LAT: N 35° 01.7'
LON: W 76° 42.2'
60s-70s, sunny, winds N 5-10 kts
|Saturday, November 22, 2003
The Path Of The Cruiser
740 - Off to a relatively early start heading south on the Pungo River.
906 - Crossing the Pamlico River, it opens up but still feels calm, unlike other rivers and sounds.
1000 - Having Entered Goose Creek, we play connect-the-dots with the markers to stay in the deep water.
1102 - We are in a line of boats in an arc of a path from the Bay River around Maw Pt. Shoal to The Neuse River.
1250 - Turning into Oriental we go past many a sailboat.
1330 - Safely anchored up Smith Creek just inside the bridge and between fishing buoys in Oriental Harbor.
Arggg me maties, when ye want a good berger at a local biz just stop by Eminem's.
Oriental Feels Just Right For Now
Besides the Perfect Weather
Snuggles - Guest Editor
Waking up in Belhaven we had a quick start to our day, pulling anchor and heading out. The Pungo and Pamlico rivers were calm and enjoyable so we made grits and eggs for breakfast. As the sun climbs high, so do the temperatures. When the weather allows, in narrow waters we always climb up to the fly bridge to watch the scenery scroll by. Plus, it's just cooler to be up there. Goose Creek allowed us just such an opportunity. We passed through some open pine forests and a small fishing community.
Once out of the creek, the water opened out again into the Bay River, and we looked ahead to a line of about six boats. As we get further south, the cruising has become less lonely. Today we even passed another boat, a sailboat named "Columbine." The captain called us on the radio to compliment Slowly and chit-chat about stuff. The combination of radio distortion and a southern accent made it hard to keep up our end of the chatter, but we did okay.
The wide Bay River dumped us into the wider Neuse River. Here, we started to see more and more sailboats as we got closer to Oriental, the alleged sailing capitol of North Carolina. It was also a beautiful Saturday afternoon. Oriental was our final destination for the day. We had hoped to land a spot on the free town dock, but the weekend traffic made scoring one of three spots impossible. Instead, we headed up Smith Creek a short distance to drop our anchor. After kicking up a little mud, we brought out the lead line (see fun fact) and were happy to find we had seven feet of water. We nestled ourselves away from some docks, and between some fishing buoys and an abandoned looking sailboat that appeared to have made an anchor of some fish traps. Our anchoring skills are improving as we learn this gentle art of staying away from stuff.
Arriving early in the afternoon, we found time for some boat projects, finally installing the new windshield on the fly bridge. It is basically three sheets of clear lexan that keep the wind out of our faces when we drive from up there. We also put the plants out on the bow to enjoy the sun! We enjoy their company inside too, but they take up some leg room under the table. After our projects and showers, we collected some laundry and dropped it into Surely. It was a short row down Smith Creek to the Oriental Boat Launch. Though small, Smith Creek's undulating shoreline gives it a wild and explorable feeling that we enjoyed.
Much of Oriental feels like a residential neighborhood where some people decided to convert their homes into businesses. If there were no signs on front lawns we would have walked by unknowing. It has a peaceful relaxed nature to it that clearly keeps people coming back. We found our way to some small laundry facilities at a marina. The single machine was fairly slow, and we didn't have any fabric softener [Oh noooo!!! -Ed.]; but there was a deli attached with porch and tables, so we contented ourselves with some snacks and drinks as the sun set. Sitting there, we met another cruising couple, Andrea and Chuck. Meeting other cruisers has been one of the best parts of our trip. As soon as we establish ourselves as fellow cruisers, there are endless amounts of shared experiences to talk about. A diverse group of outsiders and explorers, the cruising fellowship is one we are really enjoying.
We have even more in common with Andrea and Chuck because they are also cruising in a trawler too, and they have a website! It turned out they also wanted a hand with a computer onboard, so we made a plan to meet up the following morning aboard Celebrate for coffee and computer support.
With our laundry done, we headed further inland in search of spoils. We found two bustling restaurants in Oriental. Both looked very attractive to us, but we tried M&M's for their lower prices. M&M's Cafe is a bar and restaurant in a house. Walking in the front door, expecting a living room, there is a bar with a TV. Tables are set up in a room to the left and further out on a side porch. Behind the bar there is a substantial collection of M&M Candy merchandise. In particular, we saw many dispensers and plush M&M toys (plain and peanut).
As always, we felt full and content from our meal. Walking back to the dinghy, we remembered how we forgot our flashlight. Setting out into the creek, we aimed at where we remembered Slowly to be. Before long, she appeared in the darkness, and soon we were back aboard folding laundry. Too tired even to watch the last reel of Two Towers, we passed out yet again.
A lead line or hand line is simply a weight tied to a string. Dropping the weight into the water, you let out line until you feel the weight hit the bottom. The string is marked along its length in order to measure the depth. You can also use a blob of hard grease or wax on the bottom of the weight to bring up a sample of the bottom. The consistency of the bottoms tells you more about anchoring conditions. It could be sand, grass, or mud for example. Normally, we already know what the bottom conditions are from our guidebooks, so we haven't tried this yet. Our electronic depth sounder works okay, but we don't trust it very much, and it only gives you the depth in one location under the boat. The lead line allows us to find the depth all around the boat, and it cant lie. It is a funny business caring so much about something you cant see. Where be the bottom?
Animal of the Day
The Common Crow, Corvus brachyrhynchos is a member of the smartest bird Family: Corvidae. The Corvid Family includes: the Jays, Magpies, Crows and Ravens. Crows are extremely social as well as vocal. Their "Caw Caw" sound actually consists of a wide variety of calls each with their own meaning. As well as complex social behaviors they have been shown to have amazing problem solving skills. Like in comic books, their black feathers shine purple in the sunlight. Next time you have the opportunity make sure to take a closer look at the behavior of this super-bird.
At M&M's Cafe we had some of their tasty M&M's Burgers with grilled onions, cheese and bacon (and mushrooms on Tim's). On the side were their perfectly fried onion rings which complimented our beer (Killian's Red and Sam Adams Octoberfest) brought to us in beer cozies, making the place feel even more homey.
|Table of Contents