We left Wrightsville Beach really early Saturday morning (can you believe 6:15 AM?) since the trip up to Morehead City/Beaufort is not only a long one but there are numerous bridges that only open on a restricted schedule that you need to time or you end up waiting forever to get through them (and unlike a car which you can just put in park, sitting around waiting for a bridge to open is not that easy in a boat especially with any wind or current!!) We hit the first two bridges with perfect timing and then had a wonderful bridge tender who actually delayed the third bridge opening for ten minutes for us so we could get through and not have to wait another hour for the next opening - now that was very cool of her - you don't find many bridge tenders that are so accomodating!!! There was only one bridge along this whole stretch of ICW that we had to wait for and that was only about 20 minutes - all in all not too bad!!!
The trip up to Beaufort was interesting - just outside Wrightsville Beach we got a good chuckle as someone had stuck a tiki umbrella and fake palm tree in a little sandy shoal marking the edge of a channel - Buffett fans perhaps??
Then we saw some rather strange wildlife along the shores - not the herons, egrets, osprey and dolphins that we have become used to although we saw them too!
- but a giraffe, a dragon and a hippo - someone's idea of garden art I guess!!
We passed some truly funky houses - a huge shockingly pink one complete with lighthouse, pirate tree fort and rock slide into a pool, and then several tiny little houses with barely enough room to stand up or so it seemed.
We also traveled through Camp LeJeune's firing range - can I tell you how freaky it is to know that you are in a firing range and to see these old shot up tanks and army trucks along a beautiful pristine stretch of the ICW????
We were traveling on a beautiful Saturday in the summer so we had expected boat traffic but there were sections of the trip that were just insane!!! Wherever there was even an inch of sand, there seemed to be handfuls of boats and jet skis anchored out for a party - cool!
But it's a serious pain in the you know what to have to try and avoid all that traffic, so after a little while Doug and I just decided not to worry about it and let them all go around us - we'd focus on the bigger boats or which there weren't a ton. We were doing great until some butthead in a big Tiara (the boat was named Watermark IV and as fate would have it, it wound up in the same marina as us in Morehead City - don't worry we didn't do anything nasty to him) came flying up behind us and without even calling us on the radio to ask to pass us (which is required by the rules of the road in the ICW) and waked us in a big way - gotta love yahoos who have no idea what they are doing!!! Just because someone has the money enough to buy a boat, doesn't always mean they have the brains or the skill enough to be driving it!! We got to the Beaufort Inlet (which is what connects Beaufort/Morehead City to the Atlantic Ocean) right around 4:00 pm - major bad timing as every fishing boat in the world had chosen that time to head back in the inlet so we proceeded to play frogger across the inlet with about a 100 boats on our way to our marina!!
We pulled into the docks right behind September Song - we had missed them!! - that was the first time since we left for the Bahamas we hadn't been traveling with them!! We caught up with Stephanie and Bob (lots to catch up on in that missing day!) and then walked over to see Lynnie and Rick on Rickshaw, whose home marina we were staying in!!! It was so much fun to see those guys again - they were part of our Bahamas gang and we haven't seen them for several months as they returned to the States ahead of us and made a beeline for their home docks while we have ambled our way north!!! After a quick drink we regrouped and headed out to Amos Mosquitos for dinner which is over on Atlantic Beach.
We were obviously having so much fun in the bar while we waited for our table that some UNC student asked if he could film us - not sure if it was for a MADD commercial or what but we said sure and tried to act natural while there was this big honking camera in our faces!! Dinner was a hoot as we got caught up and most of it was spent just laughing (and inhaling their great bread selection!!)
We have missed Rick and Lynnie (or Lynn and Rickie as Bob called them!!) and hope to see them soon up in the Chesapeake!!! At a minimum we know we have a wonderful stop on our way up and down the ICW where we will find great friends!!
