Cape Hatteras

Randall B Griepp
Thu 12 Nov 2015 03:57


34:44.29N 75:20.649W

November 11 Wednesday 23:45  AST

We crossed the start line at the Chesapeake Bridge at 00:24 hours Wednesday night and headed down the eastern seabord towards Cape Hatteras. The winds were mostly from NW and we had a fast downwind sail for the better part of the night and the day. Crossing the multiple shiplanes at the entrance of the Bay was a bit nerve  racking and all of us stayed on the look out for the port traffic. We saw some of the rally boats going out at this early hour with us but soon found ourselves alone in the Atlantic. The seas were high and Traveling Light merrily surfed down the waves making good speed running and reaching with NW winds of 20-24 knots. We approached the treacherous shoals off Cape Hatteras around four in the afternoom. The chart on he chart plotter shows little white oval icons with a cross hatched black line across the oval, strewn over these shoals like so many tomb stones in a cemetery, except  that when you zoom in to these marks on the chart  there are no names; it just says “wreck”. No wonder that they call the waters off Cape Hatteras” the graveyard of the Atlantic”. The continental shelf that stretches for hundreds of miles along the east coast in most  places comes close within a few miles along the barrirer islands of the Carolina coast and cape Hatteras sticks out into the Ocean like beak. Right off shore in this area the ocean floor steeply rises  from a depth of thousands of feet to 20 to 40 feet. Any Ocean swells produced by a passing low pressure system gets pushed up to these shoals by the easterly winds and becomes a raging, churning maelstrom along Cape Hatteras. Many a sailing ship has become a hapless victim of these conditions and have become wrecks on the ocean floor with all they carried.  I saw the now defunct Diamond Shoals Light House off Cape Hatteras  just before I went to rest around four in the afternoon thinking of all those souls whose last memories on this world in that dark stormy night probably was the flickering light of this beacon of warning... Now it is my watch. The wind completely died down, the seas are calm; under a velvet sky studded with a million diamonds we are motoring down to Cape Fear for our rendezvous  with” the River in the Ocean”. We should be there by day break…