In the first part of this trip, we sailed to Cape Lookout and spent a night and day there. Then on Sunday afternoon we moved to the Beaufort town anchorage (right across from the water front shops).
The next day, I posted some blog posts, and then did some research. I found a local sailmaker called Omar Sailmakers right in Beaufort town, and there were some positive comments from other sailors on the net. There didn’t appear to be a sailmaker in the Wilmington area where we normally keep Tahina. So, I gave Omar Sailmakers a call. They said they could take our spinnaker sail later that morning and look at it the next day to see if there was any damage other than the bottom of the sock. I was hoping we might even be able to get it back before we headed back south. That would save me a 3-hour trip to Beaufort!
We threw the sail into Coconut – the dinghy. We barely had room for ourselves given the size of the bag – and Coconut is 12 feet long. Once we got to shore, Sandy helped us get it into their van. While we were carrying the sail from the dinghy dock, someone asked us “What’s in the big bag? A body?”. I quipped: “It better be two given the size of this!”
Back at Tahina, we put Coconut back up on the transom with our retractable boom-derrick and electric winch. Then we weighed anchor and headed back out to Cape Lookout (about a 10 mile trip). It was a beautiful day with no clouds, 10-15 knot winds, flat seas, low humidity, and highs near 80 F. So, we sailed out from the inlet and took our time making our way to the Cape.
Once at anchor, we took on a project I had been looking forward to: we pulled out Rover – our new VideoRay underwater ROV (remote operated vehicle) with video cameras. This little robot is ultra cool, and I wanted to record some video with it. Unfortunately, after pulling all the accessories out, I realized I didn’t have the necessary cable to connect the video output to my laptop. Not only that, but once we started our little dive off the back of the boat, I realized two things: 1) it was too murky to see much in the anchorage – the water had low visibility; and 2) I still need to learn some things about driving Rover. The main problem I think was that I didn’t properly calibrate the directional sensor before we put it in the water. I also didn’t have a long enough power cord handy so I could put the control console out on the back cockpit table. So that, combined with the low visibility, meant I kept getting lost! Anyway, I eventually found and followed the anchor chain to the bottom – which was covered in sand. Not a lot to see – not even fish. Anyway, I promise sometime in July I will solve the video capture problem and take Rover out to a better dive location.
Next, Karen and I put the dinghy back in the water and prepared to go to the Cape Lookout lighthouse on the other side of the bay. We put on bathing suits in case we wanted to go to the ocean-side beach. Turned out that was handy because the lighthouse has no dinghy dock. So, after I dropped Karen at their dock, I moved Coconut off the beach a bit and dropped its anchor. Then I waded to shore.
We had a nice little tour of the museum, then walked to the beach and checked out the waves. I decided they weren’t good for body surfing that day, so we just walked down the beach a bit. Then back to Tahina. We watched a large motor yacht enter the anchorage. The crew of four quickly had two jet skis in the water and made sure their guests had a good time. We also saw a sailboat nearby with a crew who decided clothing was optional. Not something you normally see in the US waters!
In the evening, we watched some awesome lightning displays from thunderstorms nearby. The biggest seemed to be headed our way, but fortunately all we got was some nice heavy rain – no lightning, and no wind thankfully. Tahina needed a good soaking of fresh water to take some of the salt off.
The next day, we just relaxed on the boat. I saw some sea turtles, and enjoyed the breeze. I also emptied 30 gallons of water in the dinghy from the rain the night before. Then, I watched a US Army amphibious ship pull into Cape Lookout and practice pulling up to the beach and dropping their ramp (they had no vehicles to unload – it was just maneuver practice) – they must have done it 6 times while I was watching. After lunch, we decided to go ashore for a walk at the beach. I also called the sailmaker and they said the sail was fine – no other damage at all. They had it ready for pickup already! So, after our brief walk on the beach, we weighed anchor.
We had another glorious sail back towards Beaufort. This time we sailed right into the inlet and up the ship channel. We dropped the sails before entering the narrow Beaufort town channel though. Thankfully our anchorage spot was still free and we quickly made ourselves “home”. Omar Sailmakers asked if they could wait until 6 PM to drop off the sail. We went ashore and got some ice cream and did some souvenir shopping. The sailmakers showed up as arranged, and I was pleased that the price was quite reasonable. After loading the big sail on Coconut again, we soon had it back on the boat and in its locker. Wow, problem solved in about 24 hours!
After that, we got out the grill and cooked up some food. We had a nice dinner in the setting sun. We needed to prepare ourselves for an early morning departure on Wednesday so we could return to Carolina Beach. Thursday was going to have wind in the wrong direction, so we decided to go back a day earlier than originally planned. More on that passage in part 3.
Here are photos from part 2:
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Read Part 1 and Part 3 of this trip.