Port: Whortonsville, NC
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Indian Summer at Ocracoke

16 November 2005 | Ocracoke & Pamlico Sound NC
Lane Kendall
Ocracoke is one of the favorite destinations for Carolina sailors. It is an island village on North Carolina's outer banks with a lovely harbor and plenty of shopping and tourist attractions. The harbor is called "Silver Lake" and is a beautiful anchorage. There are plenty of accommodations for visiting vessels who prefer shore power, water and bathrooms. This was the first time the crew of Southern Star had made the trip (by water) and we were glad we got the opportunity to go. Everything came together for us. Time off from work, and especially weather which was simply spectacular. The following is the ship's log for the trip and the remainder of Veteran's Day week, 2005.

Ocracoke Pictures
Whortonsville to Ocracoke Map
Ocracoke - Movie

Saturday Nov. 5, 2005
We left home early Saturday morning, arrived at Ensign Harbor about mid day and spent the afternoon preparing the boat for the trip. We added 10 gallons of diesel fuel, topped off the water tanks, provisioned the boat and generally got everything squared away. The weather was great, and there was a good turnout of dockmates. Several boats were headed for South River for the night and several were day sailing. We learned that Nick and Jeanette (our dockmasters) had planned a trip to Ocracoke as well, so the "Whortonsville Yacht and Tractor Club" would be well represented on the island. Susan broke out the "magic" fishing pole when she and Bill got back from their daysail. She caught 3 handsome puppy drum and I managed to end up with all three for our dinner. The fish were cleaned and on the grill within an hour of when they were caught. Wow, what a meal!

Sunday Nov. 6, 2005
We left for Ocracoke at 7:40 am. The weather was unbelievable. A sweater felt good but a jacket was not needed, and this was early November. There was absolutely no wind but we are very careful when we wish for wind on the Pamlico sound. Several of the early explorers of the Americas thought they had arrived at the Pacific Ocean when they encountered the sound and I can see why. There's a lot of water out there but it's not all that deep. We just used the iron sail and took a nearly direct route across the sound. The route requires that you avoid two shoals. The first is to the north and the other is to the south of a slightly crooked course to the island. We traveled the 36.5 nautical miles and arrived at Silver Lake in exactly 6 hours and 1 minute according to the GPS. We did not have a reservation, but we raised Anchorage marina on the radio and were provided a slip for as long as we wanted it. There were only a few transients at the marina the whole time we were there. We met Nick and Jeanette, who were staying at the National Park Service docks, and made arrangements to meet them at the Pelican Restaurant for dinner. The catch of the day was flounder, one of my personal favorites.

Monday Nov. 7, 2005
No need for an alarm clock when you are sleeping on Silver Llake. The Ferry to Cedar Island leaves at 6:30 and everybody wakes up when that air horn goes off. We had coffee on deck and watched a sunrise that was almost as beautiful as the sunset the night before. The weather was cool and clear. We liked the Pelican so much we went there for breakfast. It was great and not very expensive. After breakfast we toured the National Park Service docks and visitor's center. So many gift shops, so little time. We rented bicycles from our marina for 10 dollars for 24 hours. I thought that was expensive until I compared it to the going rate around town. They were two speed bicycles, you pedal forward to go and you pedal backward to stop. Just like the ones we grew up with. The bicycle is the vehicle of choice in Ocracoke. The flat land makes travel almost effortless. We pedaled all over town shopping and then to the lighthouse, the island's icon. We discovered "Springer's Point" a nature preserve which is just a wild area south of the village on the sound side. There were plenty of friendly mosquitoes to greet us there. We had lunch on the boat then on to more exploring. Bought the obligatory tee-shirt at a local shop then returned to the boat for coffee and relaxing before dinner. The ship's chef (and Very First Mate) prepared a delicious pasta dinner and we turned in early in anticipation of another day of exploring on Tuesday. The weather was a bit cooler but still dry and very comfortable. No cabin heater was required.

Tuesday Nov. 8, 2005
Up with the Ferry, just like everyone else and had the Southern Star special breakfast of instant oatmeal and fruit. This was the day of the road trip. We mounted our rented bicycles and headed north on Highway 12 toward the Ocracoke state campground. It was a nice facility in that it was very well kept. We were hoping for a suitable place for Judy's parents to go camping, but I doubt they would be interested because there was no power or water on the sites. On the other hand, the beach next to the campground was beautiful and the bugs were very friendly as well. We decided to do some shelling as tourists do and found the beach to be nearly abandoned. We met a nice couple from Germany who were touring the country in their camper. Since we had come this far, we decided to go the entire 7 miles to the Ocracoke "pony" pasture. These animals are descendents of the horses left by the early explorers. They looked like plain old horses to us, but we are not experts. We had hoped the return trip would be easier because the trip north seemed to be slightly up hill. Turns out, it's slightly up hill both ways. We saw lots of pretty land and waterscapes along the way and things you wouldn't notice if you were in a car. The creek under one of the bridges was teaming with huge fish. They were easily 12 to 20 inches long. I found out later they were probably mullet. We headed back to the village and stopped at Howard's Raw Bar for lunch. Our instant oatmeal was completely worn out. After lunch we browsed the Ocracoke Preservation Society Museum and did a little more shopping. We turned our bicycles in mid afternoon and figured we could do without them for the rest of our stay. It doesn't take as much bicycle riding for us as it used to. I caught a nice croaker from the dock near the boat. Later that evening I paid the marina tab. It was not too bad for 3 days, bikes, and a couple bags of ice. It was about what you'd expect to pay for a nice hotel room for one night. Judy fixed some of her famous vegetable soup and we were going to have muffins but the oven refused to cooperate. Instead we fried the sweet muffin batter with olive oil spray, covered them with honey and called them "Ferry Fritters" in honor of our location. We had coffee on deck and turned in early. Bicycle riding makes you sleep really well.

