Monday, November 25, 2013

Wilma Lee

Last week I accompanied Capt. Rob, Hunter, and Steve on the Wilma Lee. We were taking her to Wanchese, NC for a routine Coast Guard inspection.

We were motoring in fog for much of the trip; in heavy fog as we approached a particularly treacherous narrow & shallow area near Oregon Inlet, appropriately called Hell's Gate. "During a two-week period in late November [2003], no less than eight commercial and recreational vessels ran aground in an area of the inlet known as Hell's Gate." (

We made it safely through. Here is a photo I took before the fog got too thick:

After we docked at the boat yard a crane arrived, ready to pull the mast for the inspection:

Then we hoisted Rob up the mast in the bosun's chair so he could attach a becket high enough to be above the pivot point.

After the mast was removed, the Wilma Lee was hauled out of the water for a hull inspection.

Other than a couple of minor issues, including painting the bottom, the Wilma Lee looks like she will soon be ready for another season on Ocracoke,

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is a 1921 letter from a former slave to Ocracoke Native Martha Ann Howard Wahab. You can read it here:


  1. Anonymous9:16 AM

    Wow reflecting on the Vietnam War a period, a co worker related a time he considered joining the coast guard but when he learned the Coast Guard were in fact on the front lines as it were, serving on the inland waterways he reconsidered and signed up with the air force and served as an air traffic controller. Anyway, I had no idea the coast Guard inspects boats for seaworthiness. My state eliminated annual auto inspections, no more waiting in line to make sure the headlights work and the brake lights function etc. Well ,forgetful irresponsible drug carrying motorists will be pulled over, issued citations and donut stores will lose business ha

  2. I have to believe that the navigation through rather treacherous waters is much easier with GPS than depending enitrely on dead reckoning, charts, and compass headings. Quite an adventure!

    1. You are correct...although GPS does not see other vessels!

  3. Anonymous1:05 PM

    Fascinating! So glad all turned out ok, despite the thick fog. NC Mainlander enjoyed your photos and your detailed account. I learned a lot. Thanks for sharing.