After running east past the primary Beaufort, NC waterfront, Taylor Creek leads to Harkers Island, the Straits, and eventually Core Sound. Some brave/local cruisers also use this route as part of a “back door” entrance to the extremely popular anchorage in Cape Lookout Bight.
Harkers Island, the Straits and Core Sound are some of the least discovered waters along the North Carolina coastline, but, unfortunately, ALL these waters are shallow and navigationally difficult, to say the least. And, if that’s not enough, the passage from Taylor Creek’s easterly mouth to Back Sound and Harkers Island eastern has always been a challenge for any vessel with a draft over 3 ft. For photos and more information on Taylor Creek, see the link below. Our North Carolina Anchorage Directory listing for Taylor Creek refers to the western end of the creek abeam the Beaufort waterfront.
We transited the east end of Taylor’s Creek [on the way back to Beaufort from Shackleford Banks] on July 7th about 5pm at approximate low tide. We saw a center-console nice fishing boat grounded. We saw another boat start to get grounded and then back away free. The channel is marked by PVC pipe with green and red tape. Very narrow and very easy to see in clear weather which it was that day and time. I would recommend to no one to try this cut fast, though I saw this a couple times before we made it through.
We have a 36′ trawler with full keel and protected prop, so I decided to give it a go. Additionally I have a temperamental depth finder at low depths with some kind of voltage anxiety, so when I slow down, depth goes a bit crazy – 850 feet when there is only 3 and so on. When we are tearing up the water and raising Cain, we do about 8 knots. I decided to proceed more modestly at 3-4 knots and had no trouble. As stated, the entrance is narrow with one set of PVC markers about 50 feet apart, maybe less. At our slow speed, I know if we touch bottom it should be gentle barnacle scrape and not much more. On this day, we had no touches and followed the markers carefully into Taylor’s Creek without incident.
We did see a few 18 to 22-foot boats come tearing through there at about 20 knots. I say good luck with that and make sure your insurance is paid. We were careful and had no issues.
All the best.