Wednesday broke cold and damp and I made a quick escape from my camp, having repacked all of the food etc. into the kayak before turning in the prior night. I was just warm enough – any colder and I would have been shivering. But it felt great to be off towards the Adams Creek canal, with the slight breeze in my face. I was hoping to catch the end of the ebb tide when I got passed the fixed bridge just on the other side of mile marker 195. I moved quickly through the short canal, and found the waterway opening up to a wider creek called Core Creek, which continued to open up to the Newport River, with the wind coming down that river from the right. The ICW continued past a number of small shoals and islands to the right, which helped cut down the waves from the wind. Around noon, I passed under the fixed bridge that connected the two cities. I had no interest in stopping at Beaufort, which looked like a great city to visit, but I wanted to keep moving. Coming around a large Potash plant in the state port terminal, I passed under the stern of a large ship from Panama that was covered in pipes, and as I came around the bend, I found myself in a fast-moving tidal current, carrying water out towards the Beaufort Inlet. I paddled hard to overcome the current, and found myself on the wrong side of the sharp right towards Morehead City. I recrossed vigorously above the tidal rip current, and saw in front of me a large sandbar, with lots of buildings and boats behind it.
Intuitively, I paddled into the calm water and found myself passing restaurants and shops – a very nice area for me to stop and get something good to eat. I saw a waiter out on a dock at Captain Bill’s, and asked him if they were open (Yes), and where could I beach the kayak. Unfortunately, there was no beach, just a bar of oyster shells. I carefully landed, stepped in some thick mud, and after extracting my feet, tied Katie to another small boat by the dock. I then washed off my shoes, and entered the restaurant, where the man who I saw, Kim, brought me a great meal and an ice tea to enjoy out in the sun, that had reappeared during the morning. He was so kind, and brought me an extra serving of his favorite, Conch soup, that warmed me up. It was a very happy moment for me. I noticed a number of tourists looking at Katie, and I called over to them, and gave them the 20 second version of what I was doing. They all gave me the usual reactions! After washing up, I met the owner and thanked him and Kim for such a great break.
After 1:00, I got back carefully into the kayak, and pointed her bow southwest along the northern shore of the large Bogue Sound that runs 20 miles or so along the barrier island. I passed one house after another, slowly as I was fighting the tidal current as well as the wind and waves. Many of these houses were magnificent. I kept as close to the shore as possible, where the current is less, but then I had to go in and out of the docks, occasionally running into very shallow water. The wind shifted to my left, and the waves started coming across the bow from that direction. I passed mile marker 215, and the afternoon passed by without my seeing any woods for me to put up my tent. My anxiety started building, to the point where around 5 PM, I said to the Lord, ok Lord, I will leave it to you to find the place that will be my campsite. Almost immediately thereafter, I saw a woman sitting at the end of her dock, and we spoke for a couple of minutes about my journey. She asked how I was doing, and I told her I was getting quite tired, and frustrated, because I could not locate some woods for me to put up my hanging tent, as the houses were one after another. She said nicely, that there were some woods around the next point nearby. Encouraged, I paddled around and found a tiny beach next to some small trees near a farmer’s plowed field, with the grass cut. I parked the kayak at the beach to check it out, and saw a house nearby with a truck parked outside. I left a note on a card in the front door, explaining why I was camping, not receiving any response to my knocking on the door. I took out my camping gear and some of my clothes and dried them on the cut grass in the waning sun. I could tell this night was going to be quite cold, so I got out the fleece blanket to wrap around the sleeping bag. I saw the truck from the house go back and forth but no one came over to question me, to my great relief. Darkness came finally, and I knew that I would be ok for the evening, but it was really cold. I finally fell asleep, listening to a high school football practice under the lights not far away.
12 hours later, I opened my eyes in the early morning light, and could feel the outside temperature in the mid 40’s – cold! I finally got out of the tent, and gathered everything together, packed up, and finally pulled off my long pants and long shirt to get ready to paddle away for the next day.