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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Thursday, April 30, 2009

4.30- SkyWatch Friday - Sunset over Green's Creek

Sunset over Green's Creek and Kershaw Creek

My SkyWatch Friday pic today comes from last night's sunset.

The view is from the NC Hwy 55 bridge over Smith's Creek, looking up into Green's Creek (marked with channel markers, then bears off to the left at the top of the pic) and Kershaw Creek (branching off to the right, just under where the sun would be if you could see it.)

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


Tuesday, April 28, 2009

4.28- Land-Line

A bow line is at the ready, just in case she starts to drift away

As I have said several times lately, it is indeed sailing season.

Today's picture shows a smart vessel with fresh bottom-paint and other last-minute maintenance while "on the hard" at Clancey's Marina, on Camp Creek at the confluence of Camp, Smith's and Green's creeks.


Sunday, April 26, 2009

4.26- Crab and Shrimp Boil

Eating crabs by lamp-light
(Click on images for full size)

I went to a crab and shrimp boil & party at a friend's house here in Oriental tonight.

There were no nutcrackers or wooden mallets, so everyone improvised to get the crab meat out. The crab was delicious, and worth the struggle.

The shrimp were much easier to eat, and were also delicious.

The locally-caught (fewer food-miles and much more flavor) crabs (live) and local shrimp (de-headed) came fresh from Endurance Seafood, just across Smith't Creek from Oriental.

Both were cooked up in the same pot by our host, and seasoned with plenty of Old Bay (see pic at right... click to enlarge.)

As you can see, cooking live crabs is a matter of who has the bigger claws.



Saturday, April 25, 2009

4.25- Tai Chi at Lou-Mac Park

Tai Chi in Lou-Mac Park, Oriental, NC, on the banks of the River Neuse

Found these folks this morning doing some peaceful exercise at the beginning of what proved to be a beautiful day.

Later on (about 6:00 this evening) I went sailing in the 10' Bauer Classic dinghy... I sailed upwind out of Raccoon Creek, then up into Smith's Creek, then out back under the briodge, into the River Neuse

I reached Oriental Marker No. 1 in the Neuse, then tacked onto a course towards Oriental No. 3...

On the way back towards the harbor and Raccoon Creek I was able to set long tacks on beam- and close-reaches towards Pecan Grove, then run wing-and-wing ROARING (3.8 knots?) into Oriental Harbor, then jibe through the four or five anchored sailboats, while avoiding running over kayakers and being run over by larger sports-fisher power-boats coming in and out of Raccoon Creek/Oriental Harbor.

I passed downwind of the OYC berth and buzzed Town Dock with an almost-but-not-quite-too-late jibe, then patiently tacked back up into "the teeth of the wind," as they say, back to the OYC finger-pier...

I can definitely confirm my respectful comments about the Capt. and crew of "Red Baron" in my prior posting. I had a great time mimicking their maneuvers, but can't say my efforts were quite so tight as "Red Baron."

... Now I have been reading a bit on-line about the philosophy of Tai-Chi related arts, I was struck by the parallelism of some of the core beliefs with my personal experiences on my short sailing journey today...

... yin-yang ... movement leads to tranquility... tranquility leads to movement, etc... water, fire, wood, metal and earth result, then become diffused ... Creating Harmony...


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

4.21- Sailing School

"Red Baron" sails the narrow confines of Raccoon Creek

Sailing season is definitely here!

Today I saw one of the trademark-red boats of the Oriental School of Sailing practicing some quick-jibes (above) and quick-tacks between the commercial trawlers lining Raccoon Creek.

We have been experiencing 15-20 mph winds out of the South/Southwest today, so it was a bit too rough for these guys to sail out on the River Neuse, but a perfect day for practicing quick maneuvers in Raccoon Creek and Oriental Harbor...

The wind was blowing straight up the creek towards Town Dock (you can see a trimaran tied up starboard-to the town's FREE public boat-dock [up to 48 hr.s per month, per boat ;);)] where the Hodges St. causeway blocks the head of Raccoon Creek off of Oriental Harbor)

The wind direction was perfect for practicing running and jibing up into the creek, then quick-tacking back upwind to get back into the relatively-open waters of the Oriental Harbor anchorage and Smith's creek (for OSC boats, but check charts, mast and bridge height before going up Smith's, Green's and Kershaw Creeks like they do).