Yesterday we had planned another fun day of festivities with the RIckshaw crew but family obligations intruded and they had to head home (what is it about family???) so September Song and the Gypsies were on their own. In the morning I thought to make a quick run to the grocery store - I was walking but didn't really need much and each person I asked told me it was just 3 or 4 blocks away - turned out to be 3 or 4 MILES away!! I felt like I was being sent on a snipe hunt but once you've walked a couple miles, it's not like you are going to turn back!!! Oh well - guess I needed the exercise - and it gave me an excuse (as if I ever really need one) to indulge later in the day!
We all set out in the marina's courtesy car (I love when marinas have a car you can borrow!!!) to explore Beaufort for the afternoon - the marina didn't tell us what time we had to be back so we spent a leisurely afternoon doing a little shopping in the cute little shops of downtown Beaufort (which is just across this very big bridge from the docks in Morehead City where we are staying). Too much shopping always leaves us parched and down on the waterfront we heard some live music - we followed it in to Finz Grill, ordered a coldie and trekked up to the outer rooftop deck to hear some music overlooking the Beaufort harbor. Unfortunately after about 30 seconds we realized the wind was pretty strong up there (not conducive to the straw hats Stephanie, Bob and Doug were wearing) and the music was really, really bad (which I don't say lightly - but when the singer ruined two of my favorite songs one by Bob Marley and another by the Dead even I, who usually have a pretty broad tolerance for live music, couldn't handle it!!!) We wound up finishing our drinks down on the lower deck where we were protected from the wind and the music at least was muted (although since we could still hear it, we did finish up our drinks rather quickly!) It was fun watching the sailboats out on the harbor with full wind and current - they were humming!!
We then walked to a really cool bar that Doug and I had found on our way through back in November, the Back Street Pub - it is a tiny little brick pub with no windows and a cement floor on one of the back streets in Beaufort where the beer is cheap and local character abounds!! It is a very dog-friendly bar but unfortunately we didn't have Cassie and Godiva with us - we grabbed a few drinks and sat outside in the courtyard on wrought iron chairs (some with only one arm and some with none) to enjoy the sun. We tried to purchase a couple bags of peanuts (the bar's only real food) but they were out of them...somehow it just added to the offbeat charm.
But we were hungry so we headed back over to Morehead City to another bar (Raps) that Doug and I really liked from our last trip through - finding a pattern here? Get used to it! Raps looks a little dodgy from the outside but it's a really cool place - I had remembered $0.99 Yuengling drafts, great wings and the best popcorn ever - 2 out of 3 ain't bad! The BBQ wings were awesome (both baskets) and the popcorn absolutely rocked especially with the additional melted butter the bartender brought us!!! We lost count how many baskets of it we went through but suffice it to say, it was a lot!!!! While the Yuenglings weren't $0.99, there were $1.50 bottles so we were good (especially when the bill said we only had 4 of them collectively - I remember drinking at least that by myself!!!!)
Before our arteries completely sealed shut in protest, we headed back to the boats for an evening of Harry Potter on Gypsies - we watched the third movie, Prisoner of Azkaban, in our countdown to the new HP movie coming out on the 15th!!
This morning we woke to rain and serious thunderstorms so we are sitting here at the dock - it's one thing to get caught out in bad weather, it's another thing entirely to be stupid enough to intentionally go out in it, especially when the lightning is ripping up the sky!!! A beautiful white egret was stalking the docks this morning in the rain - he seemed to be telling us to just sit tight for the day and enjoy the light show.
I always prefer sun (how do you think I got the nickname sun pig?) but this weather gives us time to blog and maybe we'll have a movie afternoon with the boat kitties - we do have 2 more HP movies to watch!! I also likely see a Raps trip in our future for some more popcorn and wings - odds are looking good!!! So we have to throw on some slickers and brave some rain - we won't melt and the reward is certainly worth it!! As soon as the weather lets up, we are headed to Ocracoke Island, part of North Carolina's outer banks and the #1 rated beach in 2007 - yippee!!!!!
Click here to see a Google map of our location at the Morehead City Yacht Basin
Happy Birthday, Dee Dee!!!
3 days ago