Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Manteo, Roanoke Island

July 31
Manteo, NC

We are enjoying a brief stop at the small town of Manteo, anchored off the town dock in Shallowbag Bay.

We left Ocracoke Island at sunrise to head up the Pamlico Sound along the inside of the Outer Banks. We motored in calm weather on a flat blue sea surrounded by a powder blue horizon with hints of land to our east and west, hovering like a mirage just above the water. There was no wind, but the headway of the boat created a gentle breeze through the forward hatches of the salon.

We worked out the details of our journey on the salon table as the trusty Yanmar hummed, reeling off nearly six miles each hour. Outside on deck the sun was very bright, the temperature very warm, but not hot. We managed an hour of sailing downwind under the Code 0 until the width of deep-enough water became too narrow to risk the limited maneuverability of sailing.

We passed by infamous Cape Hatteras, the site of many of shipwreck on its outer ocean side but benign on its inside of shallow waters and sandbar islands. Thirty more miles north and we entered Roanoke Sound, shallow water bounded to the west by Roanoke Island and separated from the Atlantic by Bodie Island to the east. We passed by many islets fringed with green vegetation and thin white sand beaches, shrubs and small trees growing on their interiors. Pelicans dived for fish, egrets waded hunting for theirs. A very pretty, natural area. Man's encroachments consist mainly of hundreds of silent duck blinds that dot the waterscape and big, loud, fast sport fishing boats that generate tremendous wakes, artificial surf that breaks on the islands' shores and violently rocks slow-moving Intermezzo.

We passed under the Washington Baum Bridge, another tight fit for the mast and turned into aptly named Shallowbag Bay, negotiating a very narrow but well-bouyed channel into Manteo's town anchorage. We took the dinghy to shore and took a walk, the highlight being a stretch of boardwalk through a marsh in Roanoke Island Festival Park, beautiful in the low angle sunlight of evening and the mosquito's sparing us despite it being their normal dinner hour. The town itself is very pleasant, dominated by its long waterfront, made nicely walkable by well maintained wooden boardwalks.

We're going to go back into town this morning for coffee and a last look around, then head off to Elizabeth City, the gateway to the Dismal Swamp.
Islet on Roanoke Sound
Roanoke Island marsh

Manteo house and boardwalk

Best selection of ice cream cones, ever, in Manteo

Manteo waterfront