Saturday, June 6, 2015

Beaufort, NC (sigh)

Adams Creek/ICW
Oriental to Beaufort:  First Mate is a little slow this morning.  After a quick shower and smoothies for breakfast we head out at 8:00 am with Bill throwing us lines.  (We'll be keeping in touch and surely run into him next winter in the Bahamas.)  It's a little warm without much breeze this morning and the sun in shining in on my side of the boat. We crossed the Neuse river and rejoined the ICW southbound as we entered Adams Creek, another wide beautiful section of the ICW.  The parade of boats begins as we pass 6 headed northbound including a Lagoon catamaran, a schooner and black trawler with wood trim.  I whine about not seeing any dolphins and three appear, including a baby!

Barge traffic on the canal
We enter the canal and find this section has been more developed.  There are several large marinas as we exit and are greeted by a few more dolphins spouting.  Again, we forgot it's Sunday so we're waked by power boats as we near Beaufort.

Beaufort Bridge to the right and commercial shrimping fleet on the left
First impressions of Beaufort are not good.  We pull into Taylor Creek, running along the downtown area and see a line of sailboats.  We motor by to check it out, and decided to go back and drop in line with 3 monohulls.  We're squeamish about tight anchorages, but we are both happy with our spacing.  The only concern in swinging towards the beach.  We know we draw less than the other 3 boats, and worst case, we're on sand and wait for tide to come back up (we've actually anchored at low tide).  As I head down below to open hatches, the Captain is greeted by the Captain of Mambo, the Beaufort-based monohull off our bow, who said, "I'm on a mooring ball, and you are going to swing into me when the current switches in an hour.  The guy behind you is anchored and broken down."  So basically, move.  (And he's not on a mooring ball--I got a pic after his boat swung that shows his anchor chain running under the mooring ball).  The Captain smiles and says, "we're staying on the boat.  We won't hit you."  We're not ones to promote more rules, but apparently local liveaboards and/or derelict boats drop private mooring balls out here, with no authorization, and then tell you to move because they're moored.  Why wouldn't the city do something?  Because when transients give up on anchoring, they go to the marina and pay an average of $3/ft (the highest we've seen in NC).  It's also a Sunday--our bad.   We're even waked by the National Park Service ferry.  (OH, and the current didn't change in an hour.  He left in his dinghy which was a fishing skiff, so I guess he wasn't too worried.) 

Stats:  Total time 4:21, Total mileage 21.7 nm, Avg speed 5.0 kts, motored the whole way

A group of 3 dolphins visited in the evening. And we're underneath the departure path for the airport, so that's entertaining. 

You'll have to zoom in to see the wild horse on the island/Rachel Carson Reserve

I got up early and took my coffee outside hoping to see dolphins or wild ponies on the Rachel Carson wildlife reserve.  I'm greeted by no-see-ums so I retreat inside.  The Captain goes out and say, "pony!"  Dang it!  We started the morning with a walk/reconnaissance through town.  A quick stop at the local grocery reveals honey, Bahamian ginger ale, jelly belly cinnamon bears and a decent wine selection--except their cooler is broken--actually the opposite--it's heating things!   (So no, they don't have any ice!)  We retreat to the boat for awhile and return to a better dinghy dock for lunch, the maritime museum, swing through the bookstore for a Bahama chart/guidebook and then the dock masters office for a block of ice (which was a boater's wild goose chase--Captain said "upstairs", ice cream store said across the street before we finally found it below the coffee shop we'd passed 5 times--and not across the street.)

Sunday Money, formerly owned by Dale Earnhardt Sr.
Beaufort is full of characters. The people/boat watching has been much more entertaining on a Monday. We've watched 6 megayachts come in including the 102 ft Sunday Money (built for Dale Earnhardt Sr) and the 96 ft Hideout, and the winner--130 ft Black Sheep from Bloody Bay also working their way north (just watching the crews clean the boat for 4 hours looks exhausting).  The National Parks ferries, local ferries, HUGE sportfishing boats, sailboats off the ICW (including a Manta 42 catamaran), kayaks, little sailing dinghies and a little barge with a crane, similar to Discovery's "Bering Sea Gold."  "You should have taken a picture of that!"  Overheard in the cockpit, "No, not the big pirate ship in the channel.  The little pirate ship turning into the marina."

Black Sheep hailing from Bloody Bay!

After dinner (grilled chicken & mashed potatoes) we went for a walk on on the Rachel Carson wildlife refuge.  Do you know who she is?  You should.  Because of her work, and her book Silent Spring, DDT was banned and the EPA was formed.  The First Mate went for her first swim off the stern (after wading out to the dinghy after out walk and determining the water was warm and the clearest yet.  We can see our keel).

If you looked one way, you saw downtown Beaufort.  If you looked the other way, you could see the Rachel Carson wildlife refuge beach.
(A new saying was added to our list.  "At least we're not in Beaufort!")

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