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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Saturday, September 27, 2008

9.27- Appeasing Poseidon

Captain Tim Rogers waves down the approving "aargh"s from the crowd as he implores the graciousness of Poseidon during the naming ceremony for "Coriolanus"
(click on picture or here for full size)
Sorry, no more C-Dory pictures today as I improvidently promised yesterday... more important event takes precedence:

Capt. Robbie today held a re-naming ceremony and party for his Catalina 25 at "Paradise Cove Marina" on Broad Creek.

In today's picture we see Captain Tim Rogers (a certified Captain with Oriental's "World Wide Marine Training, Inc.) as he pays homage to the ruler of the seas and asks that he guard the newly named "Coriolanus" with his mighty arm and trident and that he ensure her of safe and rapid passage throughout her journeys within his realm.

For my non-boater readers: It is notoriously bad luck to rename a boat... See, the mighty Poseidon/Neptune keeps a register of all vessels sailing in his realm, and if you rename it you might be seen as trying to operate without his knowledge, which will of course only invoke his wrath.

Bad things happen to boats when they are renamed (this has been widely confirmed), unless the proper homage is payed and notification given to the ruler of the seas... and of course liberal offerings of libations into the water.

Re-naming ceremonies are also a great excuse to party with friends, and Capt. Robbie, his wife Sandy along with scores of family, friends and neighbors took full advantage by celebrating the event at Paradise Cove Marina to celebrate.

Friday, September 26, 2008

9.26- "C-Brats" Meet

A 25' Cruiser by "C-Dory" tied up at the Wildlife Ramp, waiting to get
underway to the "C-Brats" gathering at Whittaker Pointe Marina.
(Click on picture or here for full size)
About 40 "C-Dory" boats are gathering this weekend at Whittaker Pointe Marina here in Oriental... Many were putting in at the Wildlife Ramp, but others came to Oriental by river and/or ICW.

These smallish boats have a lot of cruising amenities; two berths in the bow, galley with sink and alcohol or diesel stove, available enclosed head / shower or dinette convertible to two berths plus a third pilothouse seat, 6'5" of headroom.

Last week I featured a "Ranger Tug R21," a similar small pilothouse cruiser, at anchor in the harbor...

One or two Ranger Tugs may be coming in for the meet, as Ranger owners are welcome in the "C-Brats" club.

I'll get some pictures of the actual meet at Whitaker Pointe for tomorrow's post.
See the C-Dory manufacturer's site from Fluid Marine.

See the "C-Brats" online forum site.


Thursday, September 25, 2008

9.25- Why don't you kids go play out in the street?

Kids playing on "boogie boards" in the wind-tide-inundated portion of Hodges Street.

The water is going down today as 94L approaches the South Carolina-North Carolina border and winds down a bit after a night of gusty winds in the 20-40 mph range.

These three kids were enjoying the "Hodges St. Beach"... a foot or more of water has covered the street since yesterday (see yesterday's post, below... even more pictures of the high waters on "The Dinghy Dock" posts for today and yesterday.)


9.25- Why don't you kids go play in the street?

Three kids playing on "boogie boards" in the wind-tide-inundated portion of Hodges Street.

The water is going down today as 94L approaches the South Carolina-North Carolina border and winds down a bit after a night of gusty winds in the 20-40 mph range.

These three kids were enjoying the "Hodges St. Beach"... a foot or more of water has covered the street since yesterday (see yesterday's post, below -- also see more pictures of the high waters in yesterday's posting on "The Dinghy Dock.")


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

9.24- "Slow No Wake"

A driver ignores the "No Wake Zone" sign posted at the Hodges Street causeway as it passes in front of The Bean coffee shop.
(click on picture or here for full size)

Northeast winds mean rising waters around here... Lunar tides are negligible, but once in a while a sustained nor'easter pushes the Pamlico Sound waters up the Neuse River and its tributaries.

The steady northeast winds of the past two days have brought the waters of Raccoon Creek up about 18 inches over the Hodges St. causeway, prompting someone to post this "Slow No Wake" sign.

(for my non-boating readers: the sign is a gag... "Slow No Wake" or "No Wake Zone" signs are normally found posted on waterways to warn passing boaters that they are approaching a marina or other location where big wakes from fast-moving boats can cause a lot of damage.)

