Georgetown Wooden Boat Show -- The annual show will be held the weekend of October 19-20, 2019. More here.
Amazing Work! -- I know I said I would stop posting all the Outer Banks news, but this is too good to pass up. Highway 12 was flooded Friday morning, 10/11/19, at Mirlo Beach. NCDOT crews worked all day but were not able to reopen the road by the time of evening high tide. Urgent traffic that needed to get off the island was allowed to take the last boat from Hatteras to Silver Lake and transfer straight onto the ferry to Swan Quarter. Today, 10/12/19, the NCDOT started work as soon as the morning tide receded and feverishly worked all day, getting the road open just before sunset. A line of traffic over a mile long then started gingerly negotiating the wet, sandy road. The hopes are that everyone can get through before tonight's high tide floods the road again. Then the NCDOT can get to work tomorrow and maybe staunch the flow of water as sub-tropical storm Melinda recedes into the distance. No weekend for the dedicated crews. Here's a capture from the TIMS webcam at Mirlo Beach, 6:45 pm, 10/12/19.
Alligator River Bridge -- Heard a rumor the morning of 10/12/19 that the Alligator River Bridge is opening to marine traffic. **Update** - I confirmed with the USCG that the bridge is back to normal operation.
Flooding - Road Closures -- Island Free Press is providing frequent updates on the situation on the Outer Banks. Friday, 10/11/19, Oceanside flooding reported in Rodanthe, Avon, and North Buxton with Friday Morning’s High Tide. I'll lay off the Outer Banks news, you know where to look if you are interested.
Overwash at Mirlo Beach -- I drove down the Banks from Manteo to Waves the day of 10/09/19 and the road was relatively dry and sand-free. Things went downhill overnight. Coastal Review Online posted a story 10/10/19, Storm Causes Overwash on NC 12, with pictures of water gushing over the "dune", actually sand berm, between the beach and the highway.
Spoke to Another Southbounder -- who was unaware that he could bypass the Mann's Harbor Bridge and reach the Pamlico Sound by way of Manteo and the 65 foot Washingon Baum Bridge.
Alligator River Bridge May Go to Scheduled Openings -- As of 10/10/19 the bridge is still not able to be opened for marine traffic, and even once it is the days of open on demand may be over. The mechanism is frail and the state may need to reduce the frequency of openings, hence no more open on demand. See article at OBXToday.
Request for Individual Assistance Denied -- FEMA has denied the state's request for assistance for individuals who suffered losses in Dorian. See article at Island Free Press.
Long Way Around -- With Ocracoke still closed to visitors, the ferries are not boarding anyone other than residents and property owners, contractors and volunteers registered with Hyde County. That means that Harry from Buxton cannot just take the Hatteras ferry to Ocracoke, transfer to the ferry to Cedar Island and drive 5 miles to visit his elderly Aunt Minnie in Sealevel. No, Harry must drive north to Manteo, west to Belhaven, south to Bayview, cross the river by ferry, continue south to Minnesott, cross the other river by ferry, drive south to Morehead City, then north to Sealevel. 248 miles. I hope it's not an emergency.
Alligator River Bridge Not Opening -- It is Wednesday, October 9th, and the swing bridge has not opened for marine traffic since last Friday. There is a mechanical problem and no clear resolution in sight. Southbound traffic is backed up at the Alligator River Marina, although there are still a couple of open slips. I spoke to one sailor who saw the charted Croatan Sound route but knew that he couldn't get under the Mann's Harbor Bridge. However, he was completely unaware that he could continue east to Manteo, easily pass under the 65-foot Washington Baum bridge and then follow the Roanoke Sound and Old House Channel out into the Pamlico Sound. So southbounders, look at your charts. There are three routes south from the Albemarle - the Alligator River, the Croatan Sound, and the Roanoke Sound. No reason to spend a week waiting for the Alligator River bridge to open.
FEMA Request Processed -- October 4th the President signed the FEMA Request for Public Assistance for eastern NC counties, which will provide support for state and local agencies dealing with the aftermath of hurricane Dorian. A request for individual assistance is still under review, according to an article at Island Free Press. In other news, the Hatteras - Silver Lake ferry has been discontinued and the ferry is back to using the terminal at the north end of Ocracoke. Highway 12 is still broken and only light 4-wheel drive vehicle are allowed on the route. Still only emergency vehicles, residents and others certified by Hyde County as part of the recovery effort - no visitors. ****Latest News - Hatteras - Silver Lake ferry is back on after Ocracoke residents expressed concerns. See article at Ocracoke Current.
News Trickles Out -- Three weeks after Dorian, visitors are still banned from Ocracoke but at least some of the press are visiting. Recovery efforts are moving slowly as the NC National Guard and volunteers come to the aid of residents. Where's FEMA? Nobody knows. The eviscerated administration in Washington, D.C. is "processing the state's request for public assistance", according to Weather Underground, in a good piece of reporting dated September 30th, 2019.
Just the Ticket -- In the market for a handheld VHF, I turned up this little unit, a Cobra MR HH125. It's not real powerful, with lo/hi settings of 1 and 3 watts, but other than that it has all the standard features - jump to 16, weather, scan, squelch, volume control, NOAA alerts. It's very light and small, and it runs off five AAA batteries. It includes a charger that will allow the batts to be charged in situ from a cigarette lighter, or they can be charged on any external charger. I'm not a fan of lithium batteries which always seem to go dead at inopportune times and require an A/C source to recharge. I would rather just carry a box of AAAs to swap in when needed. Since you're not buying an expensive lithium battery with the VHF, the price is right. I got mine for $50 shipped from Hodges Marine. To me, it looks like the perfect device for hailing bridges or marinas, setting up passes and other routine demands, or to serve as a backup to a more powerful unit.
Visitors from the South -- Manatees showed up at the Outer Banks in September, making an unusual appearance this far north. The News & Observer posted an article September 22nd, 2019, with a picture of a pair in the Nags Head Coast Guard basin.
Looks Serious -- One of the runaway barges on the San Jacinto River near Houston crashed into a piling on the I-10 bridge during the high water from Imelda. The road will be closed indefinitely. Two barges are jammed under the bridge, seven more either got corralled downstream or ran aground, one of them in a superfund site known as the San Jacinto River Waste Pits. Ain't heavy industry grand? I have to admit, Terry Ann and I bounced off a fender under the Highway 32/37 bridge on Albemarle Sound back in June. No fenders in evidence in the picture at Weather Underground, so I'm guessing the barges were outside of the channel. This is the second time this year that the bridge has been closed. February 12th, 2019 a barge hit a pillar and various lanes were closed until May 6th, as reported by Click2Houston.com.
High Water on the Neuse -- The NC Ferry Cherry Branch Twitter Feed reports the morning of Thursday 9/19/19 that the Cherry Branch-Minnesott ferry is not running because the water is too high for the boats to get in under the ramps. The individual feeds for the various routes are the best place to get real-time information on the status of the routes.
NOAA Sat Photos of Banks -- Regular contributor David Swanson sent this link to a montage of photographs showing the Outer Banks after Dorian. If you zoom in, you can see all the overwash areas on the Core Banks. It shows clearly how the storm picked up sand from the seaward side and deposited it on the sound side. The overwash areas show as sharp, narrow indentations with wide fans of sand spewing out into the sound.
Ocracoke Report From News & Observer -- The press was allowed back in to Ocracoke as of 9/13/19 and the Raleigh paper got reporter Martha Quillin down there for a good feature article about Dorian and its aftermath.
Anchorage Foul -- Cape Lookout National Seashore Facebook page reports that Cape Lookout Bight "harbor filled with debris and is only marginally usable".
Can't Catch a Break -- The town of Ocracoke has put a great effort into developing their annual Pirate Jamboree, but according to Ocracoke Current, the October 2019 event has been cancelled due to damage from hurricane Dorian. This follows weather-related cancellations in 2011, 2012 and 2016.
A String of Pearls -- Dr. Stanley Riggs of ECU coined the term to describe his forecast for the future of the Outer Banks - and at least for the southern part, it appears to be coming to reality. Reports are that over 50 inlets cut through the lower banks from Portsmouth Island to Cape Lookout during hurricane Dorian. No doubt most will fill back in. To the north, rumor has it that over 200 people were helicoptered off Ocracoke after the storm. It is clear that the island is substantially damaged, but as of 9/11/19 there is next to no independent news coverage of conditions, just press releases from governmental bodies. I'd be happier if some of the reporters from the local and national press were allowed in to post reports.
Edenton in the Clear -- Dorian passed to the east early morning of Friday, August 6th. The wind gusted up around 55 mph but the expected storm surge of 3-5 feet failed to materialize. Little damage apparent.
While We Wait, More Pop Up -- It's Monday, September 2nd. While we wait for a potential rendezvous with Dorian later in the week, the North Atlantic starts to bubble and steam. Invest 91L, west of the Cabo Verdes, begins its long trek across the ocean. Invest 92L meanders south of Bermuda. And Invest 93L spins slowly in the center of the Gulf of Mexico. Prudent sailors will keep an eye on them all. Weather Underground.
In the Cone -- As of mid-day 8/31/19 - current thinking is that Dorian may be somewhere in eastern NC as a category 2 hurricane next Thursday. The NWS is having a hard time getting a handle on the potential track of this storm, and the circle of uncertainty suggest the storm could be anywhere from far out at sea off the Florida-Georgia border to the foothills of the NC mountains by that date. I am getting the impression that the NWS has lost confidence in their models, thrown up their hands and admitted they are unable to make a prediction with any degree of confidence. Here is a screenshot of the map from Weather Underground at 11:00 AM 8/31/19.
Labor Day Weekend -- It's a great time to relax at the marina, enjoy the warm days and cool nights of late summer, cook out, day sail - and then stow all canvas, double dock lines and secure the boat, just in case...
"It’s beginning to get our attention" -- in the words of TownDock.net. Saturday morning forecasts show Dorian recurving up the coast, greatly increasing the risk for a major weather event in eastern North Carolina.
A Little Slower, A Lot Stronger -- As of 2:00 PM Wednesday 8/28/19 Dorian is officially a hurricane. Weather Underground's current forecast brings it ashore on the central Florida coast next Monday as a Category 3, 111-129 mile per hour winds.
We'll See -- Early morning, Wednesday 8/28/19. Windy.com projects hurricane Dorian will strike the Florida coast near Port St. Lucie Sunday around noon. The storm will cross the state and exit into the Gulf of Mexico near Tampa on Monday morning. It will spend a day off the coast regaining its strength, then come back ashore near Steinhatchie very early Wednesday morning. After crossing north Florida and south Georgia, the remnants of Dorian will cross back into the Atlantic near Savannah late Wednesday. By Thursday afternoon, the storm will be off Beaufort, NC. Friday the storm will drift eastward off the NC coast and redevelop into a huge, potent hurricane. That's as far as windy.com takes it this morning. It will be interesting to see how far this conjecture bears out. Regardless, prudent sailors will keep a close eye on the development of this storm. Here is a screenshot of windy.com's projection for September 6th, 2019.
Zero to One to Three to Four -- The settled weather is over and the Atlantic hurricane season is picking up steam. Ten days ago there were no active storms in the region. Then Chantel developed far offshore and north. A few days passed and two more invests popped up - one just off the Florida coast and an African wave far out at sea. Today, 8/24/19, these three are all still around - the African wave now officially a tropical depression and expected to be a hurricane by mid-week - and are joined an area of unsettled weather in the western Gulf of Mexico, Invest 90L. Weather Underground is showing five active storms, but appears to be double-counting Invest 99L as Tropical Depression 5.
Save the Baby Mullets -- A bipartisan bill in the NC house commonly known as the "Let Them Spawn" bill has created a furor in coastal Carolina among commercial fisherment and tourism interests. The bill would protect several fish species, including mullet, by requiring that 75% of the population be allowed to reach spawning size before being harvested. An article at Island Free Press, not labeled as such but clearly an editorial, postulates that "commercial fishing as an industry might cease in N.C." if the bill is enacted. The argument is made that commercial fishermen depend on harvesting juvenile mullet for their livelihoods. No argument is made that mullet populations are doing fine without the new legislation.
Broke From the Git-Go -- New ferry Rodanthe got in a few trips its first day before being idled its second for issues with its Caterpiller diesel engine. According to Island Free Press, a Ferry Division staffer said not to worry, "everything's under warranty". Well, that's reassuring...
New Ferries Coming On Line -- Island Free Press reports that M.V. Rodanthe embarked on her maiden voyage July 30th, 2019, covering the Hatteras - Ocracoke route. Old stalwart Thomas A. Baum will now be retired, resold or moved to a different route. Watchful Neuse River sailors might recall that Baum served the Cherry Point - Minnesott route for several months in 2016-2017. Two more new ferries are expected in 2020.
Not Enough Sand and Too Much -- Island Free Press has two articles about the problems the Ferry Division is having keeping their terminals open. The Coastal Resources Commission has granted NCDOT a variance to construct a short-term erosion fix to save the stacking lanes at the terminal at the north end of Ocracoke Island. Also, dredging of the emergency ferry terminal at Rodanthe is scheduled to begin in August 2019. Long-time readers of this site may remember the article here about riding the ferry from Stumpy Point to Rodanthe in 2012.
It's the Time of Year -- when you need to keep an eye on Weather Underground. July 22nd, 2019: Invest 94L Over The Bahamas Slowly Organizing and Heading Towards Florida.
"72% of the Placebo Group Vomiting" -- Read about the real-life testing of a new seasickness drug at Bloomberg. Love the business news!
Silver Lake Legislation -- Ocracoke Current reports NC Legislature has passed a bill giving Hyde County the right to regulate anchorage and navigation in Silver Lake.
It's an Invest -- The potential mid-July tropical depression is now Invest 92L (as of the morning of 7/9/19) and likely to be a tropical storm by Saturday, according to this report Weather Underground.
Ocracoke Express is Running -- The new pedestrian ferry between Hatteras and Ocracoke started May 20th, 2019. It supplements the existing car ferry. The roundtrip fare is $4. For more information, see this page at the NC DOT site. OK, here's a hint. Buy your tickets at the Hatteras terminal and tell them you want to use promo code EXPRESS. You will get two tickets for the price of one.
Mid-July Tropical Depression -- July 6th, 2019 - Weather Underground speculates something might spin up in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico next week.
Neuse River Sailors who Know Long Bay -- will be happy to hear that the Coastal Land Trust has acquired a large tract on the southern shore and transferred it to the NC Wildlife Commission for preservation. 17 miles of shoreline will be protected. More at Ocracoke Current.
Raising Funds to Dredge Whittaker Creek -- Anyone who has tried to enter Whittaker Creek, the route in to the Oriental boatyards and several of the marinas, knows that the waters are shoaling. My latest trip to Sailcraft Service in June 2019 I was able to keep Terry Ann off the bottom, but it was slow and nerve-wracking. In times of low water I am sure that it is impossible to get a keel boat in. Oriental businesses and residents have raised almost $100,000 through June 2019 for dredging. Once they reach $109,389 they can get a grant for an additional $218,744, which will be enough to have the channel dredged. For more information, see this article at Towndock.net.
What's New, June 2019 -- An article about why Oriental should be the cruiser's first choice for resupply. And photographs, mostly from a sunset cruise aboard Colin Archer cutter Prinses Mia.
Cruising Convention -- Boats from Holland, Annapolis, Quebec and Edenton gathered on the Oriental dock to exchange yarns in early June 2019. The weather was foul and everybody was happy to spend some time in this welcoming harbor.
Oriental Marina and Inn -- adjacent to the town dock is a great resource. They sell ice - crushed and block - gasoline and diesel. They also have a coin-op laundry. The Provision Company nearby stocks bread and beer and not much else. For anything else, you have to hike out to the Piglet - local name for the small Piggly Wiggly grocery store about a mile down the road.
Ocracoke and Oriental -- Charrua II made it across the sound to Ocracoke and tied up on the NPS dock. Terry Ann made a good run to Oriental, sailing and motorsailing, and waited out an intense rainstorm hove to off Oriental marker 1 before entering the channel. I got the last spot on the town dock and will stay there until Monday, when I hope to get into a yard to have a halyard reeved.
Waiting out Weather in Belhaven -- We sailed in to Belhaven from an anchorage on the Alligator river on 6/5/19 and are waiting out a small craft advisory on the Pamlico before proceeding. Charrua II will go onward tomorrow for Ocracoke and Terry Ann may accompany her or may go to Oriental to get one of the yards to drop a halyard over the mast-top. We hope to get back together in a few days to make the run north through the sound to Engelhard and Manteo. From there, Paul and Kathy will return to Urbanna and I will head back to Edenton. That's the plan, subject to change.
On the Columbia Town Dock -- It's 6/3/19. Terry Ann and Paul Clarke's boat Charrua II made a tempestuous passage from Edenton and tied up about 3:15. A combination of motoring, sailing and motor-sailing, with lots of tacking into a typical sloppy Albemarle chop. Winds were around 15 knots out of the northeast, but small craft advisory conditions down around the Alligator River and Manteo had the water churned up.
Update on Matthews Point Channel Markers -- As of 5/31/19 the channel markers leading from Clubfoot Creek in to the marina are all back on station except for the center red marker which was damaged and has been temporarily removed. Boaters should now be able to follow the markers and have safe access to the marina and Mitchell Creek. Thanks Dockmaster Tom and Feather Jim for handling this job.
In Praise of Small-Town Libraries -- Edenton has a comfortable library on the waterfront, just a few steps from the town dock. There is free wi-fi with plenty of tables and outlets to plug in laptops, and there are several computers available for guests to use. The gracious librarians are helpful and knowledgeable, and will always find a quiet place for the traveler to work, no matter how busy and hectic the library may be. Hertford, Elizabeth City and Belhaven also have good libraries that welcome transient sailors.
Crossroads of Northeastern NC -- I spent the afternoon of 5/29/19 aboard friend Paul Clarke's big pilothouse schooner at the Elizabeth City dock, whiling away the time with him and crew Kathy over cold Pabst Blue Ribbons. It's been three years since I first met them at this same dock when I sailed Valor from Matthews Point to the Albemarle. Paul and Kathy will sail into Edenton to attend a wedding and then if all goes right we will take both boats for a cruise, destination unknown.
Pacific Northwest Small Boat Sailing -- Joel Bergen sails his 15 foot John Welsford Navigator yawl in the bays and sounds of Washington State. He has a great website about his travels at Joel's Navigator Site.
Calypso Logs Another Season in the Bahamas -- Jeff and Wendy Gower aboard their Westsail 32 Calypso are back in the States after another tour of the Bahamas. I have crossed paths with them several times and once got a tour of their beautiful boat. They have an up-to-date, well-written and photographed website, worth a look - Log of Calypso.
In Every Little Creek and Bay -- around the Pamlico and Chesapeake is where Steve Earley has been aboard his wooden, engineless, 17 and a half foot yawl Spartina. The little boat can go into the shoal places the rest of us cannot, and is still rugged and seaworthy enough to brave the open water. Check it out - The Log of Spartina.
What's It Like to Sail the Virgin Islands -- in a Cape Dory 36? John Stone's Wordpress site, Far Reach Voyages, details his several trips to the Virgin Islands aboard his immaculate, seaworthy, one-of-a-kind CD36. He rebuilt Far Reach into the perfect boat for his kind of sailing over a period of six years. His kind of sailing doesn't involve an engine - he's a sailor, not a motorboater. John has a second website with a wealth of information about the work that went into turning Far Reach from a worn-out but solid CD36 into an ocean cruiser and island hopper that is in a class of its own.
"Coming to the City by Small Boat" -- Check out my friend Charlie Langworthy's blog, Cruise of the White Seal. His post for May 20th, 2019, describes entering New York Harbor at dawn after a 24 hour run from Cape May.
Link Site -- A young reader sent this link to a link page. It's at a commercial site, but there are some good links there, a few that I hadn't seen before. Thanks, Lucas!
