a "cloud" site.  We had a great time and all too soon it was time to go back home.

Thursday, April 21
Oriental, NC
Wogaman's dock

Today was warm and sunny which we wait for the wind to change so that the water can rise up and we can leave.  By late morning, the wind changes and we see the water start to rise.  By 1pm we decide there is enough water and we start the engine at 112pm and pull away at 114pm Phil driving in reverse until we get to the "Y" in the channel and can turn around to go forward.  The winds are 24kts and upwind for us to go to Broad Creek.  We try to go up wind, but after we tacked we couldn't get north enough.   We have the head sail out as we learned on earlier trips that we can sail upwind faster than we can motor, but it doesn't help enough.We are heeled over with the toe rail in the water - not fun - so we decided to turn around at 2pm and go to Oriental Harbor to anchor.  By 2225pm we drop anchor with 3' water under the keel, but Phil doesn't like this spot as if the wind clocks to the S we are exposed.  So we raise anchor and go into the harbor more and drop anchor with 0.9' under the keel at 244pm.    45 minutes later S/V The Edge and Bentana motor into the harbor and go to a marina.  We met Judy and Stephen in the Bahamas and after they are settled, chatted on the radio.  They are looking to leave tomorrow as they want to be back home in Nyack, NY on the Hudson River before May 7.  Hopefully we'll see them further down then line.

I fixed steak with sliced potatoes and peas for supper.  Then Phil and I read for the evening before we went to bed. 

Friday, April 22
Oriental Harbor, NC

We listened to weather radio and the wind is to be from the E 15-20kts with waves 5-8 and isolated showers.  It's to clock to SE 10-15 later, so we hope that we'll be able to leave this afternoon but will wait to see what the weather brings us.    About 9am S/V's The Edge and Bentana left and went north to get to the ICW but have about 10nm to slog upwind.  We listened to the radio and I asked Judy to hail us when she got out there more, and it's doesn't sound good.  They has winds about 23kts and are going upper 3kts with the engine.  I'm sure that we wouldn't be going that fast with the old prop on Changes, so we're going to stay here for now.  A little later, but The Edge and Bentana talked about turning around, but with adding the sails and a few adjustments, they started making more headway and continued on.  Taking advantage of the time, I took up the morning throughly cleaning the head - even going thru the lockers and clearing out a few things that we haven't been using, then vaccummed and washed the sole.  That done, we had sandwiches for lunch.

  We wanted to go to the grocery store so Phil called D to see if she could pick us up in their van - busy, but she suggested that we call Anne Sidden, which we did and she was kind enough to meet us at the dinghy dock about 115pm.  Of course we had only 3 items on the list but then came out with 4 bags full of groceries.  Anyone else have that problem???  Then we asked to see her boat Drakus, a Monk 45' sailboat that Doug, her husband, and she have been working on for a few years.    Anne gave us the full tour and they have done a lot to fix up the boat for cruising and still have a lot to do.  We found out they bought the boat in 2004 in Florida, limped back home with the hurting engine and since then Doug has done a lot with the engine and the systems in the engine room.  Anne has also done a lot with painting and other items along with building a dinghy.  I admire what she has done as the woodworking is something that I'm not sure I would tackle by myself like she has done.  It will fulfill their needs well when they are done with the renovations. 

Back at the boat, we have made the final decision not to leave today.  The weather hasn't improved and we don't see any sense in going upwind in this weather.  I made porkchop with sauerkraut, sweet and white potatoes for supper as befitting a good dreary day.

I got a free e-book from Barnes & Noble How to be a Dividend Millionaire, so after I finished reading, Phil read most of the book too for us to discuss.  Good thing that we have our finances under control and we will take some of his information under consideration.  As I'm going to try to save a good amount of money for our cruising kitty, it doesn't hurt to try to invest it wisely.  He talks about his site so I'll have to check it out to see what he has to say.