The strong winds out on the River Neuse today were abated a bit in the harbor and Raccoon Creek, thanks to Windmill and Wiggins' Points to the southwest, but were brisk enough to test a sailor's salt jibing and tacking between the commercial trawlers lining the creek (see the banner photo at the top of the blog for a view straight up the creek, same direction the wind was blowing today - though there were no rafting trawlers today, they were tied up on both sides of the creek.)

The "Red Baron" captain and crew did an impressive job... though there was some moments of perhaps-over-heavy heeling, that is easily explained by the squirrely winds coming over Chadwick Point before crashing into and swirling around in Raccoon Creek.

Monday, April 20, 2009

4.20- Bud

Bud overboard

Yesterday Bill was laid to rest in the waters of the River Neuse near Oriental.

We'll miss you, Bob.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

4.16- Skywatch Friday - April showers on the way

Looks like some weather is moving in
(Click image to enlarge)

Today's Skywatch Friday picture comes from this past Monday April 13th. Rain, thunderstorms, rain and more storms was was forecast for Tuesday into Wednesday (correctly as it turned out: see the rainy skies in my Tuesday posting, below), but Monday was a fresh spring day.

The cumulus clouds came in from the west like a vast army during the day Monday...

The rain and thunder sure did come all day Tuesday and into Wednesday morning, and now we can look forward to explosive growth in local gardens and farm fields...

We can also expect less pleasant explosive growth in the many patches of standing water left throughout the area as warmer sunny days approach - Yes, the mosquito larvae are sure to be active in the wake of the rains, and folks around here will not be surprised if the Culicidae make their '09 mass debut this weekend.

(I have noticed a few skeeters around here and there already, but I haven't needed to purchase any DEET yet, so they have not really officially arrived)

Well, and so it goes... April showers bring May flowers and Summer bugs. At least the dreaded flying bloodsuckers are a harbinger of "The Season" around here, and will be closely followed by swarms (we hope) of Aliens...

Indeed, even on Monday, I spotted a couple of land-borne Aliens on the Dinghy Dock snapping photos of the Point Pride Seafood Co. trawlers docked on the other side of Raccoon Creek... we have also been seeing increasing numbers of water-borne Aliens at Town Dock, the local marinas and at anchor in Oriental Harbor - as seen in background, below :
(click image to enlarge)


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


Tuesday, April 14, 2009

4.14- Foul-Weather Gear

Commercial fishing crew working the River Neuse

Local commercial fisherman, Capt. Keith Bruno, sets gill-nets along the banks of the River Neuse between Windmill Point and Wiggins Point. (See map below)

Helping the Capt. are his two sons, Zack and Ben. Ben is on the bow tossing over the gill-net as Capt. Bruno backs away from the anchor buoy at the end of the net (yellow object in water, left side of photo.)

It was a rainy day in the area... I was lucky to see the Bruno crew cruising the river during a lull in the rainfall. Of course I got to get back in the car when the rain started pouring, while the Brunos motored off into the rain to set five more nets before the day was done.

Make sure to drop by Capt. Bruno's "Endurance Seafood" fish-house (and chicken-house, peacock-house, duck-house, dog-house and people-house) next to Pecan Grove Marina during the Oriental Boat Show this weekend (see boat show web site here)...

You will be able to tour Bruno's other commercial fishing vessels (they are quite a bit bigger than the above Carolina Skiff), and it's a

great place to get some local "Fish so fresh it bites!"

...as the motto on the Endurance Seafood sign along Hwy 55 (just over the bridge from Oriental, see red marker on map below) proclaims.

You can read more about Capt. Bruno at my Oct. 14, 2008 posting, "Endurance - Part One." (Part two is still in pre-production)

View Windmill and Wiggins points in a larger map


Sunday, April 12, 2009

4.12- Easter's Pagan Side

Happy Springtime Festivities!

Some of the traditional secular / pagan symbols of the festivities accompanying the first full moon after the vernal equinox, the Egg and the Rabbit.

