We departed from Waterfront Marina in Manteo, turned south into the Roanoke Channel through Roanoke Sound, joined the Old House Channel into Pamlico Sound, southwest across the sound to the Big Foot Slough Channel into Ocracoke Island’s Silver Lake, and to the National Park Service docks. This is a transit of 67.1 StM which we did in 8.26 hours (so an average speed of 8.12 Stm/hr).
Here’s a synopsis of the navigation between Manteo and Ocracoke. The Roanoke Channel, from it’s beginnings north of Manteo, carries as little as 7ft to it’s intersection with the Manteo Village entrance channel. South of the Manteo entrance channel, the Roanoke Channel carries at least 9 ft for it’s entire length; in most areas, 11ft to 14ft. There are no draft-related problem areas (at this time). In fact, the Elizabeth II, which draws 8 ft, regularly uses this channel. So, no draft problems, but the channel is quite narrow, probably 100 ft. And, it is not a “No Wake” area. Thus, our plan was to “take our half out of the middle,” which was OK at 0700 on a Monday morning.
There were, however, two areas that caused some confusion for me. A couple of miles south of Manteo is the US64/US264, 65 ft fixed bridge. Southbound, as you emerge from under that bridge, there is a square “No Wake” sign on a post just on the east side of the channel. With the sun low on the morning horizon, I nearly mistook that sign, by shape, for a green marker. It’s not. The second area of confusion was another 2 – 3 miles south of the bridge, where there is a side-channel that runs off to the west, into the village of Wanchese (pronounced: WAN-cheese). In that area, the Roanoke Channel takes a small dog-leg left, and then another, back to the right. It took me a minute looking through the binoculars to actually realize there was a side-channel intersection there, and it was confusing; and narrow. Carefully pick out the markers for the Roanoke Channel.
At it’s south end, the Roanoke Channel turns sharply west. In another mile, it intersects with the Old House Channel where the Oregon Inlet Channel comes in from the ocean. There are several new markers there that are not mentioned in the cruising guides and are only reflected on electronic charts that have recent LNMs incorporated. On the Roanoke channel, the new markers include 37A, 37, 36A, 36, 34A and 34. At the entrance of the Old House Channel (which is just a continuation of the route from the Roanoke Channel into Pamlico Sound) there is a new green-over-red marker, “OH.” The rest of the Old House route into Pamlico Sound is well marked and unremarkable.
Peg and Jim Healy aboard Sanctuary
Click Here To View An Earlier Article on Entering Ocracoke
Click Here To Open A Chart View Window, Showing the Roanoke Sound Channel
Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Marina Directory Listing For Ocracoke National Park Service Docks
Click Here To View the Cruisers’ Net’s North Carolina Anchorage Directory Listing For Silver Lake Harbor