Having Fun in Beaufort

Winter boating is about finding weather windows for visiting and traveling. We’ve found some reasonably good windows for visiting and also some cold, windy and rainy days. But, we have work to do otherwise, so we focus those times on that work, or indoor activities.

Weather windows

Our first good weather window was taken up fixing the lifting mechanism for the dinghy. We’d wanted to motor around to the local islands but had to fix our ability to get the dinghy on and off the big boat. Disappointing, but we learned a lot!

Dyneema. This is amazing line. Our crane hoist uses this line that is 1/3 stronger than stainless steel cable for the same diameter. Also, easier to shorten and no little steel splinters in the hands. It is braded with, in this case, 12 strands that can be opened and another line tucked into it making a loop. And, you can make locking loops so it does not slip out. We are working to understand the loop it came with to recreate one with a shorter line. We just replace this line in our crane which we think was likely 19 years old and had to be shortened so we could get the dinghy over the railings on the boat deck and to the water. Another day I’ll show some photos of getting the dinghy off the boat. Not a trivial, or horrible task. It is getting easier.

We got the lifting harness fixed and headed out to cruise Taylor Creek (around the point from our marina in Beaufort) and visit the Rachael Carson Estuarine Reserve. This a a marine preserve of several islands preserving the local dunes, islands and wild horses and bird life.

We dinghied up Taylor Creek and happened upon a boardwalk. Tidal. Currents. 60 degree water. How does one get off the boat with no dock? In steps the “anchor buddy. ” We searched around on the web and I found this thingy . A line with a bungie in it. Drop an anchor out attached to the anchor buddy and your boat! motor close to shore, step off the boat (with minimal wetness in our new waterproof boots), attach a second anchor on shore. Let the bungie pull the boat back out to deeper water. Double anchored, no worries about the 700 pound boat getting stuck on the beach as the tide goes out. Want the boat back? Pull it in from the shore line. Turns out we had one that came with the boat. Still finding things! Worked like a champ!

One of the hallmarks of this preserve are the wild horses. I’ve read 2 stories, one that they were put their in the 60’s the other is that they are from the Conquistadors arriving in the 1500’s. Possible both are true in that other barrier islands along the Atlantic have ancient horses, but perhaps a more recent local moved horses to Carrot Island. They are rather short legged and not very modern looking horses, so who knows. They are wild in any case and living off the land. Fun to see them.

On the boardwalk. No horses, but we see poop and tracks. Searching, searching and finally the whinny of horses and through the trees we see them eating our way. Yeah!
This group had 7 horses. The water in the background is salty and thus they fine little puddles and dig with their hooves to find little bits of fresh water.

Indoor Activities

We did have quite a few days of cold weather, wind and rain. There is very nice local museum with wonderful history of the pirates that roamed the local coasts, including Blackbeard whose prized ship Queens Annes Revenge sunk off Beaufort Inlet. The ship was found and many artifacts have been recovered and are now displayed in the museum. Sorry, no pics but lots of great information to be learned.

But, we also went to the North Carolina Aquarium at Pine Knoll Shores. A nice aquarium highlighting local species in the rivers, sounds and off shore.

I always love these guys!
I am enamored with jelly fish. No, don’t want to see them in water I’m in, but in a tank. Gorgeous!

There is also a nice nature trail. The winds had died down and it was not so cold. A nice walk along the marshes.

A group of 3 white tail deer. We kept our distance and they were happy to keep eating.

After another day of very rainy cold and windy weather and some last minute shopping, we are heading south tomorrow. Heading south, through some notorious spots of shoaling (which we will pass though at low tide…!) and on to several nights of anchoring. We are ready to swing on the hook for a few days.

I’ll leave you with a mushroom (or is this a fungi?) from the nature trail at the aquarium. The south is full of lovely fungi.


Having Fun in Beaufort — 5 Comments

  1. So very cool to see the horses. I also had to find a video on “anchor buddies” so I think I understand. The little boat with the motor that swings up make it possible to get much closer to shore! So how tall are your new boots?

  2. I participated in an attempted round up of suspected Conquistador mustang ancestors west of Las Lunas some 20 years ago. National Geographic was doing dna testing to confirm origin. We of course were on dirt bikes. I have never ridden so hard and been so out smarted. These horses were fearless as they jumped into 30 foot ravines and just out ran us in rough terrain. We finally ran a handful into a corral where they subsequently jumped over the fence and disappeared.
    I enjoy your posts and keeping up with your adventures. Stay safe.

  3. Yes, the little boat can get closer to shore temporarily for landing. But one does not want a 700 lb dingy beached. You are stuck awaiting tide.

  4. I forgot to answer your question on boots. Mine are calf high but can be turned down. Jim’s are just above his ankles.