Cape May to Ocracoke, NC.

It was still very cold when we left Cape May.  Surely we would find some warmer weather soon..... We didn't know it at the time, but it would be a long time before we would sail again. We motored across the mouth of Delaware Bay and on down the coast to Chincoteague Island, Virginia, where we got our first taste of warmer weather. Not really warm, but definitely warmer. We had officially entered the South.  We didn't see any ponies swimming in the channel, but we did have a beautiful anchorage all to ourselves.

From Chincoteague we bounced our way across the choppy mouth of the Chesapeake and made it to Virginia Beach, ears still buzzing after a second day of motoring from sun up to sundown.  With a fixed bridge blocking entry into the larger harbor, sailboats are limited to a fairly small anchorage.  Unfortunately the inlet was being dredged and the dredge support barges were taking up the entire anchorage.  We ended up anchoring in somebody's back yard for the night.  The next day we motored all day, entering Oregon Inlet just as all the 45ft+ sport fishers were returning from the fishing tournament de jour.  The wakes were worse than out in the Atlantic. What a bunch of Bozos.  Anyway, after three days of motoring all day, we were getting very very very low on fuel.  The small marina just inside the inlet had no fuel. Just a bunch of power boaters drinking cheap beer. We had to go north to get fuel. I hate to do that when I'm headed south. We got to Roanoke Island but the marina was closed.  Fortunately one of the locals happened by and took us to a convenience store in his truck where we were able to fill up our auxillary tanks. The next morning we headed down Pamlico Sound. The wind was out of the south (of course) and it wasn't long before it was blowing at 18 knots.  About halfway down the Sound it picked up to 20 knots and gusting higher.  All the bouncing around was uncomfortable, but I was very impressed with the way the boat behaved in these conditions.  A short, steep chop that would have stopped most other boats dead in their tracks.  These photos don't even come close to showing what the conditions were really like.  The video gets much closer to showing how we were bouncing around.
To my amazement, the two 10hp Yahamas were able to punch through the waves at almost 6 knots.  In fact, I had to back off on the throttles to slow us down a little. The spray was turning into solid water and flying over the cabin top.   If we weren't already halfway there, I'd probably have turned back, but the boat didn't protest in the least.  No creaks or groans at all. The more miles we traveled, the more and more comfortable I became with the boat.  If there was any lingering doubt about the strength of the Maine Cat, that trip down the Pamlico Sound put them to rest. When we arrived in Ocracoke, two things about our arrival impressed the dock master. The fact that we were there at all....(we were the only small pleasure craft to arrive from the north that day), and the way we crashed into the dock when  both engines died at a critical moment as the wind kept right on blowing us into the dock. No damage except for the deck mounted plastic running light that was at exactly the wrong height and was clipped off, clean as a whistle.  The engines had been unreliable at low RPMs for some time, but this was the first time they had completely failed.

We had been to Ocracoke a few times before by car, but had always wanted to arrive by boat. It's unfortunate that I had to crash-land on our first time.  Anyway, we loved it there.  This time we arrived early enough to walk around the town a little before dark, have dinner and return to the boat just as the last ferry came in for the night.

Gloucester to Stonington    Stonington to New York    Welcome to New Jersey   Ocracoke to Charleston  

Charleston   Charleston to St. Augustine  St. Augustine to Lake Okeechobee  

 Lake Okeechobee to Clearwater Beach   The Maine Cat 30    Starting Page

CapmWoody Home Page