Morehead City, NC
It has been a busy 5 days and we have not moved the boat since arriving on Saturday, and therefore no posts.
Saturday (4/25): We made a safe passage from Top Sail Sound to Morehead City, including through Camp Lejeune where we were thankful they were not doing firing exercises on the beach as they close the ICW in that area when they do. This could have delayed us by as much as 5 hours in a very narrow part of the ICW. Fortunately, our only delays were caused by our own poor timing on two swing bridges; one just north of Top Sail Sound that only opens on the hour, and we were 20 minutes late for the opening and had to wait 40 minutes for the next opening. The second bridge was at Camp Lejeune (Onslow Beach Bridge) and we were only 10 minutes early for that one. For most of the day it was cloudy and overcast, and we had a bit of rain along the way.
We came into Morehead City mid-afternoon and had to put fuel on the boat and get a holding tank pump out. The wind had really kicked up and the current was running wild which made controlling the boat quite a challenge. Fortunately, Mark was driving and approached the fuel dock cautiously. However, we had to abandon our attempt or we would have crashed the boat into concrete pilings and the dock. Our second attempt was much more successful and we were able to get all tied up with the help of 3 wonderful dockhands. After the fill-up and pump-out, we had to move the boat to the slip we were assigned. Again the wind proved to be a challenge, but Mark did an awesome job of getting us off the fuel dock, moving the boat around the marina, and then backed into our slip. Did I mention through all of this, it was also drizzling? Of course within 30 minutes after docking, the wind and rained stopped and it was calm as can be in the marina!
The marina here is really in a great location and there are lots of restaurant choices in walking distance. One of the best features is they have a loaner car they rent for $10 for 2-hour increments. So after we got showers, we rented the car and used it to drive to AVIS and take advantage of a free weekend coupon we had with them. After returning the marina loaner car, we used our rental car to make Sat. evening mass at the church nearby (St. Egbert). Not as pretty as the one in Charleston but very welcoming to visitors. Afterwards we drove over the bridge and into Beaufort (2 miles away) where we had dinner at a terrific new restaurant (City Kitchen) that overlooks the boats in a marina. In this area they are building a new bypass highway that will take cars directly to Cape Lookout, bypassing downtown Beaufort. It is literally going to go right by the restaurant and is all the topic of conversation by the locals.
Sunday (4/26): Since we went to mass on Saturday evening, we had our morning free and decided to go out to a local place for breakfast (“Georgia B’s”). We arrived at 7 am just as they opened and we were the only people in the place. The food was good; not great, but it was pretty cheap. The serving pieces used by the restaurant are hand-made pottery with a folksy and colorful flair to it. They also sell some of it in the restaurant. Come to find out the owner (Georgia) has a sister who makes the pottery and lives in Cocoa Beach. Small world!
After breakfast we made a quick trip to the local Wal-Mart to get a few things. On the way back to the boat we decided to go into downtown Beaufort, since we had the rental car. Mark had been to Beaufort a few years ago on a boat delivery and wanted to show Denise the town. On Saturday we had met another cruising couple (Mary & Brad Barger) who were in the marina slip next to us in Southport, SC; although we did not have a chance to meet them there. They came into Morehead Marina right behind us and we had passed them earlier on the ICW. So we invited them to join us and we had a wonderful time getting to know each other all afternoon, despite the cool and intermittent rain. They were leaving the next day and heading north and we hope to see them later this summer on the Loop! This is really what the adventure is all about.
Sunday afternoon Mark drove Denise to the Jacksonville, NC airport as she had to be in Atlanta Monday morning. This was another reason for using the free rental car, and enabled Mark to make a grocery store run and do other errands. The airport services Camp LeJune and two other military bases in the area, so it has a lot of activity. As a result, they are building a new terminal, but the old one (circa 1960’s) consists of two gates and one TSA security screening. What an experience!
Monday (4/27) through Wednesday (4/29): Denise worked in Atlanta at a client site, and Mark worked from the boat, and did laundry and boat chores. Mark rented a car from Enterprise so he could drive to Jacksonville, NC and pick up Denise. On the way home we stopped in Swansboro and bought some fresh shrimp from a local seafood shop; typical of ones we see all along the way.
After a Chick-fil-A dinner and quick trip to buy Denise a sweater and long-sleeve shirt at TJ Maxx, we made it back to the boat as the rain started to come in again. It is much cooler than we expected and wished we would have brought a few warmer clothes. Spring here is way different then the two days of it in FL.
Tomorrow (Thursday) we plan to leave Morehead City and head to Bell Haven, NC. We have 4 days to get to Norfolk, VA, which should only take 3 days. However, the weather is not in our favor with high winds expected Friday night and all day Saturday. Since we have 2 major open water areas to cross (Pamlico Sound and Albemarle Sound) in the next few days, we want to move north in case we get hung up an extra day somewhere.
Because we have been so busy with work, we do not have time to post a lot of pictures. Here are our highlights. We hope to remember to take more pictures and post them as we go.
Hope all is well. Please keep the emails coming to let us know what is going on with you – we miss you all!