The system causing the northeast winds has been named "L94" by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration... it is a hybrid "subtropical /extratropical" storm that just formed off of the South Carolina coast and is headed this way.

See more of my pictures of today's unusual high wind-tide at The Dinghy Dock.

Read more about "L94" on WetherUnderground at Jeff Masters' Wunder Blog.

See radar images of L94 from NOAA.


9.23- Warp factor five

Workers stretch out "warps" at Garland Fulcher Seafood Co.

These guys are untangling the cables that drag the trawling nets behind shrimp-boats. The cables are called "warps," and the are quite long.

Sometimes I will see workers using forklifts to haul the heavy cables several hundred feet down the streets near the two fish-houses in town because they are too long to stretch out on the property. The man on the left of the picture, with the white galoshes (standard wear for all shrimp-boat and fish-house workers, apparently) is standing across South Water St. from the Fulcher Seafood Co. parking lot

After the warps are stretched out and straightened, they are wound up on reels on the deck of the trawler.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

9.22- Captain's Quarters porch #2

Visitors gab with locals gathered on the porch of the Captain's Quarters Bed & Breakfast around 4:00 this afternoon.
One of Oriental's informal gathering places, the porch of the Captain's Quarters B&B, today saw the B&B guests outnumbered by locals dropping by for conversation and libations.

Nothing draws a crowd like a crowd, particularly on this porch right on the main road through town, Broad Street (Hwy. 55).

From left to right; Patty, Sandy, Robby (all locals), Tom & Linda (visiting from Greenville, SC, home of the "Greenville Daily Photo" blog I visit regularly) and Tory (on last day of extended summer visit from Iowa). Other locals came by, visited and went on their ways during the afternoon, and the porch party was joined by other B&B guests and still going strong at 8:00 pm when I dropped by again.

Yes, I have featured the Captain's Quarters porch before in my posting of August 28 (featuring B&B owner Capt. Roy)... What can I say, it is a popular spot, pure Oriental, and I just didn't feel like hunting for a picture today.

Monday, September 22, 2008

9.21- "Kandy Bar"

A cruiser relaxes and reads aboard his vessel, "Kandy Bar," while at anchor in Oriental Harbor.
(Click here for full size)
This handsome boat (for a stink-pot, that is) is a "Ranger R21"... it was built by a company called "Fluid Motion," but is sold by "Ranger Tugs"... The R21 has a sleeping berth, but the newer "R21 EC" ("extended cabin") adds 18 inches to the pilothouse, and includes amenities such as a galley, pressurized water and sink, and built-in head.

"Fluid Motion" and "Ranger Tugs" are owned by the same guy, John Livingston, out of Kent, Washington... Another company, "Martini Marine" also claims to be the manufacturer, though they do so on the Ranger Tugs internet domain. I can't really find out why there are three different company names associated with the boat.

To add to the confusion, these boats were also manufactured and sold as "C-Rangers" in some sort of marketing agreement with the folks who make the very similar "C-Dory," but that was apparently a short-lived arrangement.

There were also two "C-Dory"s (I don't know what the plural is... "C-Dories"?) tied up in Raccoon Creek today... probably some sort of meet-up, or maybe they were cruising in convoy.

According to the "C-Brats Online Forum," there will be a NC gathering of these types of boats here in Oriental, at Whittaker Pointe Marina, next weekend...

I will try to drop by and get some pics of a bunch of these Ranger and C-Dory boats gathered together, and maybe learn a bit more about them to share with everyone (like what's the deal with the three different "Ranger" companies?)

According to Ranger Tugs, the Ranger 21 is based on Bristol Bay fishing trollers...

Bristol Bay is home to an apparently very competitive Salmon gill-netting fishery, and is the largest sockeye salmon fishery in the world.

By regulation, the Salmon trollers are limited to 32 feet in length, and do have a distinctive style... According to Wikipedia, the 32 foot limit is prompted in part by the extreme 30 foot tides, dangerous and uncharted shoals and other navigational limitations, but I wonder if it has more to do with fishery management... will have to research)... See some examples of the Bristol Bay trollers (with 20 inch drafts!) from one manufacturer, Rozema Boat Works.

