Sometimes, rarely, the weather turns out better than predicted. Such was the situation as White Pepper traveled 240 n. miles from the Isle of Hope Marina on the outskirts of Savannah, GA to Oriental, NC via the offshore route.
White Pepper had been confined to the low country of Georgia by an unusual series of low pressure centers that had ejected off of Cape Hatteras. Each trailed off a cold front that brought lovely cool and dry air into Georgia. We loved the unseasonably (for late May) cool air, but the north wind kept us in the intracoastal canal. Jan and I spent 3 delightful days at the Isle of Hope Marina. The Isle of Hope is a district of Savannah, GA that reached its zenith in the early 20th century as a summer getaway for Savannah. It retains an air of gentile living with many fine old homes.
Isle of Hope Home
Finally, a window of high pressure opened off the SE Atlantic Coast. Light winds were forecast offshore, but the high pressure would ward off the thunderstorms which plague the Georgia and Carolina coast at this time of year. We left late in the morning to let some north wind clock around and also to catch the ebb on the Savannah River. Maybe the winds offshore were light, but by noon Tuesday the sea breeze had set in fiercely as White Pepper was swept down the Savannah River, past Tybee Island, and into Tybee Roads. In the Atlantic the winds were brisk as White Pepper set off on a full power reach up the coast. Both the main and genoa had reefs. The sea breeze lasted until 3 am and swept us quickly passed Charleston. We motored for the next 10 hours during a lovely moonlit night, sunrise, and morning. Late in the morning Wednesday Jan caught a 10 pound little tunny. The rig was a cedar plug and red skirt. We were trolling at 7.5 knots. The fish provider 4 delicious meals.
Wednesday's sea breeze was much lighter for some reason. However, White Pepper did reach the Frying Pan Shoals off of Cape Fear by sunset. From there we squared into a run northeast in a light southerly breeze towards Morehead City. It was slow going until 5 am when I fired up the iron genoa. We arrived at the Morehead City about noon and then motored to Oriental on the Neuce River. The day was breathtakingly beautiful with clear skies, dry and warm air, and brisk wind.
The Morehead City bridge is well known to ICW traveler.
We arrived at Oriental, NC about 4:30 pm and anchored off the breakwater. This spot brought back many old memories from previous trips to Oriental which are all well chronicled in archived posts of this blog. What is not available in old posts is the loss of our good friend, Bruce Ray, who hung out with us while we were here last. Also different is the remarkable upgrade in the power of the new inboard engine and outboard motor. These had been definitely problems on previous visits to Oriental.