By: Jock Muir, Director for On-The-Water Activities
The primary goal of an OYC cruise is to have a safe and comfortable trip. This is dictated by the weather and the type of cruising vessels participating.
Sailboats are slower but comfortable with substantial winds, while power boats are faster but shy away from high winds. The key safety rule is this: Do not stick to a schedule. Doing so has been ever so dangerous and problematic for many a boater.
The Pamlico Sound cruise planned for June 2-12 was an open-ended event. Our destination could include any of dozens of towns and anchorages in the
Pamlico Sound area, all dependent on the weather and the time available.
As it turned out, the weather forecast for Friday June 2nd through Sunday June 4th was unsatisfactory. Monday, however, was perfect, and upon reaching the mouth of the Alligator River, we had to decide whether to transit down the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) by way of Belhaven or go east down the Croatan Sound west of Roanoke Island and then directly through the Pamlico Sound to Ocracoke Island.
Ocracoke, one of our favorite destinations, would normally be a two-day trip in a sailboat, but it could be made in one day in a power boat. The weather forecast for Tuesday was questionable. Since we had no sailboats on this cruise, we decided to run just over 100 miles to Ocracoke Island by way of the Croatan Sound in one day. The delayed start shortened our cruise, but in no way diminished our enjoyment. We had absolutely superb weather the entire cruise!
When we arrived in Ocracoke, we took advantage of the recently refurbished National Park docks. To our delight, we found that with a Senior Citizen’s Park pass the cost to dock was only $27 a night, including electric, water, and clean bathroom facilities. We stayed three nights!
Ocracoke is a wonderful out-of-the way place with a true island atmosphere. You can only get there by boat or airplane. Getting around the island is easy with a free tram service or rented bicycles, motor scooters, or golf carts. There are enough restaurants to satisfy anyone’s taste. A highlight of the island is the Ocracoke Opry at the Deep Water Theater, not much different from our local Carolina Moon Theater in Hertford. The musicians were true professionals with a 10-year-old guitarist who could challenge our own Travis Walsh. Very talented!
On the return trip we took the ICW route back home and anchored for two nights on Pungo Creek just south of Belhaven. Here we just relaxed and explored the rather large creek by dinghy. Interestingly, we found an incomplete 200-slip marina that had been interrupted for reasons not made clear, but we got the impression that the project may be in new hands and may come to fruition. Sorry for those who missed this extraordinary cruise.