The Kayak Chronicles ©
by Darren Caffery
Paddling the Outer Banks of North Carolina:
Oregon Inlet to Wanchese & Broad Creek
Sunday May 20, 2007
We launched into the Pamlico Sound at 9:30 am at the Oregon Inlet boat ramp under sunny skies and temperatures in the mid 70's. Winds were relatively mild and from the west at about 5-10 mph as we paddled a short westward course towards a small private island with a small ranch house on it. After paddling about 2.5 miles, we reached the shores of this small island and a few paddlers talked with the owner who was outside with his dog. With the Bodie Island Lighthouse in the background, a few paddlers snapped pictures of this classic OBX view from the water.
Paddling conditions were ideal. There were very few power boats on the vast sound. A slight wind in our face kept us cool under the hot late spring sun and some small chop made for a nice ride. After a brief chat with the owner of the island, we continued a northwesterly course towards the southern tip of Roanoke Island and the fishing village of Wanchese Harbor. We could see our destination which was marked by a tall white water tower. At about 11:45 am, and after another 3 miles of paddling, we landed at a small beach, near an exposed shipwreck, on the shores of Roanoke Island and just south of the entrance to Wanchese Harbor.
Contrary to the notorious short 10 minute "power-lunch" stops of the NJ "Barnegat Bunch", we relaxed on this quiet white sand beach for about an hour. After a good stretch and some lunch, some of us took a snooze and soaked up some sun while others walked around, shot pictures and combed the shores. It was a beautiful day with a panoramic view of the Pamlico Sound, good company, and the sounds of gentle rolling waves hitting the shoreline. After about 20 minutes, a few paddlers appeared to become a bit 'antsy'. While they started to put their gear back on and return to their boats, those of us who were napping simply rolled over to toast the other side of our bodies under the hot spring sun.
After a refreshing 60 minute spring siesta on this small white sand beach, the nappers chatted a bit while we watched the others bouncing around on the water and waiting for us to catch up and continue our journey. After restarting our engines, we were on the water and making our way into the entrance to Wanchese Harbor which was a short paddle around the dilapidated shipwreck. When we entered the entrance to this small working fishing village we passed a few resident black cormorants and brown pelicans who were lounging around on some other exposed shipwrecks.
After a brief exploration into the village, we made our way out of the small harbor and back into the sound where we continued our journey towards Broad Creek. As we hugged the shoreline we made our way into Broad Creek. The creek was wide with desolate marshy shorelines. There were no homes and not much else to look at in the creek so we didn't paddle in very far. We soon made our way towards Broad Creek Point and back into the sound. With a slight tailwind, we paddled a 5.5 mile southeasterly course back to the Oregon Inlet boat ramp. We landed at 3:45 pm after paddling about 14.2 miles. It was a perfect day on the water for the first day of our week in the OBX!
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