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The First Mate's Journal
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Who: Wayne & Pat
Port: Jackson
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“It don’t get any prettier than that”.
05/15/2009, Town Creek Marina, Beaufort NC (N34*43.519 W76*39.898) to Eastham Creek, NC (N35*17.680 W76*36.514)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Started out this morning raining, but the winds were less than yesterday so after Wayne grabbed a quick shower and checked us out at the marina we headed out... I should say backed out - with some trepidation on my part. It's been a long time since I had to back out of a slip, and with winds and currents - I was quite nervous. Soooo...Last night I studied directions on how to maneuver a single screw prop to back out without the port prop-walk. Thank you for the directions Capt'n John on the Bayfield Group Site. I'd printed these out a while ago and had found them on my old computer. With yesterday's currents and wind I truly was apprehensive about backing out between a large fishing yacht on one side, and the 4 pilings I was tied to in our berth. I didn't want to hurt his boat, our boat or take out any pilings. After Wayne tossed in the lines, I turned the wheel hard starboard, gunned reverse then let up on it and straightened the wheel. I now had an audience on the dock watching me - one of the owners of the marina... Talk about nervous... my palms started to sweat. Did the same maneuver and backed out straight then noticed that this was a narrow pathway and I was about to back into the pilings of the slips behind me. Wheel hard over once more and throttle forward. Then reverse throttle up again. Forward, throttle and our little Bayfield turned in a tight rotation. Woosh! Wayne was on the bow watching out for our bowsprit and the piling. The owner was on the dock watching me and then said something to Wayne, which I couldn't hear. When Wayne came back he said the guy paid me a compliment and asked if I heard him. No, I didn't. He said "It don't get any prettier than that". Oh boy, did I eat that up. Especially since when I looked over, the guy was still looking at me dumbfounded.

We made it into Eastham Creek off the Alligator River about 5:30pm (43.6 miles today) and anchored in about 7.5 ft. It felt like we dragged across the channel but Wayne said it was just the chain playing out. I made potatoes augratin with pork chops and asparagus for dinner and it really hit the spot. Pretty sky tonight. I can't believe the number of crab pots here. Two other boats are anchored here but closer to the ICW.

Beaufort NC Estuaries and Rachel Carson
05/14/2009, Town Creek Marina, Beaufort, NC

Thursday, May 14, 2009

We were going to leave this morning, but with the winds 15-25 and thunderstorms predicted, I really felt better staying at port. I spent the morning doing computer chores (virus scans, etc...) since we have access to Internet and power here.

I was surprised, when I pulled the old computer out, to see that it was getting rust and mold on it in storage so I had to clean it up before turning it on. I was in search of pictures for Colonial that I couldn't find on the current computer today and ended up doing general maintenance on the older computer. It had been a while since virus scans etc... were run and that ended up taking all day. I did manage to find some old games on it that I hadn't played since leaving home (okay - so it wasn't all work - shhhhhhh...)

Wayne enjoyed a nice quiet day of reading and listening to me read various things to him from the old journal.

On another note - I forgot to mention yesterday - Rachel Carson (author of Silent Spring) wrote her first book about the estuaries that surround Beaufort. It's called The Edge of the Sea. When we came through the bridge yesterday there was a small skiff with her name on it, which clicked in our heads, and we later found out about her affiliation with Beaufort during our walking tour. There are numerous places along the Creeks named in her honor and they have the Rachel Carson Reserve here. She was a naturalist that aimed her writing talents against pesticides (DDT), which threatened the existence of several species, including the Bald Eagle. Thanks to her persistence, the Bald Eagle is making a comeback and people are more aware of the hazards of some of the poisons that we've used without thinking of the consequences...

We ate dinner at Fish Tales. They have very good food. Wayne got the Black Fin Tuna and I got the Shrimp & Sausage Penne special. Desert was Key Lime Pie and Double Fudge Brownie with ice cream. Whoah - those deserts were double size portions - I couldn't finish mine and these are really deserts made for sharing... Fish Tales is highly recommended!

There's fish in my what?!?!
05/13/2009, Taylor Creek, Beaufort, NC (34*42.860 76*39.831) to Town Creek Marina, Beaufort, NC

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Well we went a whole mile and a half today to get from the anchorage in Taylor Creek to Town Creek. As we hauled the anchor in, and headed out we heard another boat hail the Beaufort lift Bridge for an opening only to be told that construction was holding up his opening. He couldn't bring the gates down to raise the bridge because traffic was backed up onto the bridge. So his 10:00am opening would not be opening (he opens on the hour and half hour). We could have stayed at anchor. The bridge tender said he might be able to open at noon if the road crews took a break at noon. He didn't seem too sure of this because they didn't take a break yesterday. If they didn't break again today, then it might be a wait until 3pm before the bridge can open. We moseyed up to the bridge and dropped anchor across from the other sailboat and waited for his first available opening. Traffic was flowing pretty well, first in one direction then the other. Stop, go, stop, and go... the line of traffic seemed never ending.

While at anchor, we watched a small skiff come by and one of the guys was pointing into the water. The other guy threw a net to where the first one was pointing and when he hauled it up, it was glittering full of silver fish. He had a big grin on his face as he looked at me. I yelled across to see what they were and he said mullet and Menhaden. He was in the baitfish today! I was impressed that he could see into this coffee, mud like water to see anything and then to haul a net of fish in like that was really something. Another little skiff came by and he shared his bounty with the other boat and let the rest go back into the water. A sea bird joined in the fest as he released them, and got a breakfast out of this bounty too. Beaufort houses the only N. Carolina menhaden fish factory still in existence. Menhaden are herring-like fish abundant along the Atlantic coast. They're used for their oil, protein and as fertilizer. Most people encounter menhaden in a lot of products without ever knowing it. It's used in margarine, sports drinks and many salad dressings. It's also in pet food, lipstick, vitamin supplements (omega 3), as well as in lubricants, paints and caulking compounds. While teaching, I used to give the students an exercise called "There's seaweed in my what?". I could now do another one called "There's fish in my what?" LOL

A shrimper came by and the bridge managed to open for him at about 10:45 and we filed through behind him. Yay! I hated to think we might be stuck there until 3pm... The bridges are supposed to, and usually manage to, open for commercial vessels and this one did despite all the construction traffic...

We got to the marina and the diesel dock and refueled but couldn't pump out because their well was full. We don't actually need the pump out yet but like to pump out whenever we stop and they have an available pump out. We don't want any problems with the head so it's a preventative measure we take when we can.

The marina is having a "Grand Opening" or reopening for their restaurant (Fish Tales) at 4:30pm for the City Council, and other town dignitaries, with all kinds of samples from the kitchen. We were going to be walking Beaufort though, so had lunch before we left for our walking tour. It's a very cute restaurant that showcases local artists work (that you can buy). The staff here is very nice and accommodating. I got the shrimp tacos (good) and Wayne got the ½ lb Chuckie Burger (also good). Then it was off to see Beaufort. They have many old homes with names and dates on them and the cemetery goes back to the Civil War. It's a nice old town with shrimping/fishing and tourism that boosts the economy.

The town of Beaufort, NC is the second oldest continuously occupied city in the United States. St. Augustine is the oldest, but it was under Spanish rule (all of Florida belonged to Spain) so if you're looking at strictly U.S. states, it's probably the oldest in U.S. history.


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