Convenient Resupply -- Sailors transiting the Dismal Swamp Canal can find a free public dock just south of the Deep Creek Bridge, on the east side of the canal. Across the street is a shopping center with a grocery store, auto parts store and several restaurants. The old two-lane drawbridge at Deep Creek is scheduled to be replaced with a five-lane draw, in hopes of relieving the horrendous traffic congestion that keeps the town tied up in knots. Work should start in September 2019 and be complete in 2022. Hopefully the public dockage will be preserved. There is additional free dockage available on the west side of the canal, just south of the lock.
USGS Proposing to Remove Markers in Back Sound? -- This Facebook post states that the USGS is considering removing the remaining markers connecting Barden's Inlet and Back Sound (markers 19-35). Markers 18 and lower were removed several years ago. This would leave no marked channel into the Cape Lookout Bight from the north. The channel has been marginally navigable for many years. This would essentially mean its abandonment.
Beast Feast -- The annual celebration of the fruits of the rod, gun and net will be held at Matthews Point on May 25th, 2019. This event is open to slip and site holders of the marina and their guests. If you are not a slip or site holder, beg, bribe or blackmail a friend to bring you as a guest - this is always a great party.
Matthews Point Channel Markers -- On 4/14/19 Dockmaster Tom at Matthews Point Marina reports two markers are off station in the channel leading from Clubfoot Creek to the marina and Mitchell Creek. The middle red and green channel markers were pushed close to shore by one of last year's hurricanes. However the paired red and green markers at the ends of the channel are correct and boaters can use those for navigation. The channel is a straight shot so just turn in from Clubfoot Creek at the first set and aim for the last set in front of the marina entrance. The Wildlife Commission has been notified and will get the markers back on station in due time, and when they do we will post a follow-up here.
45th Annual Wooden Boat Show -- The NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort will hold its annual wooden boat show May 4th, 2019.
Sunken Barge in Neuse River -- USGS reports a sunken barge about a mile north of the mouth of the South River - "NORTH CAROLINA – NEUSE RIVER TO MYRTLE GROVE SOUND (CHART 11541). THE COAST GUARD HAS RECEIVED A REPORT OF A SUNKEN BARGE IN THE SOUTH RIVER, IN POSITION 35-00.231N 076-35.017W (35°0.2310N / 076°35.0170W, 35.003850 / -76.583617) . THE BARGE HAS 02 SPUDS ABOVE THE WATERLINE AND MAY HAVE TUGS WORKING IN THE AREA. ALL MARINERS ARE REQUESTED TO TRANSIT THE AREA WITH CAUTION". See Cruisers Net NC LNM section for a chart. Thanks for the heads-up, David.
Dismal Swamp Canal Dredging -- Coastal Review Online reports dredging will be performed on the Dismal Swamp Canal from mid March into April 2019. See the article here.
Pleasant Surprise in the Mail -- With Terry Ann's documentation expiring in January, I made application for renewal in late December. The government promptly shut down, and with it the web page that verifies pending applications. What happened to my, and many other sailors', documentation requests? Would they be processed during the closure, after the government closure ended, or would we have to reapply? I contacted Senator Burr's office and got a promise from a staff member that she would look into the matter and get back to me. As yet, I have heard nothing. (Burr has long had a reputation as a friend of the boating fraternity and a conscientious provider of constituent services. Has that changed?) So after a month of fog and missing markers, it was a relief to open my mailbox yesterday, 1/23/19, and find a missive from the USCG, my renewed documentation. This is just one data point, but it suggests that the USCG is still processing documentation requests as of late January. Has anyone else has interaction with the Coast Guard this month? Applied for paperwork, been boarded, attempted to report missing or off station markers? I'd be very interested to hear - email@example.com. Oh yes, if I hear anything from Senator Burr's office I will pass it along.
Need a Diver on Long Island Sound? -- Clean Marine Yacht Services on the Long Island North Shore provides bottom cleaning as well as topsides waxing and detailing. Check out the website for a complete list of services, and to read about the owner's renovation work on his own boat.
No Firewall? -- Financial Times has a new non-firewalled section called Next Act designed for geriatric investors. I found an article of interest there, I quit the rat race to deliver yachts around the world. Well worth the read.
Is the USCG Making Safety/Documentation Checks? -- Has anybody been boarded lately? My documentation is running out soon. Renewal has been applied for, but whether it has been processed is unknown. The Coast Guard website that verifies application has been made is down due to the government closure. And as far as that closure goes, the House and Senate need to get together on the bill they agreed on earlier and send it to the President for signature. Senate leader McConnell says he won't send anything up until he knows the President will sign it. That's lame, Mitch, it's time to send up a bill and see what happens. If it gets vetoed, try to override it, or get working on a new bill. But don't just sit on your hands.
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Making an Investment in Edenton -- Kellogg Supply completely razed their old facility and built a big new store and lumber yard in the same location, just a half-mile from Edenton Marina. I have visited several times and been impressed by the selection and by the helpfulness of the staff. They have a better variety of standard hardware items like nuts and bolts, adhesives, brushes and such than you would find in a big-box store, plus any tools you would need for boat maintenance. The other hardware store, Bynum's downtown, is more of a home decorator's boutique, though they will surprise you with their hardware selection sometimes.
A New Personal Best! -- Only four hours to get the Atomic 4 to start and spit! And get this, it only took one of those hours to replace the impeller! Wow, I'm getting to be a first-class Atomic 4 mechanic! At last!
A Young Reader -- suggested a link to this page of sailing knots. Thanks, Adam!
Rivers Edge Marina -- We tied up at the end of a trip south at Rivers Edge Marina on the San Sebastian River in St. Augustine, FL. It's a well-protected, clean place with all amenities and a friendly, helpful staff, located within bicycle or walking distance of downtown. Rate sheet attached.
Marker 86 at Hell Gate, GA -- was destroyed with just wreckage visible in water when we transited at low tide 12/7/18. We saw water under 5 feet but slipped through with our 2.5 foot draft.
Arrived St. Augustine -- aboard Witness 35 catamaran Oryoki the afternoon of 12/10/18 after a 14 day slog down the Albemarle Sound and ICW.
Back in Trinidad -- Cori and Dale are back aboard Hi Flite, ready for, in Dale's words, another winter of "wandering aimlessly about the Caribbean".
Two More New Ferries on the Way -- With two boats already under construction, the NCDOT Ferry Division has awarded a contract for two more, to be delivered in 2020. Add in the pedestrian boats planned for the Hatteras-Ocracoke route, and the Ferry Division is finally getting some much needed capital investment. See the article at Island Free Press.
Crewing Coastal Southeast? -- Crews can use the Greyhound coastal schedule to pick up a boat or return with with stops in Norfolk, Elizabeth City, Edenton, Greenville, Washington, New Bern, Jacksonville, Wilmington, Myrtle Beach, Georgetown, Charleston, Savannah, Jacksonville. For points to the north or south, check out the easy to use Greyhound Website.
Careful, Buffet Fans - Your Age is Showing -- Geriatric fans of Jimmy Buffet now have their own Florida gated community. Latitude Margaritaville is a "55 and better" community opening soon near Daytona Beach. The developer hopes to spot Buffet-themed developments all over the Sunshine State. Read more at this longform article published by the New York Times, "The Future of Aging Just Might be in Margaritaville".
Fully Operational -- Oriental got slammed by Florence, but as of 11/17/18 Sailcraft Service reports that they are "fully operational". Good to hear that my favorite boatyard is back in business.
Thanks, Towndock -- for bringing this to my attention. "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester. For a list of pithy sailor sayings, The Sea Gives Good Quote.
Auction to Benefit Heartworks -- The annual Harborfest for Heartworks got cancelled due to Florence, so the agency is having an on-line auction to raise money for their programs. Supporters of this wonderful group that is run by Matthews Point friends Karen and Laurie can join in at 2018 Online Auction for Heartworks. But hurry - the auction ends Monday, November 5th at 7:00 pm.
Migration in Full Stride -- Thursday, 10/25/18 - A southbound friend reports "Followed a long trail of boats today from Eastham Creek to Oriental - the harbor is full and they are anchored all over the place."
News Travels Fast -- Friday, 10/19/18 - I sailed into Edenton Marina last night, and this morning ran into a couple of sailors on the dock. I mentioned that I had been in Elizabeth City to visit with David Swanson aboard his Stone Horse, and they told me they had heard there was a Stone Horse on the dock there.
Awaiting Fair Winds -- Wednesday, 10/17/18 - I'm on Mariners Wharf in Elizabeth City waiting for an opportunity to sail back to Edenton. Small Craft Advisory for northerlies tomorrow. David Swanson is here as well, aboard his newly-purchased Stone Horse.
There Are No Dunes in This Picture -- The article at Island Free Press is headlined - "Ferry Delays Expected During Repairs to Ocracoke's Dunes". There are no dunes between Highway 12 and the Atlantic on the north end of Ocracoke Island, and there haven't been any for years. The repairs are to an artificial sand berm, not dunes. OK, end rant.
Reports From Around the State -- As of Friday morning, 10/12/18 - NC Ferry Division reports all routes operating on regular schedules. Town Dock reports the power is out in Oriental, no estimates of when it will be restored. Also from Town Dock, Cherry Point recorded a gust of 67 mph Thursday night. And Island Free Press reports "significant soundside flooding", mostly on the northern banks.
All Clear -- It's the morning of Friday, 10/12/18. The remnants of Michael are somewhere far off the the northeast and the skies over Edenton are a cloudless blue. The brunt of the storm passed to our west yesterday evening, with winds from the south until about 7:30, then a lull and winds from the northwest kicking in around 10:00. By midnight it had settled in to a steady 15-20 knot breeze, and by morning the airs were light. Maximum gusts were in the vicinity of 40 knots, maybe a little more, and rain was heavy at times. All the boats in Edenton Marina rode it out with few problems - mainly, damaged canvas that the owners negligently failed to take in.
Half Model class -- "Students learn how to read plans and use basic wood working tools to shape a lift half-model of a NC Shad Boat. At the end of the weekend each student will take home a fully shaped model with a backer board ready for finish and proudly display on any office or living room wall. Cost - $110. Friends of the Museum in Beaufort Members - $99. Contact the Registrar at 252-504-7758 to register for the class". October 20th & 21st at the Harvey W. Smith Watercraft Center on the waterfront in Beaufort, NC. Thanks, Tom.
Blackbeard's Pirate Jamboree -- The annual Ocracoke event that hung fire due to hurricanes twice in two years earlier in the decade has gotten it's sea-legs and been expanded to four days for 2018, October 25th through 28th. Information at Ocracoke Current.
Forecast for Edenton -- Fast-moving Michael should come through Thursday evening and night and be gone by Friday, mid-morning. With winds predicted to gust up to 55 mph, this storm will be similar to what northeast North Carolina suffered from Florence. This time, though, the winds will be from the west and northwest, so I have been shifting doubled lines to those quadrants. Last time I had eight lines to windward, east and southeast, this time I have eight lines to windward, northwest to west. Five lines to lee. All canvas down and stored below deck.
Ferries Running -- As of the morning of Thursday 10/11/18 all ferry routes are running, though some on amended schedules as crews prepare to batten down for the remnants of Michael. Check the NC Ferry Division Twitter Feed for latest updates.
Everyone Ready? -- It's early in the morning on Wednesday, 10/10/2018, and category 4 hurricane Michael is getting close to landfall in panhandle Florida. Then it is forecast to rip across the southeast at increasing speed and give eastern NC a dose of tropical storm force winds Thursday and Friday. One more day to get canvas in and lines doubled, and to prepare for downed trees, power outages and blocked roads everywhere from Raleigh to the coast.
Another Storm on It's Way -- Tropical storm Michael is spinning up in the Gulf, with expected landfall in the Florida panhandle late Wednesday night. The forecast from Weather Underground is that the storm will be a Category 1 or 2 at landfall, and will maintain tropical storm force winds - 39 mph or higher - all the way across the southeast until it exits back into the Atlantic off the North Carolina coast as early as Friday morning.
Missing Boat -- Owner reports his Cape Dory 25 Madeline missing from anchorage off the Neuse River. See his flyer here. All Neuse River sailors, please keep an eye open for this boat. If you spot her, respond to the number on the flyer. Let's see if we can get this boat back to her owner.
Oriental Bridge Closed -- The approach from the county side is damaged and as of the morning of 9/21/18, the NCDOT has closed the bridge. Town Dock.
Morehead City Yacht Basin -- reports that they are up and fully operational as of 9/20/18.
Oriental has Power -- Town Dock reports that, as of the morning of 9/20/18, most of the town has electricity.
Cedar Island Ferry Back in Operation -- Ocracoke Current reports the Cedar Island Ferry ran one trip in each direction on Thursday and will run four boats in each direction Friday. Highway 12 is still cut on Ocracoke Island, so no Hatteras-Ocracoke ferries for now. The Cherry Point-Minnesott fery resumed on an amended schedule Wednesday, according to this NCDOT Press Release.
Aids to Navigation -- Cruisers' Net just (9/20/18) published this long list of damaged and off-station aids to navigation, as provided by the USCG. Thanks Neuse River Sailor David Swanson for bringing this to my attention.
The Situation Down East -- It's Thursday, 9/20/18, and I just got home after spending the day touring the upper part of the Pamlico and Neuse. Washington - got a lot of water, power is still out to the docks, but the free transient docks are open for business. Some downtown stores are still closed, others are open. The dockmaster told me he had driven down to Belhaven and that little town got severely hammered. He added that friends at Fairfield Harbor sustained major damage to their home. I drove south to Bridgeton Marina, it looked fine, no damage to boats or docks. Not sure power was on to the docks, but the clubhouse had power. The town of Bridgeton got a lot of water and the streets were lined with soaked furniture and tree limbs. The waterfront in New Bern got flooded, lots of damage on the streets near the convention center. The waterfront park lost a lot of trees and all the docks. The New Bern Grand Marina looked fine, no damaged boats and very light damage to the docks. Bridge Pointe though - the dock closest to the causeway came apart, fortunately it looks like there were no boats on it. The second dock sustained major damage - whole sections missing. Several sunken boats - completely submerged, just masts sticking out of the water - couple of boats with broken masts, boats with hull abrasions. The third dock mostly stayed together, but a couple of sections came apart. A power cruiser sunk to the bottom. Upstream - Kinston, Highway 70 is underwater, traffic being rerouted on a long detour using 55, 58 and Harvey Parkway. Westward - heavy traffic on 40/85 due to 95 closures, but nothing too bad.
Islanders Sending Aid to Mainland -- Ocracoke residents made the trip to mainland Cedar Island in their private boats to deliver water and other supplies to the cut-off residents. Click here for article.
Latest Ferry Updates -- As of Wednesday 9/19/18 morning, NC Ferry Division Twitter Feed reports Currituck running on schedule, Bayview-Aurora on schedule, Hatteras-Ocracoke not running, Swan Quarter on amended schedule, Cedar Island not running, Cherry Point-Minnesott not running, Fort Fisher on amended schedule.
Cruisers Net Special Report -- Correspondent Tom Hale reported valuable information to Cruisers Net on conditions from Hampton Roads to Charleston. Anyone considering passing through this area should check it out. Sounds as if the greatest damage is between Morehead City and Myrtle Beach.
Georgetown Wooden Boat Show 2018 -- Seems like Georgetown gets it's obligatory dose of fire, wind and flooding every year, and regardless the Wooden Boat Show goes on. Florence had some impact, but the main concern is river flooding coming from inland due to the massive amounts of rain upstate. As of now, the show is still on. It is scheduled for October 20-21, 2018, the third Saturday in the month. More information available at the website.
Looking for a Place to Lay Over? -- Services along the ICW in southern NC and SC are slowly being restored, but power is still out in Oriental and much of Morehead City. No doubt things are worse to the south. Early southbound snowbirds might want to consider laying over on the upper Albemarle Sound for a few weeks before moving on. The marinas at Columbia, Edenton and Mackeys Ferry are just one long day's sail from Coinjock. Rather than fighting the floating debris, missing markers and closed marinas between the Pamlico and Charleston, why not spend some time on the beautiful waters of the Albemarle? In a few weeks time, the people of the hurricane-effected areas will have had time to clean up and will welcome snowbirds back to their facilities.
Neuse River Bound? -- As of the morning of Monday, 9/17/18, Town Dock reports Highway 70 flooding in Goldsboro and Kinston. A reader had success taking 264 to Washington, then 17 south. Other news - Cherry Branch ferry not operating due to damage to ramps. Oriental has no electricity and no estimate as to when it will be restored.
Edenton Coffee House -- downtown on S. Broad Street conscientiously boarded up windows in preparation for Florence and then stayed open regular hours right through the storm, providing a gathering place for local residents and visitors and plenty of fresh, hot coffee. They kindly allowed me to nurse a cup of coffee and stay on their Wi-fi for hours each day so that I could keep up with the news and post to neuseriversailors.com.
Ocracoke Island -- Ocracoke Current reports residents and property owners allowed back Sunday 9/16/18, no visitors. As of 9/16, the only way in was the Swan Quarter ferry, no boats operating from Hatteras or Cedar Island. Boarding is first-come first-served with priority to emergency personnel, so no guarantees you will get on a boat. Check the NC Ferry Division Twitter Feed for latest updates.
Hatteras Island -- Island Free Press reports residents and property owners allowed back onto Hatteras Island Saturday 9/15 and visitors to be allowed Sunday 9/16/18.
Bock Marine -- reports as of 9/15/18, the yard weathered the storm with no problems, all boats are fine, but no power, telephone or internet, many trees down in the area.
Morehead City Yacht Basin -- Facebook page reports as of afternoon of 9/15/18 - marina is in good shape but power is out. The county is still under mandatory evacuation and curfew, so the marina will probably stay closed at least through the weekend.
Oriental -- Town Dock reports as of morning of 9/16/18 - water levels are down to around three feet high, still enough to cover Hodges Street. By following back roads, it is possible to get from New Bern to Oriental, but Highway 55 is closed between Oriental and Bayboro.
Sailcraft Service -- reports as of morning of 9/16/18 - water crested five feet deep in metal building and welding shop, some tools and equipment lost or damaged, power, internet and phone out. Updates to follow. I know the crew there, I'm sure they are working long hours getting the yard back in shape to accept customers. Thanks Sailcraft Service for giving us an honest appraisal of the situation.
No Problems Here -- My neighbors Tom and Ann, owners of the Tartan across the dock, came down to check up on things the morning after the storm and took this picture of me aboard Terry Ann.
Portside Marina -- As of 11:00 AM Saturday September 15th 2018 I got through to the dockmaster at Portside Marina in Morehead City. They are pumping diesel from a truck, no gas, no other transient services.
Beaufort-Morehead City -- As of 11:00 AM Saturday September 15th 2018 I couldn't connect to any of the Beaufort-Morehead City marinas I tried, so no confirmation that local marinas are prepared to accept transients or pump fuel. Best bet for southbounders - don't expect services south of Coinjock.
Coinjock Marina -- As of 10:30 AM Saturday September 15th 2018 Coinjock Marina is open, selling fuel, with limited transient dockage available. The dockmaster told me that Belhaven is hard-hit, Oriental is hard-hit, Morehead City - Beaufort is ok. He expects rising water levels due to torrential inland rains to close the Albemarle & Chesapeake Canal portion of the ICW in a few days, so transient traffic should monitor closely.
Alligator River Marina -- As of 10:30 AM Saturday September 15th 2018 Alligator River Marina is closed to transients with no estimated time to reopen.
As Far East as I Could Get -- I drove east the morning of 9/13/18 on U.S. 64, as far as the Alligator River Bridge, where the sheriff had the road blocked. A convoy of National Guardsmen went through, but all other traffic was turned back. I took this picture of the waves crashing on the Alligator River Marina jetty with the deserted bridge in the background.
Fly Out, or Sail Out -- but don't plan to take a ferry out of Ocracoke. The last outbound boat to Hatteras left at 8:00 Wednesday morning, and the last sound ferry departed for Swan Quarter at 9:30. Reported by Ocracoke Current.
Curving to the West -- As of morning of Wednesday 9/12/18, the storm is curving off to the west and making it less likely that Edenton will see severe effects. But we are still making preparations here, including removing sails and doubling lines. The storm is still two days out, so a lot can change.
North Topsail Beach -- has ordered mandatory evacuation starting 8:00 AM Tuesday, as reported by WITN News.
