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Southbound ’19 – Travel Day 11: Oriental, NC To Hampstead, NC

Southbound ’19 – Travel Day 11: Oriental, NC to Hampstead, NC


Conditions: Sunny and chilly to start, warmer to finish.  Winds light and variable, calm seas.

Distance traveled: 89 statute miles 

Time underway: 8 hours 48 minutes

Average Speed: 9 kts

Max Speed: 18.2 kts

Fuel used: 88 gallons

Another chilly morning with mist on the water as we departed Oriental Harbor at 7 am sharp and made the three-mile run across the glassy calm Neuse River to the entrance to Adam’s Creek.  Most of the creek is slow going in no-wake zones but it’s a pleasant ride and often where we’re greeted by dolphins.  Today was no exception with our first pod of around five dancing off our bow at 8:41 am.

There are so many different styles of homes on the ICW and it’s always fun to see who goes bold with their homes.

Our original plan was to make our usual stop in Beaufort, NC, but it’s such a relatively short run from Oriental and it was forecast to be a beautiful day so we had made a plan to press on to a spot between Beaufort/Morehead City and our next stop of Southport.  We cleared Morehead City at 9:30 am and meandered down the ICW which, while busy at times with small fishing boats enjoying the chilly but beautiful day on the water, was for the most part light on traffic and we would often travel for miles with the ICW to ourselves.

Speaking of bold, here’s a little color for you!
Miss Melissa has been here since our last trip. It amazes us that these boats – and we’ve seen quite a few – aren’t salvaged for scrap or at least removed to keep the waterways cleaner.

There are a couple of notorious problem spots on this leg, something we’ll be contending with at some point pretty much every day as we move forward, but if you do your homework and take it easy, you should be able to get through without issue as we did throughout the day.  In addition to having routes plotted through the areas of concern, we also run Aqua Map Master on an iPad we keep at the helm.  It overlays the latest Army Corps of Engineers surveys on the chart which helps keep us in the deepest water.

This sailor was probably not using Aqua Map and unfortunately he ran aground just at the edge of the channel. There was another sailboat circling near and we figured it was a traveling partner. We were looking through binoculars and there was a man standing on the grounded vessel frantically telling us to slow down – even though we had and were shoving no wake. The closer we got we could hear him yelling and then the other sailboat passed us yelling at us to speed up!! They wanted us to create a wake that would hopefully shove him off the sand bar.  It was very bizarre.  Once we understood what was going on we did our best to safely throw a wake their way but they remained on the bottom.
Wreckage from a previous hurricane.
This dilapidated dock is for the birds!
On Friday morning when Poppa is on board the Admiral makes fresh Challah.
On Sunday morning, the extra loaf of Challah became Challah French Toast dusted with powdered sugar and topped with a boat-made blackberry compote, add a side of light and fluffy scrambled eggs, Donegal Irish Smoked Salmon stuffed with sweet onions and capers topped with a touch of smoked salmon cream cheese and it’s a sweet and savory Sunday mornin’!  Not bad eats while underway!!
This is the end of the road…until the Onslow swing bridge closes!
If you don’t check in advance, you may end up being held up if there is a shoot out.
Island in the stream. That is what this is. Nothing in between. How can they go wrong with the color pink?
Like father, like son. It was so great having Dad/Pops on board.
While these stretches of water may seem wide, there’s plenty of shoaling and shallow waters off to the side. We gave a nice easy pass to the friendly crew of S/V Fulub.

We decided on Harbour Village Marina in Hampstead, NC and are thrilled we did.  Mike, the harbormaster, was wonderfully accommodating and spot-on with the information and directions we needed to approach and reach our slip at the marina. They have a different approach to communicating at Harbour Village, relying on text and phone rather than VHF.  While we think it’s important to be able to reach a marina on the radio if necessary, we found this to be a very efficient and effective method of getting us  critical info well in advance of our arrival.  After calling by phone an hour before arriving, you are texted specific instructions on your dockage assignment, something we are usually feverishly scribbling onto a notepad when receiving it on the radio, most often minutes before pulling into a marina.  They also send a very helpful photo and video showing the approach to the marina.  EVERY marina should provide this.  We always look at satellite images of marinas that don’t have good visuals available online so it’s nice when a marina goes the extra nautical mile as they do here.

Poppa approves!

Dockhand John was a pro, seeing to it that we were expertly tied and hustling to accommodate a pump-out of our holding before they closed for the day. The floating docks are beautiful and fairly new, the property is immaculate and it was exactly what we needed.  There’s no restaurant or other services within walking distance (although we were informed about excellent pizza that could be delivered right to the boat) but there was nothing we needed other than a comfortable place to spend the night and a good place to walk Jasper.  We’ll be back for sure.

We press on to Southport, NC next.  See you out there…


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And that concludes your OLOH instructions. M/Y OLOH back to 1-6



This Post Has 4 Comments
  1. Sounds like a delighful day on the water! I once was asked to "wake" another boat that was aground to help free them but there was something in my instincts (and probably in my insurance policy) that might be a bad idea. I did call TowBoatUS for them however. Harbour Village looks delighful -- and their pre-arrival text communications are brilliant! And speaking of delighful -- oh, THAT breakfast!
    1. It was a perfect day on the water (for us). To expand on the sailboat's grounding a bit, we take very seriously our responsibility to come to the aid of others on the water without compromising our own safety. Unfortunately there really wasn't anything we could do in this case, conditions were calm and their buddy boat was there with them. We debated turning around and giving them more of a wake with a running start but it did not feel like a safe or sensible option for many reasons.

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