Circumnavigating Portsmouth Island / North Core Banks

Last week, a friend and I completed a circumnavigation around Portsmouth Island, also known as North Core Banks. We started out in Sea Level, NC and traveled out Ophelia Inlet, North to Ocracoke, and then returned sound side to complete the circle around Portsmouth Island. We had 3 paddling days, although due to a Nor-Easter holed up for an extra day on Ocracoke.

The entire trip was 65 miles, which included a 24.5 mile run from Ocracoke to the Long Point Fishing Cabins, which only took us 4.5 hours, so 5.44 MPH moving average. I wrote a much more detailed trip report on the CKC website, which you can read here.

It was a great experience and part of my friend Lee’s quest to circumnavigate all the barrier islands in NC. As of right now, he is at 11/19 and I will hopefully be able to help him knock out a few more in the coming months.

Overall the trip went well, although we had to change up our plans due to the Nor-Easter and also had one rescue, both of which are described in more detail in the Carolina Kayak club posting.

Oops, almost threw a monkey wrench in the trip!

One amusing anecdote that I didn’t include in the CKC post happened as we were getting our gear ready at about 5:30 AM on Monday morning in preparation for crossing Ocracoke Inlet.

We had both gotten up at around 5AM, having done a decent bit of preparation the night before, and were both going into and out of the hotel room arranging gear in our kayaks. Several times during our stay Anchorage Inn & Marina, I had pulled the door shut behind me out of instinct and had to be let back in by my friend. That morning, as we both headed out the door, I pulled the door shut again, locking it behind us.

So, we ended up locked outside of our hotel room at 5:30AM wearing only our thermal base layers, as we would be soon putting on our drysuits. At this hotel, at least in the off season, the hotel clerk leaves in the evening around 5 or 6PM and so no one was at the front desk. And, of course, we had no phone to call the emergency number.

After a brief moment of panic, I pulled at the window and discovered it was open and so we were able to crawl in and unlock the room. Lee joked that had we not been able to get back in, he would not of rescued me later that afternoon when I capsized.

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