First Effects of Florence -- are already being felt, as of Monday, 9/10/18. Ocean overwash was reported on Pea Island at the morning's high tide, and Hyde County issued a mandatory evacuation order for visitors on Ocracoke Island at noon. Evacuation order for residents will no doubt follow soon. In addition, Dare County issued a mandatory evacuation order for visitors and residents of Hatteras Island effective immediately and a COUNTYWIDE evacuation to start the morning of Tuesday, 9/10/18. Thanks Ocracoke Current and Island Free Press for Outer Banks news coverage.
Likelihood of a Pummelling -- from Florence is increasing. As of 9/9/18 the forecast path makes landfall somewhere near Cape Fear and the storm then drives straight into the heart of North Carolina. If this proves accurate, the Pamlico and Albemarle Sounds will both be in the line of fire. Expect the water to get high - very, very high - as onshore winds and waves bottle up the inlets and heavy rains flood down the rivers. See to your boats and then get west, or be prepared for a long siege. If you plan to ride this thing out east of Interstate 95, be sure to have plenty of potable water, a camp stove and lantern, groceries, and everything you need to be safe. Because if Florence hits the coast of NC head-on as a Category 4, the lights are going out in the eastern part of the state for a long time.
Keep a weather eye on Florence -- As of 9/7/18 the storm is still far out in the Atlantic but potentially could impact the southeast coast in a week's time.
Moriah is for Sale -- My friend Dan White of Edenton is selling his Sarabande 41.
Updated Information on Glander Tavana -- The owner of the boat in Edenton gave me a tour and provided links to more information. See the "Know Your Boats" feature on the Glander Tavana 33.
August 2018 Dismal Swamp Canal Update -- I stopped in Pelican Marina in Elizabeth City and was told that traffic through the Canal is light but regular, and there are no reports of shoaling. The only issue was with overhanging tree branches making it hard to get over for passes. The Pelican Marina staff reported that Lamb's Marina is selling fuel.
Stumpy Point Ferry -- Catherine Kozak at Island Free Press reports on readiness issues at the Rodanthe landing, as well as providing some historical background on the route. Long-time readers of this site may remember my 2012 story about riding the ferry.
Potential for Rough Weather -- On June 7th, 2018, Weather Underground reports an area of low pressure off the NC coast with the potential to develop into a tropical storm or hurricane. Weather Underground.
True Sailors -- The crew of NC Ferry Silver Lake spotted a paddler in distress and detoured to save him, June 22nd, 2018. Article at Island Free Press.
New Voice -- Neuse River Sailor David Swanson has contributed an article and many photographs to the site. See the Sailing Trips and Photographs sections for his work. His story ends "Overall, it was not a bad vacation." Once you read it, you'll know he's pretty hardcore.
Gradually Getting Back to Normal -- As of Thursday, 3/8/18, Highway 12 is open though there are still areas of standing water and sand on the road. The Hatteras-Ocracoke ferries are running on schedule. The cross-sound ferries are running intermittently due to shoaling in Big Foot Slough. Travelers should call the Ferry Division at 252-928-1665 or 252-225-7411 to make a reservation if they want to be sure to get a spot.
Delaware City Marina -- Snowbirds coming from New Jersey and points north and using the Delaware River - Uppper Chesapeake Bay route may want to consider a stopover at Delaware City Marina. I stopped in on a recent road trip to the Delmarva and it looked like a clean, well-tended facility. Plenty of transient dockage and a full service yard, but the owner suggested scheduling work well in advance during the busy season. Fuel is available at the dock. The marina is located just upriver of the entrance to the C&D Canal.
Awful Mess -- The evening of Sunday, 3/4/18, Hatteras - Ocracoke ferries are suspended as Highway 12 is impassible on either end. The cross-sound ferries are operating on attenuated schedules and the ferry division strongly recommends reservations. Highway 12 is closed from Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe due to ocean-side flooding. So Pea and Hatteras Islands are cut off and Ocracoke Island has tenuous connection to the mainland. Anyone needing to travel on the Banks tonight or tomorrow should monitor the Ferry Division Twitter Feed and the NCDOT NC12 Twitter Feed.
Ocracoke Isolated -- As of the morning of 3/3/18, all ferries to Ocracoke Island are suspended due to weather. Pamlico, Neuse and Cape Fear river ferries are running as scheduled. The latest information is always available at the Ferry Division Twitter Feed. In related news, the soundside flooding that had covered much of Highway 12 south of the Bonner Bridge has receded and traffic is flowing normally. See NCDOT NC12 Twitter Feed for updates.
March Storms -- The first days of March 2018 look like they will bring stormy weather to the Outer Banks. Gusts to 45 mph and seas to 17 feet can be expected over the weekend, bringing soundside flooding and ocean overwash. The Island Free Press has more information.
Be Sure to Make a Reservation -- if you plan to ride the Pamlico Sound ferries in late February or early March 2018. Due to shoaling in Big Foot Slough, the ferries are short-loading. See press release at NCDOT.
Updates to the Q&A Article -- I got into Pungo Creek and Dowry Creek marinas on a drive to Edenton and updated the article with information on each.
The Strangest Cal 25 You Will Ever See -- The owner has duded it up to look like a pirate ship. He uses it in re-enactments, but come on man, it's only 25 feet long - plus the seven foot bowsprit, of course. I guess if you had a whole fleet of them crewed by toddlers it might look authentic. Check it out at The Shipping News.
Bottled Up -- February 20th, 2018 - Water levels in the channel into Silver Lake are too low for the larger Sound Class ferries, so the Ocracoke to Cedar Island and Ocracoke to Swan Quarter routes are running reduced schedules using the smaller boats. Check with the Ferry System twitter feed before making plans.
It's been awhile, I know -- Check out the Articles section below for a new post.
Alligator River Bridge -- will close to highway AND MARINE traffic for a week in March 2018. According to this announcement at NCDOT, "The bridge will be closed to all vehicle traffic at 12:01 a.m. on Wednesday, March 14 and is expected to reopen by 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, March 20. The drawbridge will also be closed to boat navigation." Early-season southbounders take note.
Perusing an Old Timetable -- I find that in 1909 I could have boarded a train in Greensboro just after midnight, bedded down in my private accomodation aboard the sleeper, awoke the following morning after eight hours of slumber somewhere near New Bern and enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the dining car before arriving in Beaufort just before noon. The following morning I could have boarded a vessel of the aptly-named Beaufort, Morehead City and Ocracoke Steam Ship Company for the trip up the Core Sound to Ocracoke. Practically every hamlet in eastern North Carolina had train passenger service, even Oriental, and the waterfront towns all had steamer service as well. Norfolk & Southern Railways timetable for 1909, digital copy available at The Internet Archive.
Fast, Easy Documentation Renewal -- Valor was not documented, and so this is the first year I have had to renew documentation on a boat. Here is how I proceeded to renew paperwork for Terry Ann. I started off at the Official U.S. Coast Guard Website. I found a link in the left column for renewal and clicked through to Pay.gov. From there I clicked on "Continue to Form". After reading the boilerplate, I clicked again on "Continue to the Form", filled in name and address, checked "Renewal", entered the documentation number, checked "recreational" and went to the next page, which gathered credit card information and allowed me to submit my request. Note - you do not have to fill in and submit the printed form that you may have gotten in the mail (the "Vessel Renewal Notification Application for Renewal, Form CG-1280") if you use the website to pay and file timely or "late". If you file over 30 days late, your documentation expired and you have to jump through hoops to reinstate it. I filed mine online and had the renewed documentation in hand six days later. Darn quick, in my estimation. There are websites out there that will undertake to handle your renewal for a fee - no need, doing it yourself is fast and easy.
Paralysis -- As of the morning of 1/4/18, the NCDOT Ferry System Twitter Feed reports all ferry routes closed due to winter weather conditions.
Pining After Loran? -- My favorite source for all things logistics and global supply chain, DCVelocity Magazine, reports that some of the big ocean shippers are considering reverting back to Loran to guard against GPS hack attacks. But not old-fashioned Loran-C - new, modern eLoran. Actually, eLoran has been around since the 1990s. It was a follow-up to Loran-C that never caught on during the mass conversion to GPS. But now it's back. Any Neuse River sailors using eLoran? I'd love to hear your take on this new old tech.
53 Types of Boats -- A young sailor and reader sent me this link to an infographic about different types of boats and ships. Thanks, Emily!.
Beaufort Inlet Changes -- Carteret County News-Times has posted an article concerning a potential shift of the Morehead City Ship Channel away from Shackleford Banks and toward Fort Macon, to counter the continual shoaling in the inlet. There is concern that this would cause beach erosion at the State Park and Atlantic Beach. An alternative would be to build a jetty or groin on the Shackleford side, which could damage the pristine natural banks. This is in a very early stage but is something to be aware of.
Reasonable Rates -- Anyone exploring the St. Johns River might consider spending some time at The Boathouse Marina in Palatka. Attached is a rate sheet accurate as of October 2017.
Shoaling in the Cape Fear? -- Or wrong side of the marker? This amazing video,, reportedly taken by a backyard webcam in Southport, shows a deep-sea freighter hitting a shoal and slewing 180 degrees. Thanks Charlotte Observer for posting the video.
New Ferry on the Way -- The NC Ferry Division has signed a contract with Bollinger Shipyards in Louisiana for a new River-Class ferry, to be delivered in 2019. The boat will replace old stalwart Thomas A. Baum, a familiar sight on the Neuse River.
October 31st 2017 Update on Dismal Swamp Canal -- Thanks Dan for pointing me to this update at The Waterway Guide. The canal is open with a minimum depth of 5.5 feet. Before trying to navigate the canal, read the article at Waterway Guide for important details regarding widths, lock and bridge opening schedules and duckweed infestations.
Old Canal Passage -- Neuse River sailor David Swanson sent me an email in late October 2017 about his transit of Old Canal, the connector between Turnagain Bay and Long Bay: "I finally made it to Turnagain Bay, and through the Old Canal, this Friday. I went through with my centerboard down, without incident. My depth sounder was not working, but I had no issue with getting into the bay either, just followed the chart. I anchored a ways past the entrance to the Old Canal, and had relatively few mosquito problems. What I did have Saturday morning was a LOT of small fishing boats - there must be a boat ramp up there somewhere. Also the Marines put on quite a show." David notes that with the board down, his boat draws a bit over four feet. It's great to hear that this ancient waterway is still navigable. The Old Canal is part of the early route from Core Sound to the Neuse River, bypassing the often rough Pamlico Sound by way of the Thorofare Canal and West Bay.
Fort George Island Marina -- I stopped by on an October 2017 road trip and found them open for business with plenty of transient space. The marina is at the mouth of the St. Johns River, just outside of Jacksonville FL.
Dismal Swamp Canal Still Closed -- As of 10/26/17 the Canal is still closed and there is no word from the Corps of Engineers as to a prospective opening date.
Alligator River Bridge Closure -- The bridge, which ordinarily opens on demand, will be kept closed from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday, November 6th, 2017, through Friday, November 17th, 2017. The bridge will open on 2 hours notice or for emergencies. Thanks Salty Southeast for keeping us updated on this situation. My suggestion is that southbounders should try to fleet through and designate one boat to negotiate the 2 hours notice with the bridgetender. It's an inconvenience, but the road crews need uninterrupted time to perform much-needed repairs to the bridge.
Southbounders Be Aware -- Much of Florida is still recovering from hurricane Irma. On October 26th, 2017 I spoke with staff at Oasis Boat Yard & Marina in St. Augustine who stated that accomodations were almost impossible to find in the area. Oasis has no dock space available for transients and the yard is booked until February. The city docks are damaged and have very limited space. Mooring balls are not being rented until divers can examine them, and that work is proceeding slowly. And to top it all off, there is much unmarked shoaling that makes it difficult to get into local facilities. Oasis regretfully suggests that you not plan a stop at St. Augustine this fall unless you already have reservations lined up. I heard from another source that Titusville was less affected and might be a better place for a layover.
Almost All Clear -- Thursday evening, 9/28/17, all ferry routes except Knotts Island are back in operation. The visitors restrictions on Hatteras and Ocracoke have been lifted. There is still some standing water on Highway 12 and local streets, but cautious drivers will be fine.
Cherry Point - Minnesott Back on Line -- as of 9/27/17, Wednesday morning.
Probably Just a Flesh Wound -- but still ugly. Outer Banks photograph Don Bowers posted these photographs of flooding for Island Free Press on 9/26/17. Looks like some of the stacking lanes at the ferry terminal at the north end of Ocracoke Island are gone. The good news is that things should start getting better by Wednesday afternoon or evening.
Most Ferry Service Suspended -- As of 5:00 PM 9/26/17 the Ferry Division's Twitter feed reports all routes suspended due to weather EXCEPT Southport-Fort Fisher and Bayview-Aurora.
Hatteras Island Too -- As of mid-day, 9/25/17, there is a mandatory evacuation in effect for visitors to Hatteras Island. The main concern is overwash cutting Highway 12 and making it impossible to leave. Some cross-sound ferry service is suspended due to high wind. Story here. Check the Ferry Division's Twitter feed for which boats are running.
Oh No, Not Again! -- Ocracoke Island is under a state of emergency, with mandatory evacuation of all visitors effective the morning of 9/25/17, in expectation of hurricane Maria. Story here.
Georgetown Wooden Boat Show -- The best boat show in the southeast is coming up October 21st and 22nd, 2017. The people of Georgetown SC put out the welcome mat every year and turn the whole waterfront into the finest exhibition of beautiful boats that you will ever see. if you love boats you should see this show. Here is the link to the official site.
All That is Left -- is a pile of sand. I drove through Nags Head the evening of September 18th, 2017 and found nothing but an artificial berm of sand with a row of fences along the top between the first row of cottages and the sea. The dunes are gone. There is nothing natural about the seashore at Nags Head anymore. It is a manmade landscape. Pictures here and here.
A Trip to Bennett's Creek -- added to the North Again article.
Looks Like the End of October -- before the Dismal Swamp Canal is reopened. The Corps of Engineers reports that recent weather events have slowed progress. For more, see the article at Waterway Guide.
"Life is Like a Box of Chocolates" -- I had no expectation of riding a ferry on 9/14/17, but I found and rode one that I hadn't known existed - and got information on two more. The Parker's Ferry crosses the Meherrin River in northeast North Carolina. For more, see our sister website, Ferries, Freighters and Barge Tows.
Getting Back to Normal -- Tuesday afternoon, 9/12/17, all ferry routes are running except for the cross-sound routes.
Due to Irma -- As of the morning of Tuesday, 9/12/17, NCDOT reports the following ferry routes not running: Southport to Fort Fisher; Cherry Branch to Minnesott Beach; Cedar Island to Ocracoke; Swan Quarter to Ocracoke. The other routes are running, but this could change and anyone making plans to ride one should monitor the Ferry Division Twitter Feed.
New Addition to the Fleet -- I have added a sister website to Neuse River Sailors, Ferries, Freighters and Barge Tows. Mainly a photograph site. Submissions eagerly accepted.
Ferry Cancellations -- Saturday, 9/11/17, all cross-sound ferries are cancelled due to high winds and heavy seas. The latest information on ferry cancellations is available at the Ferry DivisionTwitter Feed.
Frisco is broken bad -- As of Friday 9/8/17 the Hatteras - Ocracoke ferry is on an "amended" schedule. Amended means less trips. M.V. Frisco, one of the boats that covers the route, has "mechanical issues". That means a trip to Mann's Harbor for repairs. See the press release at NCDOT. That's two down - Neuse River stalwart Thomas A. Baum is ailing as well. A replacement is currently running on the Cherry Point - Minnesott route.
175? -- The morning of Tuesday 9/5/17 Weather Underground reports Irma as a Category 5 with winds of 175 knots and gusts to 215.
Irma's Course Slowly Starting to Resolve -- It's still a long way out at sea, but hurricane Irma is shaping up to be a serious potential threat to the southeastern United States. The latest guidance suggests landfall anywhere from Key West to Delaware, and even potential for the storm to thread the Florida Straits or cross Cuba and end up in the Gulf. Regularly updated Weather Underground maps and discussion here.
Novel Way to Flee Police -- A man in Surf City, stopped by police for a traffic violation, leapt into the sea and swam almost a mile out, pursued by a shark and a police department drone. Several agencies got involved in what turned into a rescue operation and he was finally caught and transported to the Pender County jail. Full story and video at the Port City Daily.
Like Chairs? -- The North Carolina History Center in New Bern has an exhibit of 75 ladder back chairs built in the Tar-Roanoke River region, mostly in the 1800s. The exhibit is free to the public and runs through September 17th, 2007. For more information, click here.
Back on Schedule -- As of the morning of 8/29/17 all ferries statewide are back on schedule.
Cherry Branch Ferry Cancelled -- The NC Ferry Division announced mid-afternoon 8/28/17 that all schedules on the Cherry Branch-Minnesott route are cancelled for the remainder of the day, due to high water. Late afternoon schedules Ocracoke to Hatteras are cancelled. Evening runs between Cedar Island and Ocracoke are cancelled due to inclement weather. Ferry Division will update tomorrow.
Tropical Storm Warning -- As of the morning of 8/28/17, the watch has been upgraded to a warning. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for most of the North Carolina coast. A Tropical Storm Warning means Tropical storm wind conditions are expected somewhere within this area and within the next 36 hours. The worst is expected to pass through early Tuesday morning through Tuesday afternoon.
Tropical Storm Watch -- has been posted for most of coastal North Carolina, effective 8/27/17. If 92L develops, sailors might have to act fast to secure their boats.
Keep an Eye on 92L -- As of Saturday 8/26/17 Harvey is the center of attention but the National Hurricane Center and Weather Underground are watching 92L, currently dumping rain on the west coast of Florida, but expected to cross over to the Atlantic side and track up the coast. By the middle of next week it could bring rain, onshore winds and coastal flooding to locations from Georgia to North Carolina.
Top Off Tanks -- Here in Winston-Salem gas prices are appreciably higher the evening of 8/25/17 than they were in the morning. With Harvey coming onshore and predicted to linger over the Texas coast, potential for shutdowns of Houston area refineries is high, and gas prices will probably climb. Worst case, supplies could be disrupted.
Category 3 -- Rapidly intensifying tropical storm Harvey is expected to be a category 3 hurricane when it slams into the Texas coast in a few days. Weather Underground has a good article posted mid-day 8/24/17.
2017 Wilmington Boat Show -- This annual event will be held the weekend of September 8th through 10th at locations along the waterfront in Wilmington, NC. Click here to go to the official site.
Harborfest for Heartworks -- The annual event benefiting the Heartworks organization that works with at-risk children in Pamlico County will be held the weekend of September 22nd through 24th at Riverdunes. For more information and to register, check out the Harborfest website.
Surf's Up -- Hurricane Gert remained far off the North Carolina coast but the waves made it to the Hatteras beaches. Local surfers caught some bitchin' rides. Text and pictures at Island Free Press.
Barden Inlet Shoaling -- The Coast Guard has removed Aids to Navigation through Barden Inlet due to extensive shoaling. See story at Coastal Review Online.
What's New, 8/11/17 -- Some new verbiage at the end of the "North Again" story.
Too Much Water -- It's been a wet summer for northeast NC with torrential downpours rolling through on a frequent basis. Nags Head and Kitty Hawk suffered major street flooding, and Edenton reported that 44,000 gallons of sewage overflowed into local creeks.
Come Back, Please -- As of late in the evening of 8/3/17, power has been restored to all Outer Banks locations, and the visitor curfew will be lifted at noon on 8/4/17. The local electric co-ops, along with the State of North Carolina, county personnel and yes, the contractor responsible for the original outage all worked round the clock for a solid week and deserve credit for the quick restoration. Remember that a few days ago there were concerns that power might be out for two weeks or more. Here is an update from Island Free Press.
Watch for Joseph -- Sailor Joseph Calland departed Beaufort NC heading outside to New York sometime late last week. A distress call was received Sunday the 30th, the Coast Guard responded but an extensive search turned up nothing. The 73 year old sailor and his 39 foot boat Nennette are now officially overdue for arrival in New York. The Coast Guard is asking that anyone with information call them at 757-398-6390. Story at Island Free Press.
