Monday was filled with family, friends, boat tours, and island explorations. First thing, though, was to move Rode Trip from Town Creek Marina to the anchorage in Taylor Creek. Brian topped off the fuel before leaving the docks. Then we cast off the dock lines and eased our way effortlessly out of the slip. Back under the Beaufort Bridge at the 10:30am opening, we gave a wave to the bridge tender. We found a nice hole among the boats in Taylor Creek just in front of Anthyllide. Scott and Kim waved and welcomed us; they pointed out friends on another double-ender just ahead. The anchorage was bustling! The couple Scott and Kim pointed out were enjoying their coffee in the cockpit. Meanwhile, about six children were playing on paddle boards off the stern of a large catamaran just ahead. A captain gave us a wave from another boat. Dolphins surfaced just off our starboard side while we settled into our anchor spot. Dock life was nice but it felt good to be back among cruisers!
Brian and I had a lunch date with Brian's cousin, Maggie. Once the anchor was set we got the dinghy into the water to make our way to the docks. We wanted to take a detour to meet the couple on the double-ender, another young couple on the water. We also packed our island exploration gear into the dinghy because after lunch we planned to go ashore on Carrot Island in search of wild ponies. Matt and Jessica had confirmed the ponies were there and so along with Maggie and Mark S. we would go exploring!
(Side note - Just today I learned what the term "double ender" means. I thought it odd that Brian often referred to Rode Trip as a double ender, clearly we only have one end! So I finally asked. The term refers to each end of the boat, bow and stern, being the same shape. So both the bow and stern of Rode Trip, for example, are pointed.)
We met Barry and Michele on Barry's newly acquired Dreadnaught, Idle Queen. The two were testing out the 'ol girl and it seemed she was in for quite a bit of maintenance work. Michele, currently an algebra teacher, is new to sailing and Barry has been living aboard on and off for several years. We easily got to chatting by comparing our similar boats and comparing my and Michele's experiences learning to sail. We could have spend half the day just getting acquainted! Barry and Michele were headed back to Oriental, NC but we hope to see them again out on the water.
Brian and I met Maggie at the town docks and had a tasty lunch. Maggie lives aboard her Beneteau 40 at the Town Creek Marina. We had scouted it out during our stay at the marina and looked forward to a tour later today. After much conversation about our boats, travels, and impending upgrades/projects, we had to get moving to meet Mark S., Matt, and Jessica for our Carrot Island expedition. I could hardly contain my excitement...wild ponies Eeeee!
We took the dinghies up Taylor Creek and beached them on Carrot Island. Brian and Matt displayed their finest anchoring techniques just in case the tide came in. Off in the distance, PONIES!! But could we get any closer?
Of course we could get closer! We dinghied farther up the creek and into an inlet leading into Carrot Island. Along the way we spotted an ibis (later identified in Mark S's bird book).
There were the ponies! Herds of them! Good thing I packed plenty of carrots! We made our way onto the very muddy island. YUK! We squished and squashed our way as close to the ponies as we could possibly get. They didn't care that we were trying to make friends. They just turned and walked off, totally ignoring us. Jessica got the closest, she could feel whiskers! The ponies were not interested in carrots and I suppose being wild they had never encountered carrots before. Good thing because I'm pretty sure feeding them is illegal.
What an adventure! Afterwards, we made our way back to Serendipity and Rode Trip. Brian and I welcomed Maggie aboard Rode Trip for a tour. Mark S. and I admired the view from the cockpit. Look, more ponies on the shoreline! I guess they would have come to us!
We enjoyed appetizers aboard Rode Trip.
Then we headed to the Town Creek Marina so that Brian, Mark S. and I could take a tour of Maggie's boat, Slainte. We also picked up our packages that Maggie was holding for us. Slainte is a lovely boat! I was jealous of Maggie's full kitchen. Sailing must run in the family!
Maggie, Mark S., Brian, and I enjoyed a nice dinner in Beaufort. North Carolina has really surprised us with an array of microbrews, and so at dinner we had yet another sampling of the locals. Brian and I have our favorites stashed aboard Rode Trip, but I doubt they will last until our next stop.
What a great day. Beautiful weather and wonderful company! Before heading off to bed we swung by Serendipity for some pre-planning, how we intend to get to Charleston, SC. At Serendipity, Matt and Jessica introduced us to more young cruisers. We met Ryan and Tasha who had started their journey in New York and had just arrived in Beaufort. We visited for a while, shared some navigation apps, and reviewed weather and potential courses for tomorrow. Matt and Jessica decided they would leave tomorrow, Tuesday. Brian and I decided we'd leave on Wednesday when there was a bit more wind forecast and we could make an overnight trip offshore. Smooth sailing, everyone, see you in Charleston!