Also, as I did in my discussion of much-closer menhaden fishing industry (no sockeye around these parts), I recommend the following video of the Bristol Bay commercial fishermen's extremely dangerous and hard work... at the end of the video, related videos of Bristol Bay trollers at work will appear:

All in all, I'd say that life on a 21 foot Ranger is much more relaxing than on a 32 foot Bristol Bay troller! I'm sure the captain in today's picture would agree.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

9.20- "Celestial Nights" concert

Dave Collins & The Celestial Nights Singers perform at the Old Theater in Oriental
(click on picture or here to view full size)

Local troubadour Dave Collins, accompanied by the "Celestial Singers," performed last night in Oriental's historical theater on Broad Street on Friday and Saturday nights.

Dave Collins arrived in Oriental earlier this summer, and has become a popular draw as a one-man show with regular gigs at "Scoots" and the Tiki Bar at Oriental Marina & Inn.

Dave pulled together a group of other talented local singers and musicians for this weekend's show, "Celestial Nights," which proved to be a hot ticket in town, filling the theater both nights.

In addition to Dave on vocals, guitar, piano, keyboard, fiddle, flute and sitar, the show featured:
  • Mellissa Stowe, vocals & percussion
  • Lynn Speas, vocals & percussion
  • Care Gerdeman, vocals & percussion
  • Shelly Engelhardt, congas & chimes, and
  • Leanna Shae Collins (Dave's daughter), flute, vocals & percussion
The first half of the show featured Dave's original compositions featured on his first CD and an upcoming CD, while the second half consisted of classic covers.

You can see a bunch of my other pictures from the show on today's posting at my other blog, "The Dinghy Dock."

Friday, September 19, 2008

9.19- Rigging the trawl nets

Workers stow and rig trawl nets on shrimp boat docked at Point Pride Seafood
(click on picture or here for full size)
I am frequently dumbfounded by the apparent complexity of rigging on the commercial trawlers that inhabit the two Raccoon Creek fish-houses.

The outriggers reaching to the sky, the assorted superstructures, attachments and the miles of cables and rigging remind me of the multiple masts, spars and rigging I've seen on various models of old square-rigged ships (and as described in Patrick O'Brian's Aubry-Maturin books.)

The guy up top was stacking the various nets on which he is standing, and passing lines to the guy down on the deck.

I took this picture from the Bauer dinghy while sailing up Raccoon Creek.

9.18- Lonely Little Lost Lure

Fishing lure lies abandoned on picnic table at Oriental's Town Beach
While biking to the Silos for the "Captain's Meeting" (oh, and Thursday special dollar Yuengling beers) I stopped by the Oriental Town Beach on Neuse Drive, and found this fishing lure lying on the picnic table under the gazebo.

From the rust on the hooks, it looks like this fella has been lost for a while...

Maybe it was found in the sand by someone and left on the table for adoption.

I like to call this beach "Minuscule Beach"... I did not come up with that nickname for the place, but wish I had.

I hate to explain a joke, but visitors to Oriental Daily Photo who don't have Local Knowledge just won't get this one without background:

You see, there is a town about 12 miles away on the Neuse River called "Minnesott Beach" (where there is a ferry across the Neuse River)... With that in mind, understand also that the Oriental Town Beach is not exactly expansive... It is perhaps 100 feet wide, situated between two house lots.

Hence the joke... "Minuscule Beach"... get it? I know, it isn't funny when you have to explain it.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

9.17- Dive Master Ralph

Dive Master Ralph Evey cruises Raccoon Creek in his Carolina Skiff

While I was helping Capt. Dave tie up Hirondelle at the Oriental Yacht Club, Dive Master Ralph cruised alongside in his Carolina Skiff (full of diving equipment) to say hello and chat... from the looks of the cup-holder in his chair, he was coming from The Bean coffee shop next to Town Dock.

Ralph runs the "Oriental Dive Company," a commercial diving enterprise here in Oriental. ODC can clean your bottom (your boat's bottom, that is) while it is still in the water, retrieve your heirloom necklace or stainless steel bow pulpit that fell in the drink, and perform any kind of diving service you may need.

He is also just about the friendliest guy in town, and in Oriental that is an extremely high standard to meet.