Is This for Real? -- Ars Technica posted a story entitled Gruesome case of flesh-eating bacteria has beach city anxious, skeptical on 8/2/17, about a Lumberton woman currently undergoing treatment at UNC Medical Center for a very unpleasant ailment known a necrotizing faciitis, possibly contracted in Myrtle Beach.
Tropical Storm Emily -- expected to bring torrential rain to central Florida and then track well-offshore. As of the morning of 7/31/17 no threat expected to the North Carolina coast. Here is a link to Weather Underground's reporting on the storm.
Tentative Timeline - One to Two Weeks -- That's what Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative says Sunday, July 30, about when to expect full restoration of electricity to the Outer Banks. In the meantime, they hope to bring in more generators to provide temporary power, in the hopes that some visitors may be allowed in. The local economy is tourist-based, and the embargo on visitors is hurting. Island Free Press is on top of it.
2017 Beaufort Pirate Invasion -- will be held August 11th and 12th on the waterfront. For information, see the website. "It takes a village to pillage."
Mandatory Vistor Evacuation Expanded to Hatteras Island -- Late on Friday 7/28/17 Dare County issued a mandatory evacuation of all visitors to the island, effective the morning of 7/29. See the article at Island Free Press. No estimates yet as to when the transmission line will be fixed. Editor's note: The Island Free Press does its usual professional job of keeping us informed as this situation develops. Local news at its finest.
But That Means No Air Conditioners -- Fortunately, the brutal heat wave of a week ago has broken. Spokesperson Laura Ertle of Cape Hatteras Electric Cooperative, was quoted by the Island Free Press as saying "Today is going to be a better day. We still need people to conserve, but there is going to be more power available today...As long as people conserve, we may be able to have uninterrupted service. But that means no air conditioners." This after four more emergency generators arrived at Waves and Avon. No respite for Ocracoke, though.
Big Trouble -- "The N.C. Department of Transportation Ferry Division is assisting with the visitor evacuation of Ocracoke Island due to an anticipated long-term power outage. Hyde County Emergency Management issued a mandatory evacuation order for all island visitors beginning at 5 p.m. Thursday, July 27." That's the word from the NC Ferry Division press release following the cascading series of incidents that may have Ocracoke on rotating power outages for the indefinite future. From the story at Ocracoke Current, it sounds like a contractor on the new Bonner Bridge drove a piling through the transmission line, severing power to everything south. Emergency generators were started, but the one in Ocracoke blew up, leaving the town without power. More generators are on the way, but they are too small to supply all the town's needs. Buxton, Hatteras and Frisco are all on emergency generators as well. The broken line could take days to weeks to repair.
Not Worth the Risk -- That's what Governor Roy Cooper told the crowd at Fort Macon State Park about oil drilling off the coast of North Carolina. “It’s clear that opening North Carolina’s coast to oil and gas exploration and drilling would bring unacceptable risks to our economy, our environment and our coastal communities and for little potential gain for our state,” Cooper said. Coastal Review Online has a full report on the Governor's appearance.
Contact List for Albemarle Sound Marine Facilities -- A short list of contact information for marinas and car rentals on the Albemarle.
New for July 19th, 2017 -- Photographs from a July 2017 trip to check on the boat in Edenton. More to come...
...And Maybe Good News for Elizabeth City Drinkers -- A proposed microbrewery around the corner from my favorite Elizabeth City bar and internet cafe Coasters. Read about it at the Daily Advance. The craft beer craze has finally penetrated the back of beyond.
Bad News for Morning Drinkers -- The New Bern Board of Aldermen failed to pass the so-called "brunch bill", allowing Sunday morning alcohol sales. Oh, well, another good reason to breakfast at the marina.
Update on Dismal Swamp Canal -- Donna Stewart, Director of the Dismal Swamp Canal Welcome Center, sent me the following update on the Canal: "The Deep Creek Dredging has been completed and surveyed with the assistance of the Wilmington District. The Deep Creek Lock gates are scheduled to be reinstalled on Wed., July 19th. Dredging at the Feeder Ditch and Turner’s Cut will continue until work is completed". So at least we know that work is still going on and there is good reason to believe that the Canal will be open in time for the snowbirds heading south in the fall.
Cruise Ships Coming to Morehead City -- NC Ports sailing schedule for Morehead City lists two visits in October, Silver Explorer on October 1st, 2017 and Silver Muse on October 8th. Silver Muse was just commissioned earlier this year, and visits Morehead City as part of a 14 day trip from Montreal to Fort Lauderdale with layovers in several ports along the east coast.
New Island Forms off Cape Point -- A shell-collector's dream, a bar over a mile long and 300 yards wide has emerged just off Cape Point. The Park Rangers advise not trying to swim out to it, due to rip currents, five-foot sharks and enormous rays, but it is accessible by kayak or small boat. For more information and a great aerial photograph, see the article at Pilot Online.
Poet's Corner -- We all know that a boat is a hole in the water that you throw money into, but Matthews Point sailor Eric Bigham has put this sentiment into less crass, more poetic terms with an ode to the financial realities of boat ownership.
The CCA NC Sportsman’s Conservation Legacy Shootout -- That was a mouthful. The Coastal Conservation Association will hold their annual sporting clays match at Drake Landing near Fuquay-Varina August 26th, 2017. As of June 30th, registration information has not been posted at their website, but it is promised soon. Update to follow.
Traditional Skiff Regatta -- August 5th, 2017 at the Maritime Museum in Beaufort. More information.
Change Coming to Oriental Harbor? -- The Town Dock reports on plans to develop a fishing trawler washing-sandblasting-painting operation at the roofless building just inside the harbor jetty.
Tour the Ferry Shipyard -- The NCDOT is offering tours of the Mann's Harbor Shipyard this summer in celebration of the 70th anniversary celebration of the ferry system. The tour scheduled for June 29th, 2017 may already be full, but there are still dates open in July, August and September. For more information, see the article NCDOT Ferry Shipyard Tours Available at the Ocracoke Current.
Not a Single One -- There is not a single TowboatUS franchise on the Albemarle Sound. The nearest ones are in Coinjock, Wanchese and Belhaven. Something to think about if you are planning to do the Albemarle Loop. In the next few days, I will be adding a lot of information to my article "North Again" about the logistics of sailing the Albemarle. Suffice it to say that sailors used to the high level of infrastructure along the ICW route may be surprised at how little there is on the Albemarle Sound.
Terry Ann is at Edenton Marina -- I motored up Pembroke Creek from the Edenton Town Docks the morning of June 15, 2017 and left the boat at Edenton Marina on a month-to-month lease. It wasn't easy, but I managed to arrange a car from Enterprise and drove home to Winston-Salem in the afternoon with plans to be home for two or three weeks. I hope to be back in Edenton in early July to use the marina as a base while I explore the western Albemarle.
On Columbia Municipal Dock -- It's June 11th, 2017, Sunday, hot, windless and I am docked in Columbia and enjoying coffee, air-conditioning and internet at the wine shop and cafe.
Northeast Winds Gusting into the Upper 20s -- mean I probably won't be leaving the Elizabeth City area until June 9th or 10th.
If I'm Posting from Elizabeth City -- it probably means I'm in Coasters on N. Poindexter Street, drinking a beer and enjoying the air conditioning.
In Belhaven -- As of June 1st, I'm in Belhaven. I had considered running up the Pamlico River to Washington, but the winds weren't blowing that way. I plan to spend a few days in Belhaven, then continue up the Alligator-Pungo Canal to the Albemarle.
Casting Off Shortly -- It's the morning of May 31st, 2017, and I'm about to cast off for points north. Tentative stops - Lower Broad Creek, Lower Pamlico River, Little Washington, Belhaven, Elizabeth City.
National Exposure -- Matthews Point Marina sailor Buck Buchanan wrote an article about sailing on the Pamlico Sound in the January/February issue of Small Craft Advisor. The digital edition is now available at the magazine website.
A Sight to Behold -- Jim and Sherri flew Old Glory from the masthead of their Catalina Beltrane to remember our veterans who gave all, Memorial Day 2017.
Mark Eichinger's Pennsylvania Bike Trip -- Mark, Matthews Point yacht broker and sometime dockmaster recently did a 150 mile bike tour of the mountains of Pennsylvania. Attached is his write-up of the experience.
Something new at the Terry Ann Refit section -- For anyone following the refit, I tagged on new information about recent work, with pictures.
Windex - Not the Kind You Buy at the Grocery Store -- When I had the mast out of Terry Ann, I fabricated an aluminum bracket so I could mount a Windex. Terry Ann has a masthead-mounted Raymarine electronic wind speed and direction gauge, but I still find a Windex to be a better indicator, especially in ticklish situations like running wing-and-wing in fluky winds. Evidently sailors agree with me. On a recent evening, I walked the Matthews Point docks and counted 54 sailboats with Windexes and 11 without. Around half had both an electronic gauge and a Windex.
Ms. Wanda is Retiring -- After many years as proprietress of the Alligator River Marina, Ms. Wanda has sold out and gone into well-earned retirement. Let's hope the new owners have studied at her feet and learned how to run a top-knotch operation, just as she did. Thanks to Cruisers Net for the news. Cruisers Net had to go through their own succession process after founder Claiborne Young died too young a few years ago, and they have done a great job.
Ships are Disappearing from the Bottom of the Java Sea -- Fascinating article from Outside Online about surreptitious salvage operations that are removing sunken WWII warships from the Java Sea. How Does an Entire Shipwreck Disappear, Bolts and All?
Maybe by Summer -- The Waterway Guide reports May 8th 2017 that the Dismal Swamp Canal is still closed and the Corps of Engineers is declining to give a date as to when it will re-open. They project that dredging in the vicinity of the Feeder Ditch will take until at least late June. Full report here.
Do You Like Blues? -- Then mark your calendar for the 22nd Annual Cape Fear Blues Festival, to be held June 23rd through 25th, 2017 in Wilmington. Shows are scheduled for several venues in the downtown. The website has all the details.
Watch the Mud Fly -- at the National Truck and Tractor Pull in Newport, June 23rd and 24th at the Flea Mall Event Grounds. I've only been to one tractor pull, but it was a hoot! I bet if we listen close we can hear it from Matthews Point. Details here.
Niña and Pinta Replicas -- will be in Wilmington at Port City Marina from May 11th through the 20th. More information here.
26th Annual WoodenBoat Show -- sponsored by WoodenBoat Magazine, will be held at Mystic Seaport in Connecticut, June 30th through July 2nd, 2017. Website here.
What's New 05/08/17 -- Lots of new pictures in the Photographs section .
How Bad Was Matthew? -- This story at the News and Observer suggests that many small towns in southeastern North Carolina will never recover. The town of Fair Bluff, population 526, lost 109 homes and saw it's citizen scattered to the winds. To this day, power has not been restored to parts of downtown. Windsor, Seven Springs and Kinston were also hard hit. Certainly Kinston will recover - Seven Springs, maybe not.
Ocrafolk Festival June 2-4, 2017 -- See the website here.
Ocrafolk-bound Sailors Should Keep a Weather Eye on Bigfoot Slough -- The NC Ferry Division reports 4/21/17 critically low water levels in Bigfoot Slough, especially at low tide. The cross-sound ferry schedules have been curtailed as one of the boats, Sea Level, draws too much to negotiate the slough. Emergency dredging is to begin 4/24/17. Sailors planning to head for Ocracoke should monitor the situation.
Oriental Gets a Second Chance -- After foolishly allowing corporate America to come in and destroy their local grocery store, the people of Oriental are getting another chance with the new Piggly Wiggly, a.k.a. "the Piglet", a small but well-stocked, full service store within walking distance of the Whittaker Creek yards and marinas. It's a bit of a hike from the town dock and old harbor, though.
Can't walk to the Silos any more. -- It's nice to be home at Matthews Point, but I miss having the Silos just corner, which was the case when I had the boat at Sailcraft Service. Tuesday night meant a free cheese pizza with every pizza ordered, Wednesday was open mike night, and Thursday was dollar beers. See why the Silos is Oriental's favorite joint.
One of the Last of the Harkers Island Wooden Boat Builders -- is close to completing 21 foot workboat Florence Mae. Heber Guthrie is building the boat for the NC Coastal Heritage Association. For more information, click here.
2017 Oriental In-Water Boat Show -- will be held the weekend of April 21-23 at Oriental Harbor Marina. See the flyer here.
12 Degrees North -- Dale and Cori are in Grenada, the far southeastern corner of the Caribbean, just 12 degrees north of the equator. For those who like to sail, we salute you.
Gojo Goes Upscale -- Gojo Hand Cleaner is now made with fine Italian pumice. The boatyard features this distinctive product in its washroom. It's part of a general upgrading that features yard workers in fine Italian leather boat shoes and silken cravats. The old Bunn-O-Matic in the break room has been replaced with an espresso machine. I have taken to wearing a blue blazer as I labor on the Terry Ann refit.
43rd Annual Wooden Boat Show -- The Beaufort NC show will be held on May 6th, 2017 at the Maritime Museum. Click here for details.
Time is Running Out -- The 17th National Exhibition of the American Society of Marine Artists jointly hosted at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, Maryland and the Academy Art Museum in Easton, will close March 31st, 2017.
Do Your Love Jet Noise? -- If you do, check out the Wings Over Wayne Airshow the weekend of May 20-21, 2017, at Seymour Johnson AFB in Goldsboro. I'm looking forward to taking my grandson to this show in a few years, when he is a little older.
Spam and Yams? -- No, Dan, it's the 2017 Smithfield Ham and Yam Festival in, if you can call it that, "downtown" Smithfield NC. May 6th, 2017.
It will soon be that time of year -- Yes, festival season in eastern North Carolina will soon be upon us. For 35 years, Kinston has made an early move on the tourist wallet, and this year is no different. The 36th Annual BBQ Festival on the Neuse will be held the weekend of May 5-6, 2017. Personally, I stop at King's on the east side of town whenever I get a chance because to my taste, they make some of the best eastern-style bbq around.
Greensboro Wooden Boat Restorer -- Lowell Boats specializes in restoration and refinishing of classic wooden boat. I met Gary Lowell at Sailcraft Service last month and am itching to get over to Greensboro and see his shop. In addition to his main business, Gary also surveys boats and teaches classes at the WoodenBoat School in Brooklin, Maine. Check out his website for more information.
CFCC Riverfront Boat Show -- Cape Fear Community College is staging a boat show April 1, 2017 on the riverfront in Wilmington.Click here for more information.
Remember this post from February 2015? -- "Salvage Opportunity Off the NC Coast? -- The Coast Guard air-lifted crew off 55-foot catamaran Rain Maker 200 miles off Cape Hatteras January 29th, 2015. Irene Nolan of Island Free Press reports that the $2.5 million boat suffered a broken mast. All crew were reported safe.." Well, turns out that boat floated around the Atlantic near Bermuda for over a year, and then was salvaged by members of Oracle Team USA who were out on a fishing trip! Here's the story, at Sailing Anarchy.
Buck Buckhannon, Matthews Point Sailor -- has an article in the upcoming January-February 2017 edition of Small Craft Advisor Magazine about trailer-sailing out of Oriental.
Volvo Penta Running, Nobody There -- Friends came back to the marina from dinner one night and found a boat (not theirs) with a running engine. There was no sign of life aboard the boat and no other cars in the parking lot. They boarded the boat and found no key in the ignition, but the engine was running, the starter was grinding along with it. They choked the engine to kill it and left word with the marina staff. The owner was notified, and he immediately contacted a mechanic and told the story. The first words from the mechanic were "is it a Volvo Penta?" Then he stated that this is a known issue with certain Volvo models and is due to a defect in the wiring harness. Fortunately, the engine seems to be ok, even though it was winterized and the raw water intake was closed. The starter and impeller are shot. I googled "Volvo Penta starts by itself" and found numerous mentions of this issue. If I had one of these engines, I would be sure the starter battery was left in the off position any time I was away from the boat. If my friends hadn't noticed the engine was running and taken action, the engine could have been destroyed, worse, a fire could have started, consuming the boat and the whole marina.
Lightning, Thunder and Torrential Rain -- Not what I expected to find at Matthews Point at the end of December, but we take what we get. If there is any truth to the old saw that winter thunderstorms mean snow is coming, Havelock needs to get ready for a blizzard.
Wild Bill -- That's how everybody at Matthews Point knew him. This big-hearted man has passed away back home in Tennessee. His illness kept him away from his boat the last couple of years, but many of us can remember how frequently he made the long trek from home to spend time on Clubfoot Creek, back when he had his health.
Doug's Got a New Book -- My friend and fellow sailor Doug Sanderson has a new book out, nothing to do with sailing this time, but a real treat nevertheless - "Interstate - Confessions of a Rookie Truck Driver." It helped me pass the hours as I sat in my father's hospital room, keeping him company as he passed over into the next life. If you read "Following the Dragon", then you know what a talented writer Doug is. Available in Kindle at Amazon, or pdf at Smashwords.
NOAA Chart 25663 -- "Pasaje de San Juan to Puerto de Humacao and Western Part of lsla de Vieques" - Hi Flite is just off the northeast coast of Puerto Rico, two weeks into her voyage from Matthews Point Marina to the U.S. Virgin Islands. She's making fine time. I've known boats to spend more than two weeks at "Velcro Beach", waiting for a weather window.
Making Up Time -- After a battle to cross the Gulf Stream, Hi Flite is making good progress toward the golden land of the USVI. As of 11/30/16, she is due east of Miami and on a rhumb line between Bermuda and San Juan, PR.
Closed on the Alberg Today -- as of 11/28/16, I am the new owner of Alberg 35 Terry Ann. The previous owner purchased her new in 1964 and did a good job of keeping her in shape, but after 52 years she's in need of a thorough refit. High on the priority list is replacement of the standing rigging and perhaps the chainplates, along with a good hard look at the through-hulls, seacocks and below-water hoses. I will be adding a new section to the website to track the progress of the refit, with lots of pictures.
What's New -- Pied Piper 28, in the Know Your Boats section.
Almost Across the Gulf Stream -- Hi Flite's November 23, 2016 spot puts them almost across the Gulf Stream, about 144 miles ESE of Cape Lookout.
Feather Jim, This One's for You -- Doug McQuilken, who exhibited his 100 year old catboat restoration in process at the Georgetown Show, sent me a link to the website and discussion board of The Catboat Association.
Boat Parts Search Engine -- Boat Used Part Search lets you put in search criteria, queries several used parts websites, and then returns possible matches.
What's New -- Georgetown Wooden Boat Show 2016, in the Articles section.
Try Not to Get It On You -- Neuse Riverkeeper Travis Graves suggests "I am advising folks to not swim or expose open sores or cuts to the water, if possible, and to be cautious of debris when boating." Due to the hog lagoons and such upstream, of course. Town Dock reported on this November 4th.
Still the Same Neuse River Sailors -- the temporarily boatless webmaster had some time on his hands and decided to revamp the front page. All the content is still here. I'm working on a post about the 2016 Georgetown Wooden Boat Show that should be up soon.
Matthews Point Beast Feast -- Boatowners at Matthews Point, don't forget to mark your calender for Saturday, November 12th. If you're not a boatowner at Matthews Point, try to beg or cadge an invitation - this is a really good party.
Blackbeard's Pirate Jamboree, -- scheduled for October 28th-30th 2016, has been cancelled. These people can't catch a break. The first two years, 2011-2012 were cancelled due to hurricanes. Like I asked earlier, just how bad are things at Ocracoke? Not much coming out except occasional Hyde County press releases and a story or two from Ocracoke Current.
All Ferry Routes -- running at least limited schedules as of 10/12/16, but note - no visitors allowed on any of the boats to Ocracoke - property owners, residents and contractors only.
Just How Bad Is It? -- Hyde County published an Emergency Public Notice today, 10/12/16. Visitor restrictions are still in place for Ocracoke. "Hyde County has not yet established a date for releasing the visitor restriction, however it will not be this weekend."
