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