Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pilgrimage to Oriental

Ocracoke Anchorage

Hey Jacek, does this look right?

Ocracoke Day 2:  We reconnaissance the dinghy dock and the Captain drops me off for my morning walk.  When he returns, he's too hungry to go back for the bikes, so we walk to lunch at Ocracoke Bar and Grill (spiced local NC shrimp, over veggies and rice with cheese and a long island iced tea). It's a fun town. A quirky, hippie town with a dry sense of humor. ("No outside drinks.  Don't make it weird."  "No ice cream."  "Don't even think about docking here.")  Back to the boat for naps and a kayak.

Princess Amelia

Amelia has decided that she likes her water with a wedge of lemon in an insulated tumbler on the table. Thanks for asking. Great
Local clams from Jolly Rogers
We dinghy over to Jolly Rogers for drinks (& our first plate of fresh clams.  YUM!) then walk to the Seafood Market for some fresh mahi to throw on the grill (also learn figs grow well on the island and fig cake is a specialty here.  YUM!).  After dinner, the coast guard announced a weather warning, possible gusts to 60, so we (and everybody in the anchorage) headed out to bring all loose items in--kayak on deck, dinghy into davits and triple check anchor bridle. We sat in the cockpit and watched the storm roll in, with a good lightning show and light rain. However, just when we thought it was over the winds picked up to 25 gusting to 35. By now, the Captain felt pretty good about our anchor so we slept like babies, snuggled under blankets with the hatches open. 

Our dinghy tied up next to the big boys.  All boat & dinghy departures and arrivals are based on the ferry schedule.

Day 3:  A lazy morning turned into baking almond flour banana nut muffins, mixing up some bloody mary mix for later (I swear), a dinghy ride in to town.  The Captain went for a bike ride.  A local walked me over to a friends coffee shop after I balked at buying espresso from the ice cream shop. I visited the book store across the street and bought a book on Blackbeard, who according to legend, was killed just outside the Ocracoke Inlet. As I headed back to the dinghy, I run into my husband has found the owner of the PDQ sail boat at the National Park Service dock and we stop to chat for an hour or so. 

We learned a new trick from watching the 65 ft yacht next to us. Tie the dinghy painter foward on the boat and let it trail back to the steps. That's TONS easier. More boats from Oriental come in, but most head to the dock. I make mediterranean pasta salad for dinner, and we run over to the Community Market to grab dessert (lot's of organic and gluten-free options without extra mark up.  I hid the Walker's gf shortbread cookies)
Dang.  That's easier.  Why didn't we think of that?

Amelia took a nap  Hey, get out of there!
Maybe she's taking so many naps because she's getting into the RUM!

There's a live band at two of the waterfront bars so we sit on deck and listen to the dueling bands. When we go in for the night, we can still hear the band from Jolly Rogers from the comfort of our settee. 
There it is!  The Atlantic Ocean!

Day 4:  We load up both bikes in the dinghy and head in (another first). We run into our PDQ friend and Misto (Nautitech 44) and stop for another chat before biking out to the beach. After you pass Howard's restaurant, all the traffic goes away and the bike path starts. We cruise by the airport and turn into the beach parking. For a holiday weekend, it isn't too crowded and the Captain contemplated a dune buggy with a beach permit could quickly get you you're own stretch of beach here. We take a short walk, dip our toes in the Atlantic, pick up a few shells and decide to try to get closer to the inlet. Back on the bikes and we find a vehicle access road not on the tourist map.  It's at least another mile to the beach, and the bicycles don't quite make it all the way, so we leave them by the side of the road and walk it.  We see the spit, so we head down the beach.  The sand is soft, but walking up to the water isn't an option since everyone is fishing (fishing rod racks on front and back bumpers).  We both finally stop when we realize we aren't making much progress, and climb a dune.  THERE IT IS!  The inlet.  Way cool.   We take out our water bottle and Larabars and have a little picnic on the sand dune before heading back.  Of course, the wind shifted and picked up so we are riding into a head wind, so we bail for cold drinks and lunch as soon as we reach Howards, then a quick stop at the market, the hardware store (our new fav hobby, browsing the hardware store) and liquor store ("just in case...")  We received an invite to the Neuse River Sailing Association social at 3:00 pm, so we have just enough time for naps.  We have another nice evening breeze, that keeps the bugs away and makes sleeping very comfortable.
Abandoning the bicycles to walk up to the inlet

Amelia took a nap.

Ocracoke to Oriental:  We had originally planned on leaving on Sunday because of weather.  However, it was tempting to stay until Monday and sail back with the big group from Oriental, including the other PDQ.  We have a few rules and they are 1)  we don't have a plan.  We don't need to be anywhere 2)  Never change your plans for other people.  SO, we decided to go with the favorable weather forecast of 5-10 kt easterly winds and pull up anchor, just in time to drop behind the 7:30 ferry departure, along with two other sailboats.  It's a little rough coming out of the Ocracoke channel, but calms down as we get farther out and get both sails up.  I spot two dolphins in the distance an ethereal, spiritual, commune with nature that always brings a tear to my eye (yes, I'm a girl!)  "Crab pot.  Nope, that's a bird--nope, that's a crab pot!"  However, we end up motor sailing with less than 10 kts of wind with a few jibes.  As we turn up the Neuse River, we see more sailboats with their sails up than we've seen in the last 2 months!  They're everywhere!  How exciting.  As we near the channel for our marina we hear someone aground and calling Sea Tow.  We were given explicit instructions--rub the paint off the red markers.  Shoals on the green side.  Got it.  We dock with moderate success--only one try, stern to and I jump off the back step onto the dock.  Our fellow transient comes over to grab a line.  The Captain can't quite walk to bow over to the dock without the wind catching it and blowing it back out, but he successfully throws me a line and we're secured.  As we relax in the cockpit with cocktails, we watch a small dinghy run around right next to us.  Departing could be interesting.  

Amelia took a nap.

Much like our visit to Annapolis, stopping in Oriental is a "must" for sailors.  It's the sailing capital of North Carolina and the sailboats outnumber the people (4000 boats to 800 people?!) 

Stats:  Total time 8:03, Total mileage 42.4 nm, average speed 5.3 kts (motor sailed with 5-10 kt winds)

1 comment:

  1. Enjoying your posts while we're landlocked on house duty. We really love Oriental. Okracoke is one place we'd love to go but it's so shallow. Hope too see you guys in the fall.

    SV Kintala