Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Sunset in Oriental

Today, we headed down the Pungo River and out into the Pamlico.  While the temperatures hit 94, there was a decent breeze.  Small wonder that felt so thirsty though.  We entered the Neuse River and docked in Oriental, NC for the night.  River Dunes Marina is our stop for the night and what a swank marina!.  It is very protected.  Surrounded by pine forests, it is about 5 years old.  The floating docks were easy to dock into.  The grounds are well manicured.  We met the nicest people in the infinity pool; all with stories of the best places to stop, things to see, and, of course, the best places to eat.
After a cooling off, we signed up for the courtesy car to go into downtown Oriental, about 5 miles away, for dinner.  Some marinas have courtesy cars available.  Yes for FREE.  You simply ask and they give you the car.  There is usually a 1-2 hour limit.  So we went to dinner and the grocery store.
Oriental is the sailing capital of NC.  So we are actually in the minority on a motor vessel.  Oriental was given the name Smith's Creek by the post office.  The post master's wife thought the name should be more distinctive.  One day while walking along the beach, she found the name plate from a sunken vessel, The Oriental.  The Oriental had sunk in the last 1880's.  She petitioned the post office for the name change and that is how exotic Oriental, NC was named.
As we returned to the dock tonight, the sun was just setting behind the trees.  A neat backdrop to John on our boat.  Good night all.

Airplanes and Boats

Today we bid farewell to Manteo.  We went out that tricky approach I spoke of the other day and did not get stuck on the sand bar.  We rounded Manteo on the north end and could see the set of the Lost Colony from the sound.  That was a great take in.
 We crossed the south of Albemarle Sound and headed back south into the Alligator River and the Pungo Alligator Canal. 

It was a pleasant day, warm but a breeze and we were just enjoying the peace and the smell of the marshes and pine forests when...  ROAR  what felt like barely above our heads came military aircraft doing maneuvers. 

The sight was awe inspiring, especially in light of having visits the Wright Brothers Memorial yesterday.  

We also passed a gold looper boat that was headed north.  A gold looper has earned the right to fly the AGLCA Gold Burgee.  That means they have completed the Great Loop once.

Dowry Creek Marina was our stop for the night.  They have a really nice pool and while we were relaxing in the water, we saw three military planes escorting a very large jet.  It looked like Air Force One.  It was another cool thing to see but I missed the photo op.  

Monday, July 27, 2015

The Lost Colony and the Wright Brothers

From Coinjock we headed to the Southeast side of Albemarle Sound with the Outer Banks to our east to Manteo, NC.  The Manteo Waterfront Marina is peaceful, well protected and full of sites and helpful folks.  There are a few warnings about the approach to Manteo Harbor and there is a very helpful instructional video on youtube.  We watched it and took notes before we left Coinjock.  When we called the Marina to secure a spot, Carl, the dock master, reiterated the instructions.  I told him I had seen a video that was very clear and it turns out he made the video.  He said if someone had seen the video, they'd have to be a monkey to run aground.   Just what I needed another challenge!  But we made it safely to the dock.  I think I might have pushed the boat of the shoal, if we had run aground.

Manteo is the site of the famous, Lost Colony. And every summer since 1937, they run a play about the colonists from England who came to this area.  By the end of the Anglo Spanish War, when more supply ships arrived, the colony was empty of its over 100 inhabitants, including Virginia Dare, the first Anglo child born on these lands.  The play is run in the evening, in an outdoor setting in the woods.  The Albemarle sound is part of the back drop with a pleasant breeze off the water.
Many actors have had roles in this play over the years, but most notably Andy Griffith played Sir Walter Raleigh.  It was a fine performance with historical significance and a great history lesson.  Loved this t-shirt about asking the locals for directions.

The Manteo Waterfront Ares is lovely.  The Waterfront had been renovated and restored.  They took out an ugly old oil tank and where that was put in an picturesque replica of the destroyed Manteo Marsh Light House. 
They added a mile long boardwalk with play grounds and parks and the sailing club.   A replica of the Elizabeth, that brought the lost colonists, sits across from the Marina in Festival Park. 
There is a cross to the rebuilding after the Revolutionary War.
Lots of local art and shops and homemade ice cream.  There are lots of activities including using jet packs and jet boards on the water.  We came back from lunch to see this jet boarder high above the water.  It looked amazing.  We did not try it.

