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

Oriental Daily Photo is a member of the City Daily Photo blog network.
See daily photos of other towns and cities around the world at:

Friday, January 30, 2009

1.30- Shotguns, fishing, beer and ...

An orange clay "pigeon" shotgun target lies among shotgun shells and other litter along the Neuse River
(Click here for full size)

Evidence of shotgun target shooting, beer drinking, fishing and, uh... hmmm... "other fun riverside recreational activities," (click here for full size image) litter the Neuse River shoreline.

This undisclosed spot along the Neuse River, apparently on private property, seems to be a popular local hangout and venue for activities that might not be countenanced at the more public river access points.

Monday, January 26, 2009

1.26- Seals in Raccoon Creek

An 11 meter Naval Special Warfare Rigid Inflatable Boat cruises up Raccoon Creek
(Click on image or here for full size)

I usually see these 11m NSW-RIBs way out in the Neuse River cruising at 45 knots between the Cherry Point Marine Station and the Piney Island / BT-11 target range...(see related prior postings re: NSW-RIBs and the BT-11 target range)

I was watching this one headed back up-river towards Cherry Point when it surprisingly turned into the Oriental Harbor channel.

So I grabbed a camera and headed down to the Oriental Yacht Club in time to find the boat slowly cruising up and down Raccoon Creek...

One guy on board was pointing out various things around the harbor and creek-sides... I wonder if it was some sort of tactical orientation or a simple sightseeing side-trip after a day of storming Piney Island?

I have noticed a lot of U.S. Marine air traffic over the river the past couple of days, including Harriers, CH-35E Sea Stallion helicopters (see related prior posting re:CH-35E), CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, and MV-22B Osprey VTOL/STOLs.

I'm guessing these guys are U.S. Navy SEALS, as the NSW-RIB's primary mission is SEAL insertion and extraction, and I have not found any reference to the U.S. Marine Corps using them.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

1.25- Trent's Body Shop, Swansboro, NC

Christmas lights still adorn the Southern Cross flag painted on the side of Trent's Body Shop

Today I drove Capt. Roy down to Swansboro so he could pick up his car after some body work at Trent's Body Shop.

The Battle Flag of the Confederate States of America is of course a common sight within the former confederacy, though I never saw many in Central Texas during my 20 years living there... but they were plentiful in East Texas.

Many folks tell me that the flag is only meant to proclaim pride in "Southern Heritage," and is not related to any racist ideologies... I have a hard time buying this line, as the flag was hoisted by armed forces seeking to preserve the slavery regime of the Southern states... I similarly cringe at a host of "code words" such as "States' Rights" and "Southern way of life," which I invariably interpret as meaning institutionalized concepts of racial superiority/inferiority, apartheid, discrimination, and of course slavery.

But then again, I also have a hard time understanding why so many apparently peaceful and law-abiding boaters proudly fly emblems associated with violent and unlawful piracy from their boats.


Friday, January 23, 2009

1.23- Skywatch Friday - GWB leaves DC

The W flies away

(Click on image for full size)

Happy SkyWatch Friday, everyone!

Today's photo shows Former President George W. Bush flying over the Mall in Washington DC, on his way to Andrews Air Force Base and retirement.

Many folks "waved without all their fingers," as W. flew over... others were content to use the more polite 5-finger wave.

I was fortunate enough to be able to travel to DC for the Inaugural festivities... check out my pictures from the trip in my previous posts this week, below.


I look forward to seeing the other Skywatch pictures from around the world on the other SWF sites listed at:


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

1.21- Belgian beers to go...

(Click on image or here for full size)
Some of the Belgian beers on display at an un-disclosed DC liquor store

Today I said goodbye to DC and all the inaugural fun... Time to head back to the ONC.

But not before stopping on the way out to purchase some fine Belgian beers to take back with me... I got a one liter "Foret" from Saison Dupont, and a four-pack of 1/3 liter "Maredsous" Triple (10% Alc./Vol.)

