Belhaven to Oriental,Mile 180
30 October 2007 | Oriental, NC
Beth - back in shorts
How things do change! The wind was up and nobody else seemed to be moving when we crawled out of bed on Monday morning so we decided to hang out in Belhaven another day. I made biscuits to take the chill off the cabin and our tummies, and then we hopped into the dinghy for another trip to town. This one was much more successful. There was a different lady at the desk of the River Forest Marina who was extremely helpful in tracking down a spare part Jim was after. While he enjoyed some comical interaction with her as she handled customers at the desk and on the phone and on the intercom, I spent my time with her son, Mathias, checking out his drawings and stories of imaginative vehicles and creatures - "even larger than the planet! See? This is the planet!" What a treat to dip back into that wonderful child's world where the imagination can stretch wide open and everything is possible.
Next on the agenda was a good long walk to the spare parts store and the grocery store - a couple of miles away. It felt really good to stretch our legs and expand our lungs, and we met a few other cruiser types doing the same thing. We never did get into the hardware store but heard reports that it carried cheese and wine and who knows what other goodies along with the hardware.
We were delighted to get together with Mike and Kathy from Sapphire, the Bayfield 40 ketch with whom we had shared a couple of anchorages. They're a great couple from Michigan who are on their way south as well. We did some back and forth visiting as we checked out each other's boats and discovered that even with very different layouts below decks, all the typical Bayfield touches are there - the gorgeous wood, fiddlework on the bookshelves, attention to detail in handrails and cabinetry, good storage - and narrow beds!
To finish off a very pleasant day, Jim and I watched a movie (Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt in The Devil's Own) as we munched on homemade burritos.
On Tuesday we were up bright and early and were the second boat out of the anchorage - bound for Oriental. The wind was with us and we made really good time, arriving in Oriental at Mile 180 by about 2 pm. Anchoring was tight in the little harbour but we found a nice spot just inside the breakwater near the bridge - but too far from the town dock for the webcam to pick us up. That's a neat little thing Oriental has going. The webcam picks up the action at the tiny town dock and makes it available on www.towndock.net.
The town has a convenient and well-built dinghy dock with trash cans handy - we've found that is the first indication of a boat friendly place. That friendliness made itself apparent everywhere we went. I could have spent a couple of hours prowling through the wares at the Waterway Provision Company that was filled with all things nautical - both the practical and the fun, for both boats and their crews. I found a new jacket to replace the one that washed overboard in the Chesapeake (and very nearly lost it again when I left it in the coffee shop the next day!) We spent a good while chatting with Jane, who gave us a map and told us about restaurants and where to do laundry and looked up the weather for us. In the midst of that conversation, Claude from Montreal came along. Claude sails a Bayfield 29, Merope, and is not only familiar with our usual cruising waters, but knows the Bayfield crowd in that area. (Hello to Rick and Judy on Home, and to Pierre - former owner of Tradition - both Bayfield 36's.)
Mike and Kathy, Jim and I got together for a great evening at Steamers, a local restaurant where "all-you-can-eat-shrimp" was on the menu. They all enjoyed the steamed shrimp, while I tried shrimp with grits - a very tasty dish of shrimp with garlic and mushrooms and bacon bits served over cheesy grits. Deee-licious!
There was no trouble with wind overnight so we slept reasonably well (well...I did but Jim had heartburn for some reason - maybe all those shrimp?) and then went ashore again in the morning to have coffee and cinnamon buns with the folks gathered at the Bean - the coffee shop on the water. With good coffee and folksy atmosphere all happily absorbed, we reluctantly packed ourselves up and headed out. It was only at about 15 minutes out of the harbour that I started to feel chilly and looked for my jacket. Oops, it was hanging on the back of my chair at the Bean. A quick U-turn back to the harbour- drop the dinghy- drift slowly around while Jim rowed in to get it and then back out again- lift the dinghy- and depart again took about 45 minutes. A woman at the Bean who had seen me buy the jacket the day before told Jim he should have made me row in to get it! There is much to be said for the chivalrous behavior that Bissell men possess is abundance!