April 22, 2011.
We’ve anchored in Wrightsville Beach before and hated it. The only reason we’re here again is because it’s a weekday and the weather is overcast and cool. The last time we were here we had at least 10 ski boats slaloming through the anchorage all day, accompanied by the obligatory jet ski’s wreaking their own special kind of havoc.
We did see this guy though. He was all alone and obviously playing "solo charades". Luckily for him I was there to appreciate him at his craft. This one was a toss up for me. Its either "fat guy sniper victim" or "fat guy napping in the sun". He really nailed the fat guy part, the rest of it was a little unclear to me.
As forecast the wind kicked up a bit during the evening and I was kinda kicking myself in the ass about being here rather than continuing on. That is until I turned on the VHF the next morning. We listened as a pair of women recounted one of the boats experience the previous evening.
It seems that 3 sailboats were traveling together, crossing from the Bahamas and headed in towards the Cape Fear River just before midnight. They were getting pummeled a bit and decided to cut their trip to Beaufort short. It was time to start the engine and one of the boats wouldn’t start. The wind and seas were up and the first 2 boats made it safely into the river. The third boat decided to stay offshore rather than commit to trying the channel into the river without their engine.
Rather than choosing to heave to or continuing on towards Beaufort, NC they chose to drop the hook. In the freaking ocean. She was relaying the story of their horrific evening spent anchored on Frying Pan Shoal about 30 miles south of Wrightsville Beach. In the OCEAN. They had been running with the seas and wind and were uncomfortable. I can’t imagine what lying to their anchor in those conditions must have been like. IN THE OCEAN.
She was profusely thanking her girlfriend for calling Towboat US (who refused to go out until morning). She also called the Coast Guard who did send a small boat out to monitor the situation. The woman’s husband had finally been able to change their fuel filters and get the boat started and underway at daybreak. We felt terrible for the woman as she just had an exhaustion fueled mini breakdown complete with sobs of relief.