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We are thinking about sailing from Point Lookout, MD to Ocracoke, NC this spring. Our thought was to take the Dismal Swamp route to Belhaven then across to Ocracoke. Hoping to circle back and take the Virginia cut back to the Bay.

So I am wondering if it is feasible to sail north on Pamlico Sound to Albemarle Sound. Are charts reliable for these areas? I know the inlets shoal and shift frequently. What about the more protected waters? Our 30 foot boat draws three and a half with the board up.

Any of you done this or know someone who has? We are interested in whatever knowledge sailnetters can share about this trip. If it's a bad idea we can always return on the inland route.
 

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Sounds like a great plan... Ocracoke has always been one of my favorites, a wonderful spot... It will be a bit quieter prior to Memorial Day, but there will still be plenty of stuff open, and you'll likely have Silver Lake a bit more to yourself...

You should have no problem with your draft. The water does get a bit thin in spots behind Oregon Inlet, and up around Shallowbag Bay, but no big deal for you. You don't indicate your air draft, if it's less than 45' you can save a bit of distance by passing to the W of Roanoke Island, but with Manteo being another nice stop as joe mentions, you probably want to go up that side anyway...

One other thing you might consider if stopping in that area, is trying to work in a visit to the Wright Brothers Memorial in Kitty Hawk... I've never visited there by boat, but with your draft you might be able to get close enough in to make it do-able... But in any event, if you've never been there, I think it's definitely a place worth seeing, the National Park Service has done a great job with the museum and everything else... One of those places that affords an incredible sense of history, and the importance of what took place there...

Enjoy the trip, I rate the North Carolina sounds as one of the most underrated cruising grounds on the East coast... Plenty of places you can really get away from it all down there. But even in the spring, don't forget the insect repellent :) Just watch your weather, as noted, both Albemarle and Pamlico can get nasty in a hurry for a small boat...
 

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I was bummed I didn't get to make the trip up the Pamlico to Manteo. It really wasn't that much wind that stopped me, but I think I was planning on doing an overnighter up the Pamlico and it didn't look like much fun with the sea state as it was. Maybe if I had planned a little better and knew something about possible anchorages, I might have made it. But I've always had a nice time on the Pungo and Alligator rivers, the canal notwithstanding.

Scott
Gemini Catamaran Split Decision
 

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If you get the time to stop at Kittyhawk, be sure to check out Kittyhawk Kites. When I was realatively young, and a hot shot sports writer for the Washington Post, I stopped there,took the short course, and learned hang gliding. At age 51, I was the second oldest person in the US to get certified. It was really neat.

Gary :cool:
 

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So I am wondering if it is feasible to sail north on Pamlico Sound to Albemarle Sound. Are charts reliable for these areas? I know the inlets shoal and shift frequently. What about the more protected waters? Our 30 foot boat draws three and a half with the board up.
There are a few places where sands shift frequently, especially near the inlets and close to shore. Keep the board down and watch your depth. It is all soft sand and mud, so if you run aground just pull up the board and thread carefully. It is a great sailing area with lots of secluded protected anchorages. Fantastic wildlife.
 
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