Each day of our adventure I marvel at the sounds one hears on the water. The lapping of the gentle waves, the seagulls crying as they fly about, the wind as it blows, the church bells playing tunes in countless towns, and, of course, the steady rumble of the engines as we move. But as we move farther along, we hear new sounds to add to the familiar ones. Dolphins now splash and spout water through their blowholes, fighter jets fly overhead rehearsing their maneuvers and, in Camp Lejeune, guns, mortars, and helicopters keep our Marines trained and ready. Sights change too. Shrimp boats are commonly seen with their huge nets, beautifully spread out in the water and amazingly colorful when hanging above the boats. The towns along the way often have Victorian homes lining the streets and now, as far south as we are, we are finding palm trees, huge live oaks, and Spanish moss. We are moving south and we are excited to be doing so.
We left our anchorage just north of the Alligator River early on Thursday, November 12 to take advantage of the calmer seas the mornings bring. Up while still dark, I was able to get a few shots of sunrise before we hauled anchor and headed out. We arrived in the Pungo Canal in the early afternoon and at sunset we were treated to a spectacle of nature that will long be remembered. The sky changed from gold to orange to deep red and purple over about one half hour’s time bringing an end to a beautiful day on the water.
The next day brought us to Bellhaven, NC. It was a windy afternoon and more wind was predicted for the evening so we chose to dock in town. River Forest Marina in Bellhaven is part of a lovely resort that includes an old restored mansion, now used as an inn. They offer free golf carts for boaters to run to town for errands or dinner or just a little sightseeing. We enjoyed riding around and visiting downtown.
Jake really loves the boating life.
Aftermath is dwarfed by these boats!
Saturday we moved along to Oriental, NC. This is a working fishing village and the fishing and shrimp boats there are huge! The town provides free docks for boaters and we pulled into one right next to a big red ship. AfterMath looked so little there! I was able to get some delicious fresh shrimp in Oriental and John and I had a feast for dinner.
Do you see what I found so exciting about this house and the one below? PALM TREES!!!!! The first we had seen for a long time!
And this house has the tropical spirit, so I loved it.
The biggest tourist attraction in town is this graveyard from the early 1700s. It actually was beautiful and interesting.
This is a grave of a little girl who died in the early 1800s on her way to America. Her father promised her mother she would make it here, so he refused to have her burial at sea. Instead, he bought a barrel of rum and put her in it to keep her. He then buried her in the barrel in this cemetary.
Our next stop was Beaufort, NC. Both North and South Carolina have Beauforts, but they are pronounced quite differently. The North Carolina version is pronounced BO-fert and the South Carolina one is BEW-fort. We went to Beaufort, NC with the plan to have an engine checked as it has an oil leak. We arrived on Sunday and had mechanics scheduled for Monday afternoon. This worked out wonderfully for me as I had time to take the dogs for a walk, borrow one of the marina’s cars to go to the grocery store, and then set out on my own for some photography time. All went well and the kindly mechanics told John not to worry about the leak until we get to Florida. They didn’t even charge for the visit, saying it was just a courtesy call.
The first white pelican I have seen since Florida.
Scenes along the Intracoastal Waterway
Entering Camp Lejeune
Again we left our dock very early in the morning. With the recent time eliminating daylight savings time, John likes to get up and be on our way to assure that we arrive at our destination before dark. I have to say that I’m not always as excited to get up and get going as he is, but it does make sense and I try to be a good sport about getting up while it is barely twilight outside. Tuesday proved to be a very interesting day as we made our way through Camp Lejeune. Along the way signs are posted warning of the danger of explosives, and firing ranges. There are abandoned tanks and trucks in the grass and the water, and an Osprey helicopter/airplane was constantly flying overhead. We anchored in Camp Lejeune and it was quite the experience! It was noisy as guns were fired and that never-ending chop of the Osprey circled us. All of the time we were in the anchorage a security boat kept watch. At night a Sikorsky helicopter joined the fun and I really wondered if we would sleep at all, but, at around 10:00 it quieted down and we had a great night’s rest, safe in the hands of the Marines.
This is my third time I have taken pictures of this sea creature and the giraffe below. The first was several years ago on Jeff’s boat heading south, then last year on Jeff’s boat heading north and now on our boat. It’s a tradition now!
What a great dog!!
Southport’s shops are wonderful – especially this Christmas store.
Such good friends and such wonderful times.
We put in a long day on Wednesday the 18th as the weather for Thursday was predicted to be stormy and uncomfortable. We were anxious to get to our next destination of Southport, NC because there we would be visiting with Vera and Rolf Redin and Jan and Don Kirk. We have been friends with those two couples for almost 40 years. We all lived in Bethel, CT and our children all grew up together. Both the Redins and the Kirks now live in Bolivia, NC, near Southport. We were exhausted on Wednesday, but they all came to the boat Thursday for a visit before we went to dinner at everyone’s favorite restaurant that happens to be at the marina. Rolf brought us a car to use Friday to do errands, which was incredibly wonderful. We used it during the day and then drove to the Redin’s house for dinner where the six of us again had a wonderful time visiting and catching up. We really loved being with them and hope to see them all again soon.
This boat has seen better days!
Can you believe how high this stack of boats is?
Myrtle Beach, SC
Leaving yesterday, Saturday, we made our way down the Intracoastal through Myrtle Beach, SC. This is a very different sight at this time of year than it is in the summer. During the warm months, boats, jet skis and anything else you can think of are on that narrow stretch of water, but yesterday it was quiet and wonderful. The weather was warm and sunny and I really began to feel we were making progress toward my goal of an endless summer. We docked in a little town called Bucksport and had an enjoyable happy hour with a couple we met while we were in Southport.
John spotted these birds today. I’m so glad he did! I ran out with the camera and got a few shots.
How serious are these duck hunters?
Because we have always done the Intracoastal in a sailboat in the past we could only see the edge of grass. This was from the fly bridge. It was fun to see what is out a little farther.
A tiny church in McClellanville. I was taking this picture and a gentleman came along who I assume was the priest. He invited us in, including the dogs, and told us the church is never locked.
There is AfterMath out in the distance.
Today we continued our travels to McClellanville, SC. Along the way, over the last two days, we have really been noticing the high water on the rivers. All of the rain from the storm Joaquin a month or so ago still keeps homes flooded and docks close to underwater in places.
We are docked in a quaint marina tonight and shrimp boats are right near us. In fact, I waited for a while after one shrimp boat had docked and walked over to ask if he could sell any shrimp from his boat. He told me he could not as he sells them to someone in town. I understood and asked him if he had a good day. His answer was, no, his engine had broken down twice. I came back to our boat to work on my pictures and before long we heard a “hello”. It was the gentleman I had asked about the shrimp with a huge bag full of just caught shrimp for me. I asked what I owed and he would not let me pay. He was worried that he had sounded rude when I went to his boat, which he had not. Needless to say, we had a delicious shrimp dinner tonight and there is a bagful in the freezer to cook when Jason and Lisa come later this week.
We will leave early again tomorrow to make our way to Beaufort, SC where we will spend Thanksgiving. I have always wanted to stop in that area so I am happy to have time to do some exploring while we are there. I bought a South Carolina fishing license today so hopefully I will change my luck when Jason is around!
Here is where we are today.