Friday, May 1, 2009

A grand wee adventure: part III

SandyBottom and I had planned a three-day, 100-mile (160km) sea kayak trip to scout for our September WaterTribe North Carolina Challenge. Using Top Spot chart N239, this is our story…

Dawn’s cough woke me, to a still morning—the wind had finally died—and a red ball was peeking above the Outer Banks, too low to fully see in the distance. But we could hear… the humming of a thousand—possibly more—mosquitoes, inside our tent flys and out—starving for blood—as big as sparrows. And I am not exaggerating. (North Carolina Challenge 2009 contestants: be warned!)

I dressed in my evening fully covering clothes and did all my packing, etc business inside the tent (thankgoodness for WagBags). Unzipped the inner at the last moment, threw everything out, donned headnet, threw down the damp tent, and furiously packed our boats. If I stood still for long enough, my cream socks turned black. I knew there were mozzies still inside my tent, and inside my hatches when I closed them tight—I did not care.

Finally braving the beasts to throw off morning clothes, we speedily donned paddling clothes and pushed off the beach, still wearing our headnets. (The next day Dawn e-mailed me at work to report she’d counted 300 bites all over her body—I had much fewer, but where I had been bitten turned into large red lumps.)

Homeward bound we paddled, past Rumley Bay and Lola Point, tucking around Cedar Island Point. The WSW slowly kicked in, and with our sails up we made good progress.

We discussed a note to take photos to warn fellow NCC contestants, particularly in the bigger boats, to stick to the marked channels, as the fish net stakes are common around the coast here, sometimes stretching a hundred metres and more from the shore, offering a dangerous addition to nighttime travel.

We’d had plans to end the NCC inside Cedar Island Bay with the finish line right in front of the Driftwood campground at a small boat ramp there. But with the tide down and the difficulty of finding a channel even with the tide in, we’ve decided to have everyone finish right where we started, outside on Pamlico Sound. And if the weather’s really hammering the Sound, folks can make the decision to finish inside; where we did, just a couple of hours after leaving the newly named, Blood-Letting Point.

Freshly showered and changed, we drove home via Beaufort for one of El’s shrimp burgers with all the works—a fitting end to a grand wee adventure!

1 comment:

Steve said...


Enjoyed your stories about the trip. This last entry reminds me all too well why we called our upcoming sail "The Skeeter Beater."