Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Wilma Lee Panorama

Last week I accompanied a group of folks for a sunset cruise on the Skipjack Wilma Lee. On the way back to Silver Lake, with the sun setting behind the boat, I had a pleasant conversation with Crystal & Ty, a young couple from Wilmington, NC, who had never been to the island before. Ty made this panoramic image of the Wilma Lee with his smart phone, and was gracious enough to share it with me.

Click on the picture to see a full size image. For more information about the Wilma Lee and sunset cruises, click here:

This month's Ocracoke Newsletter tells the delightful story of the 19th century "Stovepipe Hat" wreck. It has been told for years in books & magazines, but it probably never happened. You can read the story (and my research) here:


  1. Very cool! I think panoramic shots give you a taste of what it's like to be, wherever that pano was taken. Thanks!

  2. Anonymous9:34 AM

    I suppose after he made the image all aboard put their life jackets back on, right? It is very well done the man is very clever and talented but, I hope everyone put their life jackets back on. Two young teenage boys were lost at sea off the coast of Florida while sailing recently, their overturned boat was found and no other word so far........

  3. Sundae10:30 AM

    Lifejackets are not required by the Coast Guard aboard the Wilma Lee, though passengers are welcome to wear them if they like. (There are plenty of lifejackets aboard for everyone.) As for the tragedy of the boys in Florida, they weren't sailing, they were in a small motorboat that capsized. The Wilma Lee is not going to capsize in the sea/wind conditions she goes out in. The captain is very careful about sailing conditions and has 50 years' worth of sailing experience without incident.

  4. Anonymous9:42 AM

    Thank you for pointing that out, the risk of a boat tossing the occupants vs the size of the vessel. The notion a captain remains on board, last to abandon ship "forces" the captain to maintain the highest levels of seamanship as he is the "dog in the fight " and wants to win. Thus so do those mates on board. Most rules and laws are a result of high powered lobbying -- why would the recreational boat industry want John Q. Public to think it is dangerous to get in a boat ship or ocean liner. Thank You once again for pointing out the unblemished record of a ship captain is something to take note of---incidentally one does not know the driving record of a cabbie before entering the cab So how would one learn of a ship captain's history??? That is a matter of public record no? as so many things documented in this blog are public record-- just love a good fact check!!

  5. The captain of the Wilma Lee is not afraid of going down with the ship; it is highly unlikely to happen in the sheltered, shallow waters of Pamlico Sound. He is concerned for passenger safety and his livelihood as a captain. If the captain holds a valid USCG captain's license, you can assume that s/he has not had any incidents that would cause it to be taken away. A commercial boat captain's license has to be on display on the boat.
    A boat like the Wilma Lee (any boat that carries more than 6 passengers for hire) has to be inspected by the USCG, including hull inspections (out of the water), topsides inspections (in the water), man-overboard drills, etc. The inspection sticker is on display for passengers to see.
    The captain is required to give a safety talk before each excursion. The captain and crew have to pass a urine drug test and be in a random drug-testing pool.
    In this country, we have many signs that enable us to see that the companies that serve us are following the rules and regulations (e.g.,restaurant sanitary grades)
    You can assume that your cab driver is reliable if s/he has a valid driver's license and taxi license, which are also required to be on display for fares to see.

  6. Anonymous9:31 AM

    Not that there isn't deep water, certainly, but…to the point of the Sound being comparatively shallow, I found it telling many years ago, overhearing a conversation between two older women riding the Hatteras-Ocracoke ferry for the first time and a truck driver who clearly made the crossing on a regular basis:

    First-time Passenger: "What would you do if the ferry sank?"

    Trucker: "Probably get out and walk."