These ones are at the corner of Hodges St. and Broad St. (NC Hwy55) in front of the Oriental Steamer Restaurant and Tavern.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

4.11- "Peace" is back in town

"Peace" is back in town
(click image to enlarge)
"Peace" a gigantic James Wharram designed, marconi-schooner-rigged catamaran, staying in the Oriental anchorage the past few days.

Below is a photo of Peace I took almost exactly a year ago, anchored in almost exactly the same spot... On April 11, 2008, while "Peace" was in transit back up North after wintering in the Bahamas... Co-Captain Annie is waving "Ahoy":


Friday, April 10, 2009

4.10- Hebdomada Sancta

Holy Week Agenda at the Saint Thomas Episcopal Church in Oriental

According to the book of Mathew, Chapter 27:
...27Then the soldiers of the governor took Jesus into the common hall, and gathered unto him the whole band of soldiers.

28And they stripped him, and put on him a scarlet robe.

29And when they had platted a crown of thorns, they put it upon his head, and a reed in his right hand: and they bowed the knee before him, and mocked him, saying, Hail, King of the Jews!

30And they spit upon him, and took the reed, and smote him on the head.

31And after that they had mocked him, they took the robe off from him, and put his own raiment on him, and led him away to crucify him...

... 50Jesus, when he had cried again with a loud voice, yielded up the ghost.

51And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent;

52And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose,

53And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.

54Now when the centurion, and they that were with him, watching Jesus, saw the earthquake, and those things that were done, they feared greatly, saying, Truly this was the Son of God.


Thursday, April 9, 2009

4.09- Common Merganser

A female Common Merganser (Mergus merganser) cruises the River Neuse

This duck was cruising solo just off the South Avenue waterfront.

I have now added the female Common Merganser to my life list... Back in February I added the male and female Red-breasted Merganser.

My bird guide indicates both Mergansers spring and summer breeding ranges are primarily in Canada and the Great Lakes...

The guide notes that Red-breasted Mergansers winter in sheltered coastal waters (where I found the pair in February), but that the Common Merganser's winter range extends only as far south as the Ohio river valley, with year-round ranges from the Chesapeake to Newfoundland on the East coast.

This gal apparently has not read the bird guide.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

4.08- Shooting target

Private target range at the end of Miller Rd.
Every once in a while I drive down one of the many dead-end roads in the county, just to see what's along them and at the end.

Many of them simply end in the middle of farm fields, or at tree lots behind the farm fields.

At the end of this one, I found this well-used shooting target stand. See map below.

View Miller Road in a larger map


Tuesday, April 7, 2009

4.07- Camps

Camps sign on NC Hwy. 55 at Bridgeton

There are a bunch of camps right near Oriental, Arapahoe and Dawson's Creek, as this sign outside of New Bern indicates.

The camps won't be really up and running until Summer, but some of them are apparently having spring break sessions... Several friends who work in Oriental's hotel & restaurant sector tell me that last weekend was a "camp weekend," meaning parents bringing their kids to town and dropping them off for camp.

During the summer, there are regular "camp weekends" at the beginning and end of the multiple "semesters."

Camps Seagull (boys) and Seafarer (girls) are sort of the premiere camps... I have heard tales of kids being flown in and out by helicopter, though most kids are from mini-van families and many are from pick-up truck families.

Lots of the kids come from other parts of the state (Raleigh, Charlotte, etc.) and from up and down the eastern seaboard, though I have met plenty of locals who have fond memories of summers at the various camps.

Sailing and other water activities are de rigeur at the local camps... several are on the River Neuse , and all are near the river and creeks.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

4.05- Noodly appendages...

Pine tree procreation

Yellow-green pine tree pollen has covered all things land and sea lately.

Could the Noodly appendages of the pine trees procreative parts be additional evidence that the universe was indeed created by His Noodliness the Flying Spaghetti Monster?

Learn more about His Noodly Goodness, see the Official Site of the Church of the FSM...

...or read a briefer summary on Wikipedia (but be aware that the Wikipedia article appears to have been written by non-Pastafarians.)