Sorry I can't disclose the location of the liquor store... My brother Fred depends on its steady supply of Belgian brews, and doesn't want everyone to know where to get them. All I can say is that it is in DC.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009

1.20- New President

(Click on image or here for full size)
One and a half million folks begin moving off the Mall after President Obama's swearing-in and inaugural address

Inauguration day!

After yesterday's experiences on the subway, Fred and I decided to take the Metrobus down Connecticut Avenue. Definitely the right choice... frequent buses, virtually no other vehicular traffic, and a happy crowd on the bus.

The bus stopped at McPherson Square, and all dismounted and joined the throngs moving towards the Lincoln Memorial and Washington Monument.

(Click on image for full size =>)

Like many other folks, Fred and I stopped at a downtown coffee shop for some coffee and restroom access before continuing our journey...

Our emptied cups joined many others in and around a trash bin:

(Click on image or here for full size)
Coffee cups and Sugar Pops box discarded on the way to the Mall

Fred and I ended up entering the Mall between the WWII Memorial and the Lincoln Memorial, then we walked up the west side of the Washington Monument hill, hoping to get a view of the Capital... We encountered a wall of people just over the crest of the hill, all along the line of sight with the Capital.

We were feeling a bit claustrophobic, and while we could see the Capital, the nearest Obama-tron TVs were pretty far away, hard to see and impossible to hear, so we back-tracked to near the WWII Memorial where we could see and hear the Obama-trons on 17th Street (and swing our arms and stomp our feet against the cold) :

As soon as the Inaugural Address was over, folks began streaming west over the Washington Monument hill, all headed our way:

Fred and I began walking back up-town, starting to think of finding a place for lunch, along with 2 million other people.

We walked by a few places near Dupont Circle, but all were way too full, so we headed over to El Tamarindo, an El Salvadoran restaurant we used to go to when it was up on Wisconsin Avenue, years and years ago. We got seated, and then got a menu, which now is heavy on the Tex-Mex and skimpy (almost completely absent) on the Salvadoran fare we had been hoping for. As we looked around while waiting for some signs of service, we also noticed nobody had the chips and salsa El Tamarindo used to give out... So we left...

... And we ended up back at Angle's (one of Fred's haunts) where we enjoyed two-for-one burgers (darn good burgers, too) and a few pints while watching TV coverage of the Inaugural Parade... When President Obama emerged from the Capital to enter the motorcade, the crowd at Angle's broke into applause:

We caught the L2 bus back to Fred's place for some rest, and later decided that after 20+ miles of walking the past three days, we weren't up to going out on the town tonight.


Monday, January 19, 2009

1.19- George W. Bush' last night in the White House

Line for "Ben's Chili Bowl" on inauguration eve

[Yours truly is on a road trip to the Obama inauguration festivities in DC]

Got underway a little late today... I'm pretty sore from the ten-plus miles I walked yesterday, and Fred and I were up pretty late last night.

Went for a late afternoon meal, then hopped on the subway at Cleveland Park to go to the American Indian Inaugural Ball Pow Wow at the Crystal City Hyatt in Arlingon, VA, where Fred and I met up with our oldest brother, Bowman, his wife Nedra and their son, our nephew Forrest.

On the left, one of the "Fancy Dancing" competitors at the pow wow. According to PowWows.com:

"The Oklahoma Feather Dancer or “fancy dancer” is one of the most popular style of dance and outfit seen at modern Pow Wows. The fancy dance outfit, as such, has no single tribal identity.

"The “Fancy Dance” originated as Fancy War Dance by the Hethuska society in Oklahoma. The individual who invented the dance was Gus McDonald. He was also the first World Champion Fancy War Dancer. The McDonald family, specifically Juel Farmer McDonald, the Ponca Tribal matriarch still presents the trophy to the fancy war dance champion each year because of this family honor."

Here are some more shots from the pow wow... I lost track of which pictures show what dances, but here they are anyway, beginning with the drummers:

When Fred and I left the pow wow, we accidentally got on the blue line train instead of the yellow line train, which meant we faced two transfers to get to either Chinatown or 13th & U Street stations... AND THE SUBWAY WAS PACKED with visiting Obama celebrators!

