At 0900 this morning Kintala backed slowly away from the face dock, let the North wind ease her bow toward open water, and motored out into the Neuse. Oriental is a neat little town full of good people and we will surely head that way again (though we will avoid staying in the marina by the bridge). A few minutes after passing the breakwater the head sail snapped full, the Wester-Beast fell silent, and we set off toward Adams Creek at better than 6 knots.
It had seemed like a long time since we had sailed last, but soon a special bit of the magic of visited once again. At almost the same moment Oriental started to disappear aft the whole month of engine problems started to disappear with it. Something very similar happened when Boulder fell astern as nearly six years of effort and planning stared to fade into history. And again when leaving Oak Harbor; weeks of effort and frustration fading quickly into the mists. All life is a journey but cruising brings that reality forward and makes it the center of one’s being. We are here, doing this thing now. Once the sail fills and the boat is in motion everything that came before is preamble.
About half way through the day the magic took shape in the form of a small pod of dolphins sounding just off the starboard bow. They didn't jump in our wake or do anything fancy, just moseyed on by going about their business. (Ed note: sorry no pics - they were too elusive!)
About 5 hours later “here” is the anchorage at Taylor Creek in Beaufort, NC. It is a crowded place and when we pulled in the wind was gusting around 20 knots. It took nearly an hour and three different attempts to get the hook set with room to swing. Even at that, the spot we settled in is way too close to – what we think – is a buoy for a fixed mooring. It was bareley on the surface and has since disappeared as the tide came in. I am almost sure we set the anchor in such a way as we can't get tangled with the thing; but it isn't like I have done this a bunch of times before. Mooring-ball mined anchorages are something new.
Many of the potential parking spaces are similarly blocked or filled with clearly derelict boats lying to moss and weed coated moorings. It is like leaving the rusty hulk of a pick-up truck, sans tires and sitting on concrete blocks, straddled across four parking spots at the mall on Black Friday. Anyone who does such a thing forfeits any claim to having more than ten working brain cells. (I figure it takes at least fifteen to tie your shoes.) Also, in my humble opinion, all mooring balls should be illegal in public water ways. I couldn’t put up a “RESERVED FOR Tj” sign in front of my house in the city. How is a private mooring ball in a public anchorage any different?
But even with its clearly deficient efforts to keep the anchorage friendly, Beaufort looks like another neat little town. We might swing on the hook for a day just to check the place out. Or we might push on come morning. Another bit of the magic is that there is no law either way. But we hope to avoid piers and docks for a while.