Lazy Days at Anchor and Wilmington

Friends from St. Louis, Deb and Chris, joined us at River Dunes in Oriental on Saturday. We headed out the next morning for Cape Lookout, NC where we had 3 days of doing a bunch of nothing…except for Chris, who was very busy fishin’ 14 hrs. a day. He is now an ace “caster.” The first day he caught nothing, the second day he caught a 3″ fish, a 5″ fish and a small spotted eagle ray. The third day he caught nothing until 10:00 p.m. when he caught a little one. The poor man isn’t a bad fisherman, he just didn’t have proper bait. Either he has the patience of Job or he’s a true fisherman who simply enjoys the activity.

Cape Lookout is a national seashore with dunes that are part of the Outer Banks. There are three islands with miles of beaches surrounding a beautiful protected anchorage. We took dinghy rides to the dunes to visit the lighthouse, walk the beaches, collect shells, visit the wild horses on Shackleford Banks, and picnic.

We lazed around the boat playing Mexican Train, drawing, reading, working on blogs, snorkeling, working out, and Scott did some boat work, of course!

In writing this, it doesn’t sound too exciting but it was wonderful!!! We have been so busy going and doing that it was a pleasure to just CHILL!

The HIGHLIGHT OF CAPE LOOKOUT…DOLPHINS!!!! Two mornings we were inundated by herds of dolphins, well, actually they are called pods. There were easily 25-30 that spent the entire morning grazing, chowing down on fish. They were constantly diving straight down so we could see their flukes (each side of their tail is called a fluke). It was such a pleasure doing yoga on the dance floor while watching the dolphins cavort right by the boat!

Mal de mer in action. Note the puke bucket and roll of paper towels!

The LOWLIGHT OF THE ATLANTIC…3 OF US GETTING SEASICK!!! We planned to travel 80nm from Cape Lookout to the Masonboro Inlet on Wednesday expecting that the waves would be 2-3 ft. The truth was quite different…3-5 ft. for the first few hours. Lessons learned: take medications no matter what the forecast, take them prior to leaving and I am driving!

We spent 2 nights anchored at Wrightsville Beach doing a bunch more of nothing! Chris bought some shrimp from the nearby tiny store and he caught about 20 little fish, a different kind of ray and and a small eel. Nothing big enough to keep but at least he had something to reel in!

Every night we played games. We spent the first 6 evenings completing one full game of Mexican Train and the final evening we played Five Kings. Two evenings we ate in Wrightsville Beach and explored the local downtown area.


Thankfully, our trip to Wilmington was uneventful and calm. We timed our trip up the Cape Fear River with the tide and received a little boost. We had made reservations, prior to Hurricane Florence, at Cape Fear Marina which is located at Bennett Brothers Yacht Repair. The docks were still in need of repairs from Florence and Michael but were usable. The location is an Uber ride away from the downtown area and super cheap. Our reservations are for 1 month during which time we will be heading out of town for 2 weeks.

We ate dinner and lunch in downtown Wilmington, visited a few shops, and visited the farmer’s market but were not impressed with the area. Deb and Chris headed home on Saturday and on Sunday we received a new set of company: Scott’s nephew Marc, his wife Denise, and daughters Hailey, Karley, Abbey.

Short but sweet visit with Marc, Denise, Hailey, Karley and Abbey

This was a short but fun visit. It was especially fun playing “Speak Out!” There were gales of giggles and somehow Scott and I won. The secret is out…we wear those devices all the time! JK! It was fun catching up on all the activities of this busy and wonderful family.

Next adventure…a visit to Ramstein Air Force Base to visit my son, Clayton!

The bow eye can be seen just above the blue stripe at the water line.

P.S. To clarify the use of the bow eye from the previous post: The objective of a Bow Eye is to reduce the length of rode needed to safely anchor. Rode is the line that connects from the boat to the anchor, in this case it is the chain you see in the picture. Scope is the result of a calculation made by dividing rode length by the height of the rode attachment point on the boat to the ocean floor. Desirable scope is (usually) 5, 6 or 7. With the bow eye mounted closer to the water line, 9′ (on our boat) of height is removed from the calculation. In a tight anchorage this allows us to reduce rode paid out by 63 ft and keep a desirable scope. The rode is not attached directly to the bow eye but is connected with a snubber line, this is the white line you see in the picture. A snubber line, usually about 15 ft long, is used to prevent shock loads to the bow eye or the windlass gypsy (if deployed over the pulpet roller) as it will stretch 10 to 15%.

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