Where in the world have we been! It’s been almost two weeks since our last update and a lot has happened in our journey. We’ve been all over the place. Well I guess that’s not entirely true. More like we have been all over the state of North Carolina.
We loved Oriental. But, no matter how much we love a place, after a few days we get anxious to travel on.
From Oriental, we set sail south for Beaufort. The weather was beautiful and the wind was at our back. Honestly, Beaufort was so long ago I don’t remember it in full detail. But, I do remember a few parts quite clearly. The water was finally clear, even tropical. Dolphins swam through the crowded mooring field. And, for about twenty-four hours, we had some super beautiful weather. It felt like summer again.
e explored a small island across the water. Wild horses inhabit the island and we were determined to find them. As we hiked back and forth through the island we found ourselves following the ..umm “left behinds” from the horses. It felt like we were in Jurassic park (but horse version). Finally, after an hour of hiking around, we saw a herd far in the distance. It was beautiful to be on a beach where the hoof prints far outnumbered the footprints.
ot having showered for a week, we went to a close by marina. We read that they would allow you to use their showers for a small fee. I cannot tell you how excited I was to pay two dollars for a real shower. It truly felt like the best deal in the world.
Clean and rejuvenated, we explored the town. Beaufort seemed to have everything we needed; showers, public restrooms, little grocery store, another marine consignment store, and a coffee shop. And, with some bad weather heading our way, we decided it was a good place to stick out the storm. The only problem was the strong current running through the anchorage. When the wind and current oppose each other, it can make for a troublesome anchorage. Your boat will actually sail itself while at anchor. As it tacks back and forth, its changing direction can cause the anchor to drag. Several of our neighboring cruisers were having a lot of trouble in the anchorage. We watched as they returned to their boat from shore. Their boat had dragged out of the anchorage and into the middle of the channel. Within a few minutes of their returning, they retreated to a close by marina.
Watching the weather, we knew things would only get worse. A cold front was bringing bad weather down from the North. Luck for us, our friend knew the owner of one of the mooring buoys surrounding us. With a quick call, we were cleared to tie off to the buoy. This was a huge blessing for us as the wind and weather picked up in the following days.
As was predicted, the weather got rather bad. After a morning at a coffee shop, we found ourselves trying to return to the boat in a torrential downpour. Soaked to the core, we ran through the flooded streets. When we finally got to the dinghy dock, we found our dinghy filled with water. Joel and I took turns scooping about 30 gallons of water out with an empty milk jug. The rain continued through the night. Which, made sleeping under the leaky hatch a tad bit uncomfortable.
A day or two later (like a said it’s been a while so the details are fuzzy), we headed on down the waterway. With our next big destination being Wrightsville beach, we decided to split the trip into two days. So, we stopped for the night in Swansboro. All the towns seemed to be pulling out their Christmas decorations. And, Swansboro was definitely in the spirit.
The next morning, we left at first light. With the current and wind pushing us along, we made great time. On average, we were making about 7knts that morning (which is fast for us!). As we followed behind some friends we’d made the night before, our good day took a turn for the worst. We ran aground on a large and very shallow shoal. [For all the details on this dramatic and mildly traumatic experience check out the last post]. Anyways, the running aground experience put us two hours behind on our long day of traveling. So, we pulled into the Wrightsville anchorage at dark. Thankfully, Wrightsville is a well lite area. However, not all the channel markers are visible at night. To navigate our way, I stood on the bow with a flashlight. The reflectors on each marker would catch the light. It was a windy and frigid form of navigation. But, it got the job done!
Personally, I love Wrightsville beach. But, the windy cold kept us from doing too much outdoor adventuring. Which wasn’t a big deal because we had a lot to do. And, of course we couldn't resist some breakfast from Causeway Cafe.
We visited some sweet friends, Sue and Mike. They live rather far away from the harbor (at least in cruiser distance). So, we took our first uber ride. Expensive, but worth it. Sue and Mike feed us and housed us. Thanks for spoiling us and letting us shower guys! We had a great time! It was a much-needed break from the boat after our long, cold journey and running aground.
Joel’s sister, Heather, lives close by Wrightsville beach as well. So, in the following days, we hung out with her and she loaned us her car. And, we made it just in time for Thanksgiving. Our plan was to catch a ride home with Heather. The only problem was we needed a place to keep the boat. All things work together though. We called anyone and everyone we knew that might possible have connections to a slip. And, after our dinner with Sue and Mike, they did the same. With their help, we were provided a slip in Carolina Beach. It was a huge blessing for us to have a free and safe place to leave the boat. Especially because without a slip, we wouldn’t have had such a wonderful week with family. Thanksgiving was a great break for us. We were spoiled with a full week of a real bed and good food. I mean, we could shower as much as we wanted!! And, after almost a little over a month on the boat, that’s enough to spoil us!
We even got to throw in some time exploring Richmond and a bit of Christmas too!