New Things in New Bern!

New Bern, NC – Monday, 4/26

It was a comfortable 52 degrees when Denise woke up this morning; perfect running weather. So she took off for a jaunt through downtown Beaufort, taking in some of the usual sites and a few new ones along the way. Here are a few pictures:

We were in no hurry to leave today to head to New Bern. It was going only going to take us between 2.5 – 3 hours to get there and the wind was forecasted to get weaker throughout the day.  So we did a little bit of work, answered some emails, and took care of a few other chores on the boat.

Historically, one of the perks of this marina was you would get a free pound of fresh shrimp.  However, with the processing plant closed, sadly this benefit is no more.  Another perk is the free ice that is always available. Since we have an ice maker on board, this is normally not something we have taken advantage of in the past.  However, our ice maker has been acting up and doesn’t make ice the way it used it.  We have had it cleaned and serviced, but it may be on its last leg.  So, Mark decided to fill our Yeti cooler and anything else we could possibly keep ice in (our freezer is already full up) before we left.

Ice House at Homer Smith

Once all this was done, we prepped the boat and left the dock at 10:40, a little earlier than planned but we were ready to move on.  Going north from this marina is easy as there a separate channel that prevents us from having to go by the port and the large ships and barges that are frequently operating there.  Whether they are loading potash or some other raw material, it is interesting to watch but can be a bit nerve wrecking when they are moving.

We moved up this channel through shoals and fish farms, and met up with the ICW as we entered Core Creek.  Here the creek turns narrow and we passed by Jarrett Bay Marina and boat repair facility, where we saw “Corporate Approved” at the dock.  We wish them luck on their repair and hopefully they will soon be on their way home.

Soon thereafter we went under the Core Creek Bridge (Highway 101) and where it turns into Core Creek Canal, then the Adams Creek Canal, and eventually Adams Creek. In this area there are lots of things lining the shores: several marinas, an RV park, a small community including a Methodist Church, more housing developments and a sunken shrimp boat. We had to pass a few boats along the way, but thankful we were not doing this on a weekend when it would have been so much worse. Soon the creek opened up a bit making it easier to maintain a decent speed.

Finally, at 11:55 we entered the Neuse River, on our way once again to New Bern. It was a beautiful day and the water was not bad at all, despite a bit of wind at first.  The Neuse is a wide open body of water and today we could clearly see both the south and north shorelines.  We passed by some lovely houses and Cherry Point Marine base, as well as Loopers Ken & Karen on “Island Girl”; whom we met in Beaufort and knew they were headed to New Bern as well.  We hope to catch up with them while there.

Before long the water got even calmer and soon we entered the narrow channel that took us under the Neuse River Bridge.  We made a left turn up the Trent River, went under the Cunningham Bridge and entered the harbor at New Bern Grand Marina.

Neuse River Bridge

As with the marina in Beaufort, we had a pre-assigned slip and had the layout of the marina, so docking help was not needed. It is a good thing as the Dockmaster doesn’t work on Sundays, and when we went to check in, there was no one in the marina office as well.   Walking back to our boat, we met a few boaters who are full-time cruisers and they gave us the gate codes, rest room codes and Wi-Fi passwords. Later one of them, Peter (“Puffin”) came by our boat to drop his boat card (we had already given him ours) and to discuss cruising Maine, which he has done extensively. He knew many of the great places we also have stayed and it was fun to compare notes.

Shortly after 4:00 Mark mentioned he hated to break up the party, but he needed to leave to go to the airport and get his rental car for the week; remember he was going to spend Tuesday through Friday going to our nearby client and needed transportation to do so.  Peter was generous enough to take him to the airport, sparing him the need to get an Uber, and allowing for more conversation.  This is the thing about cruising we love; people are incredibly generous and hospitable.

Once Mark had returned, we proceeded to meet up with Bob & Mary Griswold.  Bob is one of our associates who used to be a client before he retired. He still periodically does work for us, but he and Mary are heavily involved in local NC politics, so his time is more limited these days.  We met up at Captain Ratty’s seafood & steakhouse, a place we had visited before and is only a block away from the marina.  We arrived at the same time and were glad we were a bit early as the place filled up fast; we still had to wait 15 minutes for a table. The food was great and having a hamburger was on our minds, so we all indulged in a delicious burger.

Although we did not venture far from the marina, we immediately noticed some great changes in New Bern. Many of the restaurants have reopened since the great flood, the Doubletree is back in business, and the marina has made arrangements for restrooms, showers, and laundry facilities again. However, these are still a block away and not super convenient like they used to be when they were actually in the Doubletree hotel.

Over the next several days we will explore more, then Denise will fly home on Thursday for a memorial service for a friend, and then back to the boat on Saturday. Then on Sunday we will head to our next stop; where that will be and how far we get will depend on weather.

IO at New Bern Grand Marina

New Bern, NC – Tuesday, 4/27

This morning was a work day for Mark, and because of that he was up early for a change. Off he went to the client site to help them make more money. 

Meanwhile, Denise spent the entire day working on the last two blog updates, cataloging pictures, preparing for an on-line meeting on Friday, and getting caught up on some work-related items. She did not venture off the boat the entire day as it was mostly peaceful, except in the afternoon when the wind picked up. Then it started to really blow from the south and the boat across the dock from us was pinned up against the dock. Their under-inflated fenders barely protected the hull of the boat from being marred by the edge of the dock, and it made a squeaking noise that was quite irritating.  The only other excitement for the day was watching TowBoatUS come into the marina and tow a sailboat out of its slip to some unknown destination, most likely for engine repairs.

Since Mark had a rental car (courtesy of the client) we decided to venture out past the downtown for dinner.  When he came “home” we took the car and drove to the nearby Panera as we wanted a light and somewhat healthy dinner.  We had already decided to dine out at a new local (and highly recommended) restaurant tomorrow night, and Denise had made reservations. So tonight was about a quick meal so we could get back to the boat; Mark had work to do and we didn’t want to be gone long.

Panera dinner (soup & salad)

Tomorrow Mark will go to the client and Denise will venture out in New Bern. She will update the blog and prepare for the trip home on Thursday morning.

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