OFF TO OCRACOKE
19 October 2011
OFF TO OCRACOKE
Saturday, October 16, we had a weather conference with Scout the wonder dog and our weather guru. We were evaluating going to Ocracoke Island on Sunday and staying multiple nights. Scout waked the piers sniffed the air did a #?!# on the grass with a back roll. He forecast good sailing weather on Sunday! We should have asked for a 7 day forecast but Scout is still in training on marine forcasting. The weather changed on Monday duh! So on Saturday we watered up, Judy went for provisions I drank beer and checked in with my inner captain.
Sunday morning at 06:00 hrs the alarm went off. Coffee and breakfast done by 07:-00 hrs. Then deck without hitting anything! Miraculous!! The captain is learning to drive! Motor out to the deep water, stop the engine and check the wind. North north east at 15kts. So its into the wind for 2 hours on a close hauled reach along a beautifully cool 60 degree morning with coffee and quite sails at 5-6 kts. At the end of the Nuese we enter Pamlico Sound and fall off to a beam reach across the Sound. Another 2 hrs into the Sound its lunch time and the wind dies. We eat lunch for 45 minutes and wait for the wind. No wind perhaps the small cheese offering was not adequate for Scout and it should really have been a hot dog! We fireup the diesel and motor for another +2 hours, talk to the ferry coming out of the Ocracoke channel to ensure we are out of his way and then enter the Bigfoot Slough channel. Half the channel is occupied by The Merritt a vessel dredging the green half of the channel. Radio the Merritts bridge and inquire about passing behind in the red half of the channel. I don’t want him to swing that thing around while I’m passing since we would become an instant new sandbar. We pass the Merritt and into Silver Lake. Visually, we size up the park service camping available to us which looks good so the captain circles the lake while the first mate sets up the fenders and lines on the starboard side. Thirty minutes later we’re tied up. We end a lovely day sail snuggled into our saloon with a nice meal and The Four Seasons by Vivaldi.
Tuesday thru Wednesday
We’ve decided to stay since a 20kt West wind has nailed to the dock and leaving in a small anchorage with lots of concrete docks and pilings is more excitement than I require. The weather says we are staying until Friday. Wednesday we’re expecting 24 hrs of rain with multiple squall lines with +40kts winds moving thru the area. Friday the forecast is for north winds which should blow us off the docks facilitating our departure. Tuesday we moved the boat to a pier facing due West so we can be bow into the wind and not slammed against the docks. We double up all the lines and remove the bimini at dark to the accompaniment of the state bird, aka misquito, go below zip up and consult the calamine lotion. Do we drink or put it on each other. Ms. Judith suggests I read the label but then I remind her that I was a ski patroller so…….my ability to following instructions is limited!
Well….bad weather always likes to come on in the dark since its more exciting for Captain Pat. Sure enough 23:30 hrs the boat starts dancing in its berth. Thalia is happy she likes water and wind. Not wanting the pilings and piers to slap Ms. Thalia in the face, I’m up and out on the deck raincoat and tidy whites to check fenders and lines. A few adjustments and back to bed. I practiced this another two times during the night. I did put on my official sailor shorts for the remainder of the night. I sure you wanted to know that! Day break brought grayness and squall lines moving thru. So here I sit listening to radio Ocracoke, wind howling thru the rigging, squall lines moving thru and white caps.