Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Camping on Cape Lookout

I haven’t been online much since getting to North Carolina late last week. I hope to catch up with you all later, but it’ll probably be after I get back home. Here’s the story of the first part of my trip.
Friday was a travel day. Surprisingly and unlike my experiences with airlines this summer (in which it took longer to fly than to drive or take the train), my flights were smooth and on time. As soon as I got to Wilmington, I dropped off my excess luggage at my parents home, had a quick lunch with my brother and mom, then headed north to Harker’s Island where I met my dad. He ferried me over in his boat to the fish camp on Cape Lookout. He, along with my uncle and my uncle’s brother-in-law, had gone over early that morning to set up camp. As I got to the marina, the moon rose. It was a day before full and had a ghostly appearance as it climbed above the horizon, partly veiled behind high level clouds. As the sun was setting, we quickly stowed my gear in the boat and I pulled on hip boots and a rain jacket for the rough trip across the Back Sound and through Barden Inlet, to Cape Lookout. The ride was choppy but as we were running with the wind, it wasn’t nearly as bad as he had been for my dad when he came across to get me. We got to camp about the time dinner was fixed. After eating, I headed out to the beach. The moon was now high, its light shimmering across the water. After walking on the beach a ways, I came back, had a nightcap, and then went to bed early.

The next morning, the wind was blowing even harder than the night before. The marine weather forecast called for winds 20-30 knots for the next two days, with rain moving in Saturday night. That morning, my dad and I tried a bit of surf fishing, but the wind, blowing straight out of the north and parallel to the surf, made it impossible to keep a line in the water. We tried plugging, but after about an hour with no luck, we gave up. I hiked around, looking at and photographing the lighthouse. I already have a collection of photos of this lighthouse (which you’ve seen if you’ve read this blog for any time), but what’s wrong with a few dozen more?
After lunch, we decided to try fishing along the leeward side of Shackleford Banks, another deserted barrier island inhabited by wild ponies. As Shackleford runs east to west, we stayed in close to the shoreline where we avoided the rough water and was somewhat protected by the wind. The four of us in two boats spent three hours fishing, catching enough Bluefish for dinner. Clouds were rolling in as we worked our way across Lookout Blight, back to the camp. Clouds shrouded that evening’s sunset and moonrise. As the rain began, we huddled under tarps and told stories and drank whiskey till bedtime.

It was raining even harder Sunday morning, but I went fishing anyway (I’ll write more about that later). Sunday afternoon, after a long bumpy boat ride, I changed into dry clothes and headed to Wilmington to relieve my brother who was taking care of our mom.


  1. Makes me homesick. Growing up on the GA. coast, fishing in the surf and inland waterways. Thanks for taking me back home!!

  2. Good to see you back with great pictures.

    I am sure you mom loved being with you.

  3. Although I have seen the ocean a handful of times, I have never camped out on its shores. I think I will add that to my list of things to do before I die.

  4. Sage,

    I wanted to stop by and say Goodbye:)

  5. Great photos, as usual! Hope you finally got in some good fishin'!

  6. I would love to sit under a tarp in the rain drinking whiskey 'til bedtime (not that I like whiskey or anything). It just sounds like a good time, a bonding experience.

    Did you take ALL those photos? I love the lighthouse and the wild pony, but the last one, wow! If that's not a postcard, it should be.

  7. Glad you made it ok. Sounds like you are having a blast!

  8. Love the lighthouse pic! I posted a scouting painting by Rockwell for you earlier this week.

  9. Paul, yes it's good to get some salt water in the blood again!

    Gautami, I'm just back home now (Thursday afternoon). I'll be around soon to check on folks

    Ed, camping near the surf is kind of like camping near a stream--the sound of water is always wonderful

    Dan, I'm going to miss you blogging--your stories of the desert were wonderful

    Diane, you'll have to read my next post on the fishing

    Scarlet, yes, I took all the pictures (even the one of the map). You know, we've all heard most of these stories--we should have had someone new to share stories

    JOe--it was a blast!

    Kenju, thanks, sorry that I didn't get anywhere near Raleigh this trip or I would have tried to look you all up (I was in Pinehurst for two days, Wilmington for two and the rest at Lookout)

  10. "..drank whiskey until bedtime"... You and your father got drunk together? :-)

  11. No, sorry to disappoint you, but neither of us got drunk... sip slowly... that said, it's good to have you back around--you'll have to go over to Bone's entry where he wrote a piece about his ex's--I told him he needed you to do a timeline for him!

  12. Very good blog. It contains a very very pictures and thank you for sharing.