Cast off with clean clothes and charged batteries, not to mention a glass of iced tea and a lemon/cranberry muffin from The Bean, at 7:30. Plein artists gathered in Oriental for a few days are setting up their easels on the waterfront. Plenty of boats there, they will have to do without SPARTINA as a subject.
Outside the breakwater at 7:50 with a single reef tucked in the main. Cool and clear with rich blue skies. So glad for that. Steady 4.4 then 5.7 at 8:40 in a puff with wind over the starboard quarter.
Wilkinson Point at 9:20 where we turn to the northwest. Off Beard Creek at 10:10 making 4.5. Wind still on the starboard side but now it has moved from the quarter to midships.
Off Fairfield Creek at 11:15, 5.4 in building gusts. Round up to tuck in the second reef at 11:40, making 5.6.
Stray gusts arrive for a few minutes, then fall off again. I wait out the gusts, hardening up when they leave. Doing 3.2 to 5.5 depending on the gusts.
Sails down 12:40 on the east side of the high rise bridges. Pass under the bridges and call the Cunningham bridge asking for an opening. They tell me to standby for a 1:00 lift.
The marina has changed since I was there last. I tie up along the main pier and I'm directed to the marina office which is a couple blocks inland. When I get there I ask the gentleman for a slip for the night, and he looks surprised. He tells me all the slips are individually owned and if there is an open slip I need to pay the owner the going rate. For example, he explains, where I tied up at the long dock is a spot for a 60 boat. To stay there I would need to pay for 60 feet of dock space. He looks around and spots another open slip, this one smaller, maybe 30 feet. "Just for one night, right?" he asks, sounding as if he is doing me quite the favor. Yes, one night, and I'm glad to pay for a 30 foot boat dock.
I get all that settled and move SPARTINA to the new dock and I'm still in time for lunch, shrimp tacos at Morgan's Tavern and Grill. Excellent. It's an afternoon of wandering about town, iced tea and reading my book outside a cafe, walking the streets as they seem to be preparing for an evening music festival. It's a nice town and a fun atmosphere.
Back to Morgan's for a dinner of grilled romaine salad, also excellent, and then walk back to the marina. Getting in SPARTINA for the night I talk with another sailor working on his boat. I ask about the forecast wind for tomorrow. "It's gonna be dead," he tells me. Not great news as I want to head back down the Neuse River. We'll see.
22 NM for the day