Posted by Larry | Posted on 07-22-2012
Nine Foot Shoal Channel has been slowly losing its depth for the last year or so. As you consider using this route into alternate route to Ocracoke, keep in mind that this channel is named a “shoal channel”! Note too, that the primary entrance from Pamlico Sound to Ocracoke and Silver Lake Harbor is the Big Foot Slough Channel, which the vast majority of cruising craft and both Ocracoke car ferries use! However, Captain Ben seems to have found a route through Nine Foot Shoal Channel.
Hi Claiborne -
I type this sitting in Silver Lake on the hook at Ocracoke. Glum overcast day, but relaxing none the less. We came through a whopper of a storm on the Pamlico to get here, but not the worry as we all came across ok. Just a little annoying following sea to bully the boat around. Lightning is the only scare on the Pamlico in a storm and we were fortunate in that regard.
Anyway, on to the report of the title. Nine Foot Slough always worries me a bit because who knows what you’re going to find. But I think I found a good strategy. Reports of 5-1/2 feet concerned me from other cruisers. I am happy to say our lowest was 7 feet at low tide.
We came through at around 430pm on Saturday, July 21 at low tide. From #8 to #6 I measured 7 feet of water this is lowest we saw. From #6 to #5 I saw the water increase in depth from 8 feet to 13 feet. At #5 it was 10 feet. From #5 to #4 I saw the water go steady around 10 feet. At #4 it was 9 feet. Between #2 and #1 it was 10 feet then increasing to 11 feet. In the main channel the water increased to 17 feet.
The strategy is this: At the #8, I could see the water tower dead ahead, middle of the channel near #4 I plugged that into the autopilot or, when I was piloting manually I headed straight for it. My depth readings are based on that path and we had no trouble at all. Hopefully no fall hurricane disrupts that path, but in this occasion, it worked for us.
On a separate note we had an decent if unspectacular meal at Jolly Roger’s Pub, a bit overpriced in my humble O for average fare (lots of fries with my humble mackerel). We figured we made up for the average fare with a very nice view. Not bad food, just ok. Probably next visit would just order appetizers and beer. Ocracoke beautiful as always.
Capt Ben and his Motley Crew.
I sail over to Ocracoke 3 or 4 times each year, and I sailed to Ocracoke the week after Capt. Ben was there. I tend to agree about the Jolly Roger. It is really more of a spot for beer and music on the waterfront – and the food is pretty average.
A better bet for beer and burgers is the bar at the docks of the Anchorage Inn & Marina. Great burgers, and if you go there in late afternoon you get to watch the headboats come in to unload and weigh their catch, and the pelicans congregate to get the scraps.
I find the Back Porch Restaurant to be the best restaurant on the island; I’ve never had a bad meal there and the Crab Bignette are to die for.
Another good bet is Dajio; the food is great (though I think the lemongrass vinnegrette would be better than the Balsamic Vinnegrette on the Dajio Salad (which has chirozo, fried parmesan cheese bits, and grilled scallops). Dajio also has an outdoor bar and music 2 or 3 times each week.
For breakfast/brunch try the Flying Melon Cafe. The Panne Perdu (really light and fluffy New Orleans style french toast) with blueberries is to die for. I thought my girlfriend would want to go there every morning before we sailed home.