Ralph can often be seen cruising area marinas, harbors and creeks in a boat bearing diving flags, or driving around town in the "Big Unit," a former radio station promo-mobile (and probably an ambulance before that) which he has converted to carry his diving equipment. I will have to get a picture of that thing in a future post, for sure... it is a riot.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

9.16- Welding an outrigger

A worker welds a support to the starboard outrigger of the trawler "Betty H."
"Betty H" has been undergoing some repairs for the last week while tied up at the Garland Fulcher Seafood Co. docks on Raccoon Creek.

I have seen this guy doing welding in various spots on the starboard side of the deck on top of the cabin area behind the pilot house... Now I see that he must have been welding the base of the long white (albeit somewhat rusty) pole that extends from the deck to where he is welding it to the black outrigger.

The pole appears to be a supporting bracket that pivots with the outrigger as it is lowered/raised into the horizontal/vertical positions.

I guess these outriggers take a pretty good beating... see another trawler with a damaged outrigger (and a discussion of outriggers, trawlers, troll poles, and trolling) in my July 21 posting, "Amazing Grace..."

Monday, September 15, 2008

9.15- Visit Oriental... Bring your own gasoline

Gas pumps at Oriental's "Town & Country" grocery store bear the effects of hurricane Ike... plastic bags over the pump handles.

If you are coming to Oriental this week, you may want to bring some jerry-cans of gasoline to make sure you can get back home.

Both land-based sources of gasoline in town (Mac's Mini-Mart and Town & Country) have no more gasoline... they have been empty for a few days now.

This is apparently a common sight throughout much of the southern and eastern regions of the U.S., purportedly because of the prophylactic shut-downs of refineries along the Gulf Coast of Texas and Louisiana, resulting in about a 20% reduction of the nation's oil refining capacity.

Those stations that do have gasoline have of course been charging higher and higher prices for what is left... In his campaign to enforce NC's anti-price-gouging laws, the NC Governor has already sought 7 subpoenas for gas stations according to an article in today's Raleigh News & Observer. The News & Observer also reports that many school districts are struggling to keep their school buses running.

I have not found out if any of the area marinas with fuel docks have run into similar shortages... but even if they do have gasoline / diesel, marina prices are normally much higher than land-based gas stations, and it is kind of hard to pull your pickup truck up to the pump in Whittaker Creek.

9.14- Parade of Shrimp Boats

Four commercial trawlers (shrimp-boats) leaving Oriental Harbor as the weekend shrimping curfew ends.
(Click on picture for full size)

I was out sailing on the Neuse River in the Bauer dinghy today when these four shrimp-boats left Oriental harbor and headed down the Neuse River for a new week of shrimping. (yes, there are four trawlers in the picture... the second closest one is mostly obscuring the third closest, but you can just see the third's starboard outrigger peeking out just below the second's starboard outrigger...click on picture for full size... or, see all four in today's slide show on sister blog "The Dinghy Dock")

There is a shrimping curfew from Friday midnight to Sunday noon, so on Sunday afternoon most of the commercial shrimp boats leave their weekend berths at Garland Fulcher Seafood Co. and Point Pride Seafood Co. to go out shrimping.

I was sailing near Oriental Marker #1 when these four trawlers started coming out. In reverse order of departure (from closest to furthest in the above photo), they were:
  • "Amanda Ashley" - 73 foot, 92 tons, owned by Forest H. Williams, Sr., Grantsboro NC
  • "Emily Brooks" - 73 foot, 108 tons, owned Sherrill Styron"
  • Capt. Cecil" - 75 foot, 130 tons, owned by Sherrill Styron
  • "Goldie Marie" - 73 foot, 93 tons, owned by Chris Fulcher
Mr. Chris Fulcher owns "Point Pride Seafood," while Mr. Sherrill Styron owns "Garland Fulcher Seafood," which can be a bit confusing at first.

The late Garland Fulcher was the local fishing baron and Chris Fulcher's father. Sherrill Styron was Mayor of Oriental for 24 years, and is now a Town Commissioner. I don't know anything about Mr. Forest Williams of nearby Grantsboro.

"Point Pride Seafood" is on the Eastern side of Raccoon Creek (on the right side of the banner/title photo at top of page), while "Garland Fulcher Seafood" is on the Western side (on the left in banner/title photo at top of page.)

