Friday, December 6, 2013

Puttering around Creeks

Adam plans to pull the sailboat out of the water this winter to work on her, paint her, clean her. I groaned -- that means no sailing for weeks or probably months! I said, "We need to sail this week." So today we got on the boat. Autumn leaves are in the water.
The sky looked ... iffy. No other boats were sailing on the river. We went anyway.
The second we left the marina and entered the creek I felt the blustery wind. Wow! Adam had already decided on the smaller foresail, and we'd reefed the mainsail quite a bit. I could tell we'd get some heel if we went on the river.
I only look like I'm taking this "double selfie" from the water - haha!
Under the bridge! We're going to The Bean to say hey to Julia and get a refill on Adam's coffee and fill up a cup of hot chai for me.
The sky seemed to improve, but the water remained choppy and gray.
Adam and I decided this would be a day to investigate all the creeks, something we'd never really done. We'd just motor around and see what there was to see ... up Smith Creek and Greens Creek.

View Larger Map
(Smith Creek is the one running north, west of Oriental. Greens Creek runs out west.)
But first -- The Bean. We turned our nose in toward the Town Dock. The Bean is the small building in the middle of this shot. The red roof is a lovely local art gallery.
Coffee is a'comin'!
I navigated us in; thankfully the dock was empty, and Adam lashed us on.
A refill is pretty cheap, so Adam brought along his cup.
Our Cape Dory is pretty small. It nearly disappears next to the dock :)
To one side of the town dock/harbor is the fishing business. It's rather ugly, smelly, and all business. Usually there are two or three big shrimp boats there. The old pier fell apart, and they simply built a new one on top of it. Can you see the old one, running drunkenly underneath?
On the other side of the harbor is the Oriental Inn and Marina, usually a hopping place. The cruisers who stop at Oriental on their way south for the winter have mostly passed on by now. But this is a lovely spot with slips, hotel rooms, a Tiki Bar, a decent restaurant, and a pool.
Adam put away the sails since we'd decided to motor.
With our coffee and tea firmly in hand, and Julia happily ensconced at The Bean with some internet, we headed out. We passed a boat that desperately needs the kind of attention our boat will get this winter. See that crust of grime?
Now this house -- have I posted about it before? It used to be single story. It has a glorious location in good weather, but a horrific location during the worst of hurricanes. It was decimated during Hurricane Irene. The solution for the owners was to build UP, and (I'm guessing) use that bottom floor as empty space to sustain the washing of similar storms. I bet they have a great view upstairs, but I do not like the look of the house now. It used to have such a lovely, bungalow feel.
So ... down Smith Creek. Are you tired yet? Go get a cuppa, and come back :) Lots of small marinas dot the banks of Smith Creek. If your sailboat is small enough, and your mast can fit under the bridge, you can get a much cheaper slip here. Some people have built lovely homes along Smith Creek, only to discover when they move here that their boats ... won't ... fit ... under ... the bridge. Or they'll fit when the water is low. It's rather bad to get your boat out on the river, but not be able to get it back in!
The "Odin" is on a mooring line in the creek, its mast down. Its last registration was in 2009. Rather sad.
Beautiful homes line the creek, and many are tastefully adapted to the landscape.
This one has a pretty dock/pier with a covered end.
But much of the landscape is undeveloped.
And look at these crazy exposed roots!
The folks who develop these properties put some real money into the river's edge -- tight retaining walls of concrete, wood, or stone, and docks for where the creeks aren't deep enough. We draw 2'7", so we were very safe here.

We went as far as was safe, for depth, and turned again toward the bridge.
I prefer to sit on the very back of the boat with my feet on the edge.

So many pretty houses along the way!
Many boats were dotted along the creek on mooring lines. We liked this little yellow one, a racing boat with a very flat deck.
But the name! It's called "Over Easy." I guess the white and yellow paint indicates an egg? But I would not name a boat "Over Easy."
As Smith Creek widens again, more boats come into view, and more houses.
This area is called Blackwell Point, a residential loop outside Oriental and very quiet.

This building houses the sailing school, and you see the little boats lined up there for their students' use in the summers. This is quite popular for young people, and for adults wanting to learn to sail before they take off on their bigger boats for bigger waters.

Pom Pom -- I thought of you when I saw this little cottage. I think you could enjoy a quiet week here :)
And look! There's even a hammock near the water!
Okay, out of Smith Creek, and turning the corner into Greens Creek. Then we noticed that the kite surfers were coming closer to the harbor. The fellow who owns The Bean is actually on the bottom end of this sail -- do you see it? I think that little speck of white next to the base of the bridge, is the spray from his feet. As far as I know, those kite surfers were the only people on the river today.
Up Greens Creek, you see many new, raised houses. They're all on stilts after the hurricanes we've had, like Isabel and Irene.
Greens Creek is less populated, more remote, very beautiful. The land along one side is, we think, leased for timber.
Do you see the little house here? It's so different from its neighbors, older, lower, smaller.
It's a cottage, and just my kind of cottage. I like the size, the porch, the slope of roof. And what a location on this point! Isn't it cozy?
I'd love to have a cottage like this someday, although I don't think I could ever afford this chunk of ground. Someday somebody will buy the spot, raze the house, and put in a monstrosity on stilts.
After the cottage, there are few houses on the shore.
Then we spotted in the distance a roofline, and this lonesome house appeared ~
It's two houses, very rustic, with unfinished exteriors. No docks. No piers. What in the world? Don't they like water? And knowing the landscape, Adam and I could not for the life of us figure out what road would lead to these houses.
We later drove around and found out it is a Wildlife Camp where they host groups that do hunting, fishing, camping. I don't know where they're doing their fishing though, unless they're sitting in the grass.
The last thing Adam wanted to show me was these two boats. They were blown along this bank by a hurricane at some point and not recovered.
How pitiful! They've been stripped down by folks scavenging, which is (I think) legal, after the boats are clearly abandoned. No one will bother to pull them away.
Then we came about and headed back out Greens Creek to our home at Green Bay.
The folks at our marina were burning wood and leaves. Don't you love a fall fire outdoors?

The sun was low in the south as we left.
Green Bay is a quiet, homey place from days long gone by. Here's the little store that used to be open for selling all kinds of things. Now the old men sit there and chat the hours away.
Thanks for coming along on our trip today; you're patient friends, if you've made it this far.


  1. Gracious, that was a lot of work to put up all those photos. Loved it! And it makes me wonder how different life would be for me/us if we'd never moved from New Bern. I'll never know.

    Thanks for sharing. :)

  2. How fun! I DO love that cozy cottage! All the water shots gave me a little sea fix. Thank you!
    It's so cold here and Adam doesn't have a coat on in your photos!

  3. It was a lovely little trip, thanks so much for taking me.

  4. Thanks, ladies! Pom, it was really warm yesterday -- about 78 degrees, and balmy. I was wearing just a 3/4 length shirt. Today the front came through and now it's COLD.


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