A photo a day from Oriental, NC, the surrounding Pamlico County area, and nearby rivers, creeks, bays and other waterways of coastal North Carolina.

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Sunday, May 23, 2010

5.23- Low waters uncover Oriental history

Scraps from the Roper Lumber Co. mill at the end of Midyette St.

When the wind blows hard out of the Southwest for several days, our local water levels go way down, as they get pushed out into Pamlico Sound.

Extremely low waters reveal a field of "slabs" off the end of Midyette St. - They are the round outside portions of logs that were sawn off (and discarded) in the initial stage of processing at the vast John L. Roper Lumber Co. sawmill that inhabited the site before burning down in the 1920's.

Also visible are the stumps of many pilings that made up the Co. docks at the present site of the NC Wildlife Ramp and the Oriental public "kayak" dock.

I was very careful walking around the normally submarine artifacts, as the shorelines of local creeks are habitat for water moccasins (and other less dangerous critters.)

Here I caught a shot of one snake slithering away amongst the slabs (at right)...

As I was processing these pics, however, I noticed that this snake (center of pic below) was not the only one around... in the water in the lower right corner, maybe a foot or so from my bare legs, was another one I had not noticed.

(click images for full size)

Thursday, May 20, 2010

5.20- s/v "Rotop" at future Town Dock II

s/v "Rotop" tied up to the ruins of the old "Neuse Ways" piers at the South Avenue terminus, in the shadow of the still un-finished Point Pride Seafood fish-house (alleged) on Chadwick Point

Oriental fought a long legal battle over the terminus of South Ave. where it enters Raccoon Creek and Oriental harbor, but finally prevailed.

The land had long been leased to the "Neuse Ways" company, which ran a marine railway at the site.

"Rotop" captain  Martijn Dijkstra (vessel and capt. are Dutch) apparently heard the news on his latest visit to Oriental, and decided to move her from the notoriously shoaly town dock at Hodges St. to what many hope will be the future site of a second public town dock, which better accommodates her six foot draft.

You can read more about "Rotop" in this excellent Dec. 2008 report from the "Shipping News" column at TownDock.Net. 


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

5.19 - Following the light of the sun

A brace of caravels makes its way up the ICW

While riding past the South Ave. waterfront, I saw this rather anachronistic sight on the River Neuse.

Guessing these vessels were headed north on the Intracoastal Waterway, I took a little drive up to Hobucken, hoping to intercept the pair and get a closer look.

Turns out they are the NiƱa and the Pinta, home port Wilmington Delaware, replicas of their namesakes built by The Columbus Foundation. You can read all about them and see plenty more pics at The Columbus Foundation website.   The schedule on the site shows that the ships were on their way to Philadelphia from their last stop in Georgetown SC.

Here are a couple more I took from the banks of the ICW ditch at Hobucken as the caravels headed past the R.E. Mayo & Co. fish-house docks, the Hobucken bridge and the Hobucken Coast Guard station:
(Click on any image for full size)


Tuesday, May 18, 2010

5.18 - New New Bern drawbridge

Traffic backs up as workers scramble to solve a problem with the new New Bern drawbridge

Today I had my first opportunity to cross the new drawbridge in the nearby Megatropolis of New Bern, NC.

Unfortunately, I was thwarted by apparent technical difficulties, and had to go back around through the city  to get back to Hwy. 17.

The old swing bridge that used to service this road was removed in 2007.


Saturday, May 15, 2010

5.15- s/v "Vagrant Gipsy"

Vagrant Gipsy visiting Oriental harbor

I went out sailing in the Bauer today and found this impressive 50-ton ketch on the hook in the harbor.  Fabulous vessel, and a really great name for a sailboat (see the poem by John Masefield below.)