NC Ferries -- slowly coming back on line. All ferries except for Cherry Branch-Minnesott, Bayview-Aurora and Hatteras-Ocracoke are at least running partial schedules as of the evening of 10/10/16 - however Ocracoke is still under embargo and visitors are not allowed to cross on the Sound ferries - only residents, property owners and contractors. Town Dock is of the opinion that heavy upstream flooding of the Neuse River in combination with continuing north and northeast winds may keep the Cherry Branch ferry offline for the rest of the week. High water makes it impossible to get the boats under the ramps.
Georgetown Wooden Boat Show -- still on for this Saturday, October 15th, according to the official web site.
Southport-Fort Fisher Ferry -- Running a limited schedule on the morning of 10/10/16 - all other routes still suspended.
Navigational Hazard? -- Two barges have broken loose from the New Bonner Bridge construction site and are adrift in the Pamlico Sound, 10/9/16. Here is a short video clip, courtesy of the Outer Banks Voice. **Update 10/10/16 - One of the barges has fetched up in Avon - photo here, Island Free Press.
Highway 12 Closed -- As of 10/9/16 Highway 12 is closed from Bonner Bridge to Rodanthe. All ferry routes remain suspended.
Eastern NC Highway Closures -- As of 10/8/16 the NCDOT reported multiple closures in both directions of Interstates 95 and 40 in North Carolina, as well as 95 through most of southern South Carolina. If it's bad enough to close the Interstates, don't even think about trying the back roads.
Ferry Closures for Matthew -- My best sources show that all NC Ferry service is suspended as of 8:30 AM October 8th due to effects of hurricane Matthew.
SC31 a No-Go -- We surveyed the boat I was considering buying in Cambridge, MD, and the results were not good. It happened to be pouring rain and water streamed in the portlights and through the deck fittings. You have to wonder, just how long has this been going on? This was just the beginning of the issues. Someday I'll write about it, for now, I'm getting ready to go to the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show next weekend - assuming Georgetown is still there after Matthew does his damage. In the meantime, I've posted a few pictures from the last couple of weeks in the Photographs section.
Rain -- Rain bands from hurricane Matthew are already affecting Winston-Salem - and the eye is still off the Florida-Georgia state line!
All Ferry Routes Back on Schedule -- 9:15 Sunday morning, 9/4/16 - NCDOT Ferry Divisions reports all routes back in operation, running normal schedules. Evacuation status lifted for Ocracoke, visitors welcome.
Eastern NC All in a Tangle -- Mid-day Saturday 9/3/16 - Alligator River Bridge is not opening for marine traffic due to wind conditions, and also is closed to vehicular traffic due to a truck wreck (hoping to reopen in afternoon). All statewide ferry routes still not operating except for Fort Fisher - Southport which is running regular schedule. There is standing water and sand on the length of Higway 12 on the Banks, and NCDOT is asking people to stay off the roads to allow repair crews to work. Ocracoke is still isolated and under evacuation status.NCDOT Highway 12 Twitter feed.
All NC Ferry Routes Suspended -- As of the morning of 9/3/16, all ferry routes statewide remain suspended. NCDOT reports sand and standing water on Highway 12 on the banks, but no breaks, asks for everyone to stay off road if possible to allow repair crews to work. Ocracoke is still under evacuation status, no-one allowed to enter except residents, property owners, emergency personnel. Keep up with ferry schedules at Ferry Division Twitter feed.
Hermine is Coming -- Category 1 hurricane Hermine crossed the coast of the Florida panhandle early in the morning of Friday, 9/2/16, and is expected to track up the east coast and through eastern North Carolina as a tropical storm by Saturday, 9/3/16. The National Weather Service is predicting heavy rain and wind gusts to 55 mph for Havelock.
91L Bears Watching -- As of Saturday, 8/27/16, tropical wave 91L is about 500 miles off South Carolina coast and headed northwest. It's not likely to develop into a tropical storm, but will probably bring sloppy, wet weather to the coast by Monday. Weather Underground.
New Novel About Oriental -- Nick Santoro, proprietor of Ensign Marina on Brown's Creek, has written a fictionalized account of life in and around Oriental over the last 20 years. The book has been published in a limited edition of 200 copies, and you can get one at the Whortonsville Yacht and Tractor Club website.
2016 Georgetown Wooden Boat Show -- is scheduled for Saturday, October 15th. Here is the event schedule.
HiFlite in Acadia -- Her 8/23/16 spot puts her in Valley Cove, just south of Mt. Desert.
Large Waterspout in Pamlico Sound -- Great pictures and reporting about a waterspout in the northern sound, near Oregon Inlet, at Weather Underground.
International Sailing Foundation Document -- "Offshore Special Regulations 2016-2017" is available online. This document is in outline form and could be used as a checklist for anyone fitting out for offshore sailing. It is worth looking at just to see what is considered "best practices" in the racing community.
Wasting No Time -- As of 8/16/16, Hiflite is in Gloucester, MA.
Anybody Run Old Canal Lately? -- Old Canal connects Turnagain Bay and West Bay. Have any readers run the canal recently? I got a report from David Swanson of Oriental that a correspondent ran through the canal earlier this year and had no problems. Sounds like he was sailing a dinghy or small craft as he stated that he ran with his board down to sound the bottom (3.5 ft). Anyone with recent experience please send me an email - email@example.com.
Out to Sea -- Hi-Flite's latest spot shows them to be well off the coast, on the latitude of the Maryland-New Jersey line.
Valor is Sold -- My Cape Dory 25 Valor has been sold to a local Cape Dory aficionado who plans to restore her as a father-son project over the upcoming winter. I can't think of a better place for my boat to be.
Valor is for Sale -- My Cape Dory 25 Valor is for sale to make room for a bigger boat that I could take long-distance cruising. She's been a fine day-sailor and I've taken a number of longer trips on her as well, but she's not the ticket for weeks or months-long trips, which I hope to take once I retire. So, anybody looking for a good sailable CD25? Asking price $1,500. Details here. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Maine Coon Hears for New Zealand Sailor -- Deaf sailor Paul J. Thompson and his cat Skatty sail the world on Thompson's junk-rigged schooner La Chica. Skatty alerts Thompson when people come alongside and when his phone rings. Skatty is polydactal, just like was common for ship's cats in the days of sail - old sailors said the extra toes helped the cat keep a better grip on the deck. Thanks Marie for sending me the link to this story.
Earl Just Blew Up -- It's the evening of August 2nd and the little 30 knot tropical wave we've been watching roll across the Atlantic has blown up into 60 knot tropical storm Earl in the course of a day. My guess is it will be a hurricane tomorrow. Not a threat to our part of the world but interests in the Yucatan, Mexican mainland and south Texas need to keep an eye open.
Future Shock Now? -- The New Bern Sun Journal reports on early season fish kills on the Neuse in this article from July 13th, 2016.
Talented Writer and Photographer -- Mike Doster makes another appearance on the pages of Neuse River Sailors. Check out his article at Ocrafolk 2016.
Coming Up at the Beaufort Maritime Museum -- August 6th, Traditional Skiff Regatta. August 13th - Pirate Invasion. See the Museum website for more information.
Any News? -- It's been quiet - too quiet. If you run across a news item that might interest Neuse River sailors, send me a link at email@example.com. If I post it, I'll give you credit.
2016 Hancock Regatta -- Coming up fast, the weekend of July 8th through 10th. Here is an email notice the organizers have sent out - "Good Morning All- Just wanted to shoot you a note about our upcoming Regatta. We hope you will be able to join us! Everyone is welcome regardless of skill level and we do have a cruising class. Dinner and beer Friday free, Dockage Free, Easy access to base if you are not coming by boat. Skippers receive a T Shirt and two dinner tickets for Saturday night. We hope to see you!" For more information, check out their website, Hancock Yacht Club.
Friends on the Internet -- Waiting for weather in Belhaven last week, I had the pleasure of meeting Pete and Kourtney aboard their Danish-built wooden boat Norna. Pete is a boatbuilder and accomplished musician, and Kourtney is the well-known author and blogger "Accidental Sailor Girl". They are wonderful, gentle people, devoted to sailing and living on the water. Pete has a cd of his music available, and Kourtney has her book, at Paper Sailor Inc. I have listened to the cd a couple times through and enjoyed it, and just started reading the book. Check it out, and if you see them on a dock somewhere, stop and introduce yourself - tell them the Neuse River Sailor sent you.
Back at Matthews Point -- Sunday June 19th I got fair winds for the Neuse River and made a long day of it, Belhaven to Matthews Point in about 11 hours, including some fast sailing on a broad reach from Maw Point into the lower Neuse.
Irene Nolan on "Last Hurrah for the Frisco Pier" -- Irene has one of her sensitive and perceptive editorials posted at Island Free Press about the missed opportunities and sad demise of the Frisco Pier. The remnants will probably be removed in the fall.
Waiting Out the Storm -- Saturday 6/18 - another lay day in Belhaven waiting for the northeaster to blow out. It is very sheltered on the Cooperage dock, but NOAA is still calling for 35 knot winds out on the sound. Tomorrow looks much better, with northerlies in the 10-15 knot range.
Back in Belhaven -- Had a hard slog through the Alligator-Pungo Canal and anchored Wednesday night in the upper Pungo. Thursday motor-sailed down the river dead into the wind, tacking the whole way, to Belhaven. An offshore low is predicted to bring winds to 35 knots to the area Friday night and Saturday, so I am holed up on the Belhaven dock waiting for it to pass. Two other boats are on the dock with me, so I have company.
As Good as it Gets -- Monday June 13th dawned cool and clear and stayed that way all day. My friends Paul and Kathy dropped lines in the morning and sailed south aboard their 45 foot cold-moulded wooden schooner for Manteo, and I followed soon after. Fair winds all the way, on dock well before happy hour. Tuesday I started for home, backtracking to the Alligator River and taking a slip at Alligator River Marina. Currently doing laundry, sipping a rum drink and sitting in the clubhouse.
Hot, Quiet Sunday -- Fair winds, but with temperatures headed for the mid-90s under clear skies, I decided to spend one more day in Elizabeth City. Tomorrow should be markedly cooler with good northwesterly winds. Still debating whether to sail down to Manteo for a day or two or start homeward via the Alligator River.
Elizabeth City Rendezvous -- Friday-Saturday 6/10-11 lay days on town dock. Friends from Belhaven Daniel and Angela two boats down on Teasa. Dan sailed in from Alligator River. Marcia and Joe drove in from Manteo in their new camper van and provided sailors with a ride to the grocery store. They stayed at Lamb's Marina, parked next to the boat slips and hooked up to the 30 amp. Saturday Daniel and Angela headed north up the canal, Marcia and Joe headed west by highway. Dan leaves in the morning for points north and I await predicted northerlies Monday to go south - destination unknown.
Sailed the Albemarle -- Off Alligator River Marina Dock the morning of 6/9 and joined the parade of northbounders. Navigation is easy, just follow the boat in front of you. Then they all veer off toward Albermarle-Chesapeake and you stay to port and make for the Pasquotank. Motorsailed across the sound with light airs, then picked up a strong westerly at mouth of river and sailed close-hauled at hull speed all the way to Elizabeth City. Got one of the last available slips at Mariner's Wharf surrounded by hulking power cruisers and blue water cruisers.
Long Day Belhaven to Alligator River Marina -- 13 hours to sail about 50 miles. Alligator-Pungo Canal is a transit ditch, not much good to say about it. Word to the wise - stick strictly to the center line. I strayed slightly starboard to allow a big power boat to pass and ended up aground. The next boat through gave me enough bounce to back off and continue on my way. Later, I eased over a hair for another big boat and slammed into a submerged snag. No water streaming into the bilge, so I guess no harm done. The last 5 hours of the day I motor-sailed close hauled in an ugly chop. The "light" water on the Alligator (no dissolved salt) seems to fly farther as spray than good "heavy" Neuse River water, letting my CD25 live up to Cape Dory's reputation for building wet boats. Heck of a day. Very happy to be in the cool, comfortable clubhouse of Alligator River Marina.
Best Bets in Belhaven -- The Gingerbread Bakery on Main Street for breakfast and pastries. The Public Library for internet access and air conditioning. The Goodrich Tire dealer just across the street from the Cooperage Landing free dock for non-ethanol gasoline, access to a water spigot and generous advice on getting around Belhaven. The Community Store for being open on Sunday afternoon.
Rapid Improvement -- Tropical storm Colin brought some rain and wind to Belhaven, but nothing like predicted. As of late morning June 7th, the rain had ended and the sky was beginning to lighten. My plans are to resupply this afternoon and cast off first thing the morning of the 8th for points north.
Here Comes Colin -- Tropical storm Colin, currently gathering force in the northeastern Gulf of Mexico, is predicted to be in our neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, June 7th.
On Belhaven Dock -- As of June 6th, holed up for a couple of days waiting for the weather to settle. First day out of Matthews Point, to Bonner Bay, mostly motor-sailing. Second day, a fast sail with fair southwesterly winds, on dock at Belhaven in early afternoon. Violent weather predicted for later in the day didn't pan out, but the wind blew strong and steady all through the night. This morning blustery wind and clearing skies. Taking advantage of the wifi at the library to check email. Next stop, Elizabeth City - should be there by the weekend.
Haircut in Havelock -- Found a good barber in Havelock for a last-minute cut before heading out for a sail - Sal's, 805 E. Main St.
Hiflite Safe in Port -- Latest spot (05/26/16) puts them at Matthews Point.
Bluewater Sailors -- Hiflite's 5/24/16 spot puts them well off the Georgia coast, heading north - Lat 32.30217 Lon-78.30831.
First Storm of the Season? -- Weather Underground reports ...an area of concern to watch for possible genesis of a tropical depression during the coming Memorial Day weekend." Ocrafolk-bound sailors please note.
Oriental's Creative Solution to the HB2 Problem -- Town Dock has a World Exclusive article detailing efforts to reopen the public restroom near the new town dock that has been closed since late March due to HB2. I applaud everyone involved in this effort to help the town avoid the onerous new $10,000 daily "Gender Non-Compliance fine." Town Dock has done a wonderful job bringing this vital breaking news to the public.
List of Free Dockage -- along the ICW is available at James H. Newsome's Facebook Page.
Matthews Point Denizens Mark Your Calendars -- May 7th 2016 Jett and Tom are planning a cookout and party. More information will be included in the quarterly newsletter which Tom will send out near the end of March.
Dozier's Marina in Urbanna Burns -- Disastrous fire caused the loss of at least two lives and damage to 50 or more boats. News report here. Cape Dory owner Matt Ashendon posted additional pictures here. The cause is suspected to be a corroded shore power connection.
2016 Oriental In-Water Boat Show -- is scheduled for Friday through Sunday, April 8-10. Boats, goods and services, plus a nautical flea market. Details at orientalboatshow.com.
Fast Work -- As of Monday afternoon, 2/8/16, NCDOT reports that Highway 12 is open for "cautious travel", with the sand cleared and the water levels down. My guess is that it may see short-term closures around high tide for a few days. The Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry is back on schedule. Good work, NCDOT! NCDOT.
Highway 12 Broken North of Ocracoke -- Winter storm of February 6-7, 2016 washed out 600 feet of dune, allowing sea to break directly across highway. Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry is suspended. Water and sand on road in Buxton and Kitty Hawk. NCDOT.
Is the Ferry Running? -- The best answer to that question is the Ferry Division's Twitter feed.
Festival Season is Upon Us -- ...and the town of Southport will be holding its Spring Festival March 25-26, 2016. Details at the NC Brunswick website.
42nd Annual Wooden Boat Show -- The NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort will hold the show on Saturday, May 7th, 2016. For details, click here.
Two years later -- Two years after posting my story, "Three Days on the Lower Neuse," I received a letter from a reader identifying the boat that passed me in mid-river. The boat is a Moore 24, "Nevermoore", which has raced on the Neuse for many years. Many may recognize "Nevermoore" as the winner of the 1983 Michelob Cup Regatta, with 168 entries remembered as the biggest yacht race ever run in North Carolina. The race started at Oriental #1, rounded NR #19, and finished in front of BBSC. It had a staggered start with slowest boats going first according to their respective PHRF handicaps. "Nevermoore" started eighth from last and passed all boats to win both line, class, and fleet first place honors. So I feel no shame in being passed by this splendid vessel.
Bloomberg Must Read Neuse River Sailors -- A week after I posted about the Wal-Mart pulling out of Oriental, the January 25th edition of Bloomberg Business has a story about Oriental, Wal-Mart and Town & Country. See it here.
Just Long Enough to Put the Town & Country Out of Business -- That's how long Wal-Mart decided to keep their vaunted Express store open in Oriental. As of January 28th, 2016, the Wal-Mart Express will close. No word on whether the Town & Country will reopen - but don't hold your breath. A full list of Wal-Mart Express stores to close can be found here.
No Stopping This Man From Sailing -- The Town Dock has the story of Cliff Kyle, who spent a few days in Oriental on the way south aboard his Pearson 26. Cliff lost a leg some years ago, but it doesn't seem to have slowed him down. Read the story here.
Rodanthe Pier Gets Clobbered -- Powerful swells broke off the end of the pier on January 6th, 2016, and the t-cap subsequently collapsed. The owner hopes to make repairs and reopen an attenuated structure by April. In its heyday, the Rodanthe Pier stretched 1,100 feet into the ocean. See the story at Island Free Press.
Where is Hi-Flite? -- Per their December 27th, 2015 spot, Cori and Dale aboard Hi-Flite are between Nunjack Cay and Crab Cay. Dale posted to his blog on December 24th, looks like they are having lots of fun. Check out the pictures of the ship models their friend Vertram of Green Turtle Cay builds.
"Missing Canoeist on the Albermarle" -- You might remember this headline from a year ago. The canoeist was never found, but a likely identification was made, Dick Conant, an itinerant paddler who had toured most of the waterways of America. The New Yorker Magazine has a fine long-form article in the December 14th, 2015 Issue about Conant's life and voyages.
400 Year Old Shipwreck -- disintegrates behind the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum. The oldest known shipwreck ever found along the North Carolina coast lies on a concrete pad behind the musuem, gradually turning to dust. According to maritime archaeologist Dan Brown, "the dried pieces stand as a great example of how not to save a ship." Read about it at Pilot Online, "Shipwreck found along the Outer Banks could be 1600s British naval vessel."
Beautiful, Classic Boats -- for sale at the website of Wooden Ships International Yacht Brokerage.
Gator on the Menu -- at Beast Feast 2016? It's not out of the question, as the NC Wildlife Resources Commission is considering instituting legal hunting for the big reptiles. The Virginian-Pilot has an article here.
First Festival of the Year -- The 2016 Neuse River Music Fest will be held February 19th and 20th at Lenoir Community College in Kinston. There is an informative website here with a listing of the bands. RV parking will be available with water and electric hookups.
Cruisers and Passagemakers Should Check Out -- Beth and Evans's Home Page, if you haven't already. Beth and Evans have circled the globe multiple times and sailed to high latitudes. Their site has links to many articles they have written about best practices and sailing techniques. This is the best sailing website I have turned up in a while.
Happens to the Best of Us -- The Ocracoke-Hatteras ferry got on a sandbar Monday morning, November 9th, and had a hard time getting off. See story here.
Good story on the R2AK Race -- at Outside Online.
Pictures from the Boat Show -- I have started posting pictures from the show in the Photographs section of this site. Watch for a full write-up in a few days.
"We are Not Cancelling the Show" -- The official word from the sponsors of the Georgetown Wooden Boat Show is that the low country flooding of last week is receding, the shops are cleaning up, and "exhibitor registrations continue to roll in and, as of today, not one exhibitor has cancelled." Click here to get to the website.
2015 Georgetown Wooden Boat Show -- The 26th annual show is coming up the weekend of October 17th and 18th. For me, it's one of the high points of the year, and I plan to be there. Check out my posts in the Special Features section of this site to see what it is all about, and then click here for the details on the 2015 show and schedule.
Bad News for Oriental -- After 42 years of service to the Oriental community, the Town and Country grocery is closing, killed by the Walmart Express "just a few hundred yards away." Yes, I saw this coming, and for sailors as well as the town this is bad news. Just a few hundred yards down the road may not seem like much when you have a car, but when you are a sailor walking from the harbor or one of the boatyards, it's a long way. So Oriental, little by little you are giving up your heritage as a working harbor and sailing center, as you become nothing more than another retirement community in a picturesque location. Announcement at Town Dock. I'm sure there will be a story to come.
