Beaufort to Oriental
We are now in Oriental, NC. We arrived on Sunday from Beaufort via the ICW. Oriental is a very small town that sits on the Neuse River, and describes itself as “the sailing centre of North Carolina”.
We were guided into our slip by D Wogaman and her friends Rusty and Sharon, in the Oriental Harbour marina. Bit of a tight squeeze between the piles at the end of the pontoon. The slip belongs to D and her husband Don, but they don’t use it as they moor their boat outside their house in Whittaker Creek.
The decision now is whether we make a dash for Chesapeake ahead of hurricane Matthew, or stay here in a boatyard and come home earlier then intended. We don’t really want to dash the next 170 miles, we cannot leave the boat in the marina in a hurricane or named storm, and there are 2 well protected boatyards here, so the decision sort of made itself.
We contacted the boatyard on Monday morning and arranged a lift out for today (Wednesday); we then cycled to the yard on our courtesy bikes loaned by The Provision Company store and spoke with Alan, the manager. He said he would prefer if we came out that afternoon because he had a space for us as we wanted to stay until next April, getting into the boat yard via Whittaker Creek can be a bit tricky as there is lots of shoaling and the water is currently about 2 feet higher than normal. So it was all arranged, we would arrive after 13.00, tie up next to a boat just outside the haul out basin, and we’d be hauled when they had a space.
We contacted D as we couldn’t contact the marina chap Mark (he doesn’t seem to answer his phone, and wasn’t in the office). She said she would come and help us get out of the tight-fit slip. We also rang the local TowBoatUS man for advice on getting in – (keep to the red side of the channel, keep well away from the green buoys and we should have 7 feet of water!)
D arrived with Rusty and Sharon to help us out, and with a bit of pulling and pushing we got out without scrapping the piles. D also volunteered to come with us as she knows the way in, which was a relief for us. But she did get a bit concerned when our depth gauge registered zero for quite a lot of the channel.
We are now out of the water, the boat yard is filling up with boats, and we’ve taken the sails down, and are just making sure everything is safe. Forecast is not clear how close hurricane Matthew will come, so no-one is taking any chances. We will either decamp to a hotel, or the OCC port officer, Ann Clements, has offered us a bed for the night of the storm so we shall see. Depends how long we can stand staying on the boat in the yard!
After Matthew has gone we will winterise the boat, and then lock up and come home.....