And We Live to Tell About it!

If you own a boat and live on the Crystal Coast, or maybe vacation here, no doubt you’ve traversed the ICW to the “Hook” of Cape Lookout. You may have even conquered the Beaufort Inlet out to the “deep water” and followed the shoreline of Shackelford Banks. I suspect you’ve spotted the ponies as you made your way to Cape Lookout. Or maybe you took the easier “path” via the inside passage to avoid the big swells of the Inlet. I assure you, each trip you take will be memorable.

“The Run to the Hook”Cape Lookout Lighthouse

Five years ago, we departed Island Harbor Marina in Emerald Isle for our “run to the Hook” with a boat load of six adults. Aboard our 18′ Stingray open bow ski boat, we tubed the ICW and generally had a grand old time making our way to the calm waters that is the hook of North Carolina’s distinctive Cape Lookout.

A Little Knowledge is a Dangerous Thing!

Having been raised on a Harker’s Island 20′ wooden boat and later a 17′ Larsen runaboutsince a young pup, I knew just enough about seamanship for us to getThe Carroll’s Stingray where we were going and not get anyone injured. We did run aground on more than one occasion – Pam – no comments from the peanut gallery. Next time I’ll take one of those Coast Guard Auxiliary Classes and buy a depth-finder. Possessing just enough good sense to remain clear of larger vessels, we tracked our way up the ICW past Indian Beach, Spooners Creek and finally to the bridge from Morehead City to Atlantic Beach. My first thought was to attempt to take the short cut and head out the Beaufort Inlet for deeper water. Of course here the tides run fast and the swells easily washed over our little craft. I quickly realized my little boat was no match for the swells of the Beaufort Inlet. Good sense prevailed and I tactfully did a u-turn all while the family looked on in complete horror. Talk about eyes as big as saucers.

Special Cargo Onboard

Taking the inside passage and calmer waters, we made our way to Cape Lookout protected by Shackelford Banks. During this particular trip, our daughter was about 6 months pregnant and petrified of sea monsters lurking below the depths. Each venture into the murky deep (4 to 6The North Carolina Coastline foot of water in the ICW) was an adventure (no potty on board). Note to self…. pregnant women need to remain near the “facilities”. Never take them on a 6 hour tour of the ICW especially to the Hook. Other than finding bottom more often than I care to admit, all went well until we arrived at the Cape. My crew was ready to find their land legs again. As I drifted toward shallow water to access the shore, I helped myself to an area marked “off limits” to all boats except ferryboat operators. Thinking I could access the shore easier here (I’m trying to be considerate of my daughter’s fears of the deep), the family assaulted my pigheadedness with screams. With mutiny about to occur, I found another location to put ashore. After potty breaks, Kodaks moments and a brief rest, it was time to head back to Emerald Isle.

The Return Trip to Emerald Isle

Stay tuned for the second part of this adventure in my next post!

I’m still “hooked” on the Hook!