May 2005 Cruise to Bath, NC
Compared to cruises to exotic places like the Florida Keys, Caribbean or Greece this cruise is very tame. Some might even say it was boring. To the crew of Southern Star, it was very exciting because it was our first opportunity to spend an extended time on the boat. We had been on several over-niters and day sails. We had spent multiple nights on the vessel in port but this was our first coastal cruise. Bath was chosen because we saw a story about it on public television and we knew there was some historic interest. We could have traveled there in a single day but it would have been a really long day, so we decided to break it up and take a more casual pace. We arrived at Ensign Harbor on Saturday May 28 at about noon. The rest of the day was spent preparing the boat for the cruise. The new bimini was installed, water tanks topped off and Charlie Gibson (our dinghy) was lashed to the foredeck.
Whortonsville to Bath Map
Day One Sunday May 29
Southern Star departed Ensign Harbor at about 9:30 am. for Campbell Creek. The weather was great. Light winds and bright sunshine. We set the sails as soon as we cleared the channel. It was an easy run with the wind almost directly astern. This is Judy's favorite kind of sailing and I enjoy the relaxing part. The new bimini top is a very nice addition. Our destination was about 20 miles away and since we had left early there was no reason to hurry. We sailed for several hours passing the Neuse River Junction mark, Maw point and Bay river numbers 1 and 3. At this point it was time to motor up the Hobucken cut, part of the intercoastal waterway. This part of the trip was very interesting simply because it was our first experience with a narrow area of the intercoastal. We found that it was not nearly as difficult as we thought. The other boaters we met could be compared to any other random group of people. Most were very nice and courteous and some were jerks. We passed under the Hobucken bridge which does not appear to be even close to the charted 66 feet high but we got under just fine. We met a huge barge from the phosphate plant. The thing looked like a freight train and now that I think about it, the barge was probably bigger than some freight trains. We whole area was beautiful and wild. There are plenty of birds to watch. Judy's favorite is the Osprey and we saw plenty of adults and young. Local knowledge gained from our dock mates told us that entering Campbell creek could be tricky. We were told to stay well north of the entrance because the south side is very shallow. We took our time and watched the chart plotter carefully. Campbell creek is not marked at all, not even wildlife buoys but we found nice depths anywhere along the center of the creek and plenty of excellent anchorages. We dropped the hook in a little cove. I think Campbell creek is one of the most beautiful places in the state. I rigged the rain flies and Judy prepared a meal. The evening was beautiful, winds were still light and the temperature was perfect.
Day Two Monday May 30 (Memorial Day)
We left Campbell creek at about 7:30 on Monday. Judy wanted to arrive early enough to see the sights in Bath. The trip was not as nice a our first day out. The wind was on our nose and rather than tack the 15 miles up the Pamlico river, we decided to give the diesel a workout and get there as soon as possible. We arrived at Bath Harbor Marina at about noon. The facility was nice and we enjoyed our stay. We went to the visitor's center and discovered that there were two guided tours available and of course we took both. We examined the artifacts of Blackbeard's Ship and bought the tee shirt. After strolling around town for several hours it was time to get back aboard and find out what the ship's cook had in store. I rigged the rain flies and Judy cooked lasagna with fruit and salad.
Day Three Tuesday May 31
Dock lines were untied early on Tuesday. We set the sails as soon as we exited Bath Harbor. The wind was just before the beam on the port side at about 15 knots. This made an exciting ride back to the entrance of ICW. The wind increased steadily and had we not gone into the entrance of the waterway, I would have taken a reef in mainsail just for comfort. We arrived back at Campbell creek and decided that we enjoyed to first night so much we anchored in exactly the same place for the second night. Judy sorted some photographs and I went fishing. I'm not much of a fisherman. Nothing showed any interest at all in what I had to offer. It seems that something would have at least stolen the bait. Maybe I will take something other than cheddar cheese for bait next time. A nice gentleman came by in his sailing dinghy and welcomed us to Campbell creek. He said they don't get many visitors but I can't understand why. Since we had plenty of time, we decided to deploy Charlie Gibson for a tour of Campbell creek. It is truly a beautiful place and worth visiting. We had yet another nice dinner and turned in early.
Day Four Wednesday June 1
The weather was not very kind to us today. The trip down the Hobucken cut was pleasant enough but when we got to the Bay river we found winds of nearly 20 knots right on our nose, light rain, and that nasty Pamlico sound chop, or square waves as we call them. Judy did most of the steering on the way back. It was not a pleasant trip but we made it just fine with no damage to the vessel or crew. We arrived back at the dock and cleaned up the boat. We went out to dinner with our friend and dock mate, Richard.
This cruise may not be exotic but it was great for us. It gave us a much higher comfort level than before. I have much more confidence in the boat and it's mechanics. It was a successful cruise. At this point, we define a successful cruise as one that does not include any injury or damage to the vessel or crew. This is the kind of activity that we hope to do a lot more of this summer and fall. Greece? Maybe later.
Lane & Judy Kendall
Whortonsville to Bath Map