An OCC Welcome to Oriental, NC

Oriental is ‘The Sailing Capital of North Carolina’. The approximate 2,500 sailboats outnumber the approximate 800 residents. This friendly, small town is a convenient stop along the Intracoastal Waterway.  I caution you to mind the hatchlings if passing through during autumn. Oriental is home to an endangered species, the North Carolina Dragon (Draco Guardianis Carolinus). IMG_6701

Brian and I had planned to stop in Oriental for two reasons: to connect with Ocean Cruising Club (OCC) Port Officers and to browse Oriental Marine Consignment. One of the numerous benefits of our OCC membership is the vast network of land-based members throughout the world. These Port Officers welcome fellow OCC’ers into their hometowns. They bring the OCC family together offering friendship and knowledge to incoming cruisers so that incoming cruisers feel right at home even though we are in a new place. Port Officers are only a phone call or email away. Don’t let the land-based addresses fool you. These Port Officers have endured and/or enjoyed thousands of miles of sailing and explored numerous places. The Port Officers at Oriental are D and Don (s/v Southern Cross). D welcomed us at the docks and straight away found a safe slip for Rode Trip. We were docked within minutes and D was ready with a town map in hand and asking if we needed anything. D and Don also welcomed us into their home for dinner and a fiesty game of dominoes among friends. They gave gave us a thorough tour of s/v Southern Cross. We can’t thank them enough for their hospitality!

Can you spot Rode Trip at Oriental Harbor Marina?

Can you spot Rode Trip at Oriental Harbor Marina?

Left-Right:  Doug & Anne s/v Drakus, Steph & Brian s/v Rode Trip, D & Don s/v Southern Cross, Lorraine & Phil s/v Changes

Left-Right: Doug & Anne s/v Drakus, Steph & Brian s/v Rode Trip, D & Don s/v Southern Cross, Lorraine & Phil s/v Changes

 

Brian and I spent hours, day after day, sifting through the odds and ends at Oriental Marine Consignment. The staff here are helpful and willing to bargain. We even picked through the two sheds out back. Brian has been devising a spinnaker pole set-up for Rode Trip and it just so happened that we were in luck at the consignment shop. We found a pole that was just right length wise, width wise, and had a good trigger style end fitting. We also found two blocks, among other goodies. We added a visit to the hardware store for two shackles. This project is getting pieced together…Brian will explain it all to you in due time.

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Dodging those hatchlings all the while…

It was rainy, chilly, and downright awful weather! But we didn’t let the dreary days keep us cooped up while we waited for a brighter weather window to make our next move. We toured around town, browsing gift shops and chatting with locals.  I’d recommend a stop at Nautical Wheelers for great gift-shopping and a taste of the most delicious caramels.

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We even caught a glimpse of a juvenile dragon in its natural habitat!

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We spent several evenings getting well acquainted with our dock neighbors, Phil and Lorraine (s/v Changes). Brian and Phil swapped racing stories. Lorraine shared excellent recipes and iPad apps. We’ll look forward to seeing s/v Changes again down in the Bahamas.  Thanks, Lorraine, for sharing the group photo!

Finally, although the clouds remained, the rain had stopped. We had a great window of opportunity for a little overnight trip down to Wilmintgon, NC….and we were off!

The Magenta Line – Mariners Take Note

If you’re not familiar with the “magenta line”, one trip down the Intracoastal Waterway will educate you. This magenta (yes, it’s actually red) line is charted on navigational charts to indicate the recommended best route. Along the Intracoastal Waterway mariners adhere to the magenta line, following it closely with use of their GPS, because this recommended route has guided boats through the ever shoaling canals and rivers for a century.

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While Brian and I do pay attention to recommended routes, we have difficulty adhering to the magenta line. Have you ever tried sailing in a straight line? (Ok, maybe on a nice reach but good luck finding that course across a sound!) Bear in mind that the magenta line on the chart does not get updated year to year. While navigational aids on the physical route are monitored and re-positioned accordingly thanks to the United States Coast Guard. Last year during our Intracoastal Waterway journey we were cautioned by guidebooks and mariners alike to, “Stay on the magenta line.” We were later scolded by our fellow mariners after we’d sailed off the line right around the parade of boats. It was a beautiful sail and finally peaceful after days of chugging along under engine power! This year we continue to be rebellious; sailing whenever possible to catch a break from the engine and cutting corners wherever there is ample depth for Rode Trip. We use our charts and the corresponding navigational aids to navigate. Off the line we’ve had no foul-ups. We did, however, run aground at least twice last year while staying the recommended route through canals. But magenta line or not you can never be entirely certain when that shifty bottom may rise to meet the keel.

I recently found an article in Ocean Navigator: Safety Concerns Could Spell End for ‘Magenta Line’ explaining why mariners should not adhere to the magenta line. In many locations the charted line is no longer accurate due to shifting shoals, relocated navigational aids, and other obstructions. NOAA’s Office of Coast Survey is in the process of removing the magenta line from its charts. Could this be the end of the recommended route on future charts? NOAA is asking for mariners response; see article.

3rd Quarter 2013 – By the Numbers

The 3rd quarter of 2013 included one of our first large purchases since we’ve moved aboard Rode Trip. Our “new to us” main sail certainly made an impact on our budget during this quarter. We also loaded enough groceries onto Rode Trip to lower our water line a couple of inches. We are FULLY provisioned at this point, and as far as groceries are concerned we could head offshore tomorrow without needing to stop at a grocery store.

How we got here
Miles travelled – 1,759.9 nm
Hours motoring – 101.8 hours
Days underway – 36
Average distance per day – 19.3 nm
Average distance per underway day – 48.9 nm
Average hours of engine time per day – 1.1 hr
Approximate miles of motoring – 509 nm
Approximate miles of sailing – 1,250.9 nm
Longest passage (hours/nautical miles) – 833.5nm / 212 hrs
Shortest passage ( time/nautical miles) – 6.6 nm / 2.0 hrs
Nights at dock – 2
Nights on mooring – 27 ( Thanks Mike!)
Nights underway – 15
Nights at anchor – 47

Despite the fact that Rode Trip sat un-moving for nearly an entire month this quarter the passage to Maine and the passage south to Norfolk really bolstered our numbers to keep our quarterly miles up.

What it cost
Total amount spent – $5,777
Total amount budgeted – $6000
$/day – 63
$ spent on groceries – 2,181
$ spent on boat upgrades/maintenance – 1,156
$ spent on “utilities” (propane, cell phone, ice etc. ) – 182
$ spent on diesel – 301
$ for entertainment (not restaurants) – 106
$ eating out – 323
$ spent moorings/dockage – 0

This quarter’s budget was dominated by a couple of large expenses including our main sail and land travel to Pennsylvania to visit our families.  In addition we have the boat FULLY re-provisioned from Portsmouth. We knew the best places to really stock up on the items that we use the most. We should really see our grocery bills drop off in the coming months.

Miscellaneous

New visitors to Rode Trip – 5
Number of countries visited – 2 (Bermuda, USA)
Teeth cleaned – 56 – Took advantage of being near our dentist.
New babies met – 4
Fish caught – 1