Wednesday Nov. 9, 2005
The weather forecast (if you care to believe it) was good for Wednesday but there were small craft advisories issued for Thursday morning. The crew of Southern Star is not in favor of being on the sound in a small craft advisory, so we decided to head west, literally. We had a bit of trouble when we tried to crank the diesel. I'm not sure what it was wrong but she finally came to life after a dozen tries. The dock master and a bystander were very helpful helping us to get going. Winds were southwest which is a bit inconvenient when your course is due west. We left the diesel running and did the motorsail thing all the way back. The wind was too light to get us home before dark even if it had been blowing from a more favorable direction. The trip home was uneventful, but the water in Brown Creek was a bit low which meant we had to wrestle her into her slip while her keel dug a little ditch in the mud. The M&M Grill in Oriental was our spot for dinner and a celebration of a successful voyage, which is defined as a safe return with no major damage to the vessel or the crew of said vessel.

Thursday Nov. 10, 2005
For once the weather channel (or the "Lying Channel" as one Ocracoke native called it) was correct. The wind was stiff and skies were murky and some rain was falling. We decided to let Charlie's in Bayboro cook breakfast for us. We did a couple of loads of laundry at the laundromat because the captain neglected to bring a sufficient supply of clothing. I had no idea how expensive it is doing laundry at a laundromat. Not only did it take half the morning, it cost nearly 15 bucks! We returned to the boat and I spent the afternoon on projects. I checked batteries and the electrical system trying to determine the cause of our cranking problem. I could not find the culprit but will have to take some action soon. It's hard to sleep at night if you're not sure that engine is going to start when you need it. After that, I fixed the oven and installed the new curtain rods that we took down when we resealed the starboard ports. The curtains look really good. We cooked salmon on the ship's grill along with rice and steamed broccoli, which is far and away my favorite meal.

Friday Nov. 11, 2005 Veteran's Day
Today would be another road trip day. We decided to travel to Aurora to visit the fossil museum. The museum is associated with the nearby phosphate plant and is a great source of geological knowledge for scientists as well as fossilized shark's teeth, shells and bones of other ancient animals for tourists. It was quite interesting and free. Aurora is a curious place. It is pleasant enough but almost a ghost town. All the downtown stores are abandoned and the museum was the only place with any action at all. We went back to the boat and worked on our starboard side lighting project, which did not go as well as planned. Our friends Richard and Francis invited us for dinner and we visited until the wee hours, nearly 9:30 pm.

Saturday Nov. 12, 2005
It was another glorious day at Ensign Harbor. We worked on the lighting project for a while in the morning, then went into Oriental in search of a new light fixture for the galley. The wind and weather were so perfect that we decided to go sailing for the afternoon. The diesel cooperated and we got out to the sound just fine. We had a lovely 2 hour sail. Winds were east at about 10 knots. Judy steered the boat all the way from the first Broad Creek daymark to the slip. The water was up and we backed right in. The weather was still great, clear and cool. Richard and Francis invited us for dinner again and we readily accepted.

Sunday Nov. 13, 2005
Since Richard and Francis had invited us for two meals, the least we could do was to take them to breakfast. We ate at the deli at Oriental Harbor. Breakfast was good and the company was enjoyable. We ran into Chris Daniels who had instructed all four of us when we attended the Oriental School of Sailing. Chris looked good and reported that his business was doing well. After breakfast we stopped by the Provision Company. Richard said he had not spent the required $75 this trip. Back at Ensign Harbor, we prepared the boat for three weeks of neglect. We topped off water tanks, emptied the head tank and installed all the canvas covers. It was time to return to the real world. Our trip home was (as usual) a long one, but thankfully uneventful. We finished a "book on tape", stopped for a late fast food lunch in Raleigh, and checked in with our children and parents. This was a great trip, one of the best ever and to quote Kenneth Grahame's book, Wind in The Willows.

"Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing
-- absolutely nothing --
half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats."

Ocracoke Pictures
Whortonsville to Ocracoke Map
Ocracoke - Movie

Vessel Name: Southern Star
Vessel Make/Model: Catalina 30
Hailing Port: Whortonsville, NC
Southern Star is owned and sailed by Lane and Judy Kendall from Mount Pleasant, NC Southern Star (formerly Sea Breeze II) started her life on Lake Lanier near Atlanta. [...]
1983 Catalina 30 Tall Rig with Bow Sprint
Builder: Catalina Yachts
Designer: Frank Butler

LOA: 29' 11"
LWL: 25'
Beam: 10' 10"
Displacement: 10,300 lbs
Draft: 5'3"
Engine: Universal M-25 21HP
Fuel 18 [...]
Home Page: http://www.svsouthernstar.com

Port: Whortonsville, NC