06/17/2007, Midway Marina
Another long day, but spectacular! From the ospreys to the herons to the cypress to the grasses, I love coastal North
Carolina. Luckily, we were outside and going slowly so we could smell the piney woods and hear the birdsongs. I feel sorry for the people going by on the big, fast million-dollar powerboats. They don't know what they're missing.
Bruce kept telling me that there wasn't much in Coinjock, but i think he's wrong. The town is split in two by the ICW. Neat homes with colorful flowerbeds and tall birdhouses on towers line the banks. There are two marinas, and we are at the one that has almost no boats. All the powerboats are tied up across the way. They are headed into the restaurant over there.
Here there is a huge grassy lawn and I threw a ball for Chip for an hour and wore him out. We sat in the cockpit drinking a beer and watching the herons fish the shallows across the river. There is more than just the difference of sail vs. power. Our slower pace on the water mirrors our attitude toward life in general.
I met a fellow on the dock and he was admiring our boat. He pointed to his powerboat and said, "I've gone over to the dark side."
I nodded in agreement. "Yeah, you're right."
We left Beaufort yesterday morning and made it this anchorage just past Belhaven on the Pongo River. We passed Oriental and the Neuse River and Pamlico Sound. I have been astounded at every turn of the waterway - it's so beautiful! I can't believe that people call the ICW the Big Ditch and call it boring.
Bruce was smiling last night when we got the anchor down just off a lonely little house. Dolphins came into the anchorage and they were smacking their tails on the water like trained dolphins at a Flipper Show. I think they were herding fish. It was remarkable to watch.
06/16/2007, just leaving Beaufort docks
We attempted to leave Beaufort on Sunday, June 10th, but less than thirty minutes from the dock, the engine started surging and we returned to the slip. I won't go into all the details, but let it suffice to say that we had parts shipped in from Lauderdale, a nice mechanic named Craig spent more than four hours with us, and a healthy dose of swearing and sweating came to pass before we were finally able to leave today, almost one week later.
I considered going into all the details of our engine trouble. This is a sailing blog, and the word "blog" comes from the phrase "web log." It's an easy transition for sailors who must keep logs that chronicle the details of wind and sea state, engine hours, and miles traveled, to write a blog with much of the same information. But to me, travel is about more than just the mechanics of getting somewhere. I have never been a fan of the sea books or blogs that become what I call the "we had flying fish for breakfast" tales or the personal blogs wherein people document each detail of their lives ad nauseum.
Imagine if E.B. White were still alive today and keeping a blog. Every entry would provide a peek into the whys and wherefores of our place on this planet. As White once wrote, "I would feel more optimistic about a bright future for man if he spent less time proving that he can outwit Nature and more time tasting her sweetness and respecting her seniority."
So, rather than singing the blues, I want to tell you about the sweetness I tasted during our stay at Beaufort, North Carolina.
There was a resident great white heron that walked the docks unafraid of my dog until Chip was almost on him. Then, he lifted off the dock with a grace unparalleled.
Beaufort has a restaurant named the Grocery Store, the laundry is called the General Store, and the nicest people on Front Street are the Pirates.
The Big Rock Swordfish Tournament was happening in Beaufort, and I learned that when it comes to music, sport fishermen are the NASCAR people of the marine world, and country music can sound good.
While watching the sport fishermen clean their catch, I asked if I could buy some fish, and I was handed a dolphin filet two feet long. I discovered their kindness and generosity are without compare.
The farther you walk along Taylor Creek at night, the quieter the world grows, and anchor lights and stars begin to blur.
I discovered that here in the south, they sell ammo at the checkout at the hardware store.
And though I tried many new tastes, shrimp and grits was not one.