This weekend we had our first 3-day Love Odyssey cruise and it could not have been any more spectacular. The weather gods smiled upon us and gave us sunny skies, perfect sailing winds, and very little humidity. We left Oriental on Friday morning around eight a.m. We motored through the Intracoastal Waterway, which we call “the ditch” because it is so narrow. Lovely homes line much of this waterway, with gently rolling lawns ending at the water where boats of various sizes are docked.
Around eleven o’clock we put up sails and proceded out of the Beaufort inlet. The ocean was so clear and blue. We had only been sailing a few minutes when our odyssey couple noticed motion in the water. Sure enough there were several dolphins cavorting in our bow wave. Then a few minutes later we noticed a large dark shadow off to the distance and a whale breached the surface! He seemed to be accompanied by more dolphins. What fun for all of us as we rapidly snapped photos and tried to guess where the whale would surface next.
We entered the Cape Lookout bight about 12:30 and anchored in some of the prettiest water–we could see fish swimming around the boat. Too bad that we forgot our fishing poles!
After a quick lunch on board we lowered our dinghy and motored to the lighthouse. The ride was a bit wet and splashy, but it felt good in the warm sunshine. There is a small museum in the lighthouse keeper’s house that is run by the national park service. After a walk across the dunes to the ocean, we returned to our dinghy and traveled to the far corner of the bight where we disembarked and walked to the old abandoned Coast Guard Station. We kept a sharp eye out for nutra, which are like large guinae pigs that were imported here from South America during the Second World War to help keep down the vegetation; no luck spotting them on this visit, but we have seen them in the past.
Saturday morning we sailed back to Beaufort. We did spy a few dolphins near the boat, but alas, our whale was no where in sight! After anchoring in Taylor’s Creek along the Beaufort waterfront, we dinghied to shore and strolled along the waterfront where wooden boats of all descriptions were lined up. This was the weekend of the Wooden Boat Show. A large tent was erected in one area and at least twenty teams were vying for recognition in a boat building and rowing contest. We also enjoyed the Maritime Museum up the street where watercraft of all sorts were displayed, including artifacts from the pirate Blackbeard’s Queen Anne’s Revenge.
Sunday morning we re-traced our route back to Oriental under a bit hotter and windier conditions, but still very pleasant. A few dophins frolicked around our boat on the way. We know our first Love Odyssey couple had a wonderful time on the water.