Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Cruising North Carolina

Hurricane Florence dominated the news all last week. Initially, the forecast was for a category 4 (140 mph winds) storm, but thankfully it weakened to category 1 (90 mph winds) when it made landfall near Wrightsville Beach Friday morning. The storm surge and the relentless rain from the slow moving storm have caused catastrophic flooding in the region.

We know the North Carolina coastal towns well, having cruised up and down the East Coast twice. Even though the last cruise was in 2004 (fourteen years ago!), we remember some places vividly, thanks to our passion for writing, and taking pictures and videos. There were many first experiences: eating hush puppies and chicken n dumplings, listening to the thick Southern accent, and visiting Beaufort, Elizabeth City, New Bern, Ocracoke, Washington, Wilmington and Wrightsville Beach.
Mai Thai (middle) on the Dismal Swamp heading for Elizabeth City
Our trip's log to Ocracoke on the Outer Banks can be found here.

Cape Lookout was a destination on our cruising bucket list. We got there an hour before sunset. Unfortunately, the weather started to deteriorate; we spent an uncomfortable night rocking and rolling. So much for the protected anchorage. Alas, we never set foot on the island as we ran back to Beaufort the very next morning.

Passing by Shackleford Banks, we spied a bunch of party-goers frolicking on the beach. We decided to join in the fun. It's shallow here, so we cautiously sounded our way in.
Shoals appear at low tide at Shackleford Banks
Sometimes the best plan is having no plans at all. Shackleford Banks was paradise! We spent several blissful nights enjoying the calm waters and the peace and quiet. Beautiful sunrise greeted us every morning. Wild horses roaming the beach awed us, and shelling was the best (on the East Coast)!
Beautiful sunrise at Shackleford Banks, Beaufort
Wild horses strolling by was our morning scenery

Pamlico River as we headed towards Little Washington
And how can we forget Wrightsville Beach? It's a cruiser friendly beach town with amenities and a sizeable anchorage. Its vicinity to the Masonboro Inlet provides easy access to the Atlantic Ocean, so many cruisers like to stop here. The current flows in and out, easily turning boats around no matter what the wind direction, and at slack tide all the boats swing every which way. But the holding was good, and it's a great place to meet, or meet up with, other cruisers. In October, we stopped here for a few days on our way south. We hung out with friends we met in Baltimore and took a taxi to check out Wilmington.

Upon our return, we found a Canadian sailboat had dropped anchor kinda close to our boat. We have the utmost respect for sail boaters, especially since this one came all the way from Canada. We were concerned but didn't say anything. Around 6 the next morning, we heard a loud BAM! We jumped out of bed and clambered up to the deck of the boat. The Canadian sailboat had rammed into us. The captain apologized profusely. Turned out he did not let out enough line. How he managed to travel so far without mishap was beyond us. Luckily Mai Thai got away with just a minor scratch.

These were some of our cruising adventures in North Carolina.

Currently, many towns in the state are inundated by the rising waters. Some parts on I-95 is flooded. Wilmington is completely inaccessible. Sadly, Hurricane Florence had done quite a bit of damage. We pray and hope for the best for the people affected.

This post is shared on Through My Lens, Our World Tuesday and Weekend Reflections.

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