"Point Pride Seafood" sits on a property with a very long and interesting history in Oriental... the point of land it is on, at the confluence of Raccoon Creek and the Neuse River, was known as "Chadwick Point" in the late 19th century, and was home to two lumber mills at the time the town was chartered in 1899... one of the mills was owned by Robert Midyette, who in 1873 purchased the 350 acres of land on which the town was founded.

(For some reason, local lore credits Robert Midyette's nephew, "Uncle Lou" Midyette -- half of the namesake of "Lou-Mac Park" -- as the "founder" of Oriental, but my research indicates that Robert Midyette was the actual owner of the land and the real mover and shaker behind the town's creation)

"Raccoon Creek" was also known as the "log pond" when the Chadwick Point lumber mills were operating because "rafts" of logs which had been cut down farther up the local creeks were floated down to Raccoon Creek where they floated while awaiting milling at the Chadwick Point mills.

The Chadwick Point land was eventually purchased by the "Oriental Bulkhead and Improvement Company" in a fascinating (and ultimately disastrous for the OBIC) land development scheme, about which I'm sure I will explain more in a future posting.

Anyway, enough about Oriental history... today it looked like "Goldie Marie" was going shrimping on Garbacon Shoal, just across the Neuse River from Oriental (you can see Goldie Marie in the distance, turning off to starboard), while the others proceeded farther down the Neuse and possibly into Pamlico Sound.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

9.12- Casting for bait from Town Dock

Casting a net for bait fish at Town Dock in Raccoon Creek, Oriental, NC.
This gentleman and his wife arrived at Town Dock in their inflatable dinghy this afternoon... while the wife went to The Bean for some coffee drinks, the husband took out his cast net and began casting for bait.

The couple live aboard their boat at Pecan Grove Marina, right across Smith Creek from Oriental (straight ahead as the camera points.) "Yeah, this dinghy is our car, and the boat is our house," the wife explained to me.

Both I and the wife pointed out to the husband that there were thousands of Menhaden swimming around in a tight school near the Hodges Street bulkhead, 30 feet from Town Dock, but the husband wanted Pinfish, and was not interested in Menhaden... "They fall apart too easy," he said.

To see this guy's casting form, check out the full series of shots on my slide-show posting for today on The Dinghy Dock.

For those of you who have never used a cast net, this guy makes it look easy, but it just ain't so at first... I have been trying to learn, but I can't get it to spread out properly except maybe every fourth or fifth throw. See Capt. Robby trying to teach me at the end of the slide show on my Labor Day posting on The Dinghy Dock.

It seems just about every person has his or her own particular method of casting a net... just search "how to cast net" on YouTube, and you will come up with a dozen or more "how to" videos (watch one example below, with links to others), each involving different steps and techniques, and each one of which claims to be the easiest and most effective. The same is true of every fisher I have talked to in person... Typical instructions go along the lines of:

"You simply (coil the line in your throwing hand / coil in your non-throwing hand / let the line lay on the ground), then grab the net about (1/4, 1/3, 1/2, 3 feet, 4 feet down, waist-high, just above the waist, just below the waist), then grab the (front, rear, left, right) of the hanging lead-line (with your right pinky / left forefinger and thumb / in your teeth) then you grab (1/2, 1/3, 3/4, 5/8) of the remaining net in your (left / right/ throwing / non-throwing) hand, then put (this / that) part on your (left shoulder / right leg / left wrist / right elbow), do the hokey-pokey, blink three times, wiggle your right earlobe, and throw!"

Follow these easy instructions (!!!!) from "striper182" on YouTube and you too can throw a perfect cast net... after the video, a bunch of other cast-net instruction video links will pop up, all of course, just as simple:


Thursday, September 11, 2008

9.11- Fulcher Seafood docks as seen from OYC

(click on picture for full size image)
Three commercial trawlers docked at Fulcher Seafood Co. docks in Raccoon Creek, as seen from the deck of the Oriental Yacht Club.

"Betty H.," "Capt. Ryan" and "Capt. Jeff" were docked at Fulcher Seafood Co. this afternoon when I dropped by the "Oriental Yacht Club."

I'll have more to say about the OYC in the future... I need to get some more info so I don't end up telling some lies about it.

It is in some pretty old buildings, though, and it has this funky covered deck sticking out into Raccoon Creek right next to the Fulcher Seafood fish-house and docks, also on Raccoon Creek.

You can see the very end of the OYC deck, with it's peaked roof, on the extreme left side of the blog title/banner picture at the top of the page.

