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Tucked in for a Norther at Pipe Cay

The weather was calling for a pretty bad Norther and squalls.  Winds 20-25 knots from the NW and N.  Accounting for swell, and swell wrapping around islands, the most protected spot we could find on the chart was Pipe Creek/Cay.  We motored 20 miles to seek shelter here.  It is an interesting Cay covered with sand bars.  As we entered our anchorage we found one other boat there— a couple we met in Beaufort, NC!  It has actually been really hard for us to meet people so it was fun to see a friendly face.

Pipe Cay by Velocir

We had trouble finding a spot among the sandbars and scoured channels.   We didn’t get a good hold on our anchor (something we don’t experience a lot) and found limited space.  We nestled up to a sandy spot with good holding, putting out two anchors so that we didn’t swing into a shallow bump at low tide.  Grant swam all around the boat to see what the bottom was like.  A low tide he was standing next to Velocir!!

That night the NW winds started to fill in and unfortunately we were still getting swell wrapping around to our SW anchorage entrance!  It was a rolly night with no sleep to be had.  That morning at high tide a man from a nearby private island (everywhere are private islands with a fancy houses) offered us his empty mooring in a more protected spot.  We were extremely thankful and took the offer.  It was like night and day.  Super protected from the weather we took some naps.  Many thanks for the mooring, however, if the protected channel had not been full of moorings we would have anchored there to begin with!

Pipe Cay by Velocir Albin Vega

Velocir in her little channel protected from the swell.  We went on a walk of the sandbars.  When we got back, Velocir had edged herself sideways in the channel and was aground!  Only a little bit though, within an hour we were back afloat and tightened up on the mooring to give us less swing room and it wasn’t  a problem again.

Conch by Velocir

The sandbars had the most vibrant and beautiful conch we had ever seen!  It’s like there are different “conch family” species in each area that carry distinct colors and traits.  These were the most spindly and had the most vibrant pinks and oranges we have seen.

Crab by Velocir

Huge creepy sand crab carcass!!Pipe Cay by Velocir

We hiked westward on Pipe Cay to an abandoned DECCA station noted on the chart.  It has a huge cement pier with bollards, a cement boat ramp, a large cistern and several buildings.  It had been abandoned for at least 20 years based on the graffiti.

Pipe Cay by Velocir

As we approached the larger abandoned building we were startled quite a bit by this propane-man watching TV at his table.  When you are traipsing around abandoned buildings alone, catching a glimpse of someone out of the corner of your eye, even a fake person at a table is quite frightening.

Pipe Cay by Velocir

Inside the building was demolished.  We headed back to the boat and waited out the heavy winds for three days.  We each read three books! We also did some organizing, cleaning, installed a new fan and serviced the genoa winches. Amelia even made pumpkin pie when it got cold to heat up the boat.

Starfish by Velocir

The winds began to moderate but the weather was still very cold.  While Grant was doing dishes in the cockpit he accidentally threw Amelia’s favorite knife overboard in a bucket of dirty dishwater.  He jumped in to retrieve it and found the water was warm, so he went hunting for conch.

Pipe Cay by Velocir

Grant didn’t find any conch but he did see some sea turtles and coral so Amelia went snorkeling too and saw two sea turtles!!!!  Then, we heated some water up on the stove, mixed it into our sunshower water and were warm again!

Pipe Cay Sunset by Velocir

Angry weather brings beautiful sunsets.  We look forward to exploring Pipe Cay more as the weather improves.

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February 2012