Folks on our car erupted into cheers when someone reminded all in a megaphone voice that "Tonight is George W. Bush' last night in the White House!"

We finally made it to 13th and U Streets and walked around looking for a bar that didn't have a line outside (with very little luck)... That's when we walked past Ben's Chili Bowl, which was a popular pilgrimage for many visiting Obama fans, since Obama himself ate there last week.

Next to the line outside Ben's was this ice sculpture:

We had fun watching all the revelers roaming the streets and lining up for the nightspots, but seeing no chance for actually getting a beer, we retreated to Adam's Morgan and had a nightcap at Angle's before heading back to Fred's pad.

Angle's featured some appropriate drink specials for the night (though Fred and I of course opted for Belgian beer):


Sunday, January 18, 2009

1.18- Obama-palooza

(Click on image to enlarge)
Lincoln Memorial, Wash., DC, after today's "We Are One" concert kicked of the official Obama Inaugural festivities

Hello, all... On the road for a few days, off to DC for the Obamauguration! My brother and I missed the big concert, but walked the full length of the Mall people watching and picture-taking. (I am using a borrowed camera, and don't have access to my usual editing software, so the blog layout will be a bit off for the next few days.)

We actually walked a total of about 10 miles today, starting out in upper NW Washington, walking down Connecticut Avenue, through Kalorama and Foggy Bottom to the Lincoln Memorial... followed by walking the full length of the Mall to Capitol Hill and up the hill to the "Tune Inn" bar on Pennsylvania Ave. for some much needed thirst quenching beverages.

Along the way, we saw a lot of busses lined up in front of the State Department, just North of the Lincoln Memorial (I also took a picture of the State Department, just out of the shot below on the left, but a guard made me delete all three pictures I took!!! Really! He first threatened to confiscate the camera, but allowed me to delete the pics instead, watching my every step in displaying and deleting the pics on the digicam screne... Apparently, "The Man" is still large and in charge of things around here, preventing photos of public buildings... reminds me of when I visited East Berlin in 1979 and our busload of visitors was strictly admonished to take no photos of buildings with the "DDR" government symbol on them):

(Click on image to enlarge)
Busses lined up near the Lincoln Memorial...
The Non-Photographable State Dept. is just out of the
shot on the left

And we saw a lot of National Guard waiting for their own busses to take them back to Maryland after the concert:
(Click on image to enlarge)
Also, hundreds of vendors, licensed and not-so-licensed, hawking their goods along the streets and Mall:

(Click on image to enlarge)

Yep, it's one big Obama-party in DC. Well, I must run off to more Obamabrations (the bars are open until 4:00 am!)

Lots to do over the next few days, culminating in a celebratory GOP-Pinata-Bashing in Adams Morgan Tuesday night. (See story and related photo on Lori's DC Daily Photo site.)

More tomorrow.


Friday, January 16, 2009

1.16- Frozen Collard Greens

Collards for sale - $ 0.75 per lb.
Fresh collards for sale on the roadside in Grantsboro, Pamlico Co.

The collards risk becoming frozen, however, as temperatures did not rise above freezing today... A traditional Southern staple for sale in decidedly un-Southern weather!

One often sees collards for sale along Pamlico Co. roadways (and, I suppose, across the North Carolina and the South in general) , particularly in the fall and winter.

Collard greens are typically boiled with some part of a pig (hog-jaw, ham-hock, fat-back etc.) and seasoned with a little vinegar, salt and "secret" ingredients according to the cook.

Personally, I have a hard time eating the durn things... But since they are a staple offering to guests at pot-lucks and dinner parties, I regularly have to gulp down at least a token amount in respect to my hosts.

Collard greens are also required eating on New Years day. I grew up eating black-eyed peas on New Years because they bring good luck for the new year, but at least around here one must also eat collards, which bring good fortune (in the monetary sense) in the new year.

Brrrrrr, it's COLD today!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

1.14- "Capt. Cecil" and Yellow-Shafted Northern Flicker

"Captain Cecil," tied up stern-to at the Garland Fulcher Seafood Co. docks on Raccoon Creek
Captain Cecil was tied stern-to the docks while crew pulled out, straightened and re-wound her warp cables this afternoon.

