It’s been a great year for sailing so far. After a cold and wet winter, kicked off the spring in full stride. Quite a few daysails and have been to Ocracoke three times already. This year’s theme is “30 Days of Ocracoke” and I’m closing in with 18 nights already. I was told I can only count the nights that I’ve stayed there, travel days don’t count. So with 12 days to go, I have two more trips to Ocracoke this year. Definitely earning the VIP status at Anchorage Inn Marina. Spent a week there the end of April and then almost two weeks for the Memorial Day weekend to the following weekend for the Ocrafolk Festival. Will be doing the same next year, great time.
But what’s to talk about at Ocracoke if not food? As usual, I over-provisioned the boat. The thought was that I would just cook adn eat on the boat everyday. In Ocracoke? Really? I came back with 3/4 of the food I brought out there.
I have to say that I am more than blessed to be in the field that I am. I’ve always loved technology and technology is truly an enabler for life. I get to telecommute full-time with just the need for reliable internet and voice. When it comes to connectivity, “Ocracoke does not suck”. Here’s a sample of the bandwidth, my “office” down below and the “on-deck” office with a great inspiring view. It seems like when I’m at Ocracoke or on the hook at Cape Lookout, I get a lot of work done, I just get in that zone. The ideas flow and the pace of cranking things out is amazing.
So that was the two week stint at Ocracoke. But not done yet. This year’s Neuse Sailing Assc. weeklong has to go down in history as one of the best in a long, long time. An entire week, several ports of call and I burned about five gallons for the week. Literally sailed every leg. Left on a Friday afternoon and put the sails up leaving Oriental marker #1 and was fortunate enough to use them entering the Bay River. Up Goose Creek and anchored out for the night in Eastham Creek. A great evening, a brief rain and a great nights sleep. Next morning was a fantastic sunrise.
The next morning it was up and at ’em with the sail to “Little” Washington. Where fate would kick in but that’s a whole other beautiful post. When we left the anchorage going up Goose Creek at 7:30am in the morning, it was already blowing up to ~20kts out of the northeast. As we entered the Pamlico River and turned to head west, sails were raised and it was off to the races, all the way till we hit the channel going into Washington.
I’m having a little ignition switch or solenoid problem where sometimes it won’t engage and it happened as I was entering the channel. Tried a few times but it wouldn’t kick in. So I’m thinking, at least the wind is from the right direction andI’ll be sailing in hot, straight to the docks, hope there’s enough folks to catch lines. But eventually it engaged and started the engine and that was a relief. Oh, note to myself, troubleshoot that this weekend….duh. So upon getting to Washington, the mission was to locate a coffee shop. But first, a wonderful surprise which started with…”Hi Tony”, as I sat on the side of the boat soaking in the day’s sail.
We also got a tour of the Pacific Seacraft factory where I felt the urge to put down a deposit on a PSC40. Got to see Jimmy Buffet’s new boat that’s being built. No pictures were allowed obviously but the tour was great and learned a lot. After a couple of days in Washington (and spending a few hours at the coffee shop Sunday morning) it was off to Bath Creek for anchoring out and a fantastic NSA social. Thanks to Steve and Carol for being such fantastic hosts! An evening of great conversation, beer and local bluecrabs. When I say local, I mean from crabpots off their dock. I’ve had bluecrabs many, many times before but these were definitely the sweetest I’ve ever had. What a fantastic taste. Also, who knew bluecrabs had built-in pull tabs to make it easy to open them.
And then that night, the strawberry moon and was also the summer solstice. What a great day and night. Then there was a long conversation with a mermaid that made it even more special.
Then leaving Bath and Bath Creek and off to Dowry Creek Marina. Two nights there and had a nice relaxing time.
The first night, brought a bit of Jamaica with me. oxtails, curry goat, rice and peas.
The second night, instead of going to Spoon River for dinner with the fleet, Mike, Brenda and myself stayed behind and decided to grill out. Adding to the evening, Nancy accepted the invite and joined us and we had a wonderful evening.
And that’s how that segment ended. Later that evening there was a discussion if we should head to Ocracoke because of the high winds in the afternoon. Was supposed to hit 40kt gusts by 4pm. So we decided that the next morning, 5am, we’d all have our power disconnected and engines running and meet to make the decision. At 5am, we did. Let’s roll. It was already blowing significantly when we left under the cover of darkness before the full sunrise. Got the sails up and we were off again. I had a reef in but the wind lightened up so like the genius I am, fully raised the main. WRONG!!! The wind picked right back up and I was over powered even with letting out the mainsheet. And with all that, I happened to have picked up a crab pot. That is the worst feeling and sound as you hear it thumping on the bottom of the boat, praying that it’s not around the propshaft. Did a few 360’s in each direction to try and free it but no luck. It wasn’t until I hove-to to reef the main that it fell off. Glad it did because the only other option would have been to put on the harness, run the backline and tether in to dive over. In the middle of the Pamlico in 3 to 4ft waves and high winds, to free the pot. Glad it didn’t come to that. But what a fantastic sail over.
Well, back in Ocracoke. One of my favorite places. First things first, soon as you tie up, you go straight to SmackNally’s for a burger, fries and beer and that’s exactly what we did. Took the wings out the freezer before leaving Dowry Creek so we could deep-fry them for the social. Got the vhf call to check that they were defrosting properly, all was good so “back to 16”. Continuing on the theme of “Ocracoke does not suck”, it was a fantastic three days. Everything from great food to great social events to even picking up a mermaid for the sail back to Oriental. Sometimes, single-handing can be exhausting and having a first mate really helps. Thank you Nancy for making it a great sail back.
Well that was Ocracoke and the weeklong. What a wonderful time, just fantastic and memorable. We’ll see what happens for next years weeklong, will be hard to beat but we’ll try.