Neuse River Sailors
Sailing Southeastern Waters
With a new Beta 20 replacement for the Atomic 4, it was time to go back to Edenton on the Albemarle. Taylor Ward, who crewed for me on the trip to Oriental, had stayed in touch and assured me of his interest in making the return trip. David Swanson, sometime writer for Neuse River Sailor, also expressed an interest. It was to my great benefit that I was able to make arrangements so both of them could come ...more.
Story by Paul Clayton.
During the winter months of early 2020 I started making plans to sail from Edenton to Oriental for yard work at Sailcraft Service. ...more.
Story by Paul Clayton.
Most of us on this side of the Atlantic probably don't realize it, but back in the 1970s and 80s the French sailboat manufacturers were among the finest in the world. Beneteau and Jenneau had reputations for building rugged, seaworthy, fast boats that had interior furnishings to compete with Morris and Hinckley. The French designers refined the short fin keel with rudder on a separate skeg and put the nail in the coffin for the makers of heavy, long-keeled, traditional boats...more.
Story by Paul Clayton.
Years ago I sailed my Cape Dory 25 Valor into Elizabeth City, in the far northeastern corner of the state. I spent several days on the town dock, some of the best days of my years sailing. Dan Boney passed through aboard Marian Claire on his way up the Dismal Swamp Canal, and land-cruising friends Marcia and Joe aboard their Dodge conversion van visited for a couple of days. A big pilot-house schooner Charrua II sailed in from the Dismal Swamp, and I quickly got acquainted with the captain, Paul, and his able crew, Kathy. We spent most of the week sitting in the shade of the awning sheltering the main deck of Charrua II, drinking beer, talking about sailing and life...more.
Story by Paul Clayton.
Note: This story takes place a long time ago, and in Wrightsville Beach, not on the Neuse River. The story is true as best remembered by the person that told it, but the names have been changed to protect those involved....more.
Story by David Swanson.
Facilities are few and far between on the upper Albemarle, but boats that draw five feet or less should consider a visit to Mackeys Marina on the south shore of the sound...more.
Review by Paul Clayton.
With all the good marinas lining both banks of the Neuse River, sailors can afford to be discriminating about where they keep their boats. Personally, I'd rather be in a sailboat marina for the quiet and low-wake character. I like a place with good sailing territory right out of the slip, and I like a high level of security so I can leave the boat for weeks at a time and know it is safe. In the ten years I have been on the Neuse, I have kept my boat at Matthews Point Marina because it provides all these things...more.
Review by Paul Clayton.
On Brown Creek, a tributary of Lower Broad, you will find friendly little Ensign Marina. The owner, Nick Santoro, has written a book, which, while ostensibly a novel, reads like a lightly-fictionalized memoir of his time in Oriental. It tells the story of a man who leaves a big northern city for a simpler lifestyle, makes it through the culture shock of settling in Oriental, and goes on to integrate into the somewhat raffish Pamlico County society. Along the way he starts a successful business and marries a local girl...more.
Review by Paul Clayton.
Shallow Albemarle Sound has a reputation for developing a rough chop in bad weather, and bad weather is none too infrequent in northeastern North Carolina. On a hot day, air over the land warms and rises, sucking in cool, moist ocean air below it. This leads to atmospheric instability...more.
Article by Paul Clayton.
What's wrong with a conventional holding tank retention head aboard a sailboat?
It requires at least one, generally two, through hulls below the waterline, with their attendant seacocks and hoses. Through hulls are holes in the bottom of your boat. Seacocks should be maintained, or at least examined, annually, though few people do it. The seacocks and hoses leading from them are all that is holding the water back from flooding in and sinking your boat....more.
Article by Paul Clayton.
I found installing solar power on my Alberg 35 Terry Ann to be a real struggle. Most of the articles I was able to find focused on estimating power demands and rigging up complex battery banks, whereas I needed to know how to get the wiring into the cabin and how to hook up a simple controller....more.
Article by Paul Clayton.
In 1978 the Luhrs family boat-building conglomerate that included Hunter, Luhrs and Silverton set up a new company, Mainship, to produce a John Cherubini designed 34 foot trawler. Eventually the family sold out, but the Mainship Corporation builds boat to this day...more.
Entry by Paul Clayton.
