A Hidden Gem, Cape Lookout Harbor

Over the years we have been privileged to visit some truly wonderful anchorages in remote places like Greenland, Svalbard and Labrador. But you don’t have to travel to the high latitudes to discover a real gem.

On the way south this fall we spent five glorious days at Cape Lookout Harbor. Despite the anchorage’s location just 10 miles from the bustling harbour of Beaufort, North Carolina and even though the annual fall migration of boats down the Intracoastal Waterway and offshore was still in full swing, we rarely had more than half a dozen boats sharing this anchorage that can easily accommodate a hundred.

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

8 comments… add one
  • David VENNING Dec 23, 2010, 8:43 am

    Great pics… Our bucket-list jus’ got bigger.
    Merry Xmas & Best Wishes for the New Year.. from Down-under.
    DV and Marly B in The Wet Whitsundays

  • richard Dec 23, 2010, 9:23 am

    as a veteran of many cruises to this magnificent and usually benevolent bight before relocating to tampa bay a few years ago, itself in many ways a larger more diverse version of cape lookout, i attest to the accuracy of this piece…my memories include being followed by a juvenile humpback whale on one passage from beaufort inlet to cape lookout…another memory is of a large tarpon shooting fully out of the water directly in front of me on a run back to beaufort inlet…beaufort inlet is where i learned about the many considerations involved with ocean inlet passaging…i remember once going out against a flood tide at its peak flow with the iron genny wide open and still moving backwards…another memory is returning with impressive swells from a distant hurricane and how they reared up into breakers as they (and i) approached the inlet area causing my knees to quake and shake (normally the breakers will subside once into the deep part of the main ship channel allowing knees to quiet down if that’s where you are too…that’s where you better be or hugging the upper shoreline that will also normally tame the breakers barring a sw air flow)…many more such memories that i treasure greatly…richard in tampa bay…cavu’s skipper

  • Jeffrey Siegel Dec 23, 2010, 12:50 pm

    Cape Lookout is my most favorite anchorage on Earth!

    Beautiful photographs – especially love the full moon with lighthouse light. Magical…

  • Doug Bruce Dec 23, 2010, 7:37 pm

    OMG, your photos are spectacular. All are sharp and colorful and creatively composed. You should write another book.
    Thanks for sharing, D&D

    • John Dec 23, 2010, 9:31 pm

      Hi Doug and Dale,

      Thanks very much. Comments like that make lugging the gear seem worthwhile.

      • Matt Dec 31, 2010, 11:58 am

        Hi John,

        Can I ask: what lenses were you using in this set?

        Happy New Year.


  • John Dec 31, 2010, 4:40 pm

    Hi Matt,

    Because Cape Lookout Harbor has a lot of wide open spaces and few large features of interest, other than the lighthouse, I tended to use long lenses on this shoot to compress perspective and make an interesting shot.

    About half were taken with my Canon 100-400 L IS zoom on a canon 5D and the rest with my Panasonic 14-140 zoom (28-280 on 35 mm) on a Panasonic GH1. All were shot RAW and processed in Lightroom 3 and Photoshop.

  • Tommy Jan 9, 2011, 11:35 am

    Hi John,
    I really love the pics, Cape Lookout is in my back yard. I live aboard a 32′ Endeavour in Beaufort. I spend many weekends at this beautiful place and also have a 4×4 pickup that I leave at the Cape during the season to run the beach fishing and surfing. If you’re passing by on your way back north send me a email, thanks Tommy

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