At 715pm Phil jumped up and went into the cockpit - we are aground.  He started the engine and then after raising the anchor, we were able to move to deeper water and anchor close to where we were the very first time on Thursday.  Phil had noticed that the rocking motion of the boat had stopped.  Good thing, because if he had waited longer I think we would have needed a tow.  The wind had clocked to 125degrees - SE @ 13-14 kts, which is making the water come out of the harbor.  If the wind clocks more, we won't have protection but maybe the winds will die like predicted and we'll be ok.

Once we were settled, Phil read and I undated my log book.  Then I started finishing the heel flap on the 2nd of Phil's sock and started working on the legs.  I'm on the home stretch and all the hard part is finished.

Saturday, April 23
Passage Oriental to Ocracoke Island Outer Banks, NC
Distance Traveled:  41.68 nm
Miles to get Home:  1182.11nm
Total Distance Traveled:  38489.74 nm

We woke at 618am to CT of 72F and AT of 69F.  A warm night that reminds us of the Bahamas.  I think it actually got warmer as the night progressed.  As Phil though might happened, the winds did clock to the South, but the wind also decreased and it was calm.  Phil started the engine at 641am but I heard squealing as he started raising the anchor so stopped all and tightened the belt.  Restarting the engine at 648am we were able to lift anchor at 649pm and were in the middle of the channel going out before 7am.  Winds are 5.7 kts with 63degree wind angle to starboard (SB).  By 737am we let the head sail out as the winds were 7kt at 115degrees to SB.  Once they increase to 12 kts - we put up the mainsail and turned off the engine at 910am - We are sailing!!!  By 1020am 2 M/V had passed up and the winds were 13-15kts at 120degree SB wind angle and we are sailing GPS 5.7-6.2 kts to boat 5.7 kts.  By 1pm we took the head sail down as we were entering the Nine foot Shoal Channel (which is a misnomer as we say 7.5 feet of water at it's shallowest point) and anchored in Silver Lake at 154pm.  Phil thinks this was the best sail of the trip!  We have 5ft under the keel so feel good about that.  I fixed lunch of roast beef sandwiches and a pear half, then time to put the 8hp engine on the dinghy and go into shore.  There are lots of dock sticking out into the lake but only 2 dinghy docks available and one of them blocked by lines to the pilings by a house boat.  We went down to the state park and used their dinghy dock. 

First on the agenda was going to the State Park Visitors Center.  We were given maps and information that at the Community Center at the edge of town there was a concert to raise funds for a music festival scheduled early June.  They play good music, so Phil and I decided to go.  But first we visited the Ocracoke Preservation Museum in a restored 100 year old house.  It was very interesting and we stayed until it closed at 4pm.  then we walked through town going in a few stores.  There is the Kitty Hawk Kites store and Phil bought some kite string on a yo-yo to take with him to California when visiting Vic and her family.  He wants to make a kite with the boys and then fly it at the beach.  Back to the dinghy, we visited a nice looking green sailboat.  Met Tim and Jen and found out they bought their boat for $10,000 a DownEaster 32' and renovated it.  They have found that it's big enough inside to provide enough space for them that they don't feel crowded even though they've have boats in the upper 40's in lenghth.  So now I'm willing to look for a boat smaller than 40' if it has more volume.  But to find one that doesn't have a full keel is going to be the trick - after being able to sell Changes for a reasonable price.  Phil as a specific broker in mind that he'll talk to when we get home. 

Back at the boat I talked to my Mom and my sister, Robin for Easter.  Then I talked briefly to Katie who was getting ready to go to my parents after visiting her Uncle Jeff's Mom and Step Dad.  I warmed up leftovers for supper - Phil had the sauerkraut and port and I had the left over shephard's pie.

645pm we left to walk to the Community Center and we really enjoyed the concert provided by Molasses Creek.  There were also a couple other men that told stories.  It was bluegrass/folk music with many string instruments providing the music.  The concert over at 930pm we started walking and then was given a ride on a pedibike. 

Sunday, April 24
Happy Easter!
Ocacroke, NC

We slept in this morning and listened to the weather radio.  It's to be a nice day today and they are predicting the since to be from the S 10-15 kts thru Tuesday Night.  We will leave tomorrow very early - Sunrise is at 620am now - and take the long trip to Roanoke Island.  We'll stay 2 nights and then leave Wednesday morning early while the winds are still S 15-20 kts before they climb Thursday to 20-25 knots.

