Migration Moments

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June 6th 2011
Published: June 17th 2011
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Lighthouse DesignLighthouse DesignLighthouse Design

You could THINK that this lighthouse protects the Diamond Shoals near Cape Hatteras given its diamond pattern. The rangers at the Cape Lookout lighthouse park joked that it was a mistake made at the time the lighthouse was built-- but mistake or not it is the design of the Cape Lookout light.
In our cruising life there are times that we are not exactly cruising—but more “migrating” from one cruising ground to another. Our home base is in Georgia gets warn in the spring and you want to be on your way to a cooler spot WELL before summer officially begins. We sailed out St Marys Inlet on May 22nd and finally arrived in cooler water about 2 weeks later. Here are some highlights from our “migration.”

The first surprise was that we sailed much more than we expected to based on forecasts we had studied before leaving. This is always welcome news, both because we LOVE to sail AND because diesel prices topped $4 per gallon when we left and each hour that we motor uses about 2/3 of a gallon. On our off shore run to Cape Lookout, near Beaufort, NC we motored only about 25 % of the time and at reduced RPM’s which also uses less fuel.

Cape Lookout is a favorite anchorage for us because it has all around protection and you can come in and depart at any time of the day or night. Beaufort by comparison has swift currents and some tricky parts, though
Cape Lookout LighthouseCape Lookout LighthouseCape Lookout Lighthouse

You get good views of this wonderful lighthouse from both the ocean side and the Bight.
this is easier with a chartplotter at the helm that will show your exact position on a detailed chart. To get to the anchorage we like in Beaufort we have to wait for a bridge to open. We arrived in the middle of the day but still wanted to spend some time at Cape Lookout to walk the beaches and climb the lighthouse. There is lots of room to anchor and to land your dinghy at the beach. You can walk the inside beach or take an established path to the ocean side where there are more shells.

We were puzzled by the number of small sharks we were finding dead on the shore. Fish kills are never pleasant but we have never seen one restricted to sharks. Later when we dinghied over to the light house we found some local families setting up to enjoy Memorial Day weekend . We asked them about the dead fish and were told that these are harmless sand sharks that are killed by fishermen when that catch one whikle fishing for cobia or other game fish. It is a shame that they kill these harmless fish and also cause an unpleasant stink
Dead Sand SharkDead Sand SharkDead Sand Shark

We saw many of these harmless sharks dead on the beaches on both the ocean side and in the Bight.
to prevail over the lovely beaches on both the ocean side and in the bight.

The weather was clear and sunny, but with nice sea breezes we were comfortable at Cape Lookout and did not appreciate what was soon to be our fate. We spent a couple of days in Beaufort catching up with old friends and making new ones, but headed out for Norfolk by the inside route on Memorial Day. The Carolinas were in the midst of a heat wave and as we left the shore we lost most of the fresh sea breeze. Water temperatures were in the high 80’s and without wind we were soon very warm on board. We would get underway at dawn (between 0500 and 0530) and stop early so we could get the sun shade up and try to keep cool. There were fires in the area that made the sun look blood red and contributed, we think, to morning fog.

The heat wave broke as we arrived in Portsmouth/Norfolk and we relaxed there for a couple of days, again catching up with old friends and taking in a movie at our favorite theater, the Commodore in Portsmouth. This is
Fish KillFish KillFish Kill

This view is on the Bight and if you look closely you will see numerous dead sand sharks floating and on the beach.
a lovely old art deco movie theater that has been restored with tables and comfortable chairs. You can order food and drinks and have dinner before the move starts. Lots of fun and with an enormous screen and excellent sound system any move you see is great. Portsmouth also has a lot going on for its “First Friday” celebration so we enjoyed live music, free entrance to the museum and a large flea market. Without a change in the weather we would have stayed longer.

When the news arrived that the heat wave was returning we upped anchor and left, catching the ebbing tide on June 6 to head for New England.

Additional photos below
Photos: 11, Displayed: 11


North ViewNorth View
North View

As we climbed the hundereds of steps up the lighthouse there were good views in all directions. This one is northward and you see the Atlantic to the right and Lookout Bight to the left.
Looking WestLooking West
Looking West

In this view from the Cape Lookout lighthouse you see shallow water in light blue and deeper water in darker blues, with Beaufort in the distance.
Lookout PointLookout Point
Lookout Point

Looking to the south from the lighthouse you can see the long narrow point stretching out seaward.
Kitty ChillingKitty Chilling
Kitty Chilling

During the heat wave our boat kitties, Bisous and Carter, tried to find a cool spot on board.
Red Sky at NightRed Sky at Night
Red Sky at Night

Usually "a sailor's delight" but we were finding a combination of excessive heat and fire smoke caused these sunsets in the Alligator River.
Neighbor in the FogNeighbor in the Fog
Neighbor in the Fog

Fog and smoke blur the view near the Albemarle Sound.
Heron WatchHeron Watch
Heron Watch

As we were locking through at Great Bridge, Virginia a heron was looking for fish from the gate. As it opened he was unphased and continued to hunt.

20th June 2011

re: your adventures
Love to hear from you and glad for the pictures. With the terrible weather down there we are happy to know you are safe and sound....
30th June 2011

good stuff
Love the kitty picture! ;) So cute.

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