Belhaven, NC – Tuesday, 5/4
Knowing today would be a day of “no-travel”, we started out just like we would at home. After breakfast it was work, emails and phone calls. But before all that, Denise hosed-off the cockpit of the boat that was covered with these tiny flying bugs called mayflies or “midges”. These pesky creatures are a nuisance and their excrement is a green substance that can leave an ugly stain on the boat. Many of the cruising forums we follow all have opinions on the best remedies to get rid of the stains, but we feel the best thing is to get them off your boat ASAP. They really are quite disgusting and are found in marinas and anchorages all over. We have encountered them before, but only this bad one other time and that was in Harbor Springs, MI, when we were on the Great Loop in 2015.
Later in the morning, Denise spent time working on cataloging pictures and writing the last blog. Shortly after lunch she published it and within 15 minutes she got a phone call that would alter (in a fun way) the plans for the next two days. Her Ohio-based cousin Elizabeth, called to say she had just read the blog update and wanted to come for a visit. She has been in Fayetteville, NC visiting her father and saw our location. She calculated the 3-hour drive was something she was willing to do, and since she was without husband and son, we suggested she stay overnight instead of doing it all in one day. So, she headed out of Fayetteville and started her journey to us.
In the afternoon, Mark had a long conference call/training session with a client that seemed to last forever. Meanwhile, Denise went for a long walk. She walked downtown and on the outskirts of downtown in the mostly non-residential section. Here are some pictures she took along the way:
Prior to Elizabeth’s call, we had made plans to get together with Nick & Ginger (“Ginger Gale”) and Don & Joan (“Panacea”) for docktails. There was a little miscommunication initially, but once worked out we settled on a 6:30 pm gathering in the Gazebo at the marina. We also had decided to grill hamburgers for when Elizabeth arrived. All these plans were interrupted when a strong thunderstorm rolled in and had everyone scurrying back to their boats for safe cover, and aborting our socializing.
The storm didn’t last long, and once we knew Elizabeth was a short distance away, Mark threw the burgers on the grill, finishing just as our overnight guest arrived. It was wonderful to see her! It had been two years since our last rendezvous in New Bern, NC; that time she had her son and husband with her.
After we ate dinner and consumed adult beverages, Mark cleaned up the galley and the cousins stayed up past midnight talking and getting caught up. The Captain had long since retired for the night without knowing what the plans would be for the next day.
Belhaven, NC – Wednesday, 5/5
With as late as we stayed up, you would think we would have slept in until at least 7:00. However, Denise and Elizabeth were up early and started to plan out the day. Once Mark woke up and got breakfast, we decided to go on an adventure. Elizabeth really wanted to see a “beach”, but the Outer Banks from this location was still hours away and we were sensitive to her still having to drive the 3 hours back to Fayetteville later in the day. Instead, we opted to see the “Albemarle Beach” and headed out on the very rural roads of North Carolina. Along the way Elizabeth educated us on all things NC, which we did not know. Since she had grown up here, she had memorized all the fun facts and recited them to us as we traveled past corn fields and other farmlands. Once we had arrived at our destination, we realized that it was nothing more than a group of homes that aligned the shores of the Albemarle Sound, and was not a beach at all. We were bummed, but happy to just enjoy each other’s company.
By this time it was almost lunch and we began seeking nearby locations for a place to eat. We were 15 minutes from the town of Plymouth, and seeing they had a Mexican restaurant, we headed there; after all it was Cinco de Mayo! We easily found Casa Garcia and had a delicious meal and also consumed a few baskets of the multi-colored corn chips.
Plymouth is on the Roanoke River, which is a finger off the Albemarle Sound. It is one of the towns that is on the Albemarle Loop and we were considering visiting here in the coming days. After lunch, we drove around the downtown area and the docks along the waterway. The town is somewhat depressed and has lost a lot of its vigor since a bypass to the Outer Banks had been built; people no longer stop here along their way to the beach. We were glad we got to see it, but it did reinforce our decision that it may not be worth taking the boat all the way here for one-night.
We got in the car and headed directly back to the marina, which took a lot less time than our morning adventure. We took a few pictures with Elizabeth, then sent her on her way as we wanted her to get back to Fayetteville before it got dark. We were so excited to see her and we were so grateful for her taking time to come visit us.
After Elizabeth left, we did a few boat chores and spent some time talking with the dockmaster Gregg and our new (Back Cove) friend Wally, who came aboard our boat and shared a drink with us. We had a chance to get to know each other a little bit more and enjoyed our new friendship. We hope to see him again; maybe when we get to Long Island in NY.
After Wally left, we had a light dinner and got confirmation that Elizabeth made it back to her dad’s home safely. We then looked at the weather update for tomorrow and planned out the next few days. Our plans are to leave Belhaven tomorrow and head to the town of Columbia. We scheduled a departure time for mid-morning, anticipating the winds to die-down by the time we reached the Albemarle Sound. Without realizing it we had passed Looper midnight, so we went to bed; cherishing the fun day and new memories we had made with Denise’s cousin Elizabeth.