This is my fist B&W entry in either of my two blogs. I learned photography as a lad and young man with analog cameras... by the time I was in Junior High School I was doing almost exclusively B&W photos and my own processing and printing, which I continued to do for myself and my JHS and High School yearbooks and newspapers.

I kind of gave up photography at some point in college, no longer having access to good darkroom facilities and having failed to maintain / replace my aging and abused cameras and equipment.

As I re-entered the hobby in the digital age, I adapted to color photography, which was quite expensive back in the analog days, but now is just as inexpensive as B&W... As they say, film sure is cheap nowadays.

Now I have been seeing a lot of great B&W work on "City Daily Photo" blogs, and decided to give digital B&W a try for a while... not exclusively, mind you, but now that I have figured out how to switch the cameras to B&W mode, I expect to be doing a bit more...

Now I just have to figure out how to switch my brain and eyes to B&W mode; I hope it's something like riding a bicycle.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

9.10- Reading on Hodges Street

A neighbor and her son enjoyed some time reading today at the artistic bench installed on Hodges Street at South Water, in "Downtown" Oriental.
Today I ran across Janet and Spencer enjoying a cool, if gray, afternoon reading together at the art bench on Hodges Street.

Spencer was looking through a catalog of audio lectures on various academic topics by professors from around the world... seems interested in the Shakespeare course described on the left-hand page.

9.09- Mimosa leaves falling off

Brown seed pods and drying, falling leaves of the mimosa tree next to the dinghy dock on Oriental Harbor.

Yesterday I was browsing through my favorite "City Daily Photo" blogs, and I came across an August 29 posting from Brian's "Terrell Texas Daily Photo" blog showing bright green leaves of a mimosa tree... Brian noted that he "can't wait for the pink blooms to come out on my mimosa tree - it usually gets them in the fall."

My favorite reading shade tree, the mimosa next to the dinghy dock, has shed most of its leaves since tropical storm Hanna came through a few days ago.

I think some leaves were already turning brown, and the tree's thousands of seed pods went brown some time ago, but I was surprised to see it losing its leaves completely at this time of year.

Seems like last year this mimosa, like Brian's Terrell TX mimosa, was in blooming mode, though I can't remember if it was still flowers from the summer, or if maybe it flowered in spring and again in early fall.

Anyway, I offer today's picture as a contrast to Brian's Terrell TX mimosa, and as another in a series of pictures of my favorite mimosa on the waterfront. My other pictures, located on my "Dinghy Dock" blog, can be seen at the following links:

-- 6.02- Mimosa Flowers
-- 5.29- Mimosa Flower buds
-- 5.22- Mimosa leaves
-- 4.13- Mimosa Tree Budding


Tuesday, September 9, 2008

9.08- Climbing the Mast

Self portrait while sitting astride the spreader bars of the Hirondelle's mast during a pause in my descent from retrieving a slipped haliard.

During tropical storm Hanna, the jib-halliard on Captain Dave's Pearson 39 (the Hirondelle) became detached from the deck, and the loose end rode up the mast until its shackle stuck in the fairlead (translation for lubbers and stink-potters: the rope used to raise the front sail came loose and the end slipped up to the top of the mast and got stuck there).

This being Oriental, other captains quickly offered assistance and tools to retrieve the halliard.

This morning, Capt. Tory came to help, bringing his "boatswains chair" (a.k.a "bosun's chair," a devise used to haul folks up masts for rigging work) and the heavy-duty drill with winch-fitting bit he uses to raise sails on his own boat.

We rigged the boatswain's chair to the main haliard and to an extra haliard (for safety) and I got the job of going aloft to retrieve the slipped jib-haliard from the top of the 55 foot (17 meter) mast.

Capt. Tory slipped the drill into the main haliard winch, and I got a motorized lift to the top (most of the way... some hand-cranking was required.) I had to stop at the spreader bars to untie the safety line, slip it around the spreaders and re-tie it to the boatswain's chair before continuing up. Same on the way back down. This was because the mainsail haliard and the extra haliard were on opposite sides of the mast.

It turns out the shackle at the end of the jib haliard had opened, and the loose end of the haliard naturally rose to the top of the mast due to gravity and wind acting on the part of the line that runs back down the mast. Once at the top of the mast, I grabbed the shackle end and lowered it down to the deck with no trouble.