Old Town Dock Damaged -- Evidently a Coast Guard boat tried to leave the dock without untying all its lines and wrenched three pilings out of place. The old town dock is closed for now but the new dock is still in operation. For a report, click here.
Matthews Point Beast Feast -- . will be held the evening of Saturday, November 14th, 2015. Kate McNally will play afterward.
2015 Blackbeard's Pirate Jamboree -- October 30th through November 1st, 2015. Pirate-themed fun in Ocracoke. Looks like this festival has taken hold, after a rocky start. The first two attempts to hold it, in 2011 and 2012, were both cancelled due to hurricane threats, but 2013 and 2014 went off without a hitch. Click here.
Watertribe North Carolina Challenge -- will be run starting October 16th, 2015, from Camp Don Lee, so Neuse River sailors keep an eye out for these ultra marathoners of the water as they pass through. Matthews Point denizens get a front row seat as all competitors are required to transit the Harlowe Canal. For the gory details, click here.
Eastern Carolina BBQ Throwdown -- October is big, big, big for the festivals in eastern North Carolina. Rocky Mount will host the 8th Annual BBQ Throwdown the weekend of October 9th and 10th, 2015. Website here.
New Bern Mum Fest -- This will mark the 35th year for the popular festival, held in downtown New Bern October 10th and 11th, 2015. Click here.
United States Sailboat Show -- The biggest show in America, October 8th through 12th, on the Annapolis docks. Click here.
61st Annual Swansboro Mullet Festival -- It's festival time at as the weather turns cooler and small coastal towns desperately grasp for waning tourist dollars. Over 100 craft and food vendors will line the streets of Swansboro October 10th and 11th, all with something to sell. See the website for details.
Back to Normal -- As of 10/8/15 - All ferries are running. Ocracoke is open for business. Hodges Street in Oriental is open.
Rocket Launch May be Visible -- the evening of 10/7/15. "NASA rocket could make glowing clouds Wednesday night." The Neuse River is near the southern limit to see the effects, but with mostly clear skies predicted for tonight, it's worth watching for. Story at the Baltimore Sun.
Ferry Status Report 10/7/15 -- As of mid-day, the Knotts Landing - Currituck, Fort Fisher - Southport and Bayview - Aurora ferries are running and all others are not. NCDOT_Ferry Twitter Feed is probably the best place to get up-to-date information as to which ferries are running.
What Happened to El Faro? -- Miami Herald has a good animation of U.S. flagged 790 foot container ship El Faro's course dead into the path of hurricane Joaquin. The vessel is missing and presumed sunk with its crew of 33.
Ferry Cancellations -- As of 3:00 pm Monday, 10/5/2015, all ferries are cancelled except Knotts Island - Currituck. Cancellations include both Pamlico Sound ferries, the Hatteras - Ocracoke ferries, Cherry Point - Minnesott and Fort Fisher - Southport. All cancelled due to high water, until furthur notice. Keep up with ferry schedules at NCDOT_FERRY Twitter feed.
Highway 210 on North Topsail Beach is Closed -- NCDOT reports on October 5th that Highway 210 is closed From Gray St. to Ocean Dr. to Green St. Looks from the map like no detour is available, effectively making it impossible to travel from one end of the island to the other. Anyone from Topsail with better information, please email me, firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, Highway 12 is closed from Atlantic to Cedar Island.
Outer Banks Update -- Ocracoke Current reports on October 5th, 2015, that "all ferry routes serving Ocracoke Island are currently suspended and visitor access to the island is still prohibited." Also, that there is another dune breach along Highway 12 between Ocracoke and the ferry landing. Meanwhile, Outer Banks Voice reports that most roads in Kitty Hawk are passable but a section of Highway 12 is closed.
No Escape to the South -- Friday, October 2nd, 2015 - All ferries between Ocracoke and Cedar Island are cancelled for at least the remainder of the day. Highway 12 at Cedar Island is flooded too badly for cars to navigate. Even with Joaquin's path projected to keep it far out to sea, persistent east winds, high surf and rain in the upstate are setting up a major flood event for the Banks.
Dodged a Bullet -- As of Friday morning, October 2nd, 2015, NOAA forecasts that hurrican Joaquin will follow a northeasterly course well off the coast. Looks like the European Model, which correctly predicted Sandy's turn inland, has nailed this one as well. It was the only model that consistently suggested an offshore course from early on.
BALTIMORE CANYON TO HATTERAS CANYON BETWEEN 100 NM AND 250 NM OFFSHORE -- NOAA Forecast for Sunday night, issued 11:30 a.m. Thursday morning - E TO SE WINDS 40 TO 55 KT...INCREASING TO 60 TO 75 KT. SEAS 38 TO 53 FT. NWS Marine Forecast
Ferry Division Preparing for Storm -- Last scheduled sound ferries will be Ocracoke to Cedar Island: 7:30 a.m Saturday, Ocracoke to Swan Quarter: 10:00 a.m. Saturday. Ocracoke-Hatteras ferries will run a regular schedule as long as they can. Then the boats will be moored in a safe harbor. The Ferry Division is prepared to reopen the Stumpy Point terminal after the storm, in case Highway 12 is breached. Press release here.
Ocracoke Evacuation Orders -- Hyde County Board of Commissioners declared a state of emergency at a meeting mid-day, Thursday 10/1/2015. Starting at 3:00 Thursday afternoon, law enforcement will allow only residents, property owners and vendors to board Ocracoke-bound ferries, and starting on Saturday no inbound traffic at all will be allowed. That is assuming the ferries can even continue running until them. High water in the sound is making it difficult to use the docks. Ocracoke residents are being encouraged to leave the island now or be prepared for several days of no power, water or emergency services. Full story at Ocracoke Current.
Sailors, Keep an Eye Out for Joaquin -- As of the morning of September 30th, 2015, Joaquin is officially a hurricane. This storm is forecast to skirt the North Carolina coast on Sunday as a category 2. Guidance is sketchy and the storm could potentially make landfall anywhere from Wrightsville Beach to Cape Cod, or miss mainland North America altogether. My source for the latest storm details is Weather Underground.
Sailor Shot in Oriental -- The Town Dock has done an exceptional job of reporting the shooting of an Oriental man aboard his boat on September 19th, 2015. Click here and scroll down to see the initial reports. On September 22nd the Town Dock printed a letter from a friend of the victim that sheds more light on this act of violence.
Heavy Weather -- As of Tuesday, September 22nd, a disorganized area of disturbed weather is bringing wind and heavy rain to the ocean just off the Outer Banks. It is not expected to develop into a tropical storm, but it will probably drift westward, bringing stormy weather to the sound and river. Jeff Masters has a post at Weather Underground about it.
Lunar Eclipse -- There will be a total eclipse of the moon the night of Sunday, September 27th, 2015 starting around 9:00.
6th Annual Southport Wooden Boat Show -- at the old yacht basin, September 26th, 2015. Website here.
North Carolina Seafood Festival -- will be held in Morehead City October 2-4, 2015. October is National Seafood Month, as well as the last possible time to extract tourist dollars before the gray nor'easters of winter sweep in from the cold Atlantic. Click here for more information.
Is Hatteras Inlet Closing Up? -- It wouldn't be the first time an inlet has closed on the Outer Banks, but that doesn't make it any less devastating to the commercial and sport fishermen who use it to get into the sea. Catherine Kozak has an article at Island Free Press about the shoaling issues there.
Harborfest for Heartworks -- This fundraiser to benefit the Heartworks organization in Bayboro is coming up Friday an Saturday, the 18th and 19th of September. It will be held at River Dunes near Oriental. Friday night features a ticketed dinner and live music. Then the doors open Saturday morning with free admission for the whole family to enjoy the art exhibits, music, auctions and raffle. Then in the evening, another ticketed event with entertainment and dancing. More information at the Harborfest website.
Florida Visitor -- A manatee was sighted off Jennette's Pier in Nags Head July 21st, 2015. Story here.
Shoaling Problems Up and Down the Coast -- We all know about the shoaling issues at Oregon Inlet, Hatteras Inlet and Beaufort Inlet - but our neighbors to the south have their own set of issues. The Port Royal Terminal near Beaufort, SC has been closed since 2006, and the Georgetown SC harbor is rapidly silting up, with astronomical estimates of what it would cost to dredge it. Add to that the closure of the Arcelor Mittal (old Georgetown Steel) mill, and the prospects for Georgetown to remain a deep sea port are grim. See the article at Charleston Post and Courier.
High Livin' on HiFlite -- Dale and Cori were in New London CT last week, guests of friends from the Islands at their home marina, the North Cove Yacht Club. Sounds swank to me. How are you going to get them back on the farm after they've seen Paree? Read their blog here.
Eastern NC Heat Wave -- It's July 21st and the Neuse River remains in the grip of a brutal heat wave, with forecast heat index of 105 degrees or more. A real shame, because the winds are steady from the southwest at 10 to 15 knots, a perfect breeze for sailing. Breeze or no breeze, it's too hot to sail. On another weather note, fishermen should keep an eye out for the next good northeaster, which will send the big drum pouring into the river and creeks.
Port of Morehead City Schedules -- If you enjoy seeing the deep sea freighters come in Beaufort Inlet, this site lists estimated arrival dates for inbound ships. With the name of an inbound ship, you can find information about it and its current position at this site.
A Step Closer to a New Bonner Bridge -- Sounds like a done deal but I'm sure many Bankers will believe it when they see it. Irene Nolan and Catherine Kozak of Island Free Press report that "After a quarter century of planning, studies, bickering, and finally legal challenges from environmental groups, the decrepit 2.7-mile Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over Oregon Inlet will be replaced with a new parallel span." See the story here.
More of the same, except worse... -- NWS is predicting a high of 103 this afternoon, June 16th, 2015, with a heat index of 105 or higher. While today is expected to be the worst in the current heatwave, temperatures for the rest of the week will continue to be in the 90s.
Beaufort Pirate Invasion -- Re-enactment of the 1747 invasion of Beaufort by Spanish privateers, taking place in downtown Beaufort August 7th and 8th, 2015. Lots of free, fun, family events during the day, plus some ticketed events in the evening. Check out the website.
Traditional Skiff Regatta -- will be held on August 1st, 2015 at the Maritime Museum Watercraft Center in Beaufort. If you have a traditional skiff and want to participate, call the Friends of the Maritime Museum at 252-728-2762. For more information, see the website.
Beaufort Inlet Shipping Channel Still Shoaled -- Bruce Siceloff at the News & Observer has another good article on the issues confronting deepwater ships trying to make it in Beaufort Inlet. Dredging is underway, but progress is slow. Click here.
Rollinson Channel a Channel No More? -- The historic Rollinson Channel that connected Hatteras Village with Hatteras Inlet has shoaled to the point that the Coast Guard is removing markers. Boaters should use Barney Slough and South Ferry Slough. According to Outer Banks Voice, markers 9 through 13 will be removed. That sounds permanent.
Harborfest for HeartWorks 2015 -- This is a fundraiser for Pamlico County non-profit Heartworks that will be held at River Dunes the weekend of September 18th through 20th. Looks like Saturday general admission will be free, special events on Friday and Saturday nights will require a ticket, but if you're a big spending sailor who would like to help out a local charity, a full-bore, sail-in, no-holds-barred admission to River Dunes Club for the whole festival is available for $500 a boat. More info to come. Check out the Heartworks website for more information.
It Had to Happen -- There have been many Elvis impersonators, now there are Eagles impersonators. The group "On the Border" includes musicians impersonating each of the individual members of the Eagles. If this sounds like something you would like to see, there will be a show at the Carteret Community Theatre July 17th, 2015. For ticket information, click here.
Hot for June -- It's June 15th and the NWS is predicting 98 degrees and heat index of 109. Tomorrow is more of the same.
57th Annual Big Rock Tournament -- will be held June 5th through 13th. Click here for details.
Ocrafolk 2015 -- The Annual Ocrafolk Festival will be held the weekend of June 5th through 7th. This is one of the premiere events in the region, so sail, drive, bike or walk to Ocracoke and be a part of it. Dropping the hook in Silver Lake puts you right in the middle of all the activities, but expect the anchorage to be crowded. Check out the website for more information.
For the Traditionalists Out There -- Delbert McClinton will be playing at the Carteret Community Theatre the evening of May 30th, 2015. Details here.
Oregon Inlet Reopened with Restrictions -- As of April 2nd, 2015, the Coast Guard has reopened the inlet to boats of no more than 5 feet of draft. This means most of the charter fleet is back in business. Story at The Outer Banks Voice.
Wooden Boats in the Antipodes -- The Australian Wooden Boat Festival was held February 6-9, 2015. These people are serious about their boats, and the pictures of the regatta in Hobart Bay and the boats on exhibit are spectacular. Check it out here.
Neuse River Music Fest -- Traditional music lovers should put February 20-21, 2015 on the calendar. The Festival will be held on the campus of Lenoir Community College, Kinston, NC. More information available here.
Corps of Engineers Allocates More Money for Dredging -- The Raleigh News and Observer reports February 3rd, 2015, that an extra $4.1 million will go to Beaufort Inlet and more money is promised for Oregon Inlet and the ICW as well. See story at newsobserver.com.
Salvage Opportunity Off the NC Coast? -- The Coast Guard air-lifted crew off 55-foot catamaran Rain Maker 200 miles off Cape Hatteras January 29th, 2015. Irene Nolan of Island Free Press reports that the $2.5 million boat suffered a broken mast. All crew were reported safe.
Manteo Distillery Close to Reality -- A couple of months ago I took a wait and see attitude, now I'm thinking this just might happen. Russ Lay of The Outer Banks Voice reports on January 27, 2015 that "the molasses has been delivered. The tanks and copper pot distiller are in place." Sounds like Russ already has plans - "If one is hardy enough and has a designated driver, the Manteo combo of a distillery and the Full Moon microbrewery packs a powerful one-two punch for any aficionado of craft brews and spirits." So, any volunteers for DD?
Shipping Schedules for NC Ports -- If you enjoy watching deep-sea freighters negotiate our coastal waters, the Sailing Schedules posted by the NC State Port Authority may be of interest.
The Macabre World of Ship-breaking -- Available on the web is "Bulletin of information and analysis on ship demolition", a quarterly publication comprised of page after page of details on ocean-going ships being scrapped all over the world. The September 2014 edition is available here.
E15 Gas at NC Sheetz Stations -- Larry Casey on Carolina Breeze forwarded a notice from BoatU.S. that certain Sheetz stations are selling E15 gas - this is not something you want to put in a marine engine. Most marinas sell gas with no corn ethanol mixed in, and that's the best thing for your inboard or outboard engine. But if you have to use gas-station gas, look for unmixed (hard to find) or E10. Thanks for the heads-up, Larry.
How Things Have Changed -- A 1960 Official Highway Map for the State of North Carolina shows a state-run ferry across the Alligator River on Highway 64, another at Oregon Inlet, and a third at Hatteras Inlet. No ferry at Knotts Landing, Pamlico, Neuse or Cape Fear Rivers. No state-run ferries from the mainland to Ocracoke, but there was a private ferry that ran from Atlantic to Ocracoke. For a digital copy of a current NC Highway Map or archived maps from 1960 and other years, click here.
Most Sailors Like Coffee, Right? -- And most of us like the sun. This is no excuse to throw away the sunblock, but the Los Angeles Times reports here that coffee consumption can reduce the risk of melanoma.
Beaufort Inlet Shoaling -- is causing problems for major shippers Potash and Nucor. Sand from the end of Shackleford Banks is avalanching into the channel, and deep-sea freighters are having to short load to reduce their draft. Dredging work is scheduled to begin February 2015, but local pilots would like to see a lot more done than is planned. Unfortunately, the $20 million needed to do it right is just not in the budget. Veteran News and Observer reporter Bruce Siceloff reports on the story here.
Isabella is for Sale -- Suzanne and Peter's 32 foot Downeaster is currently at Pecan Grove waiting to be yarded at Deaton's. She is for sale, listed with Deaton's Yacht Sales, asking $29,900.
Salty Turtle in Nassau Town -- as of 12/16/14. Vic's back to blogging at Gigi's Island Days. He's a few days behind on his posts, and I'm looking forward to the account of their passage. I can't blame him for putting sleep and island festivities in front of blogging.
"We are now officially in the Bahamas" -- So Dale reports after checking in with Customs at Green Turtle Cay on 12/13/14. For more, see Dale's blog at hiflite.blogspot.com. Evidently Cori made him walk across the island and it's killing him.
Salty Turtle Reported in Miami Beach -- Matthews Point lost dogeys Gigi and Vic have turned up in South Florida as of 12/11/14. My guess is they'll be in the islands any day now.
Topsail is Catching it Too -- Last weekend's storm that did so much damage to the Outer Banks also took a toll on mainland beaches, as reported by the Jacksonville Daily News. North Topsail continues to fight erosion.
December 10th, 2014 - Highway 12 is Open -- NCDOT reports sand and water on road north of Rodanthe, but the road is open. No closure at high tide last night, so maybe the worst is past.
Coastal Storm Batters Outer Banks -- Irene Nolan at Island Free Press has a good account of the December 8th 2014 storm that cut Highway 12 and severed the fiber optic cable that provides internet and cell phone access for the whole of the Banks south of Oregon Inlet. The article is here, along with several pictures by local photographer Don Bowers.
Highway 12 Temporarily Closed -- as of December 8th, 2014, due to overwash between Bonner Bridge and Rodanthe. More overwash is reported at Kitty Hawk, Buxton and Avon but the road is still open in these areas. NCDOT expects the Bonner Bridge - Rodanthe stretch to reopen later today but warns of high-tide closures for the next few days if the current weather pattern continues. See press release for details.
2015 Ferry Schedules -- NCDOT has posted schedules to go into effect January 1st, 2015.
Hi Flite at Vero Beach -- After sailing out Cape Fear, Dale and Cori put in quickly at Fernandina Beach for fuel and then continued outside to Ponce Inlet, then down the ICW to Vero, where they are awaiting a weather window to cross to the Bahamas. Dale is blogging at this site now.
Wilmington Makers -- Lots of people talk about building a boat, this father-son team did it. Read about their sailboat "Maggie" at Wrightsville Beach community newspaper Lumina News.
Maritime Archaeological and Historical Society -- has made back issues of their newsletters available for free download at their website. The MAHS puts out a first-class publication worth reading by anyone interested in sailing history, archaeology or diving.
Missing Canoeist on the Albermarle -- Dan sent this link to an urgent appeal to keep on the lookout for a missing canoeist whose boat was found at the mouth of Big Flatty Creek in Pasquotank County. This link is from December 1st, and if anyone hears more news please contact me at email@example.com so I can spread the word.
Hi Flite Off GA Coast -- Latest spot (11/30/14) puts Hi Flite just south of Savannah and well offshore, making good time for the islands.
Bonner Bridge FUD -- "Rumors of Bonner Bridge Closure Shot Down, as Negotiations Continue" is the headline at Island Free Press November 24th, 2014. Maybe NCDOT needs to rummage around the closet for a Stumpy Point Ferry - just in case.
Emerald Isle Woods -- 41 acre park run by the town of Emerald Isle. Looks like a pretty place for a walk or picnic. Click here.
Dawson Creek Access Area Closed for Renovations -- The ramp and dock, just upriver from Oriental at Janeiro, will be closed for about three months to allow for rebuilding. Story here.
Havelock Solves Its Sewage Problem -- Little Slocum Creek just couldn't handle it all, so the outflow pipe was extended to the Neuse River, at the cost of $12 million. The big, bad Neuse can handle all the sewage that Havelock can throw at it. But a stint of bad weather crushed the spindly wooden pilings at the outlet end, and now Havelock has to come up with another $197,000 to put in steel ones.Click here for the whole story.
Meet Michel and Annie -- The Ocracoke Current has an article about my friends Michel and Annie, who I met at Oriental a couple of months ago. If you cross paths with them, say hello for the Neuse River Sailor. Bienvenue aux Marins Francais!