A boat that you can sail around the Oriental inner harbor. Designer Reuben Trane drew a whole line of small, shallow-draft boats that were built by a series of companies that drifted into existence, lived for a while and then passed into bankruptcy. The last known owner of the molds was Nimble Boat Works, maker of the celebrated Nimble Nomad trailerable cruiser...more.
Entry by Paul Clayton.
These idiosyncratic boats are easy to identify, once you see the first one. The clipper bow, raised deck and numerous portholes in the cabin and the hull, boomed staysail and general appearance of solidity make it hard to mistake this boat for any other. The long, sturdy rubrails, akin to those on Pacific Seacrafts, are a feature that I greatly admire....more.
Entry by Paul Clayton.
Many photographs of boats and places from Maryland to Florida, but mostly from the Neuse. If you sail the waters of coastal North Carolina, you are sure to see places you've been, and maybe a picture of your boat...more.
Links to sailing websites, marinas and boatyards, museums, local restaurants, owners associations, and other sites of interest to sailors...more.
Posts about refitting my Alberg 35...more.
You can contact this site by emailing email@example.com.
Copyright © 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021 Paul M. Clayton
New Boatyard in Belhaven -- My sailing partner Taylor turned up this new well-equipped yard recently and I drove down a few days ago for a look. The friendly owner explained that while they are not officially open yet, they are hauling boats for DIY and contract work. He added that they intend to add a marina adjacent to the yard.
A Self-Aware Fisherman -- owns this boat.
Hobie Cat on Lake Norman -- My friend Mark sent a shot of his Hobie 16 on a perfect day for sailing.
View From Mast Height -- Taylor took this picture looking out over Edenton Marina from the bucket lift while doing masthead work on his Hunter Never Enough..
A Lazy Afternoon... -- sailing a Sunfish in Pembroke Creek, Edenton.
You Can't Order from Paxton... -- so find somebody who can. Paxton Company is a distributor of marine supplies and carries just about every brand you could think of. Best, their trucks run up and down the southeast coast from Virginia to Florida, offering next day delivery on almost everything in their catalog. The only catch - they only sell to companies that can give them thousands of dollars worth of business in a year. But that includes practically all boatyards, many marinas and a good selection of marine supply stores. In the Edenton area I have ordered from Paxton through Mackey's and gotten great service, but it is an hour plus round trip across the river. Last time I visited Dixie Auto & Truck Parts in Edenton I noticed they had a sign stating they could order from Paxton. I checked with the clerk and he confirmed that they had a Paxton account and were glad to place orders. That will make it a lot easier getting boat parts in Chowan County.
By Way of Manteo -- We sailed Terry Ann from Oriental to Edenton by way of Manteo. The notorious Old House Channel and Roanoke Sound proved not troublesome on a day of good visibility and light easterly airs. On the other hand, the Albemarle Sound lived up to its reputation. We suffered a knockdown in a line squall and had to motor on to Edenton with a broken spreader. Story to come.
Ocrafolk 2021 -- I'm sure there will be a big contingent from Matthews Point for the annual festival June 4th through 6th. For information and tickets, click here.
Manteo Improvements -- Coastal Review reports that dredging in Shallowbag Bay and the adjoining channel has been completed, allowing the replica ship Elizabeth II to be moved from its permanent dock on the Manteo waterfront to Wanchese for haul-out. This bodes well for our plans to sail Terry Ann home from Oriental to Edenton by way of Manteo.
Alternate Route -- Cruisers Net reports April 21st, 2021 that the Dismal Swamp Canal is open, all bridges and locks operating on schedule, and no duckweed. I must add that there was an unfortunate police shooting in Elizabeth City recently and transients might want to avoid the town until things settle down. Sorry to have to report that about one of my favorite cruising towns and I wish nothing but the best for the people of the area.
It Finally Happened -- For years, every time I crossed the Bonner Bridge across Oregon Inlet, I hoped it was for the last time. The rickety old bridge always seemed in eminent danger of collapsing into the sea. Fortunately, the State, after years of procrastination, built a replacement that opened in 2019. Yesterday, April 14th, 2021, a section of the old bridge that was being dismantled collapsed, falling 110 feet and killing one worker. It is sobering to think that this old bridge remained in operation so many years after it should have been replaced, and tragic that a man lost his life in the last stage of tearing the old structure down.
