Wednesday November 7, 2012

The next stop along the way for us is Oriental, North Carolina which is supposed to be a sailor’s haven. I’ve read in a few other blogs that this is some people’s favorite stop along the way and it’s hard to pull themselves away to keep moving a week or two after they arrived. We were blessed with another overcast day with strong winds once again and I could feel myself just overheating in temperatures of low 50’s that I was treated to. This is the kind of weather that every sailor dreams of where you spend all day lounging in the cockpit and don’t want to go inside for fear of missing out on your fingers going numb or making sure you’re wearing every layer of clothing you own. That’s sarcasm if you haven’t guessed. This cold weather is really getting to me and if we don’t have a warm day coming up soon I think I may lose it. I’ve been living in the long underwear my mom sent to me in Elizabeth City, I only take it off to bathe and then it’s right back on. We’ve still been forced out of the v-berth from the condensation that forms in there and have been sleeping on the settee since Hurricane Sandy. The cushions that have to come off to make it large enough for us to both fit on are constantly kept on the other settee and while airing all our belongings out everyday in the v-berth our living space has now been cut down more than half. On a thirty-four foot boat. I’m slowly going insane.

 The good news about our stop in Oriental is that our friend Yvonne from Old Glory is there. We met her and her husband Ed back at the beginning of the Erie Canal and have been keeping in touch ever since. Ed had unfortunately just left town for a few days but we were excited at the chance to see Yvonne and her dog Titus again. Having emailed her when we left Elizabeth City I told her we’d be there in a day or two. Then just after we got out of town we lost all cell phone and internet service and have not been able to pick any back up again. Even when we dropped anchor just outside the yacht club in Oriental where I could see Old Glory facing us we had no coverage and I thought I might have to surprise Yvonne by just walking up to the boat and knocking on it.

 Right after we did drop anchor the rain we could see coming over the horizon started a downpour on us and you’d think that we’d want to hole up in the boat where it’s dry and somewhat warm, but after throwing back a quick lunch we put on all of our rain gear and went to pick up Brian and Stephanie in our dinghy.  Tying off to the dock we set about on the main street to make our way to the Post Office once again.  This time to send items out instead of pick them up which is a shame because even though I was just showered with gifts a few days ago this is another day I could use some more.  Walking down the street while the rain thundered down on us I was looking for any excuse to get somewhere dry so when the guys spotted a boat consignment shop I didn’t put up any kind of hassle when they wanted to go inside and look through thousands of pieces of boat parts.  Stephanie and I engrossed ourselves in all the books on the shelves while the guys looked at blocks and shackles and other things that hold no interest to me.  As I was trying to find a new version of Jimmy Cornell’s ‘World Cruising Routes’ (I believe ours is a first edition from the 70’s), Matt threw a five pound shackle in my hand that will serve for connecting our sea drougue to should we ever need it which hopefully we will not.

Soon the concrete walls and floors started to bring a chill over me and I knew that the guys would have to let us girls get some work done on our computers in a restaurant or coffee shop after the trip to the Post Office so I tried to hurry them out the door.  Along with the giant shackle we purchased an anchor sail which we can put up at anchor and hopefully keep us pointed in one direction instead of swinging all around like we normally tend to do.  Before leaving though the store owner (?) gave us the low-down on the town and told us just past the Post Office is a little restaurant called The Silos and they had a buy one get one pizza special going on that day.

Rushing through the Post Office, Stephanie and I were excited to get to a warm place with hot food and spirits were lifted as we walked up the street and saw the restaurant, shaped in two silos and surely giving it it’s name.  Walking up the stairs of the silo to where the restaurant was we ordered up cheaply priced beers and began chatting with a couple at the bar dressed in foulies, obviously cruisers as well.  When the pizzas came we were back at our table and life was good except the fact we could still not get internet signal.  When we finished eating we made our way out as the afternoon crowds made their way in and went in search of the local coffee shop that was said to have internet as well.  Walking in the door at half past five it was almost empty and we asked the girl behind the counter how late they were open.  She replied that it was usually sometime between six and seven, I guess they go by how busy the place is.  Ordering some hot drinks we sat down to get some work done and stayed until the mop bucket came out at seven, although the girl was very nice about us keeping here there until the latest they were able to stay open.  One thing we’re finding out is everything in this town closes very very early.

Walking through the streets the next morning back on our way to The Bean we ran into Yvonne and Titus on the street.  Although I had tried sending an email the night before to let her know we were in town I had no way of checking her response until we got to the coffee shop once more for internet access.  It turns out she had received my message just after we left the coffee shop but had seen our boat anchored out in front of her.  Wanting to get our attention to invite us over for a glass of wine she had slipped out the door and was thinking of sounding her fog horn to get our attention but after deciding it would probably just scare everyone in the marina and the anchorage she made her way back in to Old Glory only to find she had locked herself out.  I can’t remember the story of how she got herself back in, but it sounds like Titus may be a super-dog that can open doors.  : )   After doing a little chatting and catching up we made plans for the five of us to make our way back to The Silos that night where it was open mic night.

After spending hours and hours at the coffee shop to get minimal work done (I don’t think this town has a strong wifi signal anywhere) we quickly made dinner back at the boat before leaving again.  Pulling the dink up behind Old Glory we were invited on board for a quick glass of wine before walking the mile through town to The Silos.  Titus was in cuddly mode and as soon as we were invited on he was walking from lap to lap trying to find a warm body to rest on and get some scratches behind the ear.  When we got to the restaurant once again it was packed full and we managed to find a lone table near the back where we couldn’t see the stage very well but could still hear the music floating through.  It wasn’t karaoke style but rather groups or soloist playing guitars and bongo drums.  While the five of us sat in the back we caught up on travels and unfortunately got into a lengthy politics discussion since the election results had just come in that day.

Closing the bar down (at 9:00 pm, I told you everything here closes early) we made our way back to Old Glory for a nightcap that somehow lasted until after midnight.  It was really nice having kept in touch with Yvonne and being able to meet up with her again along the way as her and Ed were the first cruisers we met along the way.  We must know how to pick them because as we were leaving Stephanie turned to me and said, “You guys have the coolest friends”.  “Yeah”, I replied, “Except those people on Rode Trip.  We just can’t seem to shake them”.

Brian and Stephanie doing their Geronimo dance from Wind.  Can’t take these two anywhere.

Another beautiful day on Serendipity.

Blocks and shackles.  Matt was in heaven.

Cheap beer and good pizza at The Silos!

All the attention finally wore Titus out.