We hauled anchor this morning at 8:00am and made our way toward Beaufort, NC. We crossed the Neuse River but did not have an opportunity to sail prior to entering the Adams Creek Canal section of the Intracoastal Waterway (ICW). We were overjoyed that the rain had stopped and the sun was peeking down through a cloudy sky!
The scenery on the ICW was changing rapidly. We had noticed that the water was becoming clearer and was no longer a molasses/tea color. Much of this canal was lined with homes and docks. The shoreline had changed from mud and swamp to sand with scattered palm trees. There was still a line-up of boats hustling south.
I was reading down below tucked under a blanket when Brian spotted dolphins. He called me up on deck and quickly hailed Serendipity on the VHF. This was Serendipity's first dolphin sighting! There were four dolphins swimming back and forth very near the boat. We slowed for a good view and Serendipity pulled forward to get a close look.
The dolphins boosted our energy and the sunshine was lifting our spirits. Then we passed by this adorable beach house. All signs were pointing toward warmth and wide open ocean. Brian and I were getting excited!
Make way for barges!
We took the looonng way into Beaufort to avoid any shoaling in the shorter channel. We'd had about enough of running aground for this trip around the world. As we passed through the bridge we got our first view of the ocean. Blue water! And we were reminded how currents affect steerage. There was a current whipping through our turn into the entrance channel, must have been 4-knots cascading through like rapids. Wheee hoo! While testing Brian's reflexes at the helm, we reminisced about our good 'ol Piscataqua River and Merrimack River back home in New Hampshire and Massachusetts.
Now that's waterfront!
There were few anchoring options at Beaufort. From our planning, we knew the anchorage area would be narrow but we hadn't expected so many moorings to be clogging up the works. There was also quite a current flowing through. We motored a bit farther into Taylor Creek to see if we could anchor just off the channel. Taylor Creek was very narrow, not a lot of swing room when the current changes directions. We dropped the hook and Serendipity rafted to Rode Trip so that we could pause a moment and regroup. We took a look at other options, not much in the area for anchoring. It seemed that Morehead City would present a similar situation. We finally decided that we would anchor in Taylor Creek. We were still debating dropping two anchors to minimize swing. Brian motored forward to make some more room for Serendipity to anchor behind us, all in a row in the narrow river. The captain of the catamaran that we were behind came out while we were dropping the hook to tell Brian that he had three anchors down. Sheesh! This meant that he wouldn't swing the same way we would. Plan B - back to the marked anchorage to find a hole among the moored boats.
We found space practically in the channel. We set the anchor but were not happy with our surroundings. We had two moored boats to our port, channel to our starboard, and Brian knew that when the current shifted we'd risk spinning into those moored boats. To make it worse two sailboats came along and anchored nearby. Brian called the local marinas and found a reasonably priced slip. We decided that we'd cough up the dough in order to sleep soundly and be able to leave the boat unattended without worrying it would hit another boat. We told Serendipity our plan and hauled our anchor up yet again to go to the Town Creek Marina.
Docking, OYE! Brian did a fabulous job backing into our slip at Town Creek Marina while the attendant, Amanda, and I fended off pilings and neighboring boats. Backing in general is not easy because Rode Trip has tremendous prop walk. So backing into a very narrow space is very tricky. After some careful line tending we were docked. How luxurious! We don't have to use the dinghy to get to shore and we have showers and laundry right at our fingertips!
We settled into the marina quickly and peeled off our layers to hit the showers. We'd barely had a moment to catch our breath but had to get ready for an appointment tonight at Arise Mobile Immunization and Travel Clinic. We were scheduled to get our vaccinations for travel outside of the US; typhoid and yellow fever. Showered, dressed, wallets and camera in hand, we contacted the local cab service for transportation to Morehead City.
On the way, we asked the taxi driver what we should see in Beaufort. He suggested we check out the maritime museum. We asked which grocery stores were most affordable since we have much provisioning to do and thought the Piggly Wiggly or Food Lion would be best. I asked where we could find good French fries. It had been a hectic afternoon and I needed a fix to lower my stress level. "Best burger in Beaufort," he shared, "would be at the Royal James." That got Brian's attention, he needed some comfort food too! The driver assured me the fries were just as good.
At the clinic we received a warm welcome from Laura and her husband. We completed our paperwork and then got to talking about our travel plans. Chatting away like old friends, we had nearly forgotten that we had come for vaccinations. Then out came the syringes. Brian went first, I was too busy still talking with Laura's husband to pay attention. Then my turn. Laura jabbed that needle right in! "That's the best way," she assured me. Thanks for such thorough care and genuine hospitality!
On our return taxi ride we asked to be dropped off at the Royal James. The driver told us the Royal James has the best chili topping, a secret recipe that she'd never been able to duplicate. "They have hot dogs too, sliced down the middle and grilled the old fashioned way," she elaborated. She then went on to describe the various hot dogs from regions where she has lived, told us about her most recent batch of chili that, "my kids nearly ate, got one quart into the freezer before it was gone," and gave her opinion on politics (not sure how that got connected to food topics) before we were let out at our stop. Hmmm, should we really be taking dining tips from the taxi drivers?
Yes! Best fried, cheap food we'd had and just the cure for our frazzled moods. PBR was on draft for $2 and we chowed down on burger, hot dog, fries, and fried mushrooms. The bartender was super nice and the music rocked. Fun spot, sort of a hipster dive bar. We walked back to Town Creek Marina. Our vaccination arms were already aching, small price to pay for world travel. I did laundry and Brian fell sound asleep in front of the stove.