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Southbound ’17 – Travel Day 16: Oriental, NC To Beaufort, NC

Southbound ’17 – Travel Day 16: Oriental, NC to Beaufort, NC

FROM: The Captain

Conditions: Fog early, then overcast, mild.  Seas and winds calm.

Distance traveled: 37 statute miles

Time underway: 3 hours 42 minutes

Average Speed: 10.5 mph

Max Speed: 19.8 mph

Fuel used: 44 gallons


Our plan was to be off the docks at 7 am sharp in hopes of hitting Beaufort at slack tide.  As generally easy as OLOH is to dock, whenever I see comments about a “serious current” at any marina I always like to plan ahead, when possible.  Ah, the best-laid plans.  We were all up at 6:30 and eager to go but the fogmonster had other plans.  It wasn’t in any forecast and we couldn’t have predicted it but Grace Harbor in Oriental was blanketed with thick fog when we came up on deck.  You would think that if we could handle New York Harbor in dense fog this area wouldn’t be a problem.  But that’s not how it works.  Fog is fog and if you don’t have to be out in it you don’t head out in it.  So we waited.  Not for too terribly long, fortunately.  And once it began to seemingly burn off we were underway for a short run to Beaufort (pronounced BOE-fort… BEW-fort is in SC), NC.
Foggy Oriental departure

For the first hour of the trip we dipped in and out of 1/2 mile to 1-mile visibility and heard plenty of boaters calling out their position further south so bursts of speed to make up time were matched with slow-goin’ so as not to run right into the soup.

View from the writer’s desk. The fog is burning off nicely.

After leaving the big and thankfully calm waters of the Neuse River we made our way into the more narrow and populated Adams Creek with a bunch of no-wake zones and lots of little fishing boats that we have to slow down for, lest we spill their occupants into the drink.  And then we started to see dolphins.  A bunch of em’.  The temps finally started to warm and we were able to move our party to the bridge deck and run from up top.   

ICW mile marker 200!


The kids were happy to get some fresh air while underway

The Captain was happy to get some fresh air as well!
The US 70 bridge that connects Morehead City and Beaufort


When you get to this part of North Carolina the color of the water and over-all feeling starts to change and you really start to feel the lowering latitude.  Then we pulled into the Beaufort Docks and felt like we had arrived.  The current was slack, the winds were calm, it was t-shirt weather and there was southern and boating charm everywhere you looked.  We picked a good spot to hole-up for Thanksgiving and the next few days for sure.

On approach to Beaufort Docks
It’s almost 70 glorious degrees and someone is feeling a little happy

OLOH tied up in Beaufort at sunset


If the weather cooperates our next run will be for a longer-than-usual leg offshore so as to avoid one of the notoriously problematic stretches of the ICW in North Carolina.  Just not worth the stress.  But first, some time off.

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