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Date: 01 Jun 2011 17:20:00
Title: Oriental

35:01.37N 76:41.99W
Wednesday 1st June 2011
Distance run: 25 nmiles
Having refuelled in Beaufort, we negotiated the narrow, shallow channel back to the inlet and turned right to join the Intra Coastal Waterway (ICW) and pass under our first fixed bridge.  There is a clearance requirement for the bridges on the ICW of 65 feet at mean high water, and we reckon we can clear that with about a foot to spare. So with fingers crossed we approached the bridge and were pleased to see the height gauge indicating more than 65 feet.  We passed under with no problems and let out a sigh of relief to get the first one under our belt.  This one is in tidal water,however, and the tide was low. Future bridges may not be so easy!
Almost 67 feet of clearance according to the gauge...                                        ...and we went through with no trouble.
The Beaufort bridge in the background with the bascule railway bridge open in the foreground.
We had our first taste of motoring on the ICW.This is a waterway of connected rivers, canals and sounds which link towns inland of the east coast.We had decided to take this route rather than sail on the outside around Cape Hatteras.  The ICW is marked along its length by red and green markers which have to be heeded as the channelis dredged to 12 feet.  Outside the channelit could be as shallow as 1 foot, so we needed to concentrate and ensure we stayed in the channel. 
An ICW channel marker, complete with osprey nest.                                                Houses line the shore.
For most of the 25 miles to Oriental we motored along fairly narrow rivers, and passed under another fixed bridge, then about 5 miles to go it opened out into a larger body of water and we were able to sail the last few miles into Oriental. We dropped the anchor in the harbour and next morning Kenny took us ashore in his rib (as it was already in the water).  Although a tiny town, it is another delightful place, with very friendly and helpful people,and we had breakfast in 'The Bean',a waterfront cafe.  Here we changed our plans, deciding to spend a day here rather than move on.

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