The Friendliest Town
23 October 2009 | Oriental City North Carolina
We arrived in the most magical place called Oriental City, North Carolina, anchored in quiet bay in front of the busiest gathering of local elders with hearts so big, we just bathed in its wonder for 2 days.
After a great sleep, an early morning fishing expedition with Bryn and Dylan that fetched a 14 and 17 inch speckled trout, which Phil later filleted and we had for dinner, we returned to find that Phil had moved the boat to a 48 hour free dock and we were front and centre of the heart of Oriental City and all the love it offered.
We were greeted and served up abundant offerings including rides(to grocery stores) by people( Dick, Terry and Pappi) either at the Tiki Bar, just stopping in their cars or walking by. Four fishing pros(Fred, Bill, John and a friendly man that worked at the fishery next to us that saw the children on a floating dock attempting to master "The Pancake Throw")offered lessons on how to throw (wow it is really an art)a newly acquired bait net and dinner for all at the Tiki Bar.
By late afternoon , I surrendered to any attempts of leaving the dock and exploring with Chantelle as originally planned. We sat on the dock and listened to fellow sailors life stories from musicians , teachers, retired oil employees, lifelong livers on the water to entrepreneurs and more.
Dylan was in his element at the bar diving into the spirits of all the diverse and adventurous souls, capturing their hearts with is genuine curiousity about life. Cheryl, a high school English teacher, gave him her facebook address , commenting that she does not even allow her students on her FB, and wanted to be friends with him.
Chantelle enjoyed a girly manicure at a local spa, practiced bait net throwing and mastered a ring toss (at the Tiki Bar) wrapping a ring around a hook on a tree with the help of the secret tip from a local veteran .
Phil visited marinas, consignment shops and hardware stores for various goodies and I took a quiet bike ride along the waterfront and breathed in spirit of the land, creatures, trees and community.
While biking , I came to a sudden stop, where a pair of Bluejays (my totem for many years) were frolicking and feasting on the red ripe berries of a 20 foot Holly tree in a garden laden with garden fairies. It was like stepping into another world like the magical places in Alice and Wonderland or Mary Poppins. The air around the plants and trees seemed blurry, alive and pulsing with my breath. A lady emerged from the home saying "May I help you?" ,curious as to nature of my bewildered gaze upon her home. I explained my experience and she shared her love for gardening, her conversations with the plants, trees and creatures(rabbits, snakes and spiders) . Mmm... what a treat it was to experience such a dimensional step into a wonderland created by another humans imagination. When she told me her name was Kathryn, my heart swelled as I thought of my dear friend and sister soul back home, Kathryn MacDuffee. Big smiles lead to sharing the story of our special connection and how I miss her dearly .
Fred pulled his car up to our boat, a Confederate flower in one hand and a bucket full of fresh picked(from his backyard)pecans in the other.
We jumped at a hot tip that the shrimp boat was arriving early the next morning and got a first hand look at the offloading, scanning, deheading, sorting and boxing process. All had their eyes keen on the scanning belt as a variety of sea life including squid, mini lobster, crayfish and small shiner fish rolled by and Dylan picked, examined and saved for precious lure bait.
October 22nd we set out after hugs and waves to all our new found friends and headed out to do a 23 mile motor to Beaufort, NC . I could feel the moist warmth of the sea air on my lungs and the smell of tropical trees and plants landing me fully aware of distance that we were away from the crisp and colder air back home.
We anchored in Beaufort on mirror water, slept soundly and are now on route at Mile 225 on the ICW. It is a balmy 78 F, with a view of our first dolphins dancing in front of our boat , sandbars and beaches on either side of the boat and the smell of the ocean 1/2mile away on the other side of the Intercoastal Waterway. I am signing off to take the helm, sending a wave of gratitude for this moment and to all the dear souls in our lives that keep us in their thoughts and prayers. Sending 12 footer wave of LOVE back to you all!