Retrenchment? -- Back in October 2019 I mentioned that NCDOT was exploring the possibility of building a new ferry dock on Ocracoke near the pony pens and abandoning the current dock at the north end of the island. That idea has resurfaced periodically. An article dated 4/7/21 at Island Free Press has this to say: "The proposed new ferry terminal...would be located 6 miles north of the village and one mile south of the Pony Pens...Under the proposal, if the old terminal is decommissioned, all N.C. 12 pavement and structures between the new and old terminals would be removed".
Cedar Island and Swan Quarter -- ferries are suspended until April 12th due to shoaling in the channel just outside Siver Lake. The Corps of Engineers is still dredging, but things are just getting worse. The Ferry Division will re-assess Monday and try to project when service can resume.
Maybe by Summer -- The Bath State Dock (the free dock) just below the fixed bridge on Bath Creek was damaged by hurricane Isaias and has been closed since. Neuse River sailor David Swanson inquired with the operator recently and got this in reply: "We are awaiting materials for repairs and anticipate reopening the dock by this summer. Please check back with us in May for an update!"
Anyone with a Boat to Rent? -- A Neuse River Sailors contributor sent me this email: "I am looking to rent a small (approximately 25-30') cabin cruiser or houseboat for a couple of weeks May and/or June, to go from the Beaufort area up to the Albemarle and back. If you know of anyone with a dormant craft who might be interested in such an arrangement, I would be grateful to learning about him or her or them . . ." If anyone has an interest, email me at the address at the bottom of this page and I will put you in contact.
New Life for Pamlico -- Built in 1965 at the New Bern Shipyard, Pamlico served the NC Ferry Division until 2015, when she was sold to Cross Sound Ferry Services of Connecticut. There she saw a thorough renovation, was renamed the Jennifer C, and currently runs between New London, CT and Orient Point on Long Island.
Not Enough Water in Bigfoot Slough...-- for the Swan Quarter and Sea Level, which draw 7 1/2 feet, so for at least the week of March 26-30 the cross-sound routes between Cedar Island, Swan Quarter and Ocracoke are on short schedules of one boat in each direction. A dredge is working in the Slough.
Beta Red -- I'm having a new Beta 20 installed in Terry Ann. The engine is in the boat but not hooked up yet. Here's a picture.
A Hard Reckoning -- The New York Times published an article on March 14th, 2021 entitled "Tiny Town, Big Decision: What Are We Willing to Pay to Fight the Rising Sea?" about the town of Avon on the Outer Banks.
Pilot Dan -- Edenton sailor, OBX pilot and friend Dan White died February 18th, 2021 after a short illness. He loved his boat Moriah and lived aboard almost to the end. He was generous to a fault. One of his greatest pleasures was to welcome fellow sailors at the Edenton Marina aboard his boat for five o'clock libations and conversation. We'll miss him.
Another Option -- If nobody wants the marine head, friend and fellow Neuse River sailor David Swanson sent this proposal for reuse. I'm thinking a local sculpture garden might like to have it to pair with a Mannekin Pis statue. Send your ideas and I will post them here. The best one gets a prize - a lightly-used marine head.
Before I Send Them to the Dump -- Free to someone who can use them - I have the marine head that came out of Terry Ann when I put in the composter, as well as a Whale Gusher Mk3. The head looks fine, I couldn't see any cracks, but the pump will probably need to be rebuilt or replaced. The Whale Gusher is in what I take to be typical shape, with a torn diaphragm and much corrosion. From what I see on the internet, these are not worth rebuilding, but you might think differently. If you want either or both, contact me at the email address at the bottom of the page, and we can make arrangements to pass them off somewhere in eastern North Carolina when I am down that way on my boat.
Bridge Closure Update -- Cruisers Net reports on November 1, 2020 that the railroad bridge at AICW mile 5.8 has been repaired and is now open. But for a few days expect more frequent than usual closings for trains to pass as they clear up their backlog due to the closure.
Bridge Closure -- Dale on Hi Flite in Portsmouth reports that on October 29th 2020, "we listen[ed] to radio traffic with several tugs rushing to recover a barge that broke loose and hit a bridge. The railroad drawbridge is damaged and will be out of order until further notice." I'll update when I get more information.
Old Canal - Word from the Original Correspondent -- He and friends navigated from Marshallberg to Oriental on a Simmons Sea Skiff by way of Salter's Creek, Long Bay, Old Canal and Turnagain Bay. Didn't know there was a navigable cut between Salter's Creek and Long Bay? Neither did I, but it is clearly marked on charts 11544 and 11545. There is a 45 foot bridge at the Nelson Bay end, and the whole thing is undoubtedly very shallow, but it looks like a real adventure in a skiff, dinghy, kayak, or shoal draft sailboat.
