Our neighbors that we met in the Bahamas, Jerry and Donna, asked us if we wanted to join a group of other sailboats going to Oriental this morning....since we didn't have anything much planned we said "sure"!!
We got a late start - several hours after Jerry and Donna left....we had to stop by River Dunes and pump out the sewage and get a bit of fuel.
That chore taken care of, we headed out into the Pamlico Sound. Before long I got a radio call from Laura Belle. We'd met them in the Bahamas also. They are from NC and keep their boat in Oriental during the summers also. They were going the opposite direction - but nice to hear from them!!
Here's the photo I snapped of them as we passed.
And here's the photo Kay snapped of me at the same time!!
Great sail for the first few hours - a fishing boat passed us....
The forecast was for winds to increase in the evening...but we thought we'd beat the worst of it.
We were wrong!! No photos or video because we were too busy! The winds steadily increased from a nice 15 knots to 30+ with waves from about 90 degrees. This is terribly uncomfortable because the boat rocks quickly from side-to-side. We put 1 reef in the main at about 20 knots. At 30 knots we dropped all the sails.
We were in the final channel going into Ocracoke when a monster thunderstorm caught up with us. We only needed 15 minutes to get to safety, but we didn't have it!
We saw a 46 knot gust and pouring rain in the narrow channel. But, the boat and sailors did fine - we're safely anchored in Silver Lake at Ocracoke now - no space at the NPS dock like usual.
We will see if someone vacates a spot over on the dock tomorrow and go meet up with the other folks who sailed over. Hopefully it will be a cool, bug-free night tonight!