A photo a day from Oriental, NC, the surrounding Pamlico County area, and nearby rivers, creeks, bays and other waterways of coastal North Carolina.

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Monday, January 26, 2009

1.26- Seals in Raccoon Creek

An 11 meter Naval Special Warfare Rigid Inflatable Boat cruises up Raccoon Creek
(Click on image or here for full size)

I usually see these 11m NSW-RIBs way out in the Neuse River cruising at 45 knots between the Cherry Point Marine Station and the Piney Island / BT-11 target range...(see related prior postings re: NSW-RIBs and the BT-11 target range)

I was watching this one headed back up-river towards Cherry Point when it surprisingly turned into the Oriental Harbor channel.

So I grabbed a camera and headed down to the Oriental Yacht Club in time to find the boat slowly cruising up and down Raccoon Creek...

One guy on board was pointing out various things around the harbor and creek-sides... I wonder if it was some sort of tactical orientation or a simple sightseeing side-trip after a day of storming Piney Island?

I have noticed a lot of U.S. Marine air traffic over the river the past couple of days, including Harriers, CH-35E Sea Stallion helicopters (see related prior posting re:CH-35E), CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, and MV-22B Osprey VTOL/STOLs.

I'm guessing these guys are U.S. Navy SEALS, as the NSW-RIB's primary mission is SEAL insertion and extraction, and I have not found any reference to the U.S. Marine Corps using them.


Debbie @Like a Rose said...

What a great shot!

Anonymous said...

sweet picture! navy swcc is what these guys are. they cruise the inter coastal water way from little creek va to cherry point because there is a gunnery range in cp. looks cold!

Anonymous said...

definitely not sight seeing. the guy on the front left of the console (looking at you) is the navigator/radar operator and he is holding that big plastic bag in his left hand...that's the chart of the area. more than likely, they are lost or doing navigation training. definitely not having fun though...looks freezing and I'm 70% sure they are all soaking wet or about to be.

Capt. Ben said...

@Anonymous... SWCC is new term for me, thanks for the input on that one. Locals call them "SEALS" or even worse "Marines" (LOL), and I have never known their true designation, and they don't tell anyone.

Indeed, they are sightseeing, as Oriental harbor is a bit of a variation from the course from Cherry Point to BT-11.

They periodically cruise through the ONC harbor on their way back from raiding the BT-11 target site, sometimes even park their NSWRIB at Town Dock and grab a burger at the Toucan Bar & Grill.

This last winter (2010-11) one even came into ONC to off-load some frosbite cases for immediate ambulance transport, so they certainly have some "non-fun" days and work... This particular boat, however, simply cruised into and out of the ONC harbor for a little "lookee-loo:... No beach-heads or exercises in Raccoon Creek!

Capt. Ben