Here at Ocracoke they have a community radio station - 90.1FM WOVV that I listened to this morning while making breakfast of scrambled eggs and toast.  As it's been 3 days since our last shower at Don and D's house, we heat up water and add to the Sun Shower for a nice warm shower.  Then by 1130am after I packed a lunch for us to eat later, we took the dinghy to town and rode our bikes for about 2 1/2 hours.  We rode to the Beach access # 70, walked on the beach and collect just a few shells.  Here at Ocracoke the Village is privately owned but the rest of the island is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore Park.  There is a 12 mile long beach that at places you can drive on with your 4-WD truck.  When we got to the beach, there were several trucks there.  Many of them were fishing for Bluefish from the beach.  Others were swimming in the 60+F water.  Exactly how cold it was I don't know and frankly don't want to find out.   Phil ate his lunch while I combed the beach for shells and talked to the fishermen to see what they were trying to catch - Bluefish.  They have poles 15-20' long - cast out the line close to the surf and then put the poles into holders they have pounded into the sand.  After we had our fill of the beach, we started riding back to town, stopped for some ice cream at Sweet Tooth and continued riding back.  We stopped at Pirates Chest and I bought a couple sundresses made out of swimsuit material at a pretty good price.  We visited the British Cemetery and looked over the fence in the Howard-Wahab Cemetery.  We learned from Sundae Horn, one of the singers last night, that there are 90 private family cemeteries on the island dotted her and there.  We saw a few in our travels.  We rode to see the Ocracoke Lighthouse, which unfortunately we can't climb to the top.  Too difficult and dangerous the Park Ranger told us.   The lighthouse keepers house is now privately owned.  There are many guest homes in the village divided between about 3 realty companies.  800 residents live here year round and we also sound the one school that houses all grades from kindergarden to high school.  Made us think about the Fairport Harbor school systems, though we don't know how many children attend school here.  Ocracoke is pretty isolated as it's possible to get here only by private boat, ferries or by private planes.  I'm sure you can get more information by visiting their web site:

By 330pm we were ready to get back on the boat, then put the engine on the boat and put the dinghy away.  Phil talked to Vicki and we had talked to Kathleen shortly after getting on shore earlier today for Easter Wishes.  We didn't do anything special for Easter, but I fixed pan braised chicken and added couscous for a one pot meal.  It was good but as usual, Phil thinks it would have been better if I had used potatoes instead of couscous.  That's an Irishman for you. :)  

I started reading my Nook, put it down after it had started charging and then it wouldn't work - wouldn't turn on, turn off - charge.  I removed the battery and that didn't help either. We talked to Barb and Ted Zimmerman and it's good to hear that they and they kids are doing good.   I turned on my computer and read some from the Adobe digital editions until time for bed.  We are going to get up at 6am tomorrow and leave as soon as we can, even if that means making coffee while we on our way.

Monday, April 25
Passage from Ocracoke to Roanoke Island.
Mileage details to follow.

We did wake at 6am and were able to raise anchor at 626am with the wind 6-8 kts and flat seas.  The wind is from the SW not as predicted so we'll be sailing downwind and hope for the wind to clock to the South as predicted.  We were out of the Channel by 710am and I started the computer to get this blog updated while I had a lot of electricity.  When my watch started at 830am the wind was 6 kts at 220 degrees - still dead downwind at GPS speed 5.3 kts Boat speed 5.7 kts. But it wasn't too long that the wind starting picking up and by 916am we put the head sail out as the winds were close to 10 kts.  It's been hard to keep the head sail filled even with the winds 10-12 kts as it hasn't clocked enough.  It's sunny and very warm in the sun so Phil put up the beach umbrella to provide some shade.  By lunchtime, I expect that the bimini will provide more shade but the sun isn't high enough yet for that.

Will try to download some photos after lunch and add to the blog later today with the next update.

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