Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Tail-slapping Dolphin, a Swimming Bear, a very big storm and a very pretty boat

11 July 2012

On the way into Goose Creek we saw quite a few dolphins.  One took a dive and slapped its tail on the water.  Never seen that before.  One came so close we could see the nicks in the dorsal fin.

Halfway down the ICW (link to Intracoastal Waterway) I saw a dark head moving across the water some distance ahead.  Eric grabbed the binoculars and just as the creature lumbered out of the water with a splash he said quietly, “Bear.”

We stopped at R. E. Mayo Seafood Company and bought scallops and took in the store with some awe.  Here we can get fuel, water, ice, miscellaneous hardware, t-shirts, rubber boots, cold sodas, candy bars and anything you could possibly want for fishing.

RE Mayo Seafood Company in Hobucken, NC  Great seafood, fresh as it gets!

To avoid passing a gigantic tug and barge in the narrow ICW canal, we scooted up Jones Bay and down Ditch Creek to the tiny ditch:

Looking down Ditch Creek from Jones Bay:  Notice how funky that sky looks.

I turned around to take Eric's picture just as the severe weather alert tone sounded.  Crap.

Halfway through, the sky began to look eerie and we heard the familiar tones of a weather alert on the VHF.  We slipped through into the aptly named Gale Creek where it almost immediately began to blow a gale.  We anchored in 25-30 kts of wind and before we were through setting the second anchor, it was gusting to 45.  The wind pushed Willadine over so hard I was afraid Eric would fall off the bow while putting out the anchor.

The National Weather Service reported a possible tornado and waterspout up near Englehard and we were a little sick with fear it might come our way, but it moved off to the east instead.  I sat in the cockpit and admired the rain pounding the water and whipping in the wind until I got a chill.  I stripped off my foulies and stuffed them in the rope locker and scrambled inside in my underwear.

Next morning the anchor lines were all twisted, we’d spun several 360-degree turns in the blow, but they came up with only minor difficulty, glad to know we were really dug in!  In a gentle, but favorable wind, we sailed off up the Bay River toward Bayboro.

We didn’t make it quite all the way and anchored in Vandemere Creek, which was quiet and lovely:

An early morning explore turned up this cool shipwreck.

 Next morning we headed out, determined to find Bayboro.  We were almost up to where the “town” supposedly was when we passed a pink house with an incredibly beautiful eighty-foot, three-masted schooner.  As much as is possible in a moving boat, we screeched to halt in the narrow channel to ogle this incredible sight.  We could hardly take our eyes of her.  Most steel boats are clunky, ugly and rusty.  We both agreed that Sarah G is the sexiest steel boat we’d ever seen.  I’m sure you’ll agree:

The lovely Schooner Sarah G

Desperate for ice for our rapidly warming cooler, we pressed on.  Down one finger of water, I spotted a convenience store.  Eric swung around and we landed (nicely, I might add) on a bulkhead next to a private boat ramp.  There was nothing to tie the boat to, so I stood in the yard of this house and held the boat while Eric ran across the road and came back toting two bags of ice (hurrah!) and a cold diet Coke.  Not wanting to overstay our welcome (such as it was) we shoved off and immediately the door of the house opened and two large dogs came pounding out, barking.  Later we learned that the lady of the house had become withdrawn after losing her husband in a tragic motorcycle accident.

The town was nothing but a largely deserted fish house, but on the way back we were magically invited in by the owner of the pink house and wonder of wonders we got to tour the Sarah G and meet her owner, the man who built her.  We spent a rather charmed afternoon with Newell, who built Sarah G (after first building a barn to build her in) and Wanda and Doug, who now own the pink house.  Newell not only built her, but he cut all the trees for the masts (since been replaced with aluminum) and all the interior wood.  She’s easily as beautiful on the inside as she is outside and she sports a washer/dryer and a bathtub.  A truly amazing boat, we can’t believe our good fortune in getting to tour her.

There is more, much more, but I’m determined to keep these posts short.  Well short-like, anyway.  Saturday we entertained three friends on Willadine and had a fantastic time.  Here are a couple of pics from that day:

It was so calm we were able to launch a kayak and Michael took this picture.

Eric grilled the shrimp we'd gotten at RE Mayo the previous day.
Sunday we reluctantly pulled her out after a brilliantly slow sail downriver and back in almost no wind.  We love the calms as much as the storms, it’s all good.   

From the Pamlico River looking out at the Sound.  Judith Bay to left, Mouse Harbor to right.

And we did really well on food, with very little left over.  Can’t wait to get back.  (Seems like that’s how all my boat posts end, eh?)

Here's how we cool off without getting stung by jellyfish.