Tuesday, June 11, 2019

day three - the shoal/cocktail hour

Sail off anchor before 6:00.  I had thought I had heard a "hum" when I woke in the middle the night, worried that I would find SPARTINA covered in mosquitoes in the morning.  No mosquitoes, maybe it was the wind in whistling through the pine trees.

Overcast with a light westerly breeze that carries us down Gale Creek.  Blueberry bar for breakfast.  A patch of blue in the sky.  On the ICW by 6:10, making 3.7 on the canal, then over 5.0 past Gale Point. 

Sun breaking through on the Bay River, 5.5.  Approaching Maw Point at 7:00, sun breaking through and rounding the point at 7:10.  Sailing 50 yards off the rich green marsh, pelicans diving for baitfish between us and the cordgrass.  The shore falls away to the west.  7:25 tack NW back towards shore and calmer water.  Overcast sliding up the Neuse River from the south, 5.4 kts.  Tiny Swan Island to the west, bright sandy beach, Piney Point to the southwest.

Tacking out away from shore, big waves coming up the Neuse in groups of three, low grey overcast and dark grey water.  Tack back towards shore, see a line of breaking waves ahead.  Just as I realize it is a shoal the cb touches bottom and the rudder pops up.  I wait until SPARTINA heels and raise the cb a few inches, tacking back towards the center of the river where there is plenty of deep water.  Cb back and rudder back down I continue sailing SSE.  The waves are big and the wind is strong.  I think about reefing but decide to push the boat (and myself) a little bit harder.

Tack back WNW at 9:15 and find calmer water close to shore.  A series of tacks and the entrance to Oriental in sight at 11:00.  The wind seems to be moderating.  Overcast is gone, blue skies and white puffy clouds.  Pretty sailing.  Tied up town dock in Oriental 12:40.

Sitting on the porch at The Bean having a glass of iced tea I see a trawler come up to the town dock.  A 30-some foot sailboat on one side, SPARTINA - with a sparred length of 24' -  takes up the other side.  The trawler backs away and comes back to tie up along the seawall.  I run over to catch the lines but with the bow-thruster going the captain can't get the trawler in close to the wall.  The boat is touching the bottom.  I hear the captain tells his wife "We'll just have to go back out."  I tell them that is my little boat on the far side of the pier, why don't we trade places?  He says "If that's ok with you."  And it is. It seems like no being deal to me, but a very big deal to them.  He makes me promise to join them for their cocktail hour.

A couple hours later it is the cocktail hour on the trawler, the captain and his wife turn out to be friends of friends.  A beer and some very fine single malt whiskey for Islay mixed with enjoyable conversation.  We sit on the aft deck of the trawler watching a storm skirt the harbor.

Dinner at the Toucan Grill is Tuna Tataki, a fine meal washes down with a glass of wine.

Running total of 70.85 NM, 18 hours sailing.


Tom said...

Oriental, definitely one of the friendliest sailing towns on the East Coast. Love watching the harbor from up on The Bean, love eating on the porch at Toucan Grill, and strolling thru town. Thank you for the happy memories!

Steve said...

One of my favorite places! steve

Rik_Studio said...

Looks like fine cruisine.
Thanks for the report.
(I need to go out there... soon!)