10 May - 2 July, 2014... Cape Lookout and Beaufort, NC

The trip north from Charleston was uneventful, though we did practice our wing-on-wing sailing downwind.  Rather than heading directly to Cape Lookout, we went to Winyah Bay, as we had always liked anchoring there in the past.  But, we didn’t count on the crazy sea breeze that hit in the afternoon making it untenable to anchor on the east side of the inlet -- so we did our best on the west side and prayed the Rocna would stay put through the night.  Next couple of days we finished the trip around Frying Pan Shoal and up to Cape Lookout.

With all the times we had stopped at Beaufort, we had not been to Cape Lookout.  We were really missing out!  This has to be the most beautiful place we had ever visited on the US east coast.  The water was clean and clear and that startling color of turquoise.  The anchorage is so well protected that most of the time, the water was completely flat, even when the waves outside the bight were raging.  We never used the dinghy -- the kayak was our preferred transport, to the beaches and Shackleford Banks to see the wild horses.  The beaches are beautiful, and there are so many of them to choose from, that you can feel really alone out there.  Long-billed curlews were our company for one stretch of beach...  The lighthouse provides an iconic view; every time you look up, there it is!  But, by far, the best thing about Cape Lookout were the TURTLES!  Loggerheads, everywhere.  Swimming around the boat.  Huge -- had to be 3 feet across.  There were researchers from Duke Marine Lab in the bight and they told us that the size of the population this spring surprised them as well.  So, we were lucky to be there just as the turtles came in.

We mulled over the idea of spending the whole summer in Cape Lookout, with weekly trips to Beaufort to provision or whatever.  We just felt so happy and relaxed to be there.  After a bit more than a week, we went into Beaufort -- needed fuel, food, and a little civilization.  Ate at Aqua, one of our favorite restaurants in town, shopped at the Piggly Wiggly, and fueled at Olde Towne Yacht Club on Radio Island.  We thought that maybe we should head north to New York and Maine, and started looking for a weather window.  We were getting frustrated with that, as the weather was invariably bad, or just not appropriate for a long haul to the northeast.  With no window in sight, we put Anhinga in a slip at Olde Towne, rented a car, and drove to Florida for a week to celebrate Renée’s birthday.  Once back in North Carolina, we again went out to Cape Lookout (now there were NO turtles..) and waited.  The night before we were going to head north, family issues called us back to Florida, so Anhinga went back to Olde Towne, and we drove south.

Winyah Bay, SC:  33d13.173’N  79d11.705’W
Lookout Bight, NC:  34d37.081’N  76d32.922’W
Beaufort, NC:  34d42.794’N  76d40.783’W
Olde Towne Yacht Club, Radio Island
Lookout Bight, NC:  34d37.670’N  76d32.941’W
Olde Towne Yacht Club, Radio Island

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