Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Hangin' Out in Ocracoke

Ocracoke is a nice destination. As I write this on Tuesday, June 18, we are sitting at the National Park Service dock all snug and comfy...and alone. The place has cleared out. We are the only boat at the park service docks.

Our first full day here was on Father's Day. We got the bikes down off of the sundeck and took a whirlwind tour of the island...which to be frank didn't take very long. The town of Ocracoke itself is not very large though on this particular day it was very busy with not only day boaters but a large crowd of folks that came over on the ferries. But it is a pleasant enough place. There are lots of little shops to peek into. Lisa, as is her tradition, spent Monday afternoon by herself combing through the shops on one of her mini-shopping sprees. She came back empty handed. Back to Sunday.

We ended up popping into an outdoors local beer and food joint called SmacNallies which is on the north shore of the lake. It is part of the Anchorage Inn Marina and we thought this would be a good place to take in the scene. The food was decent enough. I had the Redneck Burger which is a cheezeburger with barbecue sauce and cole slaw. Lisa had the Black and Bleu Burger which had some Cajun seasoning with bleu cheese. Not bad at all. As we sat there a solo musician showed up and started setting up his gear. He was to be the entertainment for the afternoon at the bar and as we were not in any kind of hurry to go anywhere we decided to hang around and take in a little live music. I figured we would listen to his first set, drop a couple of bucks into his tip jar and head out. Turns out that this guy, Brent Nultemeier, who's act goes under the pseudonym of SoulOne (www.soulone.me) was terrific! He does this crazy thing where he builds all of the different parts of songs on a looping recording device that he controls with his toes.

So as he starts a song he quickly and seamlessly records and adds all of the different parts, bass, drums by rapping on his guitar body, rythmn parts, riffs, shaker sounds, even background vocals, and so on until he produces a very full bodied, complex and very satisfying musical style. Lisa and I both have musical backgrounds ourselves so we found him to be very entertaining. We ended staying for his entire four hour performance. We initially were part of the first throng of people at the joint that listened to him. Then we were his only audience members. Then a second wave of patrons filed in for the latter third of his set. He also didn't take any breaks playing for the entire four hours. We talked with him frequently as we were down front near where he was set up. He did all cover songs and wanted requests of which I scored a perfect zip.
A nice crowd on a beautiful day

Eva rockin' the house. A diva in the making? I think so. Love the shades.

Charlotte adding some moves

Brent making some cool grooves. The conga player just kind of showed up and jammed. 
His wife and young daughters even showed up. Charlotte, the middle child, danced ballet steps on the deck in front of him. Eva, the oldest (all of seven years old), came up and sang two songs. Now this kind of thing can sometimes turn out to bomb but Eva nailed it. She was on-key and knew all the words to Wagon Wheel and burned the place down. (They have a third infant girl that was taking in the scene from her stroller. I'm thinking she'll be a producer. "And what do you want to be when you grow up?" "I want to be a media mogul. Oh and dad, you need to add some Little Feat to your playlist for that really nice couple from Missouri.") All and all it was a hell of a lot of fun. It was a beautiful and mild day. Perfect.

On Sunday evening we were hanging out on the boat when we heard some people on the pier checking  us out. I poked my head outside and the husband immediately said, "Are you really from St. Louis?" having read out transom. I confirmed that we were. Well, they wanted the full story of which we were happy to provide. It turns out they are shortly going to be empty-nesters and were looking forward to doing something when the chicks have flown the coop. Boating was on their short list of things to do and we happily told them all about the lifestyle. They had been thinking about a sailboat but were wary of what seemed to them to be cramped living quarters. Well, we introduced a new concept to them: TRAWLERS. We invited them onto our boat, showed them around and at the end the husband kept repeating the word "trawler" over and over again as if the firmly lodge it into his mind. Mwah, ha, ha! Our evil plan of trawler world domination is working once again.

So, what's next? There is some rain and thunderstorms in the forecast for late today (Tuesday) through Wednesday. (Its raining right now, at 8:15 am.)  We have changed our cruise plan a bit. Originally we were going to go straight to Manteo from Ocracoke but it would be a very long day over seventy miles with winds shifting to the north. The change we are making is to go to a marina in Engelhard, North Carolina one day and then bounce up to Manteo from there. Both of these news legs would be about forty miles each. We are waiting until Saturday to do this because a front is moving through as we speak, finally exiting the area early Thursday. We'll giving Pamlico Sound a day to settle down on that day. Saturday and Sunday look good so that we won't have to linger in Engelhard. Also we seem to be following a sailing regatta that packed the docks here in Ocracoke. They too went too Engelhard and are to stop at the same marina we were intending to stop at in Manteo, clogging up all of the available spaces there. So waiting here until Saturday will give them time to clear out before we get there.

I must admit that I am getting anxious to get under way and log some miles heading north. I sometimes feel that I am being overly cautious and that we could probably go on days that I shy away from. But I am trusting that my experience as the captain of Why Knot has so far been beneficial to us. I trade good cruising days in favor of waiting for what could be great cruising days. Lisa assures me that it is better to trade getting-somewhere-no-matter-what-the-risk days in favor of days where we get somewhere safely and soundly. And, I guess, for me the bar for what constitutes safe and sound conditions is high. Can we handle more vigorous condtions? Of course we can. Does it mean we have to? Nope. In the context of cruising Pamlico Sound this means that it's well earned reputation of being unpredictable and surprising is not to be triffled with.

rule #1     Wait
rule #2     Wait
rule #3     Wait

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

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