Pamlico Sound, North Carolina: Broad Creek to Ocracoke, Outer Banks

At River Dunes Marina, I soaked up wifi until noon. I could have been soaking in a hot shower with 6 different settings, but apparently internet is better than cleanliness. We headed out across Pamlico Bay towards Ocracoke. 

Sailing calm waters of Pamlico Sound, North Carolina
Calm Day to cross Pamlico Sound
Sailing calm waters of Pamlico Sound, North Carolina
Shrimp Boat, Outer Banks, North Carolina
This area seems a little scary on the charts, with lots of shallows, a wreck by the channel makers, and a tricky entrance. And then there’s the ominous note in our cruising guide “Do not cross the ferries. A very serious accident happened with a ferry and a cruising boat in 2010”. Great, so after we run aground, get confused by channel markers, we are going to be plowed down by a cross ferry.

Like many things, it’s not as bad as it sounds. Sure, you have to be paying attention (as you know, this isn’t my specialty), but it’s totally doable for cruising boats. 

Matt on the left, Hastings on the right, making sure I'm headed the right direction!
We made it through the channel but balked at the anchorage - with 11 boats in the harbor, we found it hard to find a space, and actually re-anchored after finding our first choice too close to another boat. Figuring out a good spot to anchor and calculating distances and swing room while factoring in currents, wind, different tackle and windage is still a struggle for us. We enjoyed the sunset and free live music from the pub, while keeping a wary eye on all our neighbors.
Beautiful Ocracoke
Sailboats at sunset, Silver Lake, Ocracoke, Outer Banks, NC
Sailboats at sunset, Silver Lake, Ocracoke
Have you ever had an experience that wasn't as scary as you'd thought it would be? 

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  1. So many sailing experiences have been scary to me and I'm always surprised that I survive them.

  2. Replies
    1. Ha! And then the things I'm not worried about are the things that cause the problems!

  3. All the years we cruised, we seemed to take the longest time to anchor, because we want to feel secure and happy with our spots. Many, many, many times, we reanchored (not always in the greatest moods), but afterwards, we were always happy we did. We found this harder in the Pacific, where the winds and the currents were more finicky than in the Caribbean. It was from Panama on that we realized catamarans and monohulls anchored within close quarters is not a great idea.

    Always expect the worst, then you can only be pleasantly surprised, at times. :-)

    1. Yep, we never regret re-anchoring, even though we're usually tired and just want that arrival beer already!

    2. Liesbet, can you say more about Cats and monohull's anchoring? Hadn't really thought about that...

    3. Cats have more hull exposed above the water with less keel below, so when there is wind and current cats can swing more with the wind while monos swing more with the current. There's so many variables- boats with chain sit on the chain, whereas boats with just rode tend to swing more. A powerboat at Ocracoke put out 200 ft of line in 10 ft of water and swung right into a cat (way too much line). People with line and small anchors drag in storms! People with the right amount of chain and modern anchors do better. We prefer to be as far away as possible, but sometimes it's not possible. Some boats keep fenders out just in case of bumps in the night. It's never dull!


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