Latest on Old Canal -- Here's a report from regular contributor David Swanson, from late October 2020. "I spent Saturday going through the Old Canal off Turnagain Bay, and through the Thouroughfare Canal between West Bay & Thouroughfare Bay. I saw a minimum depth of 5.7 feet on the former, that at either end. Lowest I saw on the latter canal was 5.2 feet. For reference, the water gages at Oriental and Hoboken were +0.5 feet or less (Cedar Island gage not working). Oddly the Cedar Island bridge showed only 43 feet clearance vs. a charted 45 feet." That should be encouraging to anyone considering the transit. Even Terry Ann could make it through. Don't worry, I'm not going to try it.
Another Good Ride -- I rode Greyhound from New Bern to Edenton to pick up my car the evening of 10/19/20. Friends drove me from Oriental to New Bern, where I embarked at 5:10 in the evening, arriving in Edenton three hours later after an uneventful trip. For sailors moving from port to port along the eastern seaboard, Greyhound is a real asset.
Try Here First -- Right on the corner, in view of the town docks of Oriental, is the Inland Waterway Provision Company. People who have been around this area know it has had its ups and downs over the years - these days it is in a distinctly up phase. The current management sees to it that a well-considered variety of marine supplies are on hand, plus sundries like beer, bread and ice. I needed electrical fasteners, couldn't find them at the West Marine. My friend Steve, outfitting his Cape George, clued me in that the Provision Company had a good selection, and I found what I needed there. When the yard and West Marine couldn't provide a fairly standard shaft-mounted zinc, I found a whole range of sizes available at the Provision Company, including one that fit perfectly on my boat. When I realized that my flares were expired, I walked straight to the Provision Company and bought a set with dates way out in the future. And finally, when I needed a bus ticket printed to get me back to Edenton, they graciously printed it for me from an emailed pdf.
A Familiar Morgan 382 -- I found John and Kathy's Ching Ching, now Jessica, on the dock at Deaton's, fitting out for a trip south this winter.
Oil is Not Supposed to Look Like This -- Routinely checking the oil before a planned departure for Belhaven, I found a gray, foamy sludge in place of the translucent amber fluid that was there yesterday. An abrupt and massive crankcase contamination put an end to plans to head for home. Sailcraft no longer does mechanical work on inboard engines, so I called Deaton's. The owner, John Deaton, came to the town dock, checked out the engine and suggested that I have the boat towed to his yard for work. Best case - the seal on the back of the water pump failed. Worst case - cracked engine block. It will be at least a couple of weeks until the crew at Deaton's can work on it, so my plans are to return home for the time being.
At the Town Dock -- The boat went in the water yesterday, the 13th, and today I moved it to the new town dock after sailing around outside the breakwater to check out the roller furler gear. There were two boats on the old dock when I came in, but they departed mid-morning. It is quiet today, except for hundreds of raucous, squabbling sea gulls. The closest thing to excitement was when Nimble Bay Hen Webster made a pass through the inner harbor and then disappeared back out toward the anchorage.
Another Report -- NC boatbuilder and sailor Bruce Mierke reports anchoring in Turnagain Bay and rowing his dinghy through the canal. The water was high at the time. His 6 1/2 foot oar never touched bottom. By his estimation, the canal might carry as much as 4 1/2 feet at normal water levels.
Turnagain Bay Report -- Avid explorer of the bays and creeks of the Pamlico Sound and sometime contributer to this site David Swanson reports transiting Turnagain Bay and the old canal 2 1/2 years ago and finding over 3 1/2 feet of water in the canal. The entrance to the bay presented no difficulties.
Turnagain Bay and the Old Canal -- I got an inquiry regarding the navigability of Turnagain Bay and the old canal to Long Bay. Have any readers transited it lately? I'd be interested to hear from you, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rudder Repairs -- Fabrication of a rudder shoe and fiberglass reinforcement of the rudder blade have kept me in the yard far longer than I expected. As of Friday, 10/9/20, the boat is still on the hard at Sailcraft Service. We hope to put her back in the water next Tuesday, and then the rigger will need a day or two to install the jib roller. So I will be in the neighborhood for a few more days - any friends in the area, come visit.