Capt. Dave also gave me a couple of "while you're up there" tasks... running a new signal haliard (for flags) and another line for a future project.

While I was up there, Capt. Roy and Capt. Ken came by to watch from dockside.

I hung my little Kodak camera, in video mode, from my sidefor the trip, and stitched together a video of my journey, and the panoramic view from atop the mast. In the picture above, and the video below, you will see the Bauer 10 dinghy tied up in Hirondelle's slip, off the starboard bow.


Sunday, September 7, 2008

9.07- Slow Sunday at the Deli

Umbrellas guard empty tables on the deck of the Oriental Harbor Deli & Bistro, as a thunderstorm darkens the western sky.
As the "alien season" in Oriental fades in the wake of Labor Day and worries about Hanna-Ike-Josephine storms, there are few visitors in town this weekend.

During the summer season, aliens (and a few locals) enjoy lunch and dinner on the deck at the Oriental Harbor Deli & Bistro, with a grand view of Smith's Creek and the Oriental Harbor Marina.

Though clearly open for business today, I did not see a single customer this afternoon. The whole town is extremely quiet and empty for an early September weekend, but no doubt Hanna prompted weekend travelers to stay home for this one.

The Oriental Harbor Deli & Bistro resides in the early 20th century passenger depot building of the Norfolk & Southern Railroad Co.

In addition to the Deli, the old depot is also now home to the Oriental Harbor Marina's heads and laundry room, and "The General Store," which offers Oriental souvenirs, a surprising collection of wines and $2.00 cans of coke (the wine is much more reasonable than the cokes).

The N&S RR ran regular passenger service from New Bern to Oriental into the 1940's. The N&S RR 's first lines to Oriental were built in the very early 20th century, and provided important transportation for local timber and produce (mostly cabbages), as well as passengers.

Before the N&S RR built its line into Oriental, the Old Dominion Steamship Company had been providing freight and passenger services from Oriental to New Bern, Elizabeth City, Portsmouth, VA (and available transfer service to as far away as New York City) from its pier on the Neuse River at the end of King Street.

The N&S RR line traveled along Midyette Street to service three lumber mills, including the giant John L. Roper Lumber Co. mills located along Camp Creek, before crossing Broad Street to the passenger depot on the harbor front at Water Street. While N&S RR acquired an easement to build a planned spur across the village to the former ODSS warehouses and Neuse River pier on King St., it was never built.

The depot building now stands about about 100 yards away from its original location.

Below is an old N&S RR Map I have enhanced to show the main properties, rail lines and proposed rail line discussed above...


Saturday, September 6, 2008

9.06- Hanna aftermath

Electric Co. vehicles and line workers assembled under clear skies and a half moon in the parking lot at Mac's gas station as the sun sets.

Tropical Storm Hanna came through Oriental as dawn approached this morning, bringing 20-30 mph winds from about 2:00 a.m. through 8:00 a.m.

From about 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 winds were in the 30-40 mph range, with reported gusts near 60 mph. After 10:00 a.m. it became a beautiful clear day with 5-10 mph winds the rest of the day.

No flooding overnight, no storm surge, no heavy rains, and winds similar in strength to common thunderstorms in the area, though the winds persisted at strength for longer periods of time.

The storm did knock out power to the entire town for a few hours this morning, with intermittent power outages throughout the day as "Progress Energy" crews made repairs around town.

All in all, Hanna was a lot of not much around here. Should be a nice day for sailing tomorrow, and I hope to be out, either in the Bauer Classic 10 dinghy or crewing on my neighbor's Catalina 25.

Ike looks to be headed for FL and the Gulf, and Josephine appears to be petering out. It will be nice to not have everyone talking hurricanes 24/7 around here, as they have been for a few days now.


Friday, September 5, 2008

9.05- Here Comes Hanna! SkywatchFriday

About 20-25 mph winds buffet the flag on top of the Hwy. 55 bridge as an outer rain band of Tropical Storm Hanna crosses over the Neuse River and Oriental at about 2:30 p.m., Friday September 5.

An hour and a half later (about 4:00 pm) , as I am writing this post, the sun is out and large puffy cumulus clouds are zipping over us, headed westerly.

