18 -29th April 2012 -To Beaufort, North Carolina and onto Norfolk

Sun 29 Apr 2012 19:42
A calm weather window allowed us to leave Beaufort, SC via St. Helena Sound, which shaved 20 miles off of our trip to Beaufort, North Carolina, but we needed to be vigilant passing  through the shoal area in the Sound.   Another lovely sail for most of the 271nm  journey, but we had to ‘jill’ around outside Beaufort inlet waiting for daylight before we could enter safely and anchored in our usual spot in Taylor Creek.   Rather than transiting the ICW to Norfolk, we decided to wait in Beaufort for a suitable weather window to go the outside route via Cape Hatteras.  We waited for a SW gale to pass through, but with another frontal system forecast,  we had no real option but to proceed up the ICW.
The ‘Backstreet Pub’ in downtown Beaufort (rather like the pubs in England)
The busy fishing port in Beaufort
The ‘white foamy stuff’ shows how the seas break in a storm at the Beaufort Inlet entrance
It was chilly as we left Beaufort in (50F) and may our way to our first bridge of the trip.  Before we realised, it was showing 64ft clearance and the VHF ariel, once again, tinkled against the supporting girders as we went underneath!   Safely onto Oriental where we were invited to have dinner at Douglas & Matt’s house (Kenny’s friends).  The following day, Kenny on Loon grounded near Fulford Point/Goose Creek.  Despite trying to ease himself out, Loon wasn’t having any of it!  A motor vessel passing by, called on the VHF to offer some assistance, but it became obvious the skipper (without the help of his wife) was understandably having  some difficulty in setting up lines and manoeuvring  his boat into position at the same time!  So it was Anne to the rescue!  After rowing our dinghy over to the power boat and climbing on board, I was able to set the lines and eventually after full throttle Loon was dragged off the mud.  We eventually made it to Belhaven just before nightfall and again dropped anchor in our usual spot.  The remainder to the  ICW trip was fairly uneventful and we thankfully we had no problems passing underneath the Wilkerson Bridge, which was showing 65ft clearance.
With Douglas & Matt in Oriental and the little green boat rigged up for long distance cruising
Some of the waterside properties along the ICW
Wildlife seen along the ICW :- A Laughing Gull and a Cormorant ......................
............a Bald Eagle (the national emblem of the USA) and yellow bellied slider
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Preparing lines to drag Loon off the mud (Anne on the power boat)
Loon following close behind Nimue up the ICW
Sunset in the Belhaven anchorage