A Classic in for Major Refit -- A Cape George 38 has to be on the short list for desirable heavy displacement, full keel boats. I have heard it referred to as a wooden boat with a fiberglass hull. Steve purchased his used in 2019 and brought it in to Sailcraft for a four-month refit. Suffice it to say it is still here, as he uncovers rot, rot and more rot. But he is a competent woodworker and the boat will someday be back to bristol. To see some of the work he has done, check out his website, Teal Water.
Harborfest for Heartworks - Digital Edition -- The need is just as great, even if we can't have a party this year. Heartworks is a local non-profit based in Bayboro which serves the mental and physical health needs of local children and their families. For several years Harborfest has been held in September at River Dunes to raise money for Heartworks. This year, with Covid, it's not possible to have the party, but the auction goes on. See the Harborfest Website for how to bid, buy, and help the children.
Not Much Running -- As of 3:30 in the afternoon of 9/21/20, the only ferry routes in operation were Fort Fischer and Knotts Island. All other routes closed. Highway 12 is closed on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands.
Alligator River Marina -- We approached last week late in the day with intentions to go in for fuel and perhaps transient dockage. Got no reply on VHF. From the channel the marina appeard closed, but we hoped to get on the dock for a minute and buy gas at the highway pump. Ran aground just inside breakwater and spent two hours getting free. Today, 9/21/20, I called and confirmed that they are open, but "call ahead about depth of entry channel". Alligator River Marina, 252-796-0333.
In the Yard -- Sunday 9/20/20 water is still rising but the yard is not flooding yet. There are people here working though it is not as busy as previous years. I was told that this would be a good time to get in for work. Everyone still hopes that the southbounders will start coming through soon. The consensus is that the severe hurricane season and Covid have slowed things down. I got the bottom painted on my boat today. Here's a shot of a classic Dana 24 at the Sailcraft dock.
Cherry Branch Ferry Closed-- Town Dock reports Neuse River Ferry closed the evening of 9/19/20 due to high water.
Leave Now-- Afternoon of Saturday 9/19/20 NCDOT is recommending that visitors to Ocracoke and Hatteras leave now as road conditions on Highway 12 are deteriorating.
Gale Force Winds from the Northeast-- are making for high water on the Neuse and major flooding along Highway 12.
Taylor at the Helm -- Sailing out of Belhaven early morning of 9/15 with a fair wind for Oriental.
On Town Dock -- It's 9/16/20, sailed in to Oriental from Edenton, arriving last night with former Matthews Point denizen Taylor Ward as crew. Tomorrow I move the boat to Sailcraft Service for haulout, will be in yard for several days. Local sailing friends please come see me while I am in the area.
Mystery of Lost Colony Solved? -- Researchers think they have good evidence that the English settlers went to Hatteras Island with the Croatan Indians and integrated into their society. The Virginian-Pilot has an interesting article about research conducted by a team of archaeologists, historians, geologists and others who have been excavating in the Buxton and Frisco areas for the past eleven years and feel they have good evidence that the colonists joined the Croatan settlements there.
Hurricane Damage -- Tornadoes spinning off hurricane Isaias destroyed mobile homes near Windsor in northeastern NC, but the southern coast received more typical wind and storm surge damage. See photographs at Journalnow.com.
Isaias Barrels Through Eastern NC -- A rare storm that passed west of Edenton, it set up a southerly fetch across Pembroke Creek that had Terry Ann rolling on her port lines. Like several recent storms, Isaiah came through in the middle of the night. I awoke at 1:15 AM Monday to gusty southerly winds and heavy rain. Weather radio reported conditions at Edenton as of 1:00 as eight mile per hour winds and light rain, so it appears the first bands of the storm came through between 1:00 and 1:15. Conditions intensified until around 4:00 AM, reaching 30-35 mph winds with gusts up to 55, and heavy rain. After that, the worst of the storm was through. By 6:00 the winds had shifted to the west at 20-25 mph and the rain had ended. Edenton suffered some power outages and downed branches, but no serious damage. My friends Tom and Ann came in the morning from Hertford to inspect their boat Sea Wasp, which came through the storm undamaged. Tom told me that around 2:00 in the morning he had a bout of sneezing and coughing, and I reported that the same thing happened to me. We think that Dominican or Cuban pollen, unfamiliar to our respiratory systems, rode the winds north, causing the response. For a good chart showing the route of the storm, see the NWS summary at Island Free Press.
