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Old 10-02-2015, 09:42   #1
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N. Carolina sounds

Hello all. I am looking to retire in the next couple of years and my fantasy is to have a small bungalow on one of the sounds in NC with a sailboat tied to the dock in the backyard. I'm familiar with some of the towns such as Bath, Oriental, Washington, & New Bern, but does anyone have any suggestions as to other places to consider? I've never seen the Albemarle Sound. Any ideas? Thanks in advance.
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Old 10-02-2015, 15:27   #2
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

Elizabeth City?

Eventually you will tire of local waters, from E City yu can run up the Dismal Swamp canal and then you also have the Chesapeake to poke around.
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Old 10-02-2015, 15:57   #3
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

I will have to explore Elizabeth City on my next visit. Any comparisons between the towns on the Pamlico vs Albemarle Sounds? I always thought the NC coast would offer access to so many sailing destinations. Thanks for your help.
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Old 10-02-2015, 17:52   #4
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

I really like the area just North of Beaufort which gives easy access to the nurse and Pamlico but also makes a trip out the inlet to Cape Lookout very doable.


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Old 11-02-2015, 04:33   #5
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

Greetings and welcome aboard the CF, Allied.
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Old 11-02-2015, 05:55   #6
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

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Originally Posted by allied85259 View Post
I will have to explore Elizabeth City on my next visit. Any comparisons between the towns on the Pamlico vs Albemarle Sounds? I always thought the NC coast would offer access to so many sailing destinations. Thanks for your help.
I have yet to sail the sounds. I did live in Elizabeth City for 3 years and did some canoeing in the area. Back then it was a cheap place to live. Damn hot and humid in the summer due to the swamp. There were small rivers and streams to explore where the snakes would drop out of the trees. Large mouth bass in the river.

But if you are looking for a home base it might be a good choice. Kinda outta the way, but closer to Norfolk if you need big stores.

Just an idea.
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Old 11-02-2015, 06:41   #7
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

I almost purchased a lot in a new development just North of Oriental. It's called Vandemere. You can buy a slip with your lot. Its way out in the country though. Living on the sound means you can sail the sound, but its a long trip to the ocean. If you like blue water then you need to be closer to an inlet like Southport, NC. The prices there are sky high. NC has some of the best, if not the best on the East Coast. But, I'm bias of course.
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Old 11-02-2015, 07:26   #8
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

The water everywhere is pretty shallow, especially behind houses. Realtors' call 5-ft of water behind a house "deep water".

The sounds usually really take a hit when a hurricane comes through. Expect huge storm surges - like up to +9-ft and winds to 125-kts. You can get +3 to +4-ft from a strong NNE to NE wind. And when the wind stops, expect super LOW water as all the water rushes out!

It is brutally hot and humid during the summer (May to October) and mosquitoes, wasps (mud dupers) and yellow jackets can be a real problem. There are bull sharks in the sounds - which bite people each year. There are even hammerhead sharks as far inland as New Bern - I know because I found one and a scientific paper was written about it!

But there are a lot of areas to poke around in, especially with a very shoal draft boat. And a lot of bug spray....

I've been in New Bern for 20+ years, so this is first hand, year-over-year experience. Obviously I don't work for the Chamber of Commerce, but these are a few of the other things to consider.

On the plus side, there is navigable shallow/shoal water all the way from New Bern nearly up to the I-95 (A trip I always thought would be interesting to make in a inflatable or a Hobie cat) - just depends how much of an "African Queen" adventure you want to do!
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Old 11-02-2015, 07:47   #9
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

The Albemarle Sound can get pretty rough at times. This is no secret, all the cruising guides mention it.

We stopped in a few of the places mentioned on our last cruise. New Bern is a nice town and seems to have the things people need in their day to day life. Living in Oriental, you would have to travel to New Bern for many things. Belhaven was nice with people driving around in golf cars.

Really though, you can do a lot of research on your own. Most of these towns have websites and of course realtors have websites.
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Old 11-02-2015, 08:18   #10
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

I would pick a spot you like, and rent a place for a few months and see if you like the solitude. Oriental, Bath, and Washington are all small enough towns that everyone knows everyone, everywhere, and it takes 45 minutes one way to get to a big box hardware store if the town store lacks what you need.

You might find this useful, it's the storm surge charts for the east coast.
GA SC NC Storm Surge | Weather Underground

This chart is pamlico county, and covers most of the places you name:
http://www.wunderground.com/hurrican...mlico_mom5.png

Anywhere still dirt covered, is the high ground where a category 5 won't put water in your house. What that means is that places get wet you will need a new car, and whatever stored in the shed is soaked wet. The lower you go, the more expensive your flood insurance will be... which can be extreme, and flood insurance tends to double after a year of named storms. Almost more important than the mortgage price, is the availability and price of flood insurance. A lot of the big name insurance agencies don't even play ball down east any more, and no quote.

