Cape Hatteras and the Cape Fear River

I’m coming back, after a week of not writing, so I can report we had a great trip around Cape Hatteras.  I would say that if anything, the wind was too light, but that would be unlucky.  It was quite chilly – in the 50s – when we left, but nice and sunny, so warm in the enclosure.  We motored down the river and back out into the Chesapeake.  It was fun in the early afternoon, when our friends on another Long Island Sound based Hylas radioed us to say hi.  They were coming down to Norfolk from Annapolis in the same weather window we were using, so our paths crossed within a few hundred feet.  We got some good pictures of each other’s boats.   Our next visitors, as we exited the bay, were a pair of very large dolphin, which swam so close to the boat it looked like they were rubbing the hull.  Any day with dolphin is a great day.  They were the biggest dolphin I’ve seen so far – maybe 8 ft long.  They were with a couple pods of 6 or 7 that stayed further away.  In the evening, as it grew dark and we approached the Gulf Stream, it got warmer and warmer.  By midnight, the air and water temps were both 77F!  Wonderful.

The next day was mainly motor sailing in light air, sunny and nice out.  Right before dinner, Jeff hooked a really cool Sailfish, and had a bit of a fight reeling him in.  I found out when we got back in cell phone range that a. it was a sailfish (we didn’t know) b.  Jeff wasn’t complaining about the fight for nothing because they swim up to 68MPH – the fast fish! and c.  they are protected in US waters and you have to release them.

Thursday morning at dawn saw us in the midst of frying pan shoals, rolling up to 20 degrees in beam on waves.  My rule when sailing is no heeling past 15 degrees, but this was not our choice.  We were motoring into a 15 knot headwind with the sails rolled up.  It took us until noon to get around the shoals and up the Cape Fear River to Wilmington.  The river was a nice trip, and the current was with us.  I think we were both too tired to really appreciate it after two nights doing 3 hour watches on and off.  Our chosen Marina (Bennett Brothers) was just the other side of a draw bridge that only opens at 10am and 2pm with at least 24 hours notice because of construction.  So we circled for 2 hours, and finally were safe in our slip by 2:30 or so.


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