Sheltering at Edenton -- Three cruising boats are currently sheltering at Scotty Harrell's marina as the hurricane season heats up. Not only is the area well-protected from hurricanes, the Covid virus is uncommon in the northeastern part of NC. Life goes on here as it has in years past. Let's hope it stays this way.
Pop-Up Storm -- On July 8th, 2020, another low off the coast of South Carolina has the potential to develop into a tropical storm in the next day or two as it tracks along coast. See the National Hurricane Center for details.
Bat Out of Hell -- Tropical Storm Bertha appeared out of nowhere and slammed the South Carolina coast the morning of 5/27/20 just east of Charleston. Details at Weather Underground.
Toughest Race in the East -- The infamous Worrell 1000 sailboat race is scheduled to run in 2021, with a stop at Hatteras Island. The participants will sail Formula 18 catamarans offshore 1,000 miles up the Atlantic coast, from Hollywood, Fl to Virginia Beach, in stages. An overview is posted at Island Free Press, and all the details can be found at the official site.
Living Vicariously -- For all of us who are not out sailing this spring, Dale and Cori are still posting regularly at their website Hi Flite. As of late May they are still in the Jumentos/Ragged Islands of the far southern Bahamas. Steve aboard Spartina is cruising the Pamlico River.
Caribbean Report -- Matthews Point friends Dale and Cori aboard their Pearson 424 ketch report from the Ragged Islands.
Another Source of Marina Updates -- Cruiser's Net has a page of information regarding marina closings and status.
COVID-19 Official Government Notices -- Waterway Guide has an up-to-date listing of Official Government Notices dealing with Covid-19 restrictions on marine traffic on the ICW. They also have a table showing marina status along the ICW, though some of the entries are a bit dated.
It's Official - Ocrafolk 2020 is Cancelled -- Ocracoke Alive, Inc. has officially pulled the plug on Ocrafolk for this year. Thanks Mike for the heads-up. In other Outer Banks news, the sand berm just north of Mirlo Beach blew out again on April 1st, leaving Highway 12 closed, covered in sand and water. NCDOT had the road reopened the afternoon of April 2nd. Also the Outer Banks south of Manteo have been closed to visitors to slow the spread of Covid-19.
Goodbye to the Raster Chart -- NOAA Office of Coast Survey announced late 2019 that production of traditional raster charts would end gradually over the next five years. Some recreational sailors prefer raster paper charts or digitized versions (RNCs), but we'll have to start getting used to electronic navigational charts (ENCs). Fortunately, NOAA is working hard to correct some of the issues with ENCs that have held back migration. An overview of the rationale and process is provided by NOAA at their website.
A Good Time to Check -- Now is the time to see that all your boat's paperwork is in order - it goes without saying, current and up-to-date - including Certificate of Documentation, North Carolina Registration, Certificate of Insurance, BoatUS/TowboatUS membership card. Better to take care of this in the throes of winter than on the first nice sailing weekend of spring.
Welcome Visitors -- I got an email from Down Creek Gallery in Ocracoke that they are open and welcome visitors. Proprietor Marissa mentions "I am very open to seeing visitors and am happy to have all of you back. (I also have a restroom, hahahah if need be, although, After the storm, it has been acting up.)" If I see the driver from Kellogg, I'll let him know. Also, Leslie at Books to Be Red emailed me with the following; "I am going to figure out how to brew some coffee."
Some Pictures -- I posted a few pictures from my recent trip to Ocracoke in the Photographs Section.
No Confirmation -- As of mid-day 12/5 I can get no confirmation of rumors that the South Dock - Highway 12 route on Ocracoke will reopen today.
