Offshore Adventures

Every year we head down to Emerald Isle on the NC coast before school starts. It’s our end of summer tradition. I can’t believe the girls head back to school in a week. This year I brought both the Terror of the Sea and the Toto down with us, but I never ended up taking the Terror out. The advantage of the Toto is that I didn’t have to go anywhere to launch it. I could pull it down off the car, carry it down to the beach and drop it in the ocean. The first time I just paddled out maybe a half mile or so. The second day I took it 2 nautical miles offshore.

2 NM out

2 NM out

The view from 2 nm offshore

The view from 2 nm offshore

I recorded the trip with the Navionics app on my phone. The next day my phone died so I had to rely on the GPS on my VHF radio for the third trip.

I wanted to see if I went 4 nm offshore if I would start to lose sight of land. I dropped a waypoint at the condo and then 4 nm out and 5 nm out. Once I hit 4 nm I thought that 5 was a nicer number to hit so I continued on. Even at that distance I could still see the tops of the trees on Emerald Isle as well as all the buildings 3+ stories high. The water towers all up and down the island were easy to spot too. You’d have to get a good bit farther offshore to lose sight of land and structures altogether. Today I plotted the waypoints on Google Earth and took this picture.

5 nm out

5 nm out

Kayaking 10+ nm through 2 feet seas with a 5-10 knot wind took me 4 hours and left me a little bit sore. My right hand still hurts and I can feel my lower back as well. That’s the farthest I’ve ever kayaked and certainly the most challenging water. The Toto performed very well. I took some spray over the sides and on a couple of steeper waves I scooped a bit over the nose. I bailed it out with a sponge. I thought about doing another capsize test, but by the time I got that close to shore it was pretty flat water and I was ready for lunch and a cold beer, so I skipped it. I’m still pretty confident that even in those 2 foot seas I could have pointed the nose into the waves and climbed over the stern. I’m almost a little tempted to put a closed bow on the second Toto though. We’ll see.

It was a great week at the beach and I’m happy to have some ideas of the limits of my kayaking capabilities. The next camping trip might be from Swansboro out to Bear Island and exploring the salt marshes around there.



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