Monday, April 11, 2011

Cape Lookout National Seashore

While anchoring in Beaufort was a great new experience, we were excited to adventure to Cape Lookout.  We had the charts, the plotter, and advice from local knowledge.  Now, if the weather would cooperate we would be all set. Cape Lookout National Seashore is the furthest south of the outer banks.  It is a bight that is well protected from most winds and a good anchorage.  

We headed out through the Beaufort drawbridge early Sunday morning and on past the Beaufort inlet, watching the tide tables and calculating slack tide so not to fight current, swell, and winds all at the same time.  We meandered through and made a turn to port moving up the coast along Shackleford Banks. The wind offered us a nice broad reach and the water became clearer and clearer as we neared the "hook" of the bight.  

Cape Lookout has become part of the National Park system and therefore is prohibited from future development, which I am all about!  Some people may have seen pictures from Cape Lookout and not even realized it - the lighthouse here is unique for its black & white diamond painting, said to represent Diamond Shoals.  As Baxter and I sailed in and dropped the hook, we were reminded that we were among many who have done the same throughout centuries of history including the Spanish, Colonial British, the French, privateers, pirates and even Civil War ships.  There are not many places in this entire world that statement could apply.

The day continued as Baxter was meerily cleaning the deck and said "Hey Molly, can you grab that sponge?"  I thought, sure, I'll hand him a sponge, no problem, thinking there was one closer to me than him and I could finish what I was doing and hand it to him in a couple minutes.  What he meant was "That sponge is about to blow off the deck and into the ocean if you don't grab it".  And that's exactly what it did.  So Molly to the rescue.  I jumped in the dinghy, Baxter handed me the oars and I was off to save the sponge.  Yeah, problem was the 13 knot wind carried me right to shore and the dinghy had no motor.  I was stuck on the beach, repeatedly attempting to launch myself and row back to the boat.  Despite all of my futile efforts, I was stuck onshore and defeated by the dinghy.  As Baxter said, I was "Robinson Crusoed".  A small fishing boat pulled up to the beach with a family taking pictures onshore.  I asked if they wouldn't mind towing me the 200 yards back to the boat.  Ugh!  Admitting defeat is not easy.  After laughing it off and talking about the hilarity of the situation, we all loaded up together and went right back to shore.  We walked over to the Atlantic side of the bight and found some great shells.  Kala had her first experience with waves breaking over her head.  She loved every second of it and ran right back in the water for more.  We loved Cape Lookout but saw a very ugly cold front moving in from the West and knew we would have to pull anchor first thing in the morning and head back to Northwest Creek.

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