By some miracle or a generous weather goddess, we enjoyed a wonderful 72nm mostly motor-sail on Tuesday. The forecast promised NE 5-10 and it delivered. Temps climbed to 73 degrees; the sky mostly clear and sunny. Not a sailing day (oh darn) but one we wanted, simply to have an easy trip. And we weren’t the only ones. As is typical for this area of Camp Lejeune and North Carolina in general, various training exercises are routine. Certainly every time we come through-except last fall because Sandy kept them distracted.
Naval warship 94 was conducting live firing exercises toward shore from several miles out- sitting in the middle of the charted many miles long and wide “danger” zone. The day before we heard various announcements on CH16 from the warships that exercises would be conducted Tues- Thurs. After checking a few sources, Russ plotted a course for our offshore hop that would be sure to take us outside the danger area. Going along we heard the warship state that vessels should keep clear by 15nm- come again? We’d be passing 12nm off the ship and no way were we diverting more. Turns out that the 15nm distance only applied if you were to pass in front- like you’d want to be fired on. They spent an extra hour of live firing and I’m sure that caused extra wait-time for the ICW boats who have to stop and wait in between firings. If it’s not crab pots it’s warships.
The fun part of the trip was the pod of dolphins who came by to play. They are amazing to watch as they zig-zag inches away from the hull, diving, surfacing and jumping faster than we can capture their antics. Russ is a huge fan and never tires of watching these beautiful and intelligent creatures.
Hook dropped securely at Wrightsville Beach at 5:25 a bit more than a 10-hour day. We made good time motor-sailing, then motoring when the wind died. At least 15 other cruisers were anchored and we were surprised to find only one other dinghy at the dock. Well, more room for us. The docks can accommodate 10 dinghies easily and covered trash barrels are conveniently placed at the head of each dock (I think there’s 2 or 3). Baja-Mex restaurant Tower 7 (lifeguard tower) was our destination; all of one block from the dinghy dock. Excellent food and drinks very reasonably priced. Russ chose the taco special (very surprising); one roast chicken and the other pulled pork. He proclaimed the over-stuffed tacos excellent; I’ve never seen ones with so much meat. Our noses sniffed out the baked goods in the café section; good to add a new muffins to our onboard selection.