Well Tied Up
02 November 2007 | Swansboro, NC, Mile 229.2
Seeing as this was our first really big blow since we started this trip, we decided to play it safe and stay at a marina while the side effects of tropical storm/hurricane Noel blew by.
On our way here from Beaufort, we paid close attention to navigation in the narrow channel. It's interesting - if it had been a little wider, I would probably have considered it boring. But since it was so narrow and required such close attention, we paid more attention to all the details. We spotted egrets and pelicans, and at one point had dolphins (Atlantic bottle-nosed dolphins, according to the book) swimming right along with us. As we got closer to Swansboro and nearby Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, there was a fighter plane roaring up and down over our heads. The whole area is just at sea level and the houses are often built up high. The bank on our port side nearest the ocean was sometimes built up with homes, and in other places was a grassy sand dune. The area is prone to shoaling, and the depth outside the channel was often just a few feet. I could see how hurricanes and tropical storms can do such damage in these areas.
There was no wind to speak of from the time we arrived here at mid-afternoon on Thursday until the wee hours of Friday morning, but the wind has certainly been howling through the halyards since then and we could see the white caps blowing across the river behind the town. For much of the time, our wind gauge has been reading in the high 20's with occasional gusts to 30 and the odd one over that. Surprisingly, there has been no rain and the day was actually quite warm considering the wind. It got cooler only when the sun retired for the night but the stove warmed up the cabin nicely.
We've spent our time here in getting to know our neighbours as well as taking care of business. "Sulis" is a catamaran parked a couple of slips down, and the crew (Sharon, Ken, Katie, Bretton, and friend Colin) hails from just outside Ottawa, and has Nova Scotia connections as well so we feel quite at home with them. Sharon and I went off to do laundry this morning, and Colin and Ken came over for a conflab about some repair work Jim has to do.
Once again we have been just blown away (excuse the pun given the weather!) by the friendliness of the locals and the visitors. Susan - from the marina - drove Sharon and me to the laundromat and picked us up again later. Bob - from Aquarius, the powerboat next to us - drove Jim to the hardware store, and he and Barb invited both of us in for drinks later in the evening.
I took a little wander around town, taking pictures and chatting with folks on the street. I met up with a couple of fine young men who were most interested in our trip. Bobby, a grade 7 student practicing his skateboarding skills, was so sweetly sincere in wishing us safe travels, and Craig, his older friend, impressed me with his knowledge of and interest in Canadian geography. A couple of charming young girls who were playing along the street called me over to chat and were delighted to have me take their pictures. They were just the absolute picture of carefree, joyful, trusting friendliness and I loved spending time with them. It is so very refreshing to see people who are still interested in talking with "strangers" and it reminded me how much harm we can do when we concentrate on danger instead of careful opportunity when we teach our children good street smarts.
The wind is still howling this evening so we will see what the morning brings. If it quiets down, we'll head onward a few miles, and if it stays up, we're quite content to remain here another day. It seems odd to think that although we are here waiting out the wind on our sailboat, the storm may well hit our families and friends in Nova Scotia with more force than we have felt. We're thinking of you, and wishing you well!