I got the following info from a SailBlog her third owners created during a Caribbean cruise two years ago:

Vagrant Gipsy a custom built monohull, built in Belize in 1969 on a custom design by Sparkman Stephens. She is built of solid rich mahogany with a custom fireplace with copper hood. The interior consists of two large staterooms both with king size berths. She will comfortably sleep 7 people... She is an ocean going vessle and has been across the Atlantic twice and spent time in the Mediterranean. Captain Skip, spent eight years restoring the Gipsy on the Tennessee River near his home. She was brought down the Tom Bigby Waterway to Mobile and then by intercoastal waterway to Appalachicola, FL, where she crossed the Gulf to Tarpon Springs, FL and spent her first hurricane season there. 
 There are a couple nice pics of Vagrant Gipsy under sail in a Regatta at George Town on this page of their SailBlog.  From there you can explore their other pages, which include some other photos of her cockpit, cabin, etc. 

I Must Go Down to the Sea 

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking.
I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide
Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied;
And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying,
And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.
I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull's way and the whale's way where the wind's like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick's over.
- John Masefield


Wednesday, May 12, 2010

5.12- The one that got away

Hooked cow-nosed ray resisting at the breakwater
(click image to enlarge)

This guy hooked a cow-nosed ray (also known locally as a "skate," which it is not, or a "pancake tarpon" due to frequency tarpon anglers hook them) and fought a forty minute battle, beginning at the end of the Lou-Mac fishing pier and ending on the South Ave. breakwater nearby.

His buddy came down with pliers ready, but a couple seconds after this photo, the ray succeeded in parting the line, and swam off with the fisherman's rig still hooked in its mouth.  

You can just make out the flat head of the ray and its right eye amid the splashing.


Monday, May 10, 2010

5.10 - Feeding time

Sophie succumbs to her hungry litter

OK, this doesn't really qualify for the City Daily Photo criteria, but I simply couldn't resist.

Remember, I am the Godfather of this litter, and I thought it was time to check back in with them.
The kittens are growing, and it looks a bit like Sophie is shrinking a bit.  Little wonder, considering the litter does this to her at every opportunity.


5.10- Oriental in the battle zone

U.S. Marines perform "urban environment" targeting
(with an assist by the entire Oriental Police Force)

Oriental has been inundated with small teams of Marines from Camp Lejeune to practice forward targeting for airstrikes in an "urban environment."  Hmm... Oriental, population 875... Go figure.

Lots and lots of aircraft overhead (sometimes barely) and groups of Marines sprinkled around town, including this team at a picnic table on the lawn of the Neuse Suites hotel.

I had read in the local paper an announcement that the maneuvers would be taking place, but I swear it also said they would not be in uniform... I'm no expert, but seems to me BDUs and Flak jackets should count as "uniforms."

Plenty of choppers, but since I didn't hear the Ride of the Valkyries blasting from them, I wasn't too worried.

Until I saw  in the Marine's van parked the South Ave. waterfront this crate marked "WPNS":

At that point I decided to head indoors and leave the field of battle.


Saturday, April 17, 2010

4.17 - The front row

Evening view of the Oriental harbor anchorage from the Oriental Yacht Club building
The northern migration of cruising sailboats continues to keep Oriental's anchorage a busy place.

If you know the right people you can get one of these front row seats for all the anchoring action plus a great sunset view.

I love the "Mad Men" chairs.


Monday, April 12, 2010

4.12- Crimson Permanent Assurance

Commercial trawler undergoing extensive repairs at Chris Fulcher's Point Pride Seafood docks (located on Chadwick Point)
Local shrimp-baron Chris Fulcher has been renovating some trawlers at his docks during the past couple of years... Looks like he buys pretty decrepit vessels, guts em and puts in all new everything.

When it comes time for sandblasting, painting, or installing super-secret shrimp boat technology, the boats are enshrouded in these canvas/dacron sail-looking cloths ...
When the wind blows and the wrappings shiver, it always make me think of "The Crimson Permanent Assurance" building after its aging clerks mutiny and go pirating through the financial district in the short Terry Gilliam film at the beginning of Monty Python's "Meaning of Life":