Northbound: Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics from Ocracoke to Manteo, oh wait, make that Belhaven!

There are three types of lies: lies, damn lies, and official statistics - Benjamin Disraeli, British PM. 

We somehow managed to tear ourselves away from Ocracoke at 7AM Friday morning. We were headed to Manteo, 60 miles further up the Outer Banks. We've loved the Outer Banks so far and were looking forward to the free docks and renting a car to go to Kitty Hawk (North Carolina: First in Flight). 

We set the sails and flirted with 4 knots, tacking back and forth, which meant we wouldn't make it to the docks until after dark. We were hoping for 6 knots, based on the lie-cast aka weather forecast. Even the now-cast said currently SW winds at 10-15 - then why do we have East at 5-10! Lies!

Unfortunately, there are no good anchorages to stop at along the way or seek protection from afternoon thunderstorms. So, we headed across the bay and rejoined the ICW. We anchored at Belhaven, inside the wooden breakwater. That's right, Belhaven built a wall to protect themselves from waves. But did they make the waves pay? 

Belhaven breakwater
Belhaven Breakwater, plus an inside wall! 
I poo-pooed the charted anchorage and opted for a spot as far away from the dinghy dock as possible. I like my space! 

Since we crossed the state line into North Carolina nearly a month ago, my cell hasn't worked at all. No phone, no text, no data. Matt's cell has voice but absolutely no data. This makes it's hard to research mechanics, DIY forums, etc. This wouldn't be a problem if we didn't have problems. Sadly, I'm sad to tell you the sad news. We've got problems. Our Yamaha 2 stroke 15HP, supposedly the most reliable engine ever built, that reportedly will run on chip grease and encouragement, hates us and likes to die. 
Dinghy in Ocracoke, NC
The last time the engine ran (in Ocracoke). Will I ever be this happy again? 
Fixing the dinghy in Silver Lake, Ocracoke
Hastings is closely monitoring the attempts at fixing his engine. He's worried. 
We like to anchor away from town and run Hastings to shore 2-3 times a day in the dinghy. Anchoring is free and comes with a good view and a nice breeze. Sure, we can row, and we do. It starts out fun; you enjoy invigorating exercise! But there's always wind and currents and chop, and it's always against you, and when you start going backwards, and it's wet, and you've parked your boat miles away to get a better view and breeze, the fun sputters and dies and resentment and hate rush in. 
Rowing the dinghy in Belhaven, NC
We're pretending this is fun. 
Just FYI, we were told not to buy a charter boat cause we'll rue the day, but unreservedly a Yamaha 2 stroke 15 HP would be the best thing that ever happened to us. Lies, damn lies. Looking back, this was really unlikely. How could an engine be better than ice cream? Or coffee? But we drank the lie-juice (when we should have settled for coffee) stalked the black market, and bought this engine. That's right - the black market. 2 strokes are so amazing it's illegal to sell them new in the US, so a 13 yr old engine is nearly the price of a new 4 stroke. Now, for the third time in 3 months, we are back to rowing and cursing. After a day of this, with no internet to research solutions, we tied up to a marina. The marina has free laundry, wifi, and golf carts so you know we've been loving it! (And our charter boat hasn't given us any problems; she's a dream.) 
Driving a golf cart in Belhaven, NC
Ah, transportation = civilization! 
Lagoon 380 sailboat at night, River Forest Marina, Belhaven
River Forest Marina (I'd never tied to pilings before. Spoiled!)
There's a mechanic in town that will take a look at the Yamaha today. When we spoke to him, he said "How can a Yamaha 15 be dead? Never!" This lie is beginning to sound like a statistic!  He's also a dealer for Yamaha and Honda - so, Yamaha - your life is on the line. Either straighten up, or you'll be an artificial reef, looking up at a beautiful, wonderful, quiet Honda 9.9 four stroke that will never fail us. And you'll be a statistic: 1 in a million that ended up dead. 
Rainbow, Belhaven, NC
Lots of storms = lots of rainbows. Will we find our pot of gold after the dinghy rage storm passes? 
Have you ever drank lie-juice and lived to regret it?

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  1. Oh, the bitter taste of lie-juice. On the plus side, all of that exertion from rowing means you've burned off far too many calories and need to replace them with brownies.

    1. We took the golf cart and got chips and candy. Somehow I forgot the chocolate biscuits! I get overwhelmed by actual grocery stores, but how is it possible to forget chocolate biscuits!!

  2. We had an 8HP Yamaha 2-stroke, the only thing we bought new before we went cruising. It lasted the full eight years (with lots of heavy use, especially when we still had our dogs). We did like it... But, towards the end, it had real issues and not having a reliable dinghy really sucks!

    Sorry to say, but, better get used to the forecast being more wrong than correct, especially when you venture further away from the US. Weather reports drove us crazy every time we planned to sail somewhere. EVERY SINGLE TIME. Sorry to hear that you have not been able to connect to the internet. That part is really frustrating!! Good luck with the engine and other things on the list! (Maybe you need a Wirie :-))

    1. I try to tell myself that it's refreshing to be disconnected.... but maybe we do need a Wirie!

    2. I agree with you that it is refreshing to be disconnected. As long as the internet is not a need and just a want, all is great. :-) I miss the days when life was like that. And, I truly enjoy it when we are a weekend away, camping in the woods without any connection. Unfortunately, the weekend only lasts two days. :-)

  3. We can relate! Our little 3-horse Mercury just had its third trip to motor E.R. due to a clogged jet. It's the first dinghy outboard we've ever had and so far isn't inspiring confidence. A little Honda would be our choice if not for being broke already - and we aren't off the dock til next week! Yikes!

    1. It's just frustrating because these outboards are small and simple and should just run! Third times the charm!


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