Wednesday, October 29, 2014

One Hundred Miles on Water

Today -- all day -- Adam and I enjoyed a leisurely boat ride from Oriental to Morehaead City, on this adorable motorboat with her owners, Tom and Liz.
She's called The Liz. Tom designed and built the boat himself. You know you're in the presence of a true master of boatcraft when you can say that.
Here's Tom. He's 83, and still amazingly agile and active. I think he called this characteristic "nimbility." He hasn't lost his sense of humor yet either!
And Skipper their dog came along for the day as well.
Here's Liz with Skipper. He was a bit nervous and required her TLC. Liz is an avid professional birder, a real expert. She teaches classes on birding and leads a group of enthusiasts here in our county.
Before heading onto the river we cruised around the town dock and I got a good photo of the "business end" of the OYC -- Oriental Yacht Club. It's the oldest sailing institution in Oriental. It was well established in 1985, when Tom and Liz first decided to move to the village.
I spent many hours today enjoying the calm-inducing, trance-producing loveliness of this view:
Several shrimp trawlers were coming in from their night's work.
The pellucid sky, the placid river, the brilliant sun, all combined for a perfect blend of pale blue peace.
This, I must share with you. The sky and water were so at one that the horizon was barely discernible.
Adam spent most of his time in the console/cabin with Tom, chatting and comparing GPS readings, but he came out into the cockpit with me for a bit too.
Photo-bombed by a flag pole!
Going to Morehead, we took the long, scenic route up the Neuse, through Turnagain Bay, along the Old Canal, and then into Core Sound. It was deserted (except for a few hardy fishermen in little boats), eerily so, but quietly majestic and wild.
On the left along the Old Canal is a bombing range used by the local marine base. Signs like this dotted the grassy verge. Someone took a few pot shots at this sign.
Such beautiful spots for a picnic, and nobody anywhere around to use them!  For a couple of hours we saw not a single house nor evidence of human presence on the landscape at all.
Enormous pieces of driftwood were nature's litter along the side of our watery road.
And then, the hwy. 70 bridge. We crossed this bridge recently, on our trip to Ocracoke.
And the multitude of birds! We saw lots of gulls, pelicans, and cormorants. This gargantuan nest belongs to an osprey, Liz told me.

At last we came to the end of the Old Canal where it opens into Core Sound, a long, large body of water littered with shallow shoals perfect for capturing even a powerboat that only draws 28".
During this stretch I spent some time in the cabin, learning how to read a nautical chart. I LOVE maps, so this was fun. I spent hours reading maps and helping my daddy navigate on long road trips during high school. This chart, however, was more tricky. We grounded out once and churned up quite a lot of sand with the prop, but persevered and made it back into safer waters.
We passed along Taylor's Creek right in front of Beaufort.
Huge yachts were tied up there.
And houseboats ~
And in the anchorage where many boats bobbed away, even a tiny pirate boat!
Here's the nautical boat-building/restoration center in Beaufort. Adam volunteered there for a few months.
As we entered Morehead, this massive piece of equipment soared overhead.
Next to it sat this equally large naval vessel. I would tell you what it is, but I have no idea.

Our destination for the day was the Ruddy Duck, a restaurant in Morehead with slips along the water where hungry boaters may tie up for free, walk onto the dock and into the restaurant, and satisfy their hunger.
My satisfying burrito ~
As we left from our late lunch (at about 3:30 -- it took us much longer to get through Core Sound than we anticipated), Adam helped Tom untie the boat. Can you see where Adam is?
He's actually standing in the main berth, upright through the hatch in the front of the boat. In this way, a person can remain inside the security of the cabin, while tending to the front lines. I don't know if this a unique feature of Tom's boat, but it's an excellent one. Because Tom never needs to clamber on the deck to the bow of the boat, he could make his cabin very wide -- across the entire width of the boat. This makes for a spacious cabin on a modest-sized boat. I think it's only about 25 feet long. But the proportion of berth space, to cabin space, to outdoor cockpit is perfect.
Running a bit late, we opted for the quick route home along the ICW -- the IntraCoastal Waterway, a peaceful, safe way for boats to traverse the distance of the Eastern U.S. seaboard, and around Florida and across the Gulf of Mexico too. Many homes along the "ditch" (as it's affectionately called) are large with nice docks and boat lifts. It's rather like a boater's garage.

The ICW is also flanked by miles of deep-green pine forest, slipping darkly into the water.
The sun lowered toward the water as we neared the Neuse at last.
Our vista broadened suddenly to include nearly endless water.
Tom got us back home in time for church tonight. We had a fabulous day -- a truly glorious day of travel and rest for me. I'm sure it was exhausting for Tom, but I'm so thankful they asked us.
This derelict boat, the Mildred, has been sinking into the mire near their home for many years. Tom says he once walked her decks. No more! She is a useful reminder to us all to make use of our short lives.
We are so privileged to live in a spectacularly beautiful place on God's earth, and to have friends who think of us when they opt for a day on the water. Thank you, Tom and Liz! I will never forget my day of 100 miles on water. The warm sun, the cool blowing wind on my face, the many birds and boats and river banks -- of all earthly things, I think these bring me the most peace. Today, they did!
If you like maps as I do, and want to trace our voyage, we left Oriental, went out the Neuse River, turned south into Turnagain Bay, took the canal into Long Bay, made our way through the Wildlife Refuge, under the hwy. 70 bridge, and into Core Sound. We passed the towns of Atlantic, Davis, Marshallberg, under the bridge to Harker's Island, along the thin slip of water in front of Beaufort, and into the Harbor Channel in Morehead. The Ruddy Duck is next door to the Sanitary Fish Market Restaurant. You should be able to zoom in and drag with this map and see these locations and their labels.


  1. What a treat to be on the water all day!! I'm sure Tom and Liz enjoyed your company as well...oh, and Skipper, too. =)

  2. What an Amazing day you had! So glad you enjoyed it!!! X

  3. Your photo where the horizon and sky met put me in mind of "Rime of the Ancient Mariner"--but, fortunately, you had food, friends, water, and a motor to get you home. :) Wonderful post: I loved hearing and seeing about this adventure.

    1. Thanks, Sandi! Thankfully, that line from the great poem didn't come to mind on our trip :) Core Sound was lovely, but also a bit nervous, when we were trying to get through one-foot water and I could see the bottom so clearly. Glad we were home in time for other things.

  4. Wow that was some outing. Lots of great photos. I enjoyed your post very much.


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