Brrrrrrr…….. Shivering Through North Carolina

Anthony was up bright and early to cast off our lines. We hope to see them again when they travel north to New England this summer. Bye!

Anthony was up bright and early to cast off our lines. We hope to see them again when they travel north to New England this summer. Bye!

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.

The Waccamaw River's colors swiftly changed from dusky gray-blue to a rosy glow.

The Waccamaw River’s colors swiftly changed from dusky gray-blue to a rosy glow. One of my favorite pictures of our days in Waccamaw River.

This was the first time our northbound voyage that we pulled out the heavy duty cold weather gear - hats, gloves, blanket. Not our best fashion statement, even for cruisers.

This was the first time our northbound voyage that we pulled out the heavy duty cold weather gear – hats, gloves, blanket. Not our best fashion statement, even for cruisers.

Cold rowing on the ICW ! We passed four of these boats in one section. The crews were mixed age groups. As we slowed to pass by, I stood outside and chatted with them. They were cold, too. And closer to the water.

Cold rowing on the ICW ! We passed four of these boats in one section. The crews were mixed age groups. As we slowed to pass by, I stood outside and chatted with them. They were cold, too. And closer to the water.

Big casino boats at dock near the Calabash River.

Big casino boats at dock near the Calabash River.

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!

An attempted photo of our vigorous ride up the Cape Fear River. We were on the flybridge – photo taken through the closed plastic. I is easy to see how this river was named. In conditions worse than this, "fear" could be the word of the day.

An attempted photo of our vigorous ride up the Cape Fear River. We were on the flybridge (photo taken through the closed plastic.) It is easy to see how this river was named. In conditions worse than this, “fear” could be the word of the day.

This sailboat was having some trouble In the middle of the river. His anchor had fallen off the bow near the red nun, and a large barge was heading northward. We could hear them communicating on the VHF. to avoid any possible collision.

This sailboat was having some trouble In the middle of the river. His anchor had fallen off the bow near the red nun, and a container ship was heading northward. We could hear them communicating on the VHF  to avoid any possible collision.

The barge passes us by. There can be heavy barge and container ship traffic on the Cape Fear. BTW, the sailboat recovered his dropped anchor after the barge passed him.

The barge passes us by. There can be heavy traffic on the Cape Fear with the barges and container ships, plus ferries. BTW, the sailboat recovered his dropped anchor after the barge passed him.

Turning into Snows Cut, we noticed that the waters had a very curious look. It must have been near a tidal change because very dark water was next to lighter water, almost as though the two bodies of water met but refused to mingle. This occurred on both sides of Snows Cut.

Turning into Snows Cut, we noticed that the waters had a very curious look. It must have been near a tidal change because very dark water was next to lighter water, almost as though the two bodies of water met but refused to mingle. Salt and fresh? Dirty ICW/river water  and clearer ocean water?  We don’t know. This occurred on both sides of Snows Cut.

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.

As we turned out of Motts Channel , we saw SS Sophie docked just before the Wrightsville Beach Bridge.

As we turned out of Motts Channel , we saw the SS Sophie docked just before the Wrightsville Beach Bridge.

Traveling through the Camp Lejeune section, we recalled the helicopters and military drills in the ICW during our first southern passage in 2013. This time we only saw tanks and orange cut-out men on the eastern side of ICW. Target practice??

Traveling through the Camp Lejeune section, we recalled the helicopters and military drills in the ICW during our first southern passage in 2013. This time we only saw abandoned (?) tanks and orange cut-out men on the eastern side of ICW. Target practice??

Swansboro

Swansboro

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.

The winds were still strong, and the current was running swiftly through this anchorage, holding us in one direction. The boat made circles all night and day, but not in a 360 around the anchor, just in loops. Al kept the iPad on so he could monitor the swinging. Made quite a design.

Zoomed out view on left, Zoomed in view on right.   The boat made loops  all night and day, but not in a 360 around the anchor, just in loops off to one side of the anchor. The anchor is the upper right blue dot. The lower blue dot is the location of the boat when we pulled anchor the next day. Al kept the iPad on so he could monitor the swinging. Made quite a design.

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.

Swansboro waterfront view.

Swansboro waterfront view.

Lunch at Church Street Irish Pub & Deli – good burgers in a funky little restaurant.

Lunch at Church Street Irish Pub & Deli – good burgers in a funky little restaurant.

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!)

The upper porch of Poor Man's Hole has matching his and her figureheads. Wouldn't that look nice on our house in Connecticut?

The upper porch of Poor Man’s Hole has matching his and her figureheads. Wouldn’t that look nice on our house in Connecticut?

A feast for the eyes if you like roaming through curious places looking at unusual items.

A feast for the eyes if you like roaming through curious places looking at unusual items. We do!

Look here! We could buy a figurehead to bring home! How cool would that be? We passed the opportunity up.

Look here –  We could buy a figurehead to bring home! How cool would that be? In the end, we passed the opportunity up.

Calm enough to cook a pot of sausage lentil soup while underway. Simmering soup helped to warm the cabin and then our tummies.

Calm enough to cook a pot of sausage lentil soup while underway. Simmering soup helped to warm the cabin and then our tummies.

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.

Cinnamon apple raisin oatmeal keeps us warm on another cold morning.

Oatmeal with apples and raisins keeps us warm on the next cold morning.

 

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.

Cutting Class at one of Oriental's free town docks (available for for 2 nights only within a 30-day time period). Mandalay, a classic 50+ foot steel hull Berger at the marina's dock.

Cutting Class at one of Oriental’s free town docks (available for for 2 nights only within a 30-day time period). We wish more towns and harbors were as accommodating as Oriental.
Mandalay, a classic 50+ foot steel-hull Berger at the marina’s dock. Like us, this is John and Debra’s 3rd boat with the same name. Sometimes you just get attached to a name and identify with it too much to ever give it up.

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!

Oriental TownDock.net webcams

Oriental TownDock.net webcams – Harbor view and anchorage view (These photos were after we left, which is why there are open docks and an empty anchorage!)

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!

For a small town and harbor, there are a lot of fishing trawlers here.

Pleasure boats, power and sail, share the harbor with fishing boats. For a small town, there are a lot of fishing trawlers here.

"The Bean", the local hang-out for coffee, breakfast and ice cream. This time you can walk right up to the steps instead of kayak or wade to it, if at all.

“The Bean”, the local hang-out for coffee, breakfast and ice cream. This time we could  walk right up to the steps instead of kayak or wade to it, if at all.

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.

Oriental is a town that takes its name seriously.

Oriental is a town that takes its name seriously. Note the “oriental” style of lettering on the yacht club’s pavillion.

Dragons abound (and afloat) through Oriental. The dragon is the town's mascot, also continuing the oriental theme of its name.

Dragons abound (and afloat) through Oriental. The dragon is the town’s mascot, also continuing the oriental theme of its name. This is the first time we  saw this little gem of a dragon because in October it was under water.

The Captains of Cutting Class and Kindred Spirit had time to problem solve a Garmin chart plotter issue. Problem solving - two heads are better than one. Problem solved successfully!

Problem solving – two heads are better than one. Problem solved successfully! The Captains of Cutting Class and Kindred Spirit had time to problem solve a Garmin chart plotter issue. A problem that Garmin was unable to solve. Aha!

John holding Zoe, Dan, Marcia, Debra, Me. and Al - group selfie thanks to Al's long arm.

John holding Zoe, Dan, Marcia, Debra, me,  and Al – group selfie thanks to Al’s long arm.We had a another great cruiser happy hour with friends along the way.

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……….

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