I'm often asked which ramp and route I take to get to Cape Lookout. With GoogleEarth available to us now, it is easy for me to chart several routes and run the numbers to see which route works best under varying circumstances. If you are new to the area or to boating/fishing, particularly in the Cape Lookout area, I hope you find the information and images helpful. Here are four routes that I am familiar with, that will take you to the Cape Rock Jetty. The images include a few key GE lat/lon numbers so you can plug them into GE and zoom in and out to better view the area.
Overall image of the area:
Route from Harker's Island Bridge ramp. I rarely use this ramp and route as it is nearly as long as the back run from Taylors Creek ramp and is nearly impossible to make this run from the ramp to Calico Jacks area without hitting one or more sand bars along the way, even in the daylight at high tide! Distance to the jetty as routed: 15.5 miles
Back route from Taylors Creek ramp. This route is fine but you will want to run it a couple times and learn it during the day, when the tide is right and time is not a big issue, as there are a few places that you may find yourself up on a sand bar on your way to the east end of Harker's Island. It is a rather long route at 16 miles, but it may be the only option when returning to Taylors Creek if the seas get up on the ocean side.
Ocean route from Taylors Creek ramp. This is only an option when the wind is coming from a northerly direction, otherwise, even on a light southerly breeze, you will be doing good to average 10 knots in your skiff. Considering the drive to Hacker's Island from MHC/BFT, this is a good option when the sea and wind is right, but you should be prepared to return from the inlet and take the back route if seas are not favorable. If you can get there in the AM, you can always take the back route when returning to the ramp, provided (of course) that you are at least somewhat familiar with that route. This is one of the best reasons you should always mark your ramp on your GPS as you start out on a trip - you can always find it back and you should be able to view your plotter to see the channels and landmarks in the area. Distance as routed: 12 miles (8 miles of it open ocean and Bft Inlet can be churned up and a bit intimidating for small boaters, during periods of strong tidal movement)
Calico Jacks route to the Cape jetty. This is my favorite site to ramp when I'm going to the cape jetty or even when I'm headed offshore toward Buoy 14 and beyond. The channel is well marked but be aware that the channel turns radically in a few spots along the way - so don't have your blinders on when you travel this channel. It's also so well used that even the first time boater should be able to follow another boat to navigate safely. There is a $10 ramp fee here but the savings for me (from Havelock) in boat gas and time is worth it in most cases. This is a 9 mile run to the jetty.