It’s been chilly, perhaps one might even declare it to be cold. If you are living in a house, 49 degrees may only be chilly, but on a boat without heating, 49 degrees outside has translated into 52- 54 degrees at night in our cabin. That is cold. Now I wish we had brought along our flannel sheets! I have been wearing socks with my Keen sandals to keep my toes cozy.
We departed Osprey Marina in South Carolina with plans to reach North Carolina, at least to Southport, hopefully to Carolina Beach. The sky was still a dusky gray-blue as we left the dock.
We made Southport in good time, only 7.5 hours, so we decided to brave the Cape Fear River and continue on. The current was in the right direction, but the wind was from the north. It was a “vigorous” ride, especially through the rip. There were 20+ knots of wind and 5-foot seas.Taking some water over the bow and upwards!
We were still making very good time, so we passed by Carolina Beach and went on to Wrightsville Beach, anchoring in Motts Channel in our usual spot (10.5 hour day, 78 nautical miles.)
The next day, Friday, April 15, continued to be cold. We opted to remain in the salon and steer from the lower helm. No flybridge today. Wimpy, but more comfortable.
Wrightsville Beach to Swansboro, 48 nautical miles, was a day of timing bridges, even though Al and Anthony had lowered our mini-mast. These bridges require careful timing or you could miss a scheduled opening (they are not “on request”) and be forced to wait anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. — Beach Bridge, Figure 8 Bridge, Onslow Beach Bridge.
Needing a rest stop, we chose Swansboro, a waterfront town we had missed on prior trips. The On the Water ChartGuides and Active Captain both said it was possible to anchor here in the little harbor, but we were the only boat in town, on anchor. Before dropping the anchor, we toured around a bit to check the depths, and went over a little too far — our first grounding of this 2015-2016 travel (if you don’t count the deliberate one to clean the boat’s bottom in the Bahamas.) No worries. A little shifting and maneuvering and the captain had her off the mud and moving again.
The winds were still strong, and the current was running swiftly through this anchorage, holding us in one direction.
Swansboro was a nice place to walk about and stretch the legs. The “main” street had gift shops and restaurants, most with a unique flavor of their own.
The most unusual store was named Poor Man’s Hole filled with antiques and vintage “stuff,” great for browsing or unearthing that unique special something that you didn’t know you needed or wanted. But had to have. (We only looked, no buying!)
Our day’s layover in Swansboro became one night and a partial day. After our lunch in Swansboro (followed by a nap), the Captain declared we would pull anchor and continue on (3:30 in the afternoon??) Never dull on this ship. It was a good decision – 2 hours farther and we anchored in a marina community cove called Spooner Creek which was much, much calmer.
Onward to Oriental, arriving around 10:00 am so we had the day to visit with Cutting Class. Here we are in Oriental, together once again! An extra bonus – our friends, John and Debra on Mandalay are also in Oriental.
There was no room at the town’s free dock so we stayed out in the anchorage. Oriental has several “webcams” on their town website, TownDock.net, so we were checking the town docks and the anchorage before we even arrived. Wish more places had webcams!
Our leg muscles had a nice stretch again with a walk around Oriental. The town certainly looked quite different than our previous 6-day visit in October waiting for Joachim and the torrential rains to pass by. The streets are dry this time!
So, how did Oriental get its name? The small town was originally known as Smith’s Creek, but in 1886 the new postmaster’s wife, Rebecca, thought the village needed a better name. Rebecca was obviously a woman ahead of her time, thinking of marketing possibilities. One version of the naming story says that Rebecca found the nameplate from the 1862 wreck of the Civil War sailing steamer “Oriental” on the beaches of the Outer Banks and thought that name was more suitable. Another story says she just saw the nameplate in a Manteo home. Regardless, the name “Oriental” made such an impression on Rebecca that the village became known as Oriental a few years after the post office was established and the town was incorporated in 1899.
From Osprey Marina in South Carolina to Oriental, North Carolina – four days and 170 miles. This northbound journey has been more about the friends we connect with along the way than it is about the places. We are moving quickly. Why? A baby shower for our newest grandchild, a granddaughter, on May 7th is quickly approaching……….