Still in Oriental - Just

Phil & Nikki Hoskins
Wed 24 Jul 2013 17:54
Two months and counting - we've become fixtures in the waterfront scenery. We are on nodding terms with half the population and we know most of Oriental's canines. So, have we been here too long? No, not really as we like it here, although we also know when it's time to move on.  Move on we must as we have flights from Baltimore, Maryland to the UK booked for early September.
Our extended stay was out of our hands to some extent. The first can of very expensive primer for the leaking window replacement lasted for two of the windows. Then the weather took a turn for the worse causing a ten day delay in proceedings. On retrieving the primer and activator cans from the coolbox it was found to our utter horror that the contents of the primer can had separated out into a lump at the bottom and a thin liquid thinner at the top. No amount of frantic shaking of the tin could encourage the two substances to mix with each other again.  Words that would make a Roman Catholic priest wince were uttered in quick succession but that made no difference either. Just as we were about to pull the last leaking window out. So that job was put on hold.  The wonderful man from the Marine Store here in town contacted his supplier who contacted their supplier and two weeks later another can arrived free of any charges. What wonderful service in this day and age AND we were even delivered another 6 pack of beers whilst waiting for the next can to circumnavigate the USA with FedEx or whoever to keep our 'spirits up' so to speak. So the gloom and doom lifted, the sun became reliable once more and the window was gently eased out, cleaned up, primed and glued back into place. Hopefully we will now be leak free for the foreseeable future.
  The window in question                which had been badly cut when fitting (temp screw only)        and  the resident window engineer gluing the window back in 
One of the plus points of staying a few extra weeks was catching the annual town Croaker Festival which people travel from miles away to attend. Given we are serenaded most nights by a million and one of them we thought it was a festival based on frogs - well, croak with an 'er' on the end does sound quite froggy but ha ha silly us - a Croaker is a fish. That croaks! Yes, we have not gone barmy in the heat, this type of fish actually croaks. We're not sure if that's croaking underwater or when caught, although, in the vernacular, nearly all the fish we ever catch croak. The other strange fact about the Croaker is that when the festival is scheduled each year, around July 4th, there's not one Croaker anywhere for miles - it's not in season. These Americans have a wonderful sense of humour when it comes to such events. Anyway, here are some pics of the various activities that took place in town including some excellent music that was free for all to enjoy. Maybe we'll catch it again next year.
Starting with pics of the parade during which we were, as is traditional, showered with wrapped sweets from the various floats. These were of course given up to the many children collecting them in bags, more like sacks really, who put on a pathetic face whenever we managed to get to one before them. We kept a few so tough luck kids!
    The flags were free so we grabbed a couple, swapped sides despite the proximity to July 4th and enjoyed the parade.........
The KaZooligans playing Kazoos-obviously,  then the charitable ever popular Shriners appeared. The parade took a good while to pass by.
And the festivities in the local park by the river........
Local choir... watched by crowds (hey get off my lawn ! - no !! it's Croakerfest !) ...and a great swing band later on (the man seated with arms folded is actually the band's conductor!)
Loads of greasy food on offer...Alligator with fries, Buffalo Wings, Polish Sausage, Ribbon Fries, Funnel Cakes...........or you could have ......Bitch Wings
There were delicious home made cakes available after the judging was over.......some with very vivid icing colours, or try a heart stopping burger or hot dog
In fact how were our hearts doing after all the great food on offer......
    That's as close to a medical as we've had in the last five years............verdict? 100% healthy thank goodness
And the festival closed with a firework display right behind our boat in the marina
The closing spectacular finale with the crowds outlined on the road bridge .......... and a grand evening was had by all guests !!!!  yeah sure!
Sailing the oceans (well we did once) often means meeting up with people that you are unlikely to ever see again, especially when the meeting place was Lanzarote in the Canary Islands. Our destination being the Caribbean and North America and theirs being Brazil, Argentina, and the Straits of Magellan. So we thought we would never see the crew of the good ship Lambada ever again. Until a couple of Sunday mornings ago when two persons showed up on our dock here and announced that it had been a long time since we'd seen each other. Lambada had arrived in Oriental via the southern tip of South America before sailing northwards to Panama, through the Panama Canal and eastwards (the most masochistic voyage in the Caribbean) back home to Curacao in the Dutch Antilles or ABC Islands. And why were they in Oriental for goodness sake?? To collect a puppy! They sailed a last voyage of 3000 miles to the Chesapeake where the breeder lives and sailed home again - well, probably still on their way as we write this. They already sailed with a dog onboard named Sidney, an Australian Shepard Dog. The puppy was a little girl of the same breed named Susie. They plan to introduce the breed into the ABCs. We wish them good luck as they end their 21 year cruising life due to ill health and sell their much loved boat . An amazing couple!
Sydney !! Great to see you again ....and the new puppy Suzie.....absolutely adorable and already into licking the feet of guests  - yuck!
Not content with one incredible coincidence we hit on another a few days back when our Australian friends (with not a sheep dog to their name) kindly treated us to a 'voyage' in their newly acquired Jeep. The town of Havelock is across the River Neuse and reached by a free ferry hence the 'voyage' aspect of the trip. Having time to spare before the ferry sailed they drove us to a remote boatyard on a small creek off the Neuse to show us where a friend kept his boat. As we drove into the yard straight in front of us was the very boat we first sailed the Atlantic in.  A 27' Heavenly Twins catamaran still sporting the very same name it was christened with - Terrapin. We had last seen it in the Dismal Swamp Canal nearly three years back when we passed motoring in opposite directions. The then owners had bought the boat on Ebay and yes they did have the book written by the original owner with whom we had shared the whole Atlantic adventure with. We had no idea where Terrapin was headed then. So, a perfect photo opportunity and quick walk through the boatyard to the dockside - check for any signs of the resident alligator and then back to the ferry terminal for the 15 minute ride across the Nuese. The rest of the day was spent walking miles through a massive Wal-mart store before enjoying the ride back to Ajaya where we went from an air-conditioned Jeep to the hundred and ten degree furnace below decks.
Takes us back to 1991 and our 22 day Atlantic crossing in this very boat...but today.... a shorter voyage across the Nuese River
Jeepiroo - the Aussie's Jeep and our transportation for the day ....and an observant 'Admiral' spotted these seagulls risking their lives sitting on a large stick of 'dynamite'!
Now we will start to wind up the various other projects we have on the go, put the boat back together, tidy up, hoover through (fixing that alone was another project), run up the engines and prepare for take off on August 1st.
And finally......
A quick game of Leap Frog in the cockpit..........Not us doing the leap-frogging although 'Skip' did jump when the little thing leapt out of his bag of wet 'n' dry papers left in the cockpit overnight and attached itself to his arm. It happened so fast that it could have been any ghastly creature.  An instinctive flick of the arm saw the little green frog land perfectly onto the cockpit floor on all four legs and pose for its photo before he (or maybe she) was scooped up in the dustpan and taken off to the foliage on the shore line to start a new life as a night time croaker.
            As frogs go it was pretty cute
And where do dockside doggies go to get their nails clipped - not far as one canine finds out during our 'Farewell to the Aussies' afternoon at a nearby marina - it's a dogs life in Oriental !