We have found every 10-year-old girl’s fantasy island in Beaufort, NC. It is inhabited by wild ponies and surrounded by dolphins. We are anchored in between this island called Bird Shoal and the town of Beaufort, NC.
Looking at the historic town on one side, the beach with ponies on the other, and the dolphins swimming in between was very magical.
To get to the fantasy island we traversed many a shallow canal, passing by those boats that had not been successful in their attempts.
Many had run aground (probably during a hurricane) to the shoreline.
The sands around this area shift constantly. Marked areas get shoaled in by the sand, and even a well marked channel has to be watched for shallow depths.
In these narrow channels sports fisherman and their wakes are also a concern. Most slowed down for us though, yay!
The bridge was our last obstacle, and Velocir was free to anchor among the dolphins and ponies.
She sat comfortably next to the dinghy dock on two anchors in the crowded anchorage. (Boats use two anchors here because A) it is really crowded and they do not swing as much this way and B) because the strong current swings the boats about twice a day)
We have two problems anchoring our boat. 1. The major issue is that we cannot wrap our heads around the concept that we are 27 feet long. After sailing tallships, our perception that we are at least 60 feet long makes finding a spot to anchor take much thought and consideration (how will we swing?, is there enough room?). Then, as we set our anchor we naturally fall back closer to those around us. In Beaufort we wanted to make sure the boat behind us was okay with where we were in front of them, so we hopped in the dinghy and went over to say hi and ask. As we approached the 40 foot sailboat we looked back at our own– a speck in front of them, not close at all. It is hard for us to fully grasp how small we are, but we are working on it. 2. We also struggle with depth denial, in 12 feet of water I start to get nervous, in 6 feet I am traveling at a snails pace into the anchorage. (we draw 3.8 feet and the one time I felt us brush the bottom in the Chesapeake the sounder was reading 3.5) I think this is a good thing though, because being overly cautious means we will have less chance of running aground, right?
Back to the land of wrecks, dolphins and ponies. We journeyed past the wrecks and dolphins to the pony island.
I was a land of pine trees, scrub brush and sandy marsh swamp.
We followed the trail and found many a crab, many a prickler bush, and many a mosquito, but no ponies.
<<<<The crab’s city friend crab pumpkin
It was a large island, so we turned back to civilization and the city where we did laundry and had beer. We also visited the NC Marine Museum that had an exhibit on Blackbeard’s ship Queen Anne’s Revenge that they are excavating just offshore. We learned a lot, and were impressed by the painstaking detail and six-year-long restoration needed for just one cannon!