Passenger Ferry Q and A -- Fine local reporting from the Ocracoke Current about a recent public meeting regarding ferry issues. Ferry Q and A.
Rum Distillery in Manteo? -- We'll see how this pans out. Rum-swilling Neuse River sailors may have a chance to support the local economy. Website here.
Not Everyone Runs the Ditch -- Great article at Ocracoke Currents about a couple of snowbirds taking the offshore route and their visit to Ocracoke. See here.
Oriental Catboat -- Latest Shipping News at The Town Dock features Felix the catboat, a stunning piece of craftsmanship by local resident Art Halpern. I saw this boat at Sailcraft Services in the water a few weeks ago, and it is a real eye-opener.
R2AK -- Sounds like total lunacy, but a group is organizing an "Ironman" style sail, row, paddle event from Port Townsend, WA to Ketchikan, AK - 750 miles - for June 2015. Website here.
Tour the State Port Facility -- The NC Maritime Museum will sponsor tours of the Morehead City Port Facility November 19th and December 12th, 2014. Reservations are $5.00 and you need to make one a week in advance so they can get you cleared. More information here.
Retrospective on Claiborne Young's Life -- A short article at News & Observer from July 20th, 2014.
Wanchese Boatbuilder Gunboat -- was awarded best new sailboat 30 feet and over at the 2014 Newport International Boat Show. Gunboat builds big oceangoing catamarans. Story here.
Beast Feast 2014 -- Matthews Point Marina's annual celebration of the bounty of the gun and rod will be held Saturday, November 8th. This is a private affair for members of Matthews Point and their guests, so cadge an invitation and come on out to one of the best parties of the year. Kate McNally will provide the entertainment after dinner.
The Money that Tobacco Made -- 115 foot Camper & Nicholson ketch Aries, constructed for North Carolina tobacco magnate R.J. Reynolds, is for sale. The price is 675,000 euros. Listing here.
Pamlico Sound Rescue -- Local boaters and the Coast Guard teamed up to rescue the crew of a sinking catamaran in the sound. Coast Guard Press Release here.
Check out this short video -- of a sailboat struck by lightning at the Ensign Harbor Marina site.
New Transient Dockage in Beaufort -- The NC Maritime Museum has a new facility on Gallant's Creek offering overnight dockage. It's a bit of a hike to the Beaufort waterfront, but the rates are reasonable at $1.00 per foot. Article here.
First Photos from Georgetown 2014 -- are posted in the Photographs section.
Blackbeard Pirate Jamboree -- Ocracoke, October 31st through November 2nd, 2014.Information here.
25th Annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show -- is scheduled for October 18th and 19th 2014. Registration forms available online if you want to exhibit your boat, admission for the general public is free. Come on down and enjoy the premier wooden boat show in the southeast, held on the waterfront of beautiful, historic Georgetown, SC. Website here.
Proposed Swansboro Public Dock Hits Snags -- Swansboro's decaying downtown could really use a boost from increased transient spending, but local squabbling has the whole project in limbo.Tideland News published an editorial on August 12th, 2014, pleading with all parties to get together on this before the snowbirds start coming through this fall. If you read the comments section, you may wish to just bypass Swansboro altogether.
Ferry Toll Issue Dead for This Year -- New Bern Sun Journal reported July 21st, 2014 that the General Assembly has again declined to grasp the third rail of downeast politics and will leave a resolution to the ferry toll issue for next year's session.
United States Sailboat Show -- Annapolis will host the 45th Annual U.S. Sailboat Show October 9th through 13th, 2014, and the Powerboat Show the following week, the 16th through 19th. Details at the website.
North Carolina Seafood Festival -- It's festival time of year as localities try to draw out the last waning tourist dollars of the summer. This one will be held in Morehead City October 3rd through 5th, 2014. More information here.
60th Annual Swansboro Mullet Festival -- October 11th and 12th, 2014. Looks to be a typical street festival with crafts, vendors and tribute bands. For more information, click here.
5th Annual Southport Wooden Boat Show -- will be held Saturday, September 27th, 2014, at the old yacht basin. For details, click here.
Planning on Riding the Cedar Island Ferry? -- Be aware that the published schedule has been altered due to a mechanical problem on one of the boats. NCDOT has the details and the new schedule, which will be in effect until September 29th, 2014.
Watertribe Challenge -- This "Iron Man" style race starts and ends at Cedar Island. The only navigational requirements are that each boat must run the course counter-clockwise, pass through the Harlowe Canal and check in at Beaufort. No motors, of course, but sail, paddle, oar are all allowed. Total distance is 90 to 100 miles, depending on routing. Concurrently, the same organization is advertising a 300 mile Pamlico Challenge, but there's not much on the website about it. Start date is Friday, September 26th, 2014, and the Watertribe Website has more information.
Traditional Skiff Regatta -- at the Maritime Museum in Beaufort, 9:00 a.m. August 2nd, 2014. Click here for more information.
Silver Lake Park Service Docks Finished -- The Ocracoke Current reports on July 16th, 2014 that the rebuilding of the docks is complete and they are open and accepting transients.
Matthews Point Reports All Clear -- As of 8:00 A.M Friday, July 4th, 2014, Dockmaster Tom at Matthews Point Marina reports all boats are safe after hurricane-force winds hit overnight. Town Dock at Oriental is also reporting all is well, skies are blue and the water is just a little high.
Hurricane Arthur May Pay Us A Visit -- Keep a close eye on this storm which, as of the morning of Tuesday, July 1st, is predicted to skirt the NC coast on Friday.
50th Annual Hancock Regatta -- July 13th and 14th, 2014. Racing from the Hancock Marina on Cherry Point MCAS. For details and entry form, see the club website.
Pamlico County Croaker Festival -- Independence Day celebration in Oriental July 4th and 5th, details here.
Neuse Has a New Riverkeeper -- The Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation has hired Travis Graves of New Bern to fill the position. More here.
Big Expansion for Hammocks Beach State Park Likely -- NC Coastal Federation reports that a recent agreement with a local property owner should allow for a 289 acre expansion of the park.
Same Daddy, Different Mommy -- Check out this Wittholz Tug half-sister of Dan's Marian Claire. She's listed for sale at the Woodenboat site.
Charter Fleet Back to Work -- Interesting article at Pilot Online about the dangerous and nerve-wracking process of taking big sport fishermen in and out of Oregon Inlet. Yes, they have ten feet of water, but the channel is very narrow, and in a different place from day to day.
How Did I Miss This Website for so Long -- The Log of Spartina contains all sorts of good stories about sailing on the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound, as well as the Chesapeake Bay. Thanks, Donnie on Y-Knot for passing along the url.
Town of Plymouth Has a Great New Public Dock -- Neuse River Sailors looking for a destination might consider Plymouth, on the Roanoke River, just above its junction with the Albermarle Sound. The town has built a beautiful new marina that transients can stay at free of charge for up to 14 days. 30-amp power and water are included, and pumpouts are available for $5. There are restrooms and showers available through the local Maritime Museum. The town boasts two museums and a replica of an Albermarle Sound Screwpile Lighthouse. There are two restaurants within walking distance of the docks, as well as a hiking trail. The Roanoke River is easily navigable and carries good depths all the way to Plymouth, and the bridge clearance is 51 feet. On top of all that, the people of Plymouth are as friendly and welcoming as any you are likely to find. The marina is on the upstream edge of town, directly under the lighthouse. Check in with the dockmaster at the Maritime Museum across the street or at 252-217-2204 to get the combination to the shower house.
Anchor Hazard in Silver Lake -- With Ocrafolk just around the corner, I'm pushing this old news item from last year to the front...Dan snagged a heavy cable with his anchor in Silver Lake at Ocrafolk and had a dickens of a time getting free. Eventually, with Mike's help, he managed to bring the anchor to the surface along with a length of cable seemingly attached below water at each end. After freeing Marian Claire, he radioed the Coast Guard for instructions, and they told him to drop the cable back into the water. So it is still there, waiting to snag the next unsuspecting boat. Conscientious sailors might wish to plot these coordinates on their charts of Silver Lake - 35 06.736 N, 075 59.017 W. This is where Marian Claire lay snagged on the cable. Thanks Dan and Mike for getting the information out about this hazard.
Time for Ocrafolk -- The popular Ocracoke festival is coming up June 6-8, 2014. For information, click here.
Oregon Inlet Reopens -- A combination of dredging and favorable southerly winds has reopened Oregon Inlet, with depths of 8 to 11 feet reported in the channel.The Outer Banks Voice has an update as of May 9th, 2014.
Anxiously Perusing -- DredgingToday.com for the latest reports on Oregon Inlet is a new daily habit for many Bankers. The good news, Merritt is hard at work and has the channel cleared to four feet - at six feet, the big Currituck can get in there and start really hurling sand. Bad news, both dredges are committed elsewhere starting May 1st.
Shoaling Closes Oregon Inlet -- The Virginian Pilot reported on April 17th, 2014 that the inlet had shoaled to 2 feet deep and virtually all boat traffic was halted.
And It's Not Just the Outer Banks -- The winter's heavy weather has damaged beaches all along the coast. For a look at the situation along Onslow Bay, this article from the Jacksonville Daily News is a good place to start.
Too Much Sand or Not Enough -- Sand is filling up Nags Head swimming pools and clogging the Hatteras ferry channel. Sand is rapidly disappearing from the beachfront at Rodanthe. So do we have too much sand, or not enough? It's a burning question for a narrow strip of sand islands called the Outer Banks. Click here for an article about sand deficits and surpluses.
What's Happening in the World of Vessel Loss -- So far this year of 2014, "Danish-flagged container vessel Svendborg Maersk was in the Bay of Biscay last week as hurricane-force winds battered the Atlantic coast of Europe. Amid waves of 30 feet and winds of 60 knots, the Svendborg began losing containers off northern France. After the ship arrived in the Spanish port of Malaga this week, Maersk discovered that about 520 containers were unaccounted for. Stacks of others had collapsed. (21-02-2014)". If you enjoy this kind of news, you'll love the Daily Vessel Casualty, Piracy & News Report at cargolaw.com, the website of law firm Countryman & McDaniel.
Work Commencing on NPS Docks in Silver Lake -- Renovations have begun as of February 27th, 2014 and are expected to be complete by May. In the meantime, the docks may be closed, so sailors should contact the National Park Service at 252-475-9034 before making plans to visit Ocracoke. See the press release for more details.
Learn to Fire a Muzzle-Loading Musket -- Fort Macon State Park has all kinds of fun demonstrations and tours on tap for Spring 2014. See their events page here.
Late March Weather System -- stayed far enough offshore to spare the NC coast the worst of it. As of 8:00 AM, Wednesday the 24th, it is clear and the winds are gusting to close to 30 knots out of the northwest at Matthews Point. The temperature is just above freezing. All boats are riding nicely. The 9:00 observations from NOAA last night showed gusts to 31 at Cherry Point, to 35 at Beaufort and to 37 at Cedar Island. No reports of problems on Highway 12 or the Outer Banks, though the late night Sound ferries were cancelled last night due to wind.
40th Annual Beaufort Wooden Boat Show -- will be held Saturday, May 3, 2014 at the Maritime Museum on the Beaufort NC waterfront. More information here.
Oriental In-Water Boat Show -- will be hosted at Pecan Grove Marina April 11th-13th, 2014. The new boats might be fun to see, but the best part will be the nautical flea market. I will be looking for a cracked A4 piston to use for an ash tray. Information available here.
Ocracoke Ferry Stuck in Sand -- The ferry to Cedar Island spent all day February 28th, 2014, stuck in the ditch from Silver Lake to the slue. Read all about it at the Island Free Press.
February 11th, 2014 -- As of mid-day, Hatteras to Ocracoke, Ocracoke to Cedar Island and Ocracoke to Swan Quarter ferries are suspended due to weather - "Visibility down to a quarter mile at Hatteras with accumulating snow."
Matthews Point Marina Denizens -- As of January 10th, 2014, Larry and Cathy and their dog Abbey aboard "Carolina Breeze" are in the Vero Beach area, headed for Lake Worth with plans to jump over to the Abacos during the next weather window.
Hacked! -- Yes, Neuse River Sailors was hacked recently, though the site doesn't seem to have been damaged. Evidently they were trying to use the site as a robot to send out spam. My ISP, Dreamhost, spotted the injected php scripts immediately, informed me and helped me to delete them from the site. Then they gave me instructions on hardening the site so that it wouldn't happen again. For anyone running your own site, just be sure all files are set read-only, not just for others, but for group as well - mod 644. For directories, mod 755. Thanks, Dreamhost, I'm proud to be a customer.
NCDOT Denies Rumors -- that Bonner Bridge will close early January 2014. Concern - I might even say hysteria - mounts in the wake of last month's surprise closure.Click here.
Recap of Outer Banks Transportation Issues -- As of December 20th, 2013 Bonner Bridge is open. Emergency Ferry Route between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe is shut down. Hatteras - Ocracoke Ferry is on alternate routing, due to shoaling in the regular channel.
Baldhead Island Ferry Runs Aground, Injuries Reported -- See early report at CNN News This is a privately-run ferry, not part of the NC DOT ferry system.
Card from Michelle -- Mainly of interest to Matthews Point denizens. I found this card on the counter in the clubhouse.
Old Gallants Channel Drawbridge's Days are Numbered -- NCDOT is looking for bids to replace the historic bridge with a 65 foot clearance, four lane fixed span. Press release here.
David Howard Crews for Series-Leading Boat -- David is a former Matthews Point denizen currently sailing out of Blackbeard. He sent this picture from a recent race, at the helm of Silent Pursuit, which is leading the Winter Series after five races.
Old Fishing Pier at Frisco is Reaching the End of Its Days -- Outer Banks Blue has the story and pictures. Sad to see another North Carolina landmark fall to the rigors of time.
Bonner Bridge Reopening -- as of 4:00 pm 12/15/2013. Press release here.
Stumpy Point - Rodanthe Ferry Back in Operation -- The Ferry Division will reinstitute the route starting December 4, 2013, with 8 daily schedules in each direction.
December 3, 2013 - Bonner Bridge is Closed -- "To protect the traveling public, the N.C. Department of Transportation has closed the Herbert C. Bonner Bridge over the Oregon Inlet on N.C. 12 along the Outer Banks today due to immediate safety concerns." Press Release Here.
Cherry Point Ferry Crew Rescues Local Man -- An Oriental resident out kite surfing was pulled from the waters of the Neuse River by the crew of ferry "Neuse" after his lines broke and he plunged into the cold waters. The full story can be found at the New Bern Sun Journal.
Bad Days for Sailboats -- Coast Guard, Navy rescue three from disabled sailboat. Also see Coast Guard assists five sailboats in distress,rescues four from one boat And then Shipwrecked sailboats on Pea Island are drawing the curious.
Maybe Third Try Lucky -- The Outer Banks Chamber of Commerce will make another stab at holding Blackbeard�s Pirate Jamboree in Ocracoke Friday October 25th through Sunday the 27th, 2013. This will be the third attempt at having the pirate fest, the ones in 2011 and 2012 being cancelled due to stormy weather. The Devilmen of Cape Feare have promised to attend, sailing up from their southerly haunts, and Blackbeard's Pirate Crew will come down from Hampton, VA. Anyone planning on anchoring in Silver Lake that weekend should keep a close deck watch.
24th Annual Georgetown Wooden Boat Show -- Saturday, October 19th, 2013. For information, click here.
Beast Feast and Kate McNally Show -- The annual Beast Feast at Matthews Point Marina will be held the evening of Saturday, November 9th. Noted North Carolina singer and guitarist Kate McNally will provide entertainment. November is a great time to be at the Point, the weather is cool, the mosquitos are gone, nice sailing breezes on the river. So come on down and enjoy the festivities. This event is open to Matthews Point Marina members and their guests. If you don't keep a boat at Matthews Point, cadge an invitation and come see why this marina is something special.
North Carolina Seafood Festival -- Yes, another year has passed and it is time for the Seafood Festival in Morehead City. This is the place to eat good seafoood and watch acts like the perennial favorite Millenia Funk'n Band and up-an-coming newcomers like Bryan Mayar, Eric Paslay and Rachel Farley. You might remember Rachel, she sang background vocals on Brantley Gilbert's 2012 single �Kick It in the Sticks�. More information here. The festival runs the weekend of October 4th through 6th, 2013.
Ferry Crew Honored for Saving Captain's Life -- When the captain of ferry Croatan collapsed during a June Hatteras to Ocracoke crossing, the crew brought the boat safely into port while rendering first aid, finding medical personnel among the passengers to help, and making arrangements for emergency responders to meet the boat at the dock. Captain Shawn Gray has made a full recovery and the crew has been presented the ferry division's Extra Mile Award for their actions. These sailors exemplify the highest standards of seamanship and we are fortunate to have them manning our ferries. For the full story, click here for the NCDOT press release.
The Story on Primadonna -- Everyone entering Oriental harbor has surely noted the old, decrepit, red-painted steel ketch that has been anchored behind the breakwater for months. The Town Dock has an excellent report on the boat, the owners and the controversy in Oriental over their long stay. It seems that many locals, while sympathetic, are concerned that Primadonna has become a seemingly permanent feature of the harbor. The owners would like to sail Primadonna back to France, but need to make repairs and are short on money.
NC Ports Having a Bang-Up Year -- The New Bern Sun Journal reports that the ports of Wilmington and Beaufort turned a profit of $5.1 million in the recently-completed fiscal year, due to increased volume in grain, fertilizer, scrap metal, sulphur and other bulk cargos.
Watertribe Races -- kick off Friday, September 27th. They are running two this year, the traditional 100 miler and a new ultra-marathon 300 miler. Either one requires transit of the Harlowe Canal, so the deck at the Matthews Point clubhouse will be a great place to watch the boats come through. The Watertribe people are in desperate need for help with their website design, but I was finally able to locate this page with some general information about the event.
4th Annual Southport Wooden Boat Show -- is coming up Saturday, September 28th, 2013. Click here for details.
How to Use a Navigational Chart -- I monitored the VHF today as the US Coast Guard and TowboatUS labored to remove a 38 foot sailboat from the rock jetty at Radio Island. I don't know the circumstances of this incident, but I do know that all sailors should understand how to use a navigational chart. The Fort Macon Sail and Power Squadron is offering a free seminar the evening of October 1st, 2013 at the Maritime Museum in Beaufort, on reading and using navigational charts. Check it out.
NC Legislature Backs Down on Ferry Tolls -- There will be no new ferry tolls. The State Legislature has decided to let Rural Transportation Boards in the affected counties have veto power over any new tolls - and we know they will use it. The legislature also gave NCDOT the authority to increase the tolls on the Cedar Island and Swan Quarter ferries, but since they simultaneously dropped their instructions to NCDOT to find $5 million a year in additional revenues, NCDOT no longer needs to raise any tolls. In other words, back to the status quo ante - it's 2011 again. The Raleigh News and Observer lays out the details in a July 22, 2013 story. I'm sure interest groups across the state are watching with eyes wide open.
Another Beauty on the Oriental Town Dock -- Check out this Joel White/Robert Baker designed traditional plank-on-frame cutter. Thanks to the Shipping News for the pictures and write-up.
New Ferry Tolls On Hold -- The Jacksonville Daily News reports on May 23rd, 2013 that the legislature is stalled and tolls probably won't go into effect on July 1st as planned. Instead, they want to consider advertising as an alternative. I bid $50 to have the Floyd J. Lupton renamed the Neuse River Sailor. Read all about it.
Virginian-Pilot Writer Diane Tennant -- has an impressive four-part series on the transportation issues affecting the Outer Banks. Click here for links to all four articles.
Neuse Riverkeeper Foundation Forced to Cut Positions -- due to budgetary issues. Story at The Sun Journal, New Bern newspaper.
Short Article on Hoop Pole Creek Preserve -- at the North Carolina Coastal Federation Website. The preserve is the last bit of natural, undeveloped land in the town of Atlantic Beach. It is a great place to go hiking or kayaking.
The Irony of It All -- Dr. Jeff Masters at Weather Underground reports "NOAA employees may be furloughed 4 days during the 2013 hurricane season". - WunderBlog..
