Saturday, November 6, 2010

Rattlesnake Bay

I confess that on occasion I make my sailing plans based on the names of places along the way. I enjoy the richness of the names, from Bloody Point on Chesapeake Bay to Dipping Vat Creek off the Bay River in North Carolina. Just having a name like Punch Island Creek in my logbook seems to make it worthwhile. And sometimes those rich names have led to some wonderful passages and anchorages. (Conversely, I nearly bypassed Dump Creek in NC because of the less than elegant name. But I went there anyway and found it to be a beautiful little ditch that cuts across the marshes and lowland woods.)

I was sketching out a trip for maybe next fall or the following spring - we'll have to wait and see. The main point of the trip would the sail to Ocracoke Island, something I've wanted to do for years. This would be a round trip cruise out of Pate Boatyard in Hobucken, NC (the best place I have found to launch a small boat), down to the western end of Cedar Island, over to Ocracoke then north to Wysocking Bay (or maybe Engelhard), Manteo on Roanoke Island (I've been there dozens of times over the years, but never by sailboat), and then down the Alligator River through the ICW and back to Hobucken. This would be one of those cool trips in the sounds of North Carolina where you can sail for miles - I think this measured out to be 240 miles - and never have to sail over ground you've already covered. That stop at the south end of the Alligator River just before you enter the canal to Belhaven - Rattlesnake Bay - is one of those names I would like to have in the log book someday.

With the cruising season over I've been sorting through my gear, including my Watertribe inspired hypothermia kit. I found that some of the items were in good shape, others not so good. Matches, including the Wind and Waterproof Matches, were good. So was the Fire Ribbon Fire Starter.

But the composite fire starters, above, had lost the ability to light easily. Apparently the volatile substance soaked into the material had evaporated. I need to replace those. And I ought to get a magnesium fire starter, below, too so that I don't have to depend on matches.
I would have been fine if I had needed to use the hypothermia kit this year, the fire starters burned very well with a little fire ribbon added (below). But this kit has been packed away for a couple of years now. Replacing and updating items in the hypothermia kit will be a good off-season project.

It is cool, grey and the wind is cooking out of the north today. I'm sure Dawn and her kayaking companions appreciate that north wind as they head south towards the outer banks.

As for me, I'm hoping for a little bit less wind and a little higher temperature so I can get out for a sail tomorrow.


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