It was the last weekend in April 2014. It’s been a cool spring. During Easter week, there was freeze warning in the Raleigh, NC. This weekend was promising, the forecast was calling for highs in the upper 70 and clear skies, NW winds 15-20 knots in the AM, changing to the NE 5-10 knots in the afternoon, and changing to SE 15-20 in the evening. Because of the Tornado and severe weather on Friday, I departed early Saturday morning for the boat. The nation’s first EF-3 tornado touch down in Beaufort County Friday afternoon. You can see the links at Weather Channel , or NOAA. On Saturday, the U.S. Coast Guard had Security broadcast notice to mariners for the Pamilco River, Pungo River, and Alligator River to Elizabeth City, because of the rash of severe storms with high winds, hail, and several other tornadoes in North Carolina and Virginia.
When I arrived in Oriental, the winds were from NW 15-20 knots with gust to 30+ knots. I was single handed sailing this weekend. I decided to waiting until after lunch to get under way. There was plenty of water in the channel with northerly winds on Friday and Saturday. The depth in the Whittaker Creek channel was between 6 to 7 feet, in normal conditions it’s between 5 to 6 feet of water in the channel. After I past Marker # 2, I headed toward South River to hoist the jib. Because of problems I had with my jib last year, I had problems with hoisting the jib. I tried several times going to the bow to free the jib, but there wasn’t much luck. I decided to just cruise around under power. I saw 6 U.S. Coast Guard 45-foot Response Boat-Medium (RB-M) doing law enforcement exercise. It sound like they were firing blanked in their M240 machine guns. I was glad that I was at the Adams Creek end of River and U.S. Coast Guard were far away from me. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a chance to take picture of their maneuvers. The forecast was on target. NOAA was calling for NE winds 5-10 knots and they were’t kidding. It was dead calm out there.
After I moored and cleaned up the boat, I caught the 1700 ferry from Minnesott Beach to Cherry Branch for 1730 services at Annunciation Church in Havelock. The winds did switch to the SE at 15-20 knot in the evening. The bottom line, there was plenty of winds and water depending on your cruise abilities.