As you can see, all was calm in the creek, and yesterday's rain and clouds have departed.

Can anyone help me identify these birds?
Please drop me a comment or e-mail if you can help!

[OK, thanks to Keith Bruno and Raf for identifying this bird for me!]

I saw these two birds by the roadside in Minnessot Beach today, and was only able to grab about three drive-by shots of them...

One is seen flying away, while the other waited warily for me to pass by. I looked through my NatGeo Birds of North America guide, to no avail... (I need to find my Peterson's Guide)

[UPDATE: Keith Bruno dropped me a note identifying this as a "a flicker, possibly the yellow shafted variety"... Then, while I was writing this update, Raf from Port Townsend, WA dropped me a comment to the same effect... Yes indeedy, my NatGeo guide does have an illustration and description of the very bird as a Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus), "Yellow-shafted" variety... I had not looked carefully through the Woodpecker section because I spotted these birds hanging out on the ground, which seemed unlikely woodpecker behavior... various internet sources confirm that the Flicker, unlike other woodpeckers, forages on the ground for ants and such...

As the NatGeo guide describes them: "Two distinct groups occur: "Yellow-shafted Flicker" in the east and far north, and "Red-shafted Flicker" in the west.... brown, barred back; spotted underparts, with black crescent bib. White rump is conspicuous in flight [see my flight photo below]... "Yellow-shafted Flicker" has yellow wing lining and undertail color..."

Another new one for my life list and my photo life list, Yay!]


Monday, January 12, 2009

1.12- Confederate States Ship "Neuse" (ironclad)

The salvaged remains of the "C.S.S. Neuse," a Confederate Navy ironclad "ram," on display in Kinston, NC
(Click on image or here for full size)

Today I visited both the original (remains) and a modern full-size (158 foot) replica of the "C.S.S. Neuse," one of the Confederate Navy's ironclad "ram" vessels developed and built during the War Between the States (that's the "Civil War" to all you Yankees).

According to the dosant at the original "Neuse" museum and display, she is the only Confederate-flagged navy vessel above water... Apparently the "C.S.S. Neuse," for reasons over my head, is still considered a flagged vessel of the Confederate Navy, having something to do with the fact that the Yanks never claimed her.

Anyway, she has a fascinating story, and is certainly an important piece of naval architectural and technological history.

You can read more about her at the following sites, so I am not going to repeat the work of others on this posting:

Original "C.S.S. Neuse":

C.S.S. Neuse Gunboat Association
Wikipedia articles on the "C.S.S. Neuse" and the history of naval ironclads in general

The Replica "C.S.S. Neuse II":
C.S.S. Neuse Foundation
Naval Training Ship C.S.S. Neuse

I will have additional pictures of both the original and replica vessels on The Dinghy Dock tomorrow, but below is an over-all view of the replica... one of the guys walking around the replica (showing it to a couple of his buddies) told me he worked on mounting the smokestack:


Sunday, January 11, 2009

1.11- Flute making

(Click on image or here for full size)
Capt. Robbie chisels out a Native American flute he is building

Capt. Robbie took advantage of a rainy Sunday to work on a Native American style flute he is building. With winter weather cramping Capt. Robbie's sailing time, he has undertaken a woodworking project for his spare time.

Robbie is seen here in the workshop of Gil Fontes, a local artist and furniture designer/maker, at the Hodges Street Studio of Gil Fontes and Laura Turgeon, another local artist who does sketches drawings and paintings.

Here Robbie found all the right woodworking tools to begin carving his flute from walnut wood. Robbie works with a lot of wood, but his tools are mainly for hardwood floors, which he installs and refinishes as the owner of Olde South Hardwood Flooring.

See additional photos of Robbie at work here on "The Dinghy Dock."


Saturday, January 10, 2009

1.10- Fried digicam (SkyWatch Friday is prior post, below)

Uh-Oh! My little Kodak EasyShare Z612 seems a bit fried out.

It is terribly over-exposing photos, both in automatic mode and in manual exposure mode.

