Leaving New Bern and Traveling

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Friday after our last seminar, lunch, and with our heads full of knowledge we decided to leave New Bern, North Carolina hoping to get ahead of the wind.  We said goodby to John & Pam (Short Vacation), Dave & Barbra( Miss my Money) and other loopers we may or may not ever see again on our journey.   We had to go through the draw bridge and back track 22 miles and continue to Oriental, on the Neuse River.

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We started out OK but the winds are starting to pick up 15 m/ph with two foot waves.  The Neuse River vies with Albemarle Sound as one of the meanest water on the ICW.  I went below to make sure all doors and drawers were secured.  Not much moves below and I put down things I know will shift with the waves.   Maneuvering on the boat with side waves can be a trick.  Our daughter Amy would not like traveling with us right now.

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This is the Minnesota Beach-Cherry Branch ferry that crosses the Neuse River near the Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station.  The passenger and vehicle ferry gives you a great 20 minute ride.

We stopped at Oriental Marian and took on fuel.  Oriental has become widely known as “The Sailing Capital of North Carolina,”  through boating facilities in the area.  The city of Oriental does have free docks, however the only one open was next to a large ship with birds that like to rain on your boat.  I don’t think this is going to happen.  We left and navigated one mile back to a beautiful anchorage in Green Creek.

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I set the anchor and then we turned on the music and drank some wine.  I don’t kow why but anchoring and wine seem to go well together.  With this beautiful sunset and your best friend what more do you need.  We had an amazing quiet night after a week of being tied to an outside dock with waves splashing against the boat.

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We pulled anchor early the next more with a 40 mile day of navigating ahead of us.  I just love traveling early in the morning with the sun glistening on the water.

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This boat is called Chinese junk, we didn’t expect to find one navigating the ICW.   A junk is an ancient Chinese sailing ship design, that is still in use today.  Junks were used as seagoing vessels as early as the 2nd century AD and developed rapidly during the Hong Dynasty.  Found more broadly today is a growing number of modern recreational junk-rigged sailboat.

We are now off the wide body of water Neuse river and entering Gale creek also called the narrows.   Gales Creek empties into Bogue Sound which is separated from the Atlantic Ocean bye Bougue Banks, part of North Carolina barrier island known as the Southern Outer Banks.

The ICW has calmed down in the narrows and these are some pictures of how beautiful and peaceful it is navigating through this area.

This area is call the Pungo River, a river in eastern North Carolina.  It originally began in the Great Dismal Swamp NC.  The upper part of the river has since been supplanted by the Pungo River Canal dug in the 1950s to improve drainage of local farmland.  The river widens dramatically, turns east and flows past Belhaven, NC before joining the Pamlico River near Pamlico Sound.  This is the Hobucken bridge constructed in 1997, replacing an old swing style drawbridge.

These are more pictures of what we are seeing as we travel the ICW.   We are still on what they call the Pungo River.

They call this the Goose Creek we are just entering the Pamlico Sounds and is the largest lagoon along the North American East Coast.  We are traveling on Pamlico narrow southern end which is fed by the Neuse and Pamlico river.  We have traveling 45 miles today and will spend some time in Dowry Creek Marina.  Our plans are only to stay two days, however weather is predicting a storm for Monday so our stay may be longer.

This is Dowry Creek Marina out in nowhere land, but beautiful.  We arrived here around 2:00 on Saturday, Liz and Johnny (Anchor Down) helped us in.  This marina has a beautiful view,  swimming pool in operation, free laundry, boaters room, and a courtesy car that doesn’t have a check engine light on.  I have met the nicest people who live here.

Karen and James have a small tug that they live on.  Karen was so nice to fill us in on all the history of this marina.  They are known for their Happy Hr and pot luck.

We went to The Tavern At Jack’s Neck with Johnny & Liz and their daughter Elisa, who has been visiting them for a few days.  The atmosphere is fantastic, service is great, food is outstanding, and management is very involved from greeting you, checking on you and bidding you farewell.  The name comes from Belhavens own history, back in the 1890’s Belhaven was known as Jack’s Neck.  The owners have helped build this restaurant touching every piece of wood from cutting, sanding, to painting on polyurethane.

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Sunday I washed clothes, washed the boat and then took advantage of the pool.  Kent was checking out the batteries, charging system, and the most important checking the oil.  More loopers are showing up at the marina as the day goes on.

Now doesn’t Kent and Johnny look like a couple of southerners sitting in a rocking chair drinking.  Here is the salty southern Captain with a beer in his hand.  The guys said the water was to cold in the pool for them.

We decided to stay Monday due to high winds and possible sever storm this evening.  So we used the courtesy car as Johnny wanted to find a liquor store.  We were given instructions- just down the road about 10 miles.  Well the 10 miles turned into 35 miles one way.

We finally found the ABC liquor that was built-in 1970 out in nowhere land with one person working behind a bullet proof glass.  You tell her what you want she gets it and then you pay for it.  This was quite an interesting trip.  We found a lot of small towns with maybe a church, gas station, and some homes.  Kieler where we live is small and has more than these towns have.

We call this dock tails and the wonderful people at Dowry Creek Marian call it Happy Hour.  I call it great hospitality and the locals make you feel at home.  They are so glad to have boaters stop and enjoy the Marina.  We have stopped at many marinas on this journey and they may have good rates a $1 p/ft, a pool, or a courtesy car, free laundry but to find them all at one place is rare.

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This was our beautiful sunset and a great ending to another great day on our journey.  This was taken on Saturday night because tonight was not a great sunset.

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