Today was busy as we took a cab to the Wright Brothers Memorial at Kill Devil Hills.  A couple of weeks ago, I finished David McCullough's book on the Wright Brothers.  The Memorial is set up so you see where the first four flights took off and how little they actually flew. 
The longest is only about a football field.  The Memorial sits atop the dune where they learned to steer and glide.
It is striking that happened in 1903 and that the world adopted flight so quickly.  By 1927, Lindburgh flew across the Atlantic and  today, Christine makes sure the astronauts continue to circle the earth on the Space Station!  John had his picture taken with Orville and Wilbur.

Back in Manteo, we took a tour of the Outer Banks Distillery.  It is a relatively new small batch distiller of Kill Devil Rum. The owners were so enthusiastic!    Their motto is "From Molasses to Glasses".
The tour started with huge tubs of molasses.  Of course, it is all chemistry and John was comfortable among the vats and distillation tubes. 
My favorite part was the molasses and rum tasting.  This being North Carolina, they can't sell you a bottle though because spirits must go through the ABC stores.  I will buy a bottle when we get back to Wilmington.

We plan to head back south tomorrow.  So much more to see.

Friday, July 24, 2015

John Tyrell has visited Tyrrell County NC

It has been an interesting couple of days.  We went through the Pungo Alligator River Canal.  This was the last portion of the ICW to be finished in 1929.  This canal is straight as an arrow.  I am amazed at the work down in the 1920's.  An interesting read, is Bill Bryson's One Summer 1927.  Lindburgh flew across the Atlantic, Babe Ruth was a star, so much building was happening in the country.  The guides say to be on the look out for black bears and deer but is was a very hot day and I think the animals had the good sense to stay in the woods.

We entered the Alligator River, still no bears, but very scenic.  We crossed under the Alligator River Bridge which led into the Albemarle Sound.  We heard of a lovely anchorage just off the ICW at this point.  It was lovely.  We dropped anchor and fired up the summer kitchen for some margarita sausages and quinoa.  The sunset was stunning.  We turned on the anchor light and slept soundly snuggled in this cove, unaccompanied by other boats.

We awoke in the morning to the site of millions, yes I said millions, of Fuzzy Bills aboard our boat.  Fuzzy Bills are a type of midge bug found in waterway areas.  They are about 3/8 inch long.  They do not bite, thank heavens!  But look like mosquito.   Thanks to NC State where I found out more about them.  Neither John nor I had heard or seen anything like them.   They were everywhere!   

We wanted to keep them out of the main cabin and the fly bridge as much as we could.  They were unfazed by bug spray.  John pulled the anchor and we ran the boat from the cabin until we entered back into Albermarle Sound where there were so many crab pots we had to run from the fly bridge to see them all.  We took turns driving on the fly bridge and staying bug free in the cabin.  We found that water could bring them down and they would leave little greenish black marks everywhere.  If they were in the sun, they would die and leave the same mark.  If you squished them, the same mark.  Ugh!!! Yuck!!!  Disgusting!!!  

We headed for Columbia, NC.  Columbia is the county seat of Tyrrell County.  And Tyrrell is pronounced the same way we say our name.   Tyrrell County had the most interesting cast of characters.  We called to the own dock when we were maybe 10 minutes out to ask for someone to grab the lines.  The town manager said it was 11:50 and he and everyone else would be going to lunch, we could dock and pay the $3.00 fee after their lunch.  Can't beat the price for free docking and electricity.  We got settled and walked up Main Street.   We passed the Tyrrell County Court House with a statue honoring the Civil War dead.  Then we headed to the library to look at their genealogy section.  There were 3 librarians on duty.  When we told them we were there to learn about how Tyrrell County got its name, and our name was Tyrell, Linda jumped right up and took us to the local history room.  As it turned out Sir John Tyrrell of Essex, England  bought a proprietorship in the early 1700's and an investment, but never visited the area.  So John became the first John Tyrell to visit Tyrrell County.  We signed the register to make our mark on Tyrrell County.  Linda pointed us to the Winery where they make wine with grapes grown in Tyrrell County.  We tasted and bought some. 