There are also horizontal lines running through the pictures (Click on image above for full size)

I'm going to have to research what might be wrong and see if it can be repaired.

I will try to borrow cameras and keep posting until the Kodak cures itself or gets repaired. Starting tomorrow I will be posting new pics with borrowed cameras, or I will post some "classics" (old pictures).


Thursday, January 8, 2009

01.08- Skywatch Friday - Sunset clouds over the Neuse

The already-set sun continues to illuminates clouds over the River Neuse, which clouds reflect the light back down into the waters
(Click on image or here for full size)

I took this picture on Dec. 4 of 2008, so my first SWF posting of the new year comes from the old one.

The view is looking SW up the Neuse River from the South Avenue waterfront.

In the foreground is the moribund fishing pier at the Neuse Suites Hotel.


I look forward to seeing the other Skywatch pictures from around the world on the other SWF sites listed at:


Wednesday, January 7, 2009

1.07- Dinghy Dry-Dock

The Dinghy Dock crosses mud where water normally allows small boats to tie up

Strong Southwesterly winds all day today, in the 15-30 knot range, have done their usual trick of blowing all the river and creek waters out into Pamlico Sound, leaving water levels extremely low.

A surfboard would have been about the only watercraft capable of reaching the Dinghy Dock this afternoon.

For my out-of-area readers, we don't get lunar tides in local waters, due to the protection of the outer banks islands separating Pamlico Sound from the Atlantic Ocean...

We only get "wind-tides"... Sustained Northeasterly winds push the Pamlico Sound waters up into the rivers and creeks, raising the water levels locally, while SWy winds do the opposite.

When the mud flats appear under the Dinghy Dock, the water is about as low as it's gonna go.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

1.06- "The Noise is Back in Town (Hall, that is)"

An exodus of "pro-live-music / Tiki Bar" supporters towards the Exit after Town Board of Commissioners voted to kill a previously-approved "Stakeholders" group
[This posting has been edited since it was first posted... see note at bottom]

This evening the Oriental Board of Commissioners held their monthly board meeting.

A significant part of the public audience was there to hear an agenda item concerning the Town's "noise ordinance." (See my prior posting regarding the noise issue before the Board's meeting last month)

After other town business, the Board got to the seemingly controversial "noise ordinance" issue... whether the Town should adopt a more modern decibel-level-based ordinance in place of its ancient "nuisance" ordinance.

There was some discussion among the Mayor and Board members about the fact that at last month's meeting the Board had unanimously voted to appoint a "stakeholders' group"...

The Mayor started off the discussion by bringing up the lack of any definition of how such a group would be selected to tackle this "cumbersome issue," and Commissioner David Cox added that indeed the Board had not even defined the tasks or time-frame for any treatment of the noise issue by such a group.

Cox then moved to rescind the "stakeholders group" concept, noting that he had a "hard time seeing how this tack might help." Commissioner Nancy Inger seconded Cox' motion, and the Board then held a discussion of the motion.

Mayor Bill Sage opined that "[Cox] is right," regarding deficiencies in the stakeholder concept... Sage explained that he had initially resisted the idea of a stakeholder committee because the public has had opportunities for input on the matter and because such groups are not very efficient methods for developing policy, he had nonetheless accepted the idea as a way to give at least 6 persons a chance to contribute to the process through a stakeholder committee.

Cox explained that he was not "trying to ram something through," but that an ill-defined "citizens advisory committee" would not be an ideal engine for drafting policy decisions... "we were elected to do this stuff," Cox said, implying that relegating responsibility on the issue to an ill-defined committee was something of a cop-out.

A majority of the Board members present (Commissioner Candy Bohmert was absent) expressed reservations about the efficiency of such a group for reaching any decision regarding the Town's noise ordinance...

Mayor Sage offered "If you want efficiency, I can draft [a noise ordinance proposal] and get it to you next week," to which Commissioner Cathy Kellam noted "I've already done that," adding that she now believes a "[stakeholders group] would increase divisiveness" in the community over the issue of noise regulation.

