The Treasures of the Outer Banks

March 28. 2023

Another storm is approaching with winds up to 50 miles per hour. I read amazing things about the town Ocracoke, NC and insisted we head there. Steve, on Coda, has been watching the Outer Banks and was eager to visit one of the islands.

We departed early in the morning for a 5 hour crossing. It was a choppy ride over a large body of water, but as the waves were head on, my stomach didn’t protest. I still had to secure the cabinets and glassware, but thankfully the door has been repaired.

Upon our approach to Ocracoke Island, we discover there was conflicting information on two of the charts we use. One chart showed acceptable depth while another showed it to be extremely shallow. Added to that is a ferry coming at us and large waves from the wind. What could possibly happen?

We hit the ground hard! Side waves start rocking us and everything in the boat is moving. Annette shouts “Mom! The TV.” Thankfully I was standing in just the right spot. The TV fell, ripping the bolts that once held it out, and landed in my arms. Boris is able to get the boat off the ground; however, the vibrations of the engine are different. We think either the propeller or shaft may be bent. A few minutes later, Coda also hits ground, but manages to also get off.

We all arrive safely into the harbor and find space on the docks just in time for the wind storm.

We attempted to use Steve’s underwater drone to check the propellers, but it was too murky to see anything.

In the evening, you could hear the wind ripping through. It maintained 40 mph winds with gusts up to 50 mph. Prior to going to bed, we secured all items. At 4 am, Boris and I are woken up with banging and a loud splash.

Rushing out to see what it could be, I discover the source of the banging (kayak handle hitting the kayak), but never figured out the source of the splash. Everything except one small pillow is accounted for, but the pillow wouldn’t have produced that loud of a splash.

March 29, 2023

Ocracoke Island was settled in the 1730’s and is now a vacation town during the on season (unfortunately we were there during the off season). It is also the location of the defeat of the pirate Blackbeard. Only accessible by ferry, the town is small with a long stretch of beach that is a national park. With the exception of some shops being closed, we enjoyed a stroll around town.

Ocracoke is also home to a British Cemetery. While out patrolling for German submarines during WWII, the British ship HMT Bedfordshire was torpedoed, causing it to sink. All 37 British Royal Navy sailors were killed with only 4 washing ashore on Ocracoke Island. The bodies were buried in local cemetery plots by residents. In 1976, the land was leased in perpetuity to the British government while the US Coast Guard maintains it. Every year, there is a ceremony honoring those men by the National Park Service, US Coast Guard, and British Royal Navy.

Another looper, Dawn Watch, was on the docks. We keep running into them, first spotting in Beaufort SC, then Georgetown, then they left Oriental as we were arriving, and now in Ocracoke. We enjoyed docktales together and shared stories and tips. Matt flew his drone and caught some nice photos of the boats.

March 30, 2023

While shopping the other day, I discovered the island offered Kitesurfing lessons. Barb, an experienced adventurer, and I signed up for a lesson.

It’s a bit cold and windy, but that doesn’t stop us. The instructor, Keith, picks us up in his truck and we mosey down to the Sound. Donning wet suits, we receive a lesson on safety, wind, and mechanics. Then we stroll into the water. I’m the first to be strapped in. The main focus is to stand there and learn how to control the kite. The smallest movements will send it sailing. I was pulled into the water a fair number of times, but quickly got the hang of it. Barb was also a rockstar and able to quickly control the kite. By the end of the lesson, I was able to get a few jumps in and get airborne as well as receive a few face plants in the water. Hopefully, I’ll be able to find additional lessons along the loop.

After kitesurfing, Boris picked me up in a rented golf cart and took me to the lighthouse for a quick tour. The rest of the day included a scheduled massage appointment followed by a drink at 1718 Brewing and dinner at Howard’s Pub.

While on the beach, we found tribbles! Actually they’re balls of seaweed, sand, and pine needles or something but they look like tribbles

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