To see as much of the world as we can,
Using the smallest carbon footprint we can,
Spending the least amount of money we can,
Making as many friends we can.

Team Red Cruising

Southbound Day 11

There are tricky anchorages and there are ill-advised anchorages. A bad anchorage transcends mere trickiness. And, there are dumb-ass approaches to ill-advised anchorages, which is where we are today.

Looking back at the start of this journey in "2021 South-Bound, Phases I and II", this was not on our plan. We've taken a large departure.

Manteo is in a protected little pocket on Roanoke island. Vacationers seem to love it. You can rent a house nearby, go the the Outer Banks, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil hills, and Manteo to do some shopping or eating in fancy restaurants. Or buying fancy Kill Devil Rum. Sweetened with pecans.

The problem is Roanoke Sound. It's barely 7 feet deep. Red Ranger needs 5½ feet of water. That's some sphincter-clenching shallow water.

Chart plotters will show the charts in one of three orientations.

  • North Up. This is how the hang on the wall in school. It's how you tend to lay them out on a chart table. I use this for planning.

  • Course Up. If you're going someplace not too far away, you can put the destination on the top of the chart. Or. If there's a complex multistep route, you can put each route point on the top. I doubt I could make sense of this.

  • Heading Up. Wherever Red Ranger is pointed is at the top. In many cases, this isn't actually our destination, it's just where we're pointed. I find this handy because I can look around and match the real world with the chart.

Heading South through Roanoke Sound in North Up mode was no big deal. I barely noticed that the chart was not pivoting as we turned.

Entering the dredged Roanoke Sound Channel in North Up mode wasn't too confusing, either. We're mostly going south, and turning the wheel to find the marks still made perfect sense to me.

Then, at mark 30A, turning to 231° M, there was pandemonium. I could not find Green #5 and I kept turning the wrong way to try and find the marked channel. Each time I turned, the icon of the boat on the chart plotter turned the wrong way.

The channel is narrow an unforgiving.

Which means we ran hard aground. Facing N instead of SW.

I've gotten better at throwing us into full power reverse with the wheel centered. It's important to hold the wheel amidships because the force of the boat moving backwards tends to force the rudder to one side, making backing (and steering) impossible. Backing into the channel, I spent a fair amount of time cursing and looking around.

The good news?

I had been going slowly, pretty sure I was going to hit something.

The essential problem — the chart didn't reflect reality — was the source of a great deal of cursing. Once we were floating, I got the chart into Heading Up and figured out what I was seeing and how it matched the charted route into town. I crept in at idle speed.

The fairway has dayboards — officially "day marks" — telephone poles with big green squares or red triangles.

You know there are problems when they have to add movable buoys. This means the channel has wandered away from the dayboards.

We anchored in what appeared to be 6′ of water in a boat the needs 5½′. This is 36°54.404′N, 075°40.034′W. I don't recommend it.

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The Nature's Head

We pulled out the holding-tank head in Red Ranger, and installed a Nature's Head composting toilet.

This requires period dumping of the waste. At sea (over three miles of shore) we can dump it overboard.

In the inland waters, we can't. Instead, we garbage bag the desiccated waste and take it to a dumpster and toss it there. This means taking it to shore and then locating a suitable large dumpster. Marinas often have huge dumpsters.

The town of Manteo. Not so much. We did find some empty trash cans. And we found a yellow-topped recycling container for our recycling. So that was successful.

CA thinks we should be getting two weeks of use from the head before emptying. Her theory on only getting 11 days was the coir brick was not quite moist enough when she loaded it into the holding tank. Some of the coir had gotten scattered around the side and wasn't mixing properly with the human waste.

Liquid Therapy

We meet Brooke and Susan back in '09 or '10, when we first started hanging out at Deltaville Marina fitting out Red Ranger. We've been tracking them and their travels ever since.

While LT is a trawler and RR is a sailboat, the two boats have a few things in common. Most important is a Ford Lehman engine. LT's is the 6-cylinder 120 HP version. RR is the 4-cylinder 80 HP version. A lot of other things are very much the same.

Years ago, Brooke found a great deal on the Parker-Racor 500 fuel filters we both use. We split a case-load.

It was great seeing them after we moved away (and moved back) and endured COVID lockdowns.

We talked of travel and family and Ford Lehman engines. We talked music, also. Brooke does lights and sound for local bands, he's a pretty good pedal steel player himself. It was Bluegrass festival day and from the anchorage we could hear the bands. That was wonderful, worth the agony of trying to find the channel to drop the anchor.


Attribute Value
Depart Durant Is. 35°55.7184′N 75°54.990′W
Arrive Manteo 36°54.404′N, 075°40.034′W
Distance 27.3 nm
Time 4h 20m
Engine 4h 20m