Open for Visitors -- Ocracoke opened for visitors on 12/2/19 and I walked on the Hatteras-Silver Lake ferry the morning of 12/4. After a short delay for the boat to replenish oil and fuel, we set off on a 2 1/2 hour journey that put us in Ocracoke at 2:30. I spent the afternoon walking around town. Most of the people I spoke with were welcoming - in particular, the young men working to get the Community Store ready to reopen, the proprietor at Books to be Red, and the staff at Zillie's. Some were standoffish. This reflects the split between the openers and non-openers that has been a source of acrimony lately. Overall, the town looks great. Anyone worried that the old tree-lined sand roads were damaged, put those worries aside. The trees weathered the storm with little damage. Most of the buildings look ok from the outside, but many are still unoccupied. Facilities are very limited. There are only a couple of restaurants open and nowhere to buy a cup of coffee. So if you visit, bring your own groceries and a thermos of coffee. Verging on the ridiculous, there are no public restroom facilities open on the island. I'm sure some of the open businesses would make theirs available, though the Variety Store prominently posts "No Public Restrooms." The poor driver of the Kelloggs Supply truck from Manteo was frantically looking for a restroom - completely ludicrous to make him, working a 16 hour day to deliver needed building supplies, go through this. Here are the local businesses that I know WELCOME VISITORS - Books to Be Red, Zillies. Other open businesses - 1718 Brewing and associated restaurant, after 5:00; the Variety Store, probably would sell to you but not real welcoming. Any other local businesses that WELCOME VISITORS, email me (address at bottom of page) and I will update this. I rode back to Hatteras on the last Silver Lake-Hatteras run of the evening, perhaps the last run of this temporary route, as the Hatteras-South Dock route is to reopen the morning of 12/5/19.
Maybe December 2nd -- Island Free Press reports that officials have decided that Ocracoke will reopen to visitors on December 2nd. As of November 21st, NC 12 is open from Hatteras north, still closed on Ocracoke, Hatteras-Silver Lake and sound ferries operating but restricted to Ocracoke residents, property owners and contractors.
Dreadful -- A slow-moving but powerful nor'easter over the weekend of November 17th, 2019 has inflicted severe damage on the North Carolina Outer Banks. Numerous breaches have flooded Highway 12 on the north end of Ocracoke Island, making it very unlikely that the paving operation planned to allow the Hatteras Inlet south landing back in operation can be completed by the projected date of November 22nd. Here is a screenshot taken from an NCDOT webcam of Highway 12 on Ocracoke Island. To the north, a major breach at Mirlo Beach has water streaming across the island and flowing along the road. As of Monday morning, the sound ferries are back in operation, providing Ocracoke with an outlet to the south, but with the Hatteras ferry still suspended and the road cut north of Rodanthe, there is no exit from Hatteras Island. No word yet as to how the Core Banks or Cape Lookout fared.
Tugboat On Side Under Old Bonner Bridge -- Island Free Press reports that a tugboat attempting to secure a barge in Oregon Inlet ran aground and turned onto its side. The Coast Guard is investigating.
Always Be Sure to Check -- Since I posted earlier today that the Cherry Point ferry was running, things have gotten worse and Towndock.net reports that it has now been suspended. As of Saturday afternoon, the only route running is Aurora. ***Check That*** A phone call to the Cherry Branch terminal reveals that the ferry was cancelled all along - they neglected to update their twitter feed. So always be sure to check, but be prepared for the information you receive to be wrong.
Another One -- Another week, another brutal wintry front. As of November 16th, all the ferries except Aurora and Cherry Point are suspended due to high winds, Highway 12 is marginally passable from Oregon Inlet to Rodanthe. Oceanside flooding is expected for the northern Banks, soundside flooding for southern Pamlico. Hodges Street in Oriental is flooded, the Bean is closed for the day. Other news, tempers are starting to fray in Ocracoke and the mud-slinging has begun between the pro- and anti-openers. Dueling letters to and from the editor at Ocracoke Current suggest all is not well on the little island. But with visitors still not allowed, not even for the day, and the national and regional press moved on to other things, the rest of us here in NC have little to go on other than speculation and hearsay. The Ocracoke Current and Island Free Press are doing what they can to fill the void. Hyde County and Ocracoke town officials are studiously silent.
Cold Front -- It's November 8th and out on the sounds the winds are gusting to 40 knots. Even in sheltered Edenton we are seeing upper 20s. Behind the front it is forecast to get cold - 28 degrees tonight and maybe some snow next week. This morning I winterized the Atomic 4, so let it come. Ocracoke is isolated, as cross-sound and Hatteras ferry routes are shut down due to wind. The other routes are running, as of mid-day.
Nothing to Do with Neuse River Sailing -- but it does involve a boat. Lake Norman Runabout.
Visiting Tampa Bay? -- Surprisingly reasonable for Florida, here is a rate sheet for St. Petersburg Municipal Marina, 2019.
Oh Really? -- Deep in an article at Island Free Press I found the following - "Because South Dock requires constant maintenance, NCDOT is exploring the feasibility of constructing a new ferry dock just north of the pony pens on Ocracoke and abandoning everything north of that area." Retrenchment from the northern end of Ocracoke Island, hmmm...
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