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Surf City to Oriental

May 5, 2011

May 2, Hammock Beach State Park, NC

I spent a week in Surf City. I would have rather not but then I met really interesting people. I spent most of my mornings and evenings reading at the Uprising Café (http://theuprisingcafe.com). Bridgette, the owner, provided me with a home base. She had opened that café only two weeks before, the energy level was high since everything still needed to be put in place, the clients had to be won, the food tested, the routines tested. I really enjoyed her carrot cake and the blueberry muffins were really good. I had the lounge chairs on the second floor mostly to myself.

windy!

Cool pair

I had to wait for a replacement hull and arms for my boat and I saw a doctor for a minor infection that nonetheless required antibiotics. These antibiotics are now making me very vulnerable to the sun. The soles of my feet are sunburned. Now that’s a place I never figured I would have to put cream on. Tomorrow I’ll wear socks while sailing. It should look fabulous.

Today I sailed 28 miles. I leave behind the last remnants of the redneck Riviera. The boats I meet are doing the long haul. An armada of sailboats passed me in the afternoon. I followed them closely for at least ten miles. One of them said I was making them look bad. He was right; these boats were using only one sail and their motors. The wind was perfect for sailing and the boats had plenty of hands to use two sails. I really wonder about the power sailors.

May 3, Core Creek Lodge

Getting to Hammock Beach Park required a difficult passage in the marsh. I ended up using the parks channel instead of the paddle trail. There was not enough water for a normal kayak. My new rudder requires close to a foot of water. Instead of going to my campsite with my kayak, I took it out of the water close to the ferry dock. I chose to walk about a mile and a half with all my gear instead of risking having to wait for a high tide in the morning.

Markers in narrow channel

The campsites were in sand dunes. It feels very remote. The beaches are empty and go on forever.

Sunset over dunes

In the morning I hiked back to my kayak. I did not encounter a single person. The winds were good and I made it to Morehead in a few hours on wind alone. Morehead was an important passage since I now turned north! Not north east, no east anything, that’s good news. It’s also the turn that marks my passage to the northern part of my trip.

The wind pushed me really fast all the way to the little river. I could not resist a Motel sign. The nice people at Coral Creak lodge (http://thecoralcreeklodge.com) let me have the room for 50$. That was my max for this little luxury.

May 4, Paradise shore marina

I woke up at 6 and the wind was strong from the south east. The current was also running in the correct direction. I knew that the forecast was really bad for the day but I wanted to get to the inner banks nonetheless. The wind was due to turn to the north at around 11 and stay that way for at least another day. The clouds were really menacing but no major thunderstorms were forecasted.

When I got close to the Neuse River, that’s when you enter the open water of Pamlico Sound, the wind gust were quite stiff; probably close to 40 miles per hour. I wanted to see how it was on Pamlico Sound in less than perfect conditions and I got what I wanted. The waves were rather steep and bunched up. My kayak did very well in these conditions with the exception of a few times when the waves were so steep and fast that it made me lose control of the boat entirely. That was not real comforting since I was 2 miles from shore. I probably need to make some sort of sea anchor. Overall, the ride went very well. I gained a lot of confidence in my boat since remained rather dry.

At 10, the wind flipped from south east at 20 miles per hour to North at 25 mile per hour in a second. It just snapped my sail around and that was it. Absolutely no transition and by that time the black skies were dangerously close to me. The cloud line had remained on my left all day, promising me a fine soaking and some really cold weather. When the clouds were above me, they simply dumped on me. The torrential rain lasted about 30 minutes. I was fortunate not get any hail and the thunder was distant. I was only two miles from my destination and not too far from shore when that happened.

I was looking for a remote and small marina with a campsite. It’s called Paradise Shore Marina but it was more appropriately named the Hidden Cove Marina in the past. That’s because it’s absolutely impossible to know it exists unless you spotted it on a map or have local knowledge.

Marina

Scott rolling cigarette

Jayme with Leo the mastif

I was greeted but an old salt called Scott. He helped me settle in while the owners were absent. The marine only has five boats and he lives in one of them. I also met Jayme at the Marina. Scott took me to Oriental were we had a few beers at the Steamer. Jayme joined us. Much mayhem ensued.

Oriental's finest

Green cycle man

Spring, even in the south

Self promotion

3 Comments
  1. Jaime Cox permalink

    Rene..So fun meeting you and hanging out. Good luck on the rest of your trip! If you ever come cruising by paradise again..well, you better stop and say hey and I will pop open some cheap vino.. 😉

  2. Jaime Cox permalink

    Hey Rene! It was so fun meeting you and hanging out, what a blast! If you are ever cruising by Paradise again…well, you better stop and say Hey and I will pop open some cheap wine for us.. 😉 Good luck and be safe on the rest of your trip, so excited to follow you with your blogging.

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