19 April 2019
After 3 days in Wilmington playing tourist and resting up it was time to get moving again. As we prepared to cast off I called the lift bridge for an opening, they informed us that they were doing some work on the bridge and asked us to wait for 15 or 20 minutes. We happily obliged since we were only going 20 miles to Wrightsville beach with a favourable tide. When we finally got underway we rode a 2.5 knot ebb tide down the river and headed through Snow's enroute to the Wrightsville Beach anchorage. We have never been here before, but it's a great scenic anchorage with easy access to the ocean.
After a solid night's sleep we were up early hoping for favourable winds for our 65 mile sail to Beaufort NC. We were one of 10 boats that headed out at day break through the well marked channel into a calm ocean. The forecasters came through and after an hour or so the south winds filled in to 15 + knots. We ran wing and wing all day in glorious conditions and arrived off Beaufort well ahead of schedule. Our 9 hours of sailing offshore saved us 2 days motoring in the intracoastal, which is always a good thing. Once again the tide was flooding as we entered the channel and we roared in grounding 9 knots. However, we made such good time heading in that the navigator was a little behind and missed a turn off to the anchorage at Beaufort. Morehead City and Beaufort share the same channel, but Morehead City is much more commercial, by the time we realized our error and dropped the sails we had to motor back into the 3 knot tide for half a mile. Wisely we accepted our mistake and didn't try to cut any corners in the strong current. We arrived safely in the anchorage in time to see some of the wild horses that live on an island in the harbour.
Since arriving in the Abacos in early March we have had trouble getting more than 3 or 4 days of good weather in a row. This week is no exception. There is yet another storm system headed up the coast so the plan is to get inland to Oriental NC where we will hold up for a few days. We left Beaufort at 6:30 Thursday morning with hopes of snagging one of the 4 free town docks. This is such a cruiser friendly, progressive town and they even have a webcam focused on the docks so you can check the availability. When we were 30 minutes out there were still boats at the docks, however, as we approached the harbour we met two boats leaving and wouldn't you know it, when we rounded the corner we had our pick of where to go.
Our bow is literally 40 feet from the Main Street and right across the road is the local coffee shop where the locals gather to watch the harbour. We now share our dock with a couple from England who have been cruising for the last 11 years which includes a circumnavigation aboard their Island Packett. The front is due to roll through here on Friday afternoon/evening with heavy thunderstorms and gusts to 45 knots. So far the call is for lighter winds by noon on Saturday which will should allow us to continue north.
Today’s picture is of a unique day sailor that was cruising around the Wrightsville Beach Anchorage.