Ocrafolk Wrap-Up -- With pictures. Wait, is that Doster? The Island Free Press.
Traditionally-rigged sailing craft rally -- sponsored by the Maritime Museum to celebrate the 4th of July. Saturday, July 6th, 2013 on Taylor's Creek. For more information, click here.
55th Annual Big Rock -- is just around the corner, June 7th through 15th, 2013. Official Website Here.
Upcoming at the NC Maritime Museum at Beaufort -- July 13th-14th, 2013, a two-day course in traditional boatbuilding carpentry. And August 3rd, a Traditional Skiff Regatta. See the Museum calendar for details.
Could Spend a Lot of Time -- on this site. Amazing historic photographs of America. - Click here. It has a good search engine - try searching on boat.
Funny -- cartoon at computer geek site xkcd - Upcoming Hurricanes.
Rebound of a Core Sounder -- is the subtitle of an article at Town Dock about a traditional boat that visited Oriental lately. The boat "Once Again", formerly a working fisherman, looks to be just the ticket for knocking around the creeks, rivers and sounds of North Carolina. Check it out at the Shipping News, Towndock.net
Interesting Article on the Future of the Outer Banks -- retired East Carolina geology professor predicts that one or two more storms could fragment the banks, advocates letting Highway 12 go and adding ferry routes to the viable communities. Hard Facts and Hard Heads on the Outer Banks.
Latest on Ocrafolk -- June 7th through 9th. If you plan to attend, make arrangements now. It sounds like they are expecting a big turnout and lodging will be hard to find - except, of course, for the Neuse River Sailors who anchor out in Silver Lake. "THE SATURDAY NIGHT OCRACHICKS CONCERT IS CURRENTLY SOLD OUT." And other news, here at the festival website.
It's Not Too Early... -- to start planning for Ocrafolk, June 7th through 9th, 2013. Click here for updates.
It Don't Matter Who's in Austin -- Bob Wills is still the king. And while Bob has been gone for better than 30 years, Asleep at the Wheel has done a pretty good job of keeping his music alive. Asleep at the Wheel , live at the Morehead City Center, May 19th, 2013.
Vic Has A New Post Up -- at Gigi's Island Days.
Wings Over Wayne Airshow -- Here is a chance to see up close the military jets that scream overhead as we pass through Goldsboro on Highway 70. The airshow is free, the parking is free, and the sounds and sights are awesome. Lots of good information at the official site. The event will be held May 18-19, 2013.
Edenton Cruiser Rally May 2013 -- In conjunction with Edenton's 300th Anniversary, the town will host a cruiser rally the week of May 6-12, 2013. Claiborne and the folks at CruisersNet have already done a great job of announcing the event, so I'll just suggest you follow the link to find out all about it.
39th Annual Wooden Boat Show -- May 3rd and 4th, 2013 at the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort. Click here.
32nd Annual BBQ Festival on the Neuse -- If you like that vinegary eastern style barbecue (and who doesn't), put the weekend of May 4th 2013 on your calendar. The event will be held in downtown Kinston on the Neuse River. Information available here.
Alligator River Bridge Reopened -- NC DOT Press Release here.
Hey Babe, Take a Walk on the Wild Side -- Now this sounds like not your usual Beaufort fare - The Dockhouse & the Pyrates of Onslow Bay are sponsoring a fundraiser benefiting the 2013 Beaufort Pirate Invasion at the Dockhouse Friday night, April 19th, 2013. "A Night in Tortuga" will feature barbecue, live entertainment, and a Wench Auction with guest emcee Big Mama D! "Local wenches will put their collected bounties up for auction, each treasure donated by our local businesses." Tickets for this event will be $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Note that this is a 21 and over event, so don't even think about bringing the kids. More information here.
Nautical Tool and Tag Sale -- April 13, 2013 will be a big day for the NC Maritime Museum in Beaufort. In addition to the "Build a Boat in a Day" event (see below), there will be a sale of old boats, motors, trailers, tools, etc from 7:00 AM to 10:00 AM, to benefit the museum. See the Museum Website.for more information.
Build a Boat in a Day -- This is a great introduction to boatbuilding for a parent-child combination. "Each adult and child team uses the stitch-and-glue technique to assemble a prepared kit for a small flat-bottomed plywood boat suitable for rowing or paddling." This takes place at the NC Maritime Museum's Beaufort Watercraft Center on April 13, 2013. The cost is $300 per team, and more information is available at the Museum Website.
More on the Alligator River Bridge Repair -- Outer Banks Blue has a long, detailed post with some good photographs of the work being done.
Alligator River Bridge Closed for Repairs -- The decrepit old bridge on Highway 64 will be closed to road traffic for two weeks, April 2nd through 14th, 2013 for much-needed repairs. No word on opening schedules for the draw. ICW traffic should make inquiries. NCDOT Press Release.
Oriental In-Water Boat Show -- This annual event is scheduled for April 13th and 14th, 2013, at Pecan Grove Marina just across the creek from Oriental. Not much information yet at the official website. I'll keep a weather eye on it and post more information as it becomes available.
Outer Banks Transportation Troubles Continue-- As of March 15th, 2013 Highway 12 is open, following intermittent closures and single lane operation for several days. Winter storms are driving water and sand over the road. The Hatteras - Ocracoke Ferry is also running fluid schedules, with some runs cancelled due to heavy waves making the temporary channel impassible. Local residents are getting frustrated but it is hard to see what the state can do as the Outer Banks transportation system comes apart at the seams, other than hope for better weather. The NC DOT twitter feed has the most current information.
Vic Copelan has put up another fantastic post at Gigi's Island Days. Check it out.
Newport Pig Cooking Contest -- The never-ending quest for good barbecue must go on. Newport has their cook-off at the town park April 5th and 6th, 2013.Click here for more information.
Maybe Don't Throw Away the GPS Just Yet -- ...but archaeologists think they have found an ancient, almost mythical Norse navigational instrument on an Elizabethan-era wreck off the coast of France. The "sunstone" is an oblong crystal that refracts light and lets a navigator take a bearing on the sun, even when it is hidden by clouds or below the horizon. It sounds like just the thing to have on hand in case of solar flares or eminent World War III knocking out the navsats. Article here.
Letter from Don Clark -- Back in December we had guests at Matthews Point - Don Clark and his nephew, who put in with motor problems at the beginning of their voyage from New Bern to Florida. They ordered parts and successfully repaired their motor over a few days, and joined in the life of the marina in the evenings. By the time they left, they had become part of the Matthews Point family. They had smooth sailing at first, and then a spot of adventure - Read Don's letter here to find out what happened.
Morehead City Port Tour -- The NC Maritime Museum is sponsoring periodic tours of the port facilities. The next date is March 14th, 2013. There is a $10 charge.Contact the Museum for more information.You need to make a reservation and give them a drivers license number a week in advance so they can get you cleared to enter the Port Facility.
Hatteras to Ocracoke Ferry Back in Operation -- The ferry is running in a temporary channel while dredging work is completed. Check with the NCDOT Website for schedules, which are currently in a state of flux. With the Hatteras to Ocracoke ferry back in operation, the extra evening schedules on the Swan Quarter - Ocracoke run have been terminated.
Vic and Gigi are in Nassau -- See the log of the Salty Turtle at Gigi's Island Days.
Coast Guard Helps Out During Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry Suspension -- The U.S. Coast Guard is making a daily run across Hatteras Inlet to deliver needed pharmaceuticals to Ocracoke Island. Story Here.
Update on Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry Suspension -- "Dredging Contractor Making Progress at Hatteras Ferry Channel".The NCDOT website states that the dredging program is 60% complete, but the ferry route remains closed. To travel from Ocracoke to Hatteras requires a ferry ride to Swan Quarter and drive by way of Manteo - a five hour trip. The extra schedules on the Swan Quarter - Ocracoke route continue.
Morehead City Port Tour -- The NC Maritime Museum is sponsoring a monthly tour of the port facilities. The next two dates are February 21st and March 14th, 2013. There is a $10 charge.Contact the Museum for more information.
Neuse River Music Fest -- This used to be known as the Kinston Winter Bluegrass Festival and looks to still maintain its bluegrass and traditional roots. Check out the Lenoir Community College Website for all the details. February 15th-16th, 2013.
Hatteras-Ocracoke Ferry Route Suspended -- The latest information from the NCDOT is that as of 1/22/13 the Hatteras-Ocracoke route is suspended due to shoaling in Hatteras Inlet, with no estimate of when it will resume. This is above and beyond the low-water suspensions already in place, so now the connection between the southern and northern banks is completely broken. To travel from Ocracoke to Hatteras will now require a ferry ride to Swan Quarter and drive by way of Manteo - a five hour trip. The extra schedules on the Swan Quarter - Ocracoke route continue. See the NCDOT website for more information.
Sport Launch at Bayboro Rocket Field -- Now here's something different - the Tripoli East North Carolina prefecture (TRA#65) of the Tripoli Rocketry Association is having a sport launch at their home launching field January 26th, 2013. These are serious rocket enthusiasts - members of the Tripoli Rocketry Association were the first civilians to put a rocket in outer space. Click here for more information.
Outer Banks Transportation Issues Continue -- "For the past several weeks, ferry operations have been suspended daily during low water at the Hatteras-Ocracoke route." This from the NCDOT NC 12 Recovery Efforts website. Dredges are working to deepen the channel so that regular schedules can be resumed, but it may take a few more weeks. In the meantime, starting on January 9th extra evening runs are being made on the Swan Quarter - Ocracoke route to keep Ocracoke accessible from the north. See the NCDOT website for more information.
Weird News from Cruiser's Net -- "Alligator River Bridge (AICW Statute Mile 84) Will Not Open in Heavy Fog". Want to know why? Link over to Claiborne Young's Cruiser's Net to find out. And while you're there, check out the rest of the site. Cruiser's Net is the best source of news for sailors all along the southeast coast.
We Rode the Stumpy Point - Rodanthe Ferry -- Dan and I drove up to Stumpy Point December 11th and rode the ferry. We took the noon crossing and were one of four cars aboard. There were also two tractor-trailor rigs and a box truck. A Ferry Service employee told me the run almost never leaves anyone behind. On the Rodanthe side we found damaged houses, debris stacked along the edge of the road and salt-damaged vegetation. We went to the waterfront and found several homes on the verge of collapsing into the surf. We drove north out of Rodanthe and found a short stretch of road still under reconstruction with a quarter mile sand shoe-fly around the work. Otherwise the whole road north to Manteo was open. Bonner Bridge had a lane closed near the center as crews attempted to set some pilings, evidently to stabilize the old bridge. The NCDOT has stated that they hope to have NC 12 open by December 25th and it looks like they should be able to make this schedule. That means just a few more days until the Stumpy Point - Rodanthe Ferry is shut down, so if you want to ride it, do it now.
Highway 12 Still Broken North of Rodanthe -- As of November 28th 2012, the NC DOT Highway 12 Recovery Website reports that the Bonner Bridge is reopened but only 4 wheel drive vehicles up to the size of a 1 ton truck are allowed between the south end of the bridge and Rodanthe. Until the route is completely restored and reopened to 2 wheel drive vehicles, the Stumpy Point to Rodanthe ferry will continue to run. Priority will be given to work vehicle and local residents, but others will be accomodated on a space-available basis. There are no facilities at either end of the route so come prepared. There are eight daily sailings in each direction. The most up-to-date information is available by calling 1-800-293-3779 and pressing 1. Dare County has installed a web-cam at each end of the run to allow people to get an idea of space availability. I couldn't get the Rodanthe site to work, but the one at Stumpy Point seems fine.
Vic Copelan -- has some great new posts over at Gigi's Island Days. Salty Turtle is currently on a mooring in St. Augustine (as of November 16, 2012) after an eventful cruise south.
Oriental Boat Parade of Lights -- This is part of the 2012 Spirit of Christmas Celebration. At 5:30 pm on Friday, December 7th, the boats will round out of Whitaker Creek and pass along South Avenue. If you would like to participate, there is a short entry form here. For more information about the Spirit of Christmas Celebration, click here.
Free Overnight Docking in Bellhaven -- Claiborne Young's Cruiser'sNet reports that the town of Bellhaven has opened a guest dock on the waterfront. I'm looking forward to sailing up there and giving it a try.
Harkers Island Decoy Festival -- This is Year 25 for the acclaimed festival. There will be decoys aplenty, but lots of other attractions as well (just in case you are not a duck hunter). See the official website for details. December 1st-2nd, 2012.
Efforts to Clear and Reopen Highway 12 -- Cape Fear Business News has a good short article about NC DOT's efforts to get the road open.
Stumpy Point - Rodanthe Ferry Running -- Here's a brief chance to ride an unusual ferry route. The State of North Carolina has instituted a temporary ferry run between Stumpy Point and Rodanthe until the Bonner Bridge and Highway 12 on Pea Island can be reopened. Until Friday, November 9th, the ferry is open only to banks residents and service vehicles, but starting Friday visitors will be allowed as well. The plans are to have the road reopened by Thanksgiving, so the ferry will probably only run less than a month. Thanks to the good folks at Outer Banks Blue for blogging about the ferry and the ongoing cleanup efforts on the banks .
Blackbeard's Pirate Jamboree Cancelled for 2012 -- This Ocracoke event was scheduled for October 27th but Hurricane Sandy intervened. The sponsors had hoped to reschedule for November, however with the ongoing road closures and cleanup work going on, reports are that they have had to cancel for this year. More information at the Ocracoke Current.
Jumble Sale -- From the description, it sounds like a giant yard, craft and bake sale on the Beaufort waterfront. Time and Date - 9:00 AM through 3:00 PM, Saturday, November 17th, 2012. Click here for details.
High Water in Oriental-- The Town Dock has a great feature article comprised of photographs readers took around Oriental during the storm. Click here.
Outer Banks Update -- The best place I have found for information on Outer Banks conditions post-Sandy is the blog at Outer Banks Blue Vacation Rentals. They are based in Kitty Hawk and are posting updates on a regular basis.
Hurricane Sandy -- As of mid-day October 28th, Dockmaster Tom reports all well at Matthews Point, with north winds at 25-30 knots, expected to increase to 35-40 knots later in the day. Dr. Jeff Masters reports "huge, 10 - 15 foot-high battering waves on top of the storm surge have washed over Highway 12 connecting North Carolina's Outer Banks to the mainland at South Nags Head this morning. The highway is now impassable, and has been closed."
Matthews Point Beast Feast -- This annual event features the bounty of the gun and bow. In the past, we have feasted on boar, venison and dove. Jet shot a moose this year so that will be something new to try. Entertainment will be provided by Raleigh singer Jason Ross. This is another Matthews Point Marina members and guests affair. Saturday, November 10th 2012.
October Fishing Report -- In one word - trout. The best place I have found for up-to-date Neuse River fishing information is the website of Minnesott Beach Bait and Tackle.
America Fermented � A Short History of Alcohol in America -- This lecture at the North Carolina History Center in New Bern seems apt for rum-imbibing Neuse River Sailors. So why not sail to New Bern in a group, raft up after the event and try some of the shrubs, punches and cocktails common to the "cheerful imbibers among our nation's founders," as the event details literature puts it. November 3rd, 2012. Both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages will be served. Admission is $12 for adults, but only $10 for children, presumably because they will drink less.
Morehead City - Cruise Ship Destination -- The cruise ship "Caledonian Sky" docked Thursday, October 18th at the State Port. This is a relatively small ship at 297 feet, carrying up to 114 passengers. Information on local visit here. Website for Noble Caledonia Line here.
Watertribe NC Challenge -- You may have seen the invasion of wind and paddle powered boats passing through Clubfoot Creek the last weekend in September as part of the Watertribe NC Challenge. This annual event starts and ends at Cedar Island for a hundred-mile loop. The only navigational requirement is to pass through the Harlowe Canal, which limits the entrants to kayaks, canoes and small sailboats with easily lowered masts. Watertribe also holds events in Florida. More information.
Roanoke Island Maritime Museum to host 1st Annual Wooden Boat Show -- This event in Manteo could be the start of something big. The boats will arrive Friday evening and there will be a party on the dock. Saturday there will be judging, boat rides and another party and awards ceremony in the evening. More details. October 26th-27th, 2012.
Blackbeard Pirate Jamboree -- This event in Ocracoke sounds like a blast! It will feature "an all-day, family-friendly encampment by Blackbeard�s Pirate Crew." The Crew is "a living history performance group dedicated to the accurate representation of seafaring life in the late seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries." They will be joined by the Devilmen of Cape Feare who will sail up from Wilmington to join the fun. Anyone planning to anchor in Silver Lake the night of Saturday, October 27th should be prepared to repel boarders. More information here.
Matthews Point Beast Feast -- This annual event features the bounty of the gun and bow. In the past, we have feasted on boar, venison and dove. Who knows what exotic game might end up on the grill this year? This is another Matthews Point Marina members and guests affair. Tentatively scheduled for the second Saturday in November.
Fishing Report -- It's late September, and the trout are starting to move in. The best place I have found for up-to-date Neuse River fishing information is the website of Minnesott Beach Bait and Tackle.
Guided Tour of the Morehead City Port Facility -- The NC Maritime Museum is sponsoring a guided tour of the the port facility on October 16, 2012. This is a rare opportunity to get inside the gates and see the operation up close. The cost is $10 per person and reservations are required. More information is available from the museum - 252-728-7317.
Swansboro Mullet Festival -- Coming up the weekend of October 13th-14th is the 58th annual Swansboro Mullet Festival. This must set some kind of local record for long-running event. Looks like typical festival fare, with a parade, mullet fry and array of beach and oldies bands. More information here.
Potential Slip Shortage for New Bern Mumfest -- With Bridge Pointe Marina still closed and no sign of work being done on renewing the docks, we hear that local marinas are stuffed to the gills. In particular, the Bridgeton Marina across the river is rumored to be full to overflowing. Boaters hoping to visit New Bern by water should make dockage reservations well in advance.
32nd Annual New Bern MumFest -- For those of us more familiar with navigation than horticulture, a mum is a flower. But don't let that scare you off, it's a huge street festival, not a gardening club social. Check out the official website for all the details. October 13th-14th, 2012.
United States Sailboat Show -- Annapolis will host the 43rd annual show October 4th through 8th. The following week sees the powerboat show. These are probably the premiere boat shows in America. Anybody up for a run to the Chesapeake? Click here for the official website.
North Carolina Seafood Festival -- Described at the official website as a way to "boost tourism and recreation in eastern North Carolina in the non-summer months", this huge festival on the Morehead City waterfront doubtless has much to offer besides a shot in the cash register for the local merchants. All facetiousness aside, it looks like just the ticket for all you seafood-eating festival goers, with big-name entertainment like the Millenia Funk'n Band and the Eastern Carolina Firefighter Pipe and Drum Band on the stages, the Little Miss SasSEA and Prince Neptune Contest at the SasSea Island Playground Gazebo, the Flounder Fling (don't ask) and did I mention, seafood? October 5th-7th, 2012.
Goodbye Friend -- Simon Whitehead - racer, dockmaster, yacht broker, trainer and friend to all who knew him, passed away in late July at the age of 71. Simon Whitehead 1940-2012.
Kate McNally to Play at Matthews Point September 22nd -- This show is open to Matthews Point members and guests. You may remember the great show she gave last year, or you may have seen her at Ocrafolk. So if you are a member at Matthews Point Marina, be sure and join in. If you are not a member, cadge an invitation to come as someone's guest. Kate is a wonderful performer and this is a rare opportunity to see and hear her play.
!!!Navigational Hazard!!! -- As of May 17th, 2012, there is a sunken barge in mid channel of
the Neuse River, just downstream of the Minnesott-Cherry Point ferry
crossing. It is buoyed with a red flasher, but it could still be
ticklish to come upon it at night.
UPDATE - As of Sunday, July 15th, the wreck is still there. We sailed to it and GPS'd it 34 deg 56 min 5 sec N, 76 deg 47 min 27 sec W. There is now a green Coast Guard lighted marker on it in place of the red flasher. Just a small corner of the barge is still above water.
UPDATE - As of Sunday, August 19th, the wreck has sunk completely under the water but is still marked by a USCG green flashing can buoy.