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, June 29, 2008

6.28- That Boat Won't Float...

"Tow Boat U.S." crews working to raise a Catalina 25 sailboat from Oriental channel with air bladders slung under the hull.

The annual Oriental Cup Regatta race was held today, despite a small craft advisory. A squall came through the area around the time the race was finishing up and boats were headed back to Oriental Harbor and Whittaker Creek, bringing gusts up to 50 knots, rain and plenty of lightning.

One boat was struck by lightning, and this Catalina (not in the race) capsized and sank in the channel into Oriental Harbor. Captain and crew got off safely with the help of a sailboat returning from the race.

This picture was taken around 7:00p.m., several hours after Tow Boat U.S. began the salvage operation. Around 8:00 pm the boat was finally floated and towed to Whittaker Creek.

The salvage effort by "Tow Boat U.S." involved the Oreintal-based Tow Boat U.S. team, and a Tow Boat U.S. crew (diving team) from Beaufort.

The salvagers first cut the halliard and lowered the sail (which remained partially above the surface), then dragged the boat away from the channel and into shallower water. Dive team then installed a bladder under the boat, filled it with air, and began pumping water out of the boat until it floated. All of this happened with steadily increasing winds (note the chop in the pictures) of 15-25 knots


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

6.09- Oriental Optimists

Here is the new Optimist fleet in its first week of action here in Oriental. About a dozen boats built by local craftsworkers with local business sponsorship, these little vessels went to work this week teaching the next generation of sailors to tack and jibe.

This picture was taken at the end of today's sailing, as Optimists come in one by one to be hauled out at the Wildlife Ramp on Smith's Creek.


Monday, June 9, 2008

6.08- Itinerant Season

Itinerant boater season is at flood tide here in Oriental... more than a dozen boats at anchor in the harbor and Smith Creek. Here are the seven visible from the Dinghy Dock this evening:


Thursday, June 5, 2008

6.04- To every thing, Tern, Tern, Tern...

A Tern (common tern) takes the place of seagulls which usually occupy this choice piling on the Neuse River.

I have seen very few terns around here, but plenty of seagulls of numerous varieties.


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

6.3- Cownose Ray

I think this is a Cownose or Bullnose Ray. I noticed it splashing/swimming/hunting in the Neuse River between ten and thirty feet off the South Avenue waterfront.

Some people have told me that when you see the double fins cutting along the top of the water (actually the tips of the 'wings') that it is a Skate. I don't think so, though, because Skates are bottom-dwellers, and the Rays swim, hunt and even jump above the water according to my internet research. The bit of the head that is visible in this picture and the coloring of the creature also point to a Cownose or a Bullnose Ray.

This one did a bit of splashing at the surface while I was watching. I have seen these creatures just under the surface while sailing or walking along the Neuse, but this is the first time I've seen one splashing and moving with both wings sticking out of the water. You can't see it in the pictures, but this creature was cruising around a large school of small fish, and I saw a number of them jumping out of the water around this Ray.