Commissioner Inger noted that a "complicated committee only detracts, is inefficient... [and] we have the resources we can call upon to come up with a proposal," referring to sound experts and musicians who have offered to help the Board determine reasonable noise levels.

Cox' motion to eliminate the "stakeholders" concept was unanimously adopted by the Board members who were present, and it seemed to me that the Mayor (who votes only in cases of tie votes among Board members) had also come to favor the rescission...(though the Mayor has since informed me I am mistaken)

Whether for good or ill, clearly a case of "We voted for it before we voted against it" ...

Later in the meeting, Cox moved to adopt a proposed noise ordinance he had drafted. Cox stressed that this was a procedural step that would put the issue officially "on the table" for discussion and consideration (strictly speaking, parliamentary procedure under Robert's Rules requires adoption of such a motion before discussion can begin on a proposed ordinance)... The motion was not seconded.

More "live music vs. noise" drama is expected in the coming month or months... I'll try to cover it here, but be sure to check out additional coverage at (in alphabetical order):

Pamlico Ink,
Pamlico News, and
Town Dock.Net

[Note: I have edited this posting since I first posted it.

It seems I misread some of the subtler aspects of the issues discussed at the meeting, and even misread some of my own notes when I first attempted to describe the action. I'm not a journalist, and I don't pretend to have any standard of accuracy in any of my blog depictions of life in and around this town and county, or in general.

My blogs are primarily about pictures of my beautiful and interesting surroundings here in Oriental, Pamlico County and down-east NC.

But I decided I had to include the noise ordinance as a topic in my blog because the blog is really about life in this town, and believe me there is no avoiding this topic living in this town right now.

And always remember: I WELCOME ANYONE TO POST NON-ABUSIVE AND NON-CURSING COMMENTS TO ANY POST, BY NAME OR ANONYMOUSLY to correct any mistakes of fact or to denounce, reject, disown or explain away any opinions I may express.]

Saturday, January 3, 2009

01.03- The "Oxford Tavern," D.C.

(Click on image or here for full size)
A patron (on right) flirts with wait-staff in front of the "Zoo Bar Cafe," formerly the "Oxford Tavern" on Connecticut Avenue, D.C.

While delivering my brother Fred back to D.C. after his visit to Oriental, we went to see this band (seen through the window) at the "Zoo Bar Cafe."

When I used to go to this place with my High School friends (the drinking age for beer and wine, and for going to bars, was 18 back then), it was formally named "The Oxford Tavern."

It was, however, universally referred to as "The Zoo Bar" due to the fact that it is directly across Connecticut Avenue from the entrance to the National Zoo. The menus and a sign over the entrance were all there was that indicated it was in fact The Oxford Tavern.

Some years after I left D.C. the place was formally re-named to what everyone called it anyway, "The Zoo Bar."

The band was great, and it was fun being back in the old stompin' grounds.


Thursday, January 1, 2009

01.01- An auspicious beginning...

The annual "Better than Football" New Year's Regatta fleet heads downwind towards the Adams Creek Marker, as seen under the genoa sail of the "Hirondelle"

Happy New Year!

Sailing is the best way to start any year, of course... I took today's photos from the deck of the Hirondelle, a Pearson 390, during the annual Oriental "Better than Football" regatta.

You might not believe it from the photos showing so many boats in front of us, but the Hirondelle and crew took FIRST PLACE IN THE RACE!!! I will explain about our winning techniques below. Secrets all sailors should learn.

BUT FIRST, some more pics from the race:

(Click on image or here for full size)
Captain Dave (on left) and two thirds of the crew... First Mate Liz at the helm, well-covered against the fresh breeze, and Cabin Boy Fred (my brother) waiting for orders, while yours truly
Boatswain Ben snaps the pic after dropping and securing the main

Here are a couple of shots of the fleet on the down-wind leg towards Adams Creek:

(Click on images for full size)

(Click on images for full size)

(Click on images for full size)
OK, ready for the secret of how to win when almost the entire fleet is ahead of you??

Pick a race where the winners are drawn by lots at the post-race meeting!

Best when its cold outside, and hot soup and drinks at M&M's Restaurant accompany the judging: