07 June 2016 | Ocracoke Island, N.C.
06 June 2016
06 June 2016
01 June 2016 | River Dunes, N.C.
23 July 2015 | Manteo to New Bern
23 July 2015 | Manteo, N.C.
23 July 2015 | Manteo, N.C.
23 July 2015 | Manteo, N.C.
23 July 2015 | Manteo, N.C.
19 July 2015
18 July 2015 | Manteo, N.C.
03 July 2015 | Oriental, North Carolina
13 June 2015 | Ocracoke Island, North Carolina
05 June 2015
01 June 2015 | Ocracoke Island
14 May 2015 | Carolina Beach mooring field
18 February 2015
20 October 2013 | South Harbour Village Marina, Southport, N.C.


07 June 2016 | Ocracoke Island, N.C.
A performance of Leonard Cohen's "Hallelujah" by John Westmoreland of the band Kaira Ba brought one of the most powerful moments of the festival. It came during the final jam, when the musicians play unrehearsed in various combinations. I can't remember all the players and singers who backed Westmoreland during the song, though the chorus included a formidable array of voices belonging to April Trueblood, Madeline Sales and Marcy Brenner. The percussion section for all the songs during the finale felt as though it had fused with the heartbeat of the island, and Westmoreland, in Rob Sharer's words, is an "awesome guitarist."

The hundreds of people sitting or standing under the live oaks went quiet, even the dogs and children, as the performance unfolded. The lyrics, such a blend of biblical and musical and sexual references, and the melody, so somber and yet so exhilarating and ultimately exuberant seem to capture so much of what it is to be human, the joy and loss, the triumph and tragedy. But it was the undemonstrative mastery with which John Westmoreland delivered the song that brought the audience spontaneously to its feet at the last "Hallelujah." Something magical had happened.

Ocracoke Festival

06 June 2016
It seems there's always too much or not enough wind. We motored across the sound with light winds on our bow, arriving about 1 pm, just in time for the beginning of the Ocrafolk Music Festival. Our friends Licia, Dorothy and Frank were having lunch at Smack-Nally's, the pub at the end of our dock at the Anchorage Marina, so they walked over to greet us as Arwen was being hauled into her slip stern first. They brought news that the music was starting about three hours earlier this year than in the past - just about then, in fact! We got our bikes unloaded and went straight to the Live Oak Stage. From then until Sunday about 5 p.m., we barely took time to shower, sleep and eat between performances and workshops. It was, as usual, a musical feast.

Crossing Pamlico Sound

06 June 2016
There were small craft warnings on the Pamlico Sound Thursday, so we spent another pleasant day at River Dunes and left early Friday morning for Ocracoke. We saw rays coming out of Broad Creek and a dolphin. The mist and early morning sun backlighting a couple of fishermen pulling what looked like a small shrimp trawl made for a classic coastal tableau.

On to Ocracoke

01 June 2016 | River Dunes, N.C.
Arwen hasn't been out of her slip in New Bern in months and she needed a thorough cleaning before we could head down the Neuse and across Pamlico Sound for Ocracoke and the Ocrafolk Music Festival. We got a later-than-planned start and we didn't have as much time as we'd have liked to scrub her decks, clean her canvas and get the accumulated pollen, mold and other grim cleared away, but she was much improved by the time we untied the lines and pointed her bow down river Tuesday morning. It was our plan to stay overnight at River Dunes and cross the sound today. But the weather dictated otherwise. So we're spending another night at River Dunes, which is one of the best places I can think of to be pinned down by storms, but we are anxious to get settled in on Ocracoke before the festival starts, so it was a hard decision to stay put, even though it was the wisest thing to do.The forecast for tomorrow looks better!

It's been fun watching the barn swallows who nest under the ramps that connect the floating docks to the harbor bulkhead at River Dunes. They are true acrobats of the air. One of the beautiful birds landed on our lifelines and spent a considerable amount of time grooming. Robert spotted him (or her) when he was preparing to close the hatch before a storm passed through. We watched and photographed him for sometime through the hatch. River Dunes is a good place for birdwatching. Since we arrived late Tuesday afternoon, in addition to the barn swallows, we've seen chimney swifts, a red headed woodpecker, a green heron, mockingbirds, thrashers, cardinals, blue birds, a couple of bobwhite quail and a deer. On the trip down the Neuse, we saw osprey nesting on a couple of channel markers.

Wild life and night life on the Pungo

23 July 2015 | Manteo to New Bern
We left Manteo on Sunday and had an uneventful crossing of Albemarle Sound. Only a few fuzzy bills showed up this time. By the way, it turns out we weren't the only ones plagued by them. I found this story in The Outer Banks Voice:
What's bugging some soundside residents

We spent Sunday night anchored in the Alligator River. On Monday we motored through the canal between the Alligator and the Pungo rivers where we spotted a young black bear swimming across the canal. We also saw bald eagles, a red headed woodpecker, osprey and turtles in the canal.

We stopped to spend Monday night at Bellhaven Waterway Marina, determined to have dinner at the Spoon River restaurant, which we'd heard about not only from Philip and Licia, but from boaters who remembered it as everything from Spooners to the Silver Spoon. Whatever they called it, they remembered that the food was exceptional. And so it was. The service was the best we've had - maybe ever! If you are anywhere near Bellhaven, don't miss the opportunity to eat there.

Before we left Tuesday morning, we walked up the street from the marina to Gingerbread Bakery and Snack Bar for breakfast. It must be the favorite breakfast haunt for locals because from our table near the center we could hear folks all around us greeting one another. Next to us was a table full of men. They came and went, but the table was always full. We couldn't help hearing their conversation and when I heard one of them mention red wolves I became an active eavesdropper. He was talking about a bunch of state and federal employees searching under a bridge for a radio collar. Many of the Alligator River red wolves are collared so biologists can keep track of them. The conversation went something like this:

"Somebody shot one of 'em and threw the collar under the bridge," the guy said, laughing, not seeming to disapprove of the action.

Another shook his head.

"Do you know how much those collars cost?" someone asked. "About $2,000 apiece."

"That's nothing to the cost of all them people standing around searching for it," another said.

Only a short time before they'd been talking about seeing wild turkeys, something they seemed pleased about. They were almost extinct here once too. I wonder if they begrudged the funding to bring them back.

We spent Tuesday night at River Dunes and on Wednesday we returned to New Bern where we'll leave Arwen for the next few months as we return home to the hills. The sunset photo above was taken from our new slip at New Bern Grand Marina. It was an especially beautiful display of light and cloud.

Dinosaurs rule! But Huckleberry wins the Mr. Congeniality prize...

23 July 2015 | Manteo, N.C.
The highlights of our Friday afternoon visit to the N.C. Aquarium were the shark tank and the dinosaur walk, where life size robotic dinosaurs moved their limbs and heads and made dinosaur like noises - very fierce. The sharks, not so much. The shark attacks on the N.C. coast this summer must have raised interest because the area in front of the tank was packed with people as we watched a presentation with two divers in the tank. One of them had an apparatus that allowed him to talk to visitors and one youngster asked if they’d ever been attacked. He said they’d made more than 50,000 dives in the tank without a single attack by any of the three species that inhabit it. Those sharks are kept well fed, a presenter outside the tank said.

We’d reserved Saturday to do laundry and other chores before leaving. But in late afternoon we took one last bike ride to the end of the island. On our way back to the waterfront, we stopped at Old Towne Creamery so that we could have one last serving of ice cream before we headed out on Sunday morning. I highly recommend the chocolate/coconut/pecan. My new favorite flavor. When we returned to the boat, we spent some time watching Huckleberry greet adoring fans.
Vessel Name: Arwen
Vessel Make/Model: Bristol 29.9
Hailing Port: Oriental, NC
Crew: Robert Currie, Joy Franklin and Madison
Arwen's Photos - Deltaville
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A view of the marina looking back toward the bay.
A view of the marina looking back toward the bay.
Added 8 August 2011