Monday, September 7, 2009

Trying To Reason With Hurricane Season or Fins To The Left Fins To The Right

So far so good. El Nino has kept the big ones out in the Atlantic and the East Coast clear. My foot is much repaired but not quit back to normal. I have yet to make it to the beach, but with the help of a fine mate, and some great weather we are back in business. There are lots of dolphins off the beach, and the water is still very warm.
Good Fortune will be at the Beaufort docks until mid October and then back to Peltier Creek, in Morehead City, for the Winter sailing season.
The cessation of the Menhaden fishing industry, three years ago ,allowed millions of fish to survive to adulthood, and in time to reproduce. The increased number of menhaden has replaced the "missing link" in the food chain that has been over fished for eight decades. The benefit of all these fish is, of course, more fish of all kinds. That means more marine mammals, birds, and "game fish" for all to enjoy. When I arrived in the Beaufort area, the use of DDT, to control crop pest and disease carrying mosquitoes, had wiped out the fish eating birds. Over the last 37 years, the affected bird populations of herons, terns, ospreys, pelicans, cormorants, and gannets have rebounded. Now its time for our fish populations to do the same.
The photo was taken by Scott Taylor from and aircraft flying between Beaufort and Shakelford Banks. This occured in late August of 2009. Sharks like to get together at the end of the summer to to compare notes on the success of the tourist season. How was your summer?

Sunday, August 2, 2009

August and Rehab the sailor

I fell out a of a tree and landed on one leg on the 20Th of July. This has put my right leg out of commission and I'm now living the life of a mono pod. The Ortho. Doc. has assured me that I will walk on all two's by the fifth of August. With me at the helm barking orders, and Capt. Peggy womaning the for deck, I think we can, again, provide charters until the snow flies.
I may not be on the beach for a few weeks but Peggy is more then able to take up the slack.

Thursday, May 14, 2009


The summer is just around the corner. Most of the winter birds have left except for a few Greater Cormorants and Loons. The summer residents, turtles, dolphins and a whole array of birds are arriving every day. The water temperature is 72 degrees F, and still very clear.
The photo is a hundred, or so, Northern Gannets feeding off of Atlantic Beach in late April. You will have to increase the size of the photo to actually see the large numbers of birds. The Gannets spend the winter along the south east coast and then fly to Newfoundland for the summer. They never break a sweat.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Good Fortune on the ways

Good Fortune has been hauled out of the water on my railway for the last two weeks getting a new paint job. Here are a few pics of the process. Her launch date is March 26th. I will start chartering full time on or near April 1st.

The first pic is the masking job, the second pic is the finished product.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

February at the Cape

The last week of February sported a few warm days so I dropped the dock lines and headed for Cape lookout. The wind was north east so the sail was calm and one tack all the way to the bight.

I launched the skiff as soon as the anchor was set. Tiller was off the deck and into the skiff and ready for dog activities on the beach. Our first discovery were two Kemp Ridly turtles freeze dried on the beach. One hundred feet down the beach we found the decayed remains of a young Minke whale. We salvaged a few vertebra and moved on. Just a stones throw from the whale, tiller stopped to investigate an adult Loggerhead turtle. We were located on a cul-de-sac beach facing north. The prevailing winter winds pile, all the sea life that dies in the bight, onto this little beach on the sound side. The cold winter temperatures keep everything dry and cool. I call this the winter grave yard. When the spring warmth arrives, the winter die off will succumb to insects and bacteria.

In the rush to get to sea, I left the camera on the bed at home. That means no good pictures of all the great finds. I took cell phone pics of all the critters but the quality is so poor I feel bad showing them. Its all I have so I will post them.

A short hike across beach brought both us to the jetty. This structure was built in the early 1900's to create a harbor for the N.C. Port. It was decided to locate the Port in Morehead City so the jetty was left to the wind and waves. After 100 years it is still there, with some of the best fish and invertebrate habitat in the state. The speckled trout were so thick that a cast into the school would immediately hook a 27" trout. Every time I pulled a fish on to the beach the dog would run in circles and bark. It was mayhem casting and snagging fish until I put a hook completely through my finger. This ended the fishing. This is why fisherman carry wire cutting tools with them. I had to push the hook through my finger and cut the barb end off. The dog continued to circle and bark during this process. The hook was removed and the fish gathered up in a discarded onion sack ,and we headed back to the skiff.
We were treated to a dolphin show just at sunset. That sure went well with an evening cocktail.

Monday, February 16, 2009

This photo was taken in June of 2008 while we where having lunch at Wade Shores.

November and December Sail

Good fortune has had several interesting sails this winter in North Carolina. The November sail was out the inlet and south west along Atlantic beach to see dolphins. The wind was gusting to 30k and we sailed with a doubled reefed main and jib. We knew that there was a frontal passage coming so we tacked around and headed back into the inlet. As we sailed in, rain started to stream down from the clouds to the north west. Unlike summer rain this appeared to be wispy in appearances. A quick look at the color radar revealed snow rather then rain. The front came through blowing about 50K with driven snow. Sailing in 50 knots of wind with snow is not my idea of tropical sailing, but the passengers where from a northern climate and saw nothing unusual about the afternoon sail. In fact they thought it was very exciting.

December brought another extended trip to Shakelford banks. We spent time in the maritime forest and then walked over the dune to the beach. The winter beach was vacant and festooned with winter shells. The find of the day was a nutmeg shell (Cancellaria reticulata) in very nice condition. I have found many of these in the sub-tropics but this was the first one I have found in NC. We shed our coats and finally our shoes on a day that felt like spring.

Early February brought news of a beached Wright Whale on Cape Lookout. I assembled a few interested locals and hoisted sail for the Cape. Once out the inlet it was clear that our journey was going to be a little tougher then the weather service had indicated. The forecast was for light winds from the north, what we found was 20 knot winds from the west, kicking up a nasty sea that would follow us out and pound us on the way back. We decided to sail down-wind to the "bight of the cape" and have lunch while hoping for the predicted wind shift. We ate down below in the heat of the cabin and emerged after a great lunch to find the wind had increased from the west. I knew it was going to be a long motor-sail home. A phone call let us know that the whale had beached about four miles south of our position . I knew the whale was on a small sand island off the very tip of cape lookout and not a place one would venture near, with gale force winds blowing right on to the beach where the whale was located. It was time to return, and we did ever so slowly against six foot waves about 3 seconds apart. Good fortune barely made 2.5 knots motoring into the prevailing conditions, but after about two hours of slamming into the waves we made our turn and headed into the inlet. Again, every one had a great adventure, Captain Ron was a little stressed. We did see the whale on the evening news with a great photo shot the day before when the wind was not blowing as hard. Timing is everything.