Oriental is a nice place, and relatively sheltered because it is on a straight section of the Neuse river, and around club foot creek where the Neuse turns to go up north is prime sailing as the river is at it's widest right there.

The closer you get to the ferry docks, the more storm surge you get, as the river begins to narrow.

If you go back and look at the storm surge map, there is an ancient dune ridge that goes north to south almost the entire length of North Carolina that adds close to 20 feet of elevation above the surrounding plain. It's about where the ferry docks are at Cherry point, and continues up along the highway in each direction. It runs down to Newport, and then hops across the sound to a little town called Ocean, and runs north up to Greenville.

The south side of the Neuse river floods severely in storms as there is no elevation, essentially from havelock east to cedar island. Beaufort and New Port on are relatively high ground. The land is cheap, but if you are on the water you need to be up high. In the 1933 storm, put 4 feet of water in New Bern. It swept the shingles off the houses in South River and Merrimon.

The Pamlico River area around Little Washington gets hammered by storms as well, as it funnels up the river. If you are out at the point, you get less surge than When all the water goes away in the sound on the back of the outer banks, it is getting pushed up the rivers. You want to be on a dune ridge, or on very high poles.

As far as the boat goes:

If you draw much above 6 feet, a lot of the tributaries are shallow enough that you will get hung up in the mud. The "tide" is wind driven. Water is either being blown to one end of the sound or the other, and if you need the water it can be 2 feet lower with a steady wind for two days. That makes things a little bit tricky, as even some of the marina basins you'll be stuck in the mud.

Your closest and best service centers for the boat are in Oriental and Beaufort. The Sail and rigging shops are New Bern and Oriental.

Oriental is a little faster to get to interstate 95 than Beaufort, and Little Washington the fastest.

Greenville and New Bern are the better hospitals, Morehead City doesn't really count. New Bern has an air port that flies prop-jets to Raleigh and Charlotte that can connect you to the world a little faster.

Beaufort has the best Inlet, unless you have gale North/South Breeze against the tide, it is an all weather inlet.

Mosquitoes:

There is a word, pocosin swamp... Which is basically a swamp on a hill. If the dunes around made a basin, then you get a swamp at high elevation. This means you get mosquitos that go with them. The least mosquitoes are around Beaufort and Wilmington because the towns fog for them, almost every morning.

The further "down east" you go, the less fogging you get and the more mosquitoes there are. The closer you get to Turn-again bay, and places where you have a sand beach with a dune line and marsh behind it the worse the biting flies and mosquitoes get, to the extent they are day-time mosquitoes...

Most other places along the coast, you want to be behind a screen of some variety around sunset. So if you are working on the boat at the dock, it's wind driven. If the wind is off the shore you will be eaten, if the wind is off the water, you might not.

Fishing, clamming, and oystering are other things that you might be interested in. Once you get North of Oriental on the Neuse, the Neuse is sick. So it depends if you want closer access to cleaner water, or just sailing.

Towndock.net is the bulletin board for the goings on of Oriental and Pamlico County. TownDock.net | Oriental NC News, Weather, Photos

Cheers,

Zach
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Old 11-02-2015, 09:13   #11
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

Mosquitoes? Heck we didnt have a problem with those. You didnt meantion the gnatts (flying teeth) and the biting green headed horse flies. Those will get your attention real quick. I dont know where they all came from, right in the middle of the Pamlico. Once we arrived at Okracoke it was all good. No bugs, just a steady (15 mph) breeze off the ocean into silver lake.
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Old 11-02-2015, 12:41   #12
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

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Mosquitoes? Heck we didnt have a problem with those. You didnt meantion the gnatts (flying teeth) and the biting green headed horse flies. Those will get your attention real quick. I dont know where they all came from, right in the middle of the Pamlico. Once we arrived at Okracoke it was all good. No bugs, just a steady (15 mph) breeze off the ocean into silver lake.
That is true. The Noseeums can be a bit bothersome.

The green headed horse flies can have population control done, you just have to let them bite and then kill them. They seem to hunt in three's... The on that bit you isn't the one you swat at, and they take turns.

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Old 11-02-2015, 13:11   #13
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

We bought a battery powered tennis racket that when you hit a bug with the wires inside, it smokes them with an electrical charge. It also gives you exercise swinging the racket so its a win-win situation. By the time we arrived at silver lake the whole fly bridge's floor was covered. It gave a true meaning to "Fly Bridge". Hardy har har.
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Old 12-02-2015, 12:36   #14
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

Many thanks for the great info. Ok, many positives and negatives were pointed out. Any thoughts on places that have more positives and less negatives(excluding the west coast of the US)?
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Old 12-02-2015, 13:24   #15
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Re: N. Carolina sounds

Please dont get the idea that there are lots of negatives about NC sounds. I have been in florida for a year and a half and I cant wait to get back to NC and the outter banks. You cant beat the price and beauty of the OBX. Your insurance is lower and its just a short boat ride to seclusion. Some places or city docks are free to tie up for 1-3 days. You cant beat that with a stick.
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