In the morning, we headed to Cypress Cove Marina for fuel and a pump out.  Mary Lou was so kind.  She brought out a bottle of Tyrrell wine a basket of goodies, and puzzle book to remember our visit to Tyrrell County.  We sure will.

We headed back across Albemarle Sound.  In the western portions, it was VERY choppy.  I drove the boat to keep my tummy at ease.  Up the Coinjock river, to the famous Coinjock Marina and Restaurant.  They are known far and wide for their prime rib.  I can attest that it was well worth the effort to get here.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

I am melting

We are in the throes of a heat wave!   Temperatures in the high 90's and humid.  Heat indices are in the 105 range.  John and I kept refilling each other's water bottles and encouraging each other to drink more water.    Very little breeze on the boat despite our path across two sounds.   We started our day crossing the mouth of the Neuse River.  Some breeze here, so it was understandable that so many sailboats call this area home.  The Neuse is very wide, much wider than the Cape Fear River back home in Wilmington.   It was fun to use the "go to" function on the Raymarine for the first time.    We headed into Goose Creek.  We saw this beautiful sailboat heading south.

The pine forests in NC are impressive and for today's journey we saw pine forests that led to pine forests.  So stunning outlining the water.

Give me an A for effort because I keep trying to get pictures of dolphins but mostly get pictures of water where dolphins used to be.  This was a pod of several dolphins.  I got the one on the left but if you use your imagination you can see where the others disturbed the water going back down.

We crossed the Pamlico River with some light chop but not much breeze.  The day kept getting hotter.  We choose a marina to dock for the night purely on the fact that it had a pool and the ones closer to town did not.  So we pulled into Dowry Creek Marina, got the electrical hooked up, started the air conditioning, and headed for the pool.   We were so hot and so was the pool.  The water temperature was 88 degrees and they were trying to add cold water.  A bit more refreshed, we headed to the boat to the sound of thunder.  And it poured.  But it helped to cool things off some.  So we had pork steaks and beans for supper.  

I sleep very well on a boat.  I think it is the gentle swaying but I will go to bed early tonight.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Heading North from Wilmington July 19

We've been making changes to the Hydrophilic, working on this and that and finding out some things we just didn't know.  So now with the new anchor and the generator working, we are ready to head a little north.  It was odd to go past our home in The Tides.  Our marina looks great. 
The Tides- Our home port

So much to see on this trip so far.  On shore just after Wrightsville, you can see a giraffe at one home and next door is a silver Poseidon. 

At Surf City swing bridge, we had a short wait.  Apparently, a few hours before a barge had crashed into the wooden fenders under the bridge.  The water was full of debris.  Thankfully, no one was hurt!  The water was full of wooden debris and there were safety officers in boats alerting everyone to the jetsam in the water.  We were the first vessel allowed to go through the bridge after it had been inspected.  

Some miles later, we passed the barge that had caused the damage.  Note the some of the Surf City Bridge fenders were still on board.

It was a very hot day, in the high 90's so we were happy to find a good anchorage right on the edge of Camp Lejeune.  While we could not get internet service, we did have lots of other good news.  The generator works well and is not too loud.  The air
conditioning works well off the generator.  The new anchor, a 55 lb. Rocna, holds very well.  We did not worry about dragging as all.

John had the coffee made early this morning.  We pulled anchor and headed back out on the ICW.  On this section of the ICW, you are within the confines of Camp Lejeune Marine Base.  Where else will you have a sign warning that you may be in the line of fire or see bombed out tanks?   HOO RAH. 

We crossed Bogue Inlet, and passed Morehead City.  There were six barges rafted together and each was filled with North Carolina pine trees.  I didn't get the picture but that is OK because the scent on the water was amazing!  They say that sailors can smell land, I'll bet they can. 

Adams Creek was really very nice, not a creek at all but a fairly straight waterway with plenty of deep water.  It enters the Neuse River near Oriental, NC.  Oriental is known as a sailing community with more sailboats than people.  Tonight, they one more trawler among the many masts.