The eye of the storm is about 300 miles to the south as of this writing.

All around town boats have been pulled, lines have been doubled, lawn chairs put away or set upside down, a few windows have been boarded, and the picnic benches at Lou-Mac Park have been lashed to the old live oak tree.

Now we wait. I don't know if I'll be able to get any pictures of the scary stuff, since it will be coming in after dark.

See more views of the heavens from around the globe at:

Thursday, September 4, 2008

9.04- Preparing for "Hanna"... and "Ike"... and "Josephine

Capt. Dave spreads out the jib he has removed from the "
Hirondelle" in preparation for approaching tropical storm Hannah.

A beautiful, calm clear day here in Oriental... perhaps the proverbial and literal "calm before the storm." Many local sailors and stink-potters are making preparations for some potentially nasty weather.

As Hannah approaches the East Coast, many local sailors are, like Capt. Dave, removing the canvas from their boats and adding extra lines in preparation for high winds.

The Wildlife Boat Ramp is also busy as owners of trailer-able sailboats and power boats haul them out to stay on dry land for a while as a string of hurricanes and tropical storms wander in our direction. Local boat yards are also putting many boats on the hard today. No doubt all will be doing the same all day tomorrow.

Capt. Dave will be watching NOAA, WeatherUnderground and other sources of hurricane/tropical storm info as the three storms approach, and is beginning to think about finding a good "hurricane hole" in which to anchor Hirondelle if things look particularly nasty for either of the next two.

According to NOAA, we can expect a good steady 40 knot easterly winds with 50 + knot gusts by 8:00 pm tomorrow (Friday) night, with hours more of the same to follow.

That wind will no doubt bring rising wind-tides, which Local Knowledge says will exceed 4 feet, enough to cover Hodges St. at Town Dock, in front of The Bean, but not much more.

All day Saturday the continuing 40 + knot winds will swing across to southerly and end westerly, dieing off precipitously the more westerly they become. By 5:00 pm Saturday, winds will have fallen to below 20 knots westerly. According to NOAA...We shall see.

My brother, "Cabin Boy" Fred has successfully made it back to New Orleans from his brief (3 day) and agonizing exodus to Memphis (where he sat in on a gig playing his newly-acquired Mexican made fender copy guitar} after the Gustav scare.


9.03- Sailing with the Dolphins

Dolphins (probably bottlenose) surface while hunting in Camp Creek.

While out sailing in the Bauer dinghy, I found these guys swimming in circles around the mouth of Green's Creek, where it merges with Smith Creek before flowing out into the Neuse River. I am guessing they were hunting... the creeks are full of shrimp and minnows of all sorts.

The dolphins were swimming in a wide circle around the entire mouth of Green's Creek, and I had little luck keeping up with them in some fickle and weak winds. I also had little luck with the camera, as it is a tad difficult to get decent shots while trying to hold the tiller and the mainsheet at the same time.

After doing my best with the camera for a while I set it aside and relaxed into the boat, sailing around and listening for the dolphins blowing as they surfaced...

"poof... poof... poof" would alert me to their surfacing, and I could turn my head in time to see them arching back down into the waters, and others coming to the surface behind them... just like in this short video I was also able to capture:


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

9.02- Trees Trimmed & Cats Rescued

From 090208

While in New Bern, NC, running some "big city" errands (buying a book), I passed this bucket truck going over the Trent River.

It made me smile.


Tuesday, September 2, 2008

9.01- Labor Day Sailing on the Neuse

From 090108
Capt. Ben helms Captain Robby's Catalina 25' on a beam reach in nice 12 knots + of easterly wind on the Neuse River near the Oriental channel.

Capt. Robby is taking the picture from just aft of the mast. With inflatable PFD on and fully strapped, Deck Hand Blake, a boating novice friend visiting Capt. Robby from the piedmont area of NC, takes in the view and tries to adjust to the movement of the boat as she heels over, pushing just under 6 knots.
[9.05 Addendum: Capt. Dave saw this picture and suggested I had been letting her heel too much, and I shoulda maybe thought about sheeting out a bit... I'll try that next time and see if I get more over-the-ground speed with less heel.]
Great day for sailing... clear skies, good wind, about 82 degrees F. Easterly winds made it possible to sail back up Green's Creek to the dock, and to sail into the slip for a (near) perfect landing.