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 31, 2009

5.31- Party Barge

(click image for full size)

Saw this "party-barge" pontoon boat crossing the River Neuse... looked like they were going back to Oriental Harbor after a day fishing and recreating in Adams' Creek or elsewhere on the other side of the Neuse.

It also appeared the three young men in the bow were put to work sorting and cleaning the catch on the way.


Friday, May 29, 2009

5.29- A very "down-east" garage

Some critical tools for life in Pamlico County. This shed is near the head of a gut leading into Smith's Creek near Oriental.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

5.27- Wide Load, Oriental style

"Sagras" makes her way towards the Wildlife Ramp and life afloat

Driving up Midyette Street today, the way was blocked by this tri-maran sailboat being slowly hauled towards the Wildlife Ramp to be launched.

I couldn't stick around to watch the whole process, but apparently the outstretched trees, mailboxes, utility pole guy wires and many other hazards along Midyette St. were overcome, as I saw the vessel anchored in Oriental Harbor this evening.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

5.26- Summer storm patterns

Afternoon thunderstorms move towards Pamlico Sound

We are beginning to get the type of afternoon scattered thunderstorms that will become regular parts of the routine around here as summer progresses.


Monday, May 25, 2009

5.25- Reuben's second sailboat

Turns out Reuben got a second sailboat for his birthday, and this one looks like it can actually sail with folks on board.

"School's Out" is a 23 foot Hunter.


Sunday, May 24, 2009

5.24- Reuben's first sailboat

Reuben has been talkin' and talkin' about getting a sailboat, so I made him this, his first sailboat, for his birthday.

It is seen here floating (barely) while tied up alongside a kayak at the Oriental town Dinghy Dock.

The boat boasts a teak-planked deck, and belowdecks a V-berth, saloon, navigation station, engine room and even a head.

She is currently rigged as a uni-sail, but plans are to add a jib.


Monday, May 18, 2009

5.19- Main Street submerged

Raccoon Creek covers Main Street

Raccoon Creek has risen to cover Main St. and partially cover Hodges St. (which is actually the primary street in "downtown" Oriental) one block over.

The usual routine when strong NEy winds last a day or more...

But don't worry, streets are clear up-stream from Main,
so rush-hour traffic should not be unduly delayed.

See some of my archived pictures of Hodges St. being covered by Raccoon Creek during NEy winds last September here and here.

Friday, May 15, 2009

5.15- Fuel slick on Raccoon Creek

Fuel slick on Raccoon Creek

Went out sailing this evening... on the way back in we motored down Raccoon Creek (Oriental's own version of "Ego Alley"), buzzed Town Dock, then motored back out into the harbor.

All along the way the boat cut a trail through a fuel sheen coating the creek... I guess this sort of thing is inevitable in a busy waterway, but I have seen the creek so coated with alarming (to me anyway) regularity.

It is a bit disheartening, knowing that these fuel spills immediately enter the nearby creeks and marshy banks that are so important to the local fisheries.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

5.13- Ponce's ducks

Ponce's ducks out for a walk

Some of the ducks that live on Ponce's property on Raccoon Creek... They live a couple blocks away, but seem to like walking up and down my street every once in a while, checking out the neighborhood.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

5.12- The smallest and biggest boats in the harbor

The "American Star" in Oriental Harbor, as seen from the un-named Bauer Classic 10' Dinghy

This cruise boat comes through Oriental twice a year... she cruises out of Baltimore and points north during the summer season, then goes down to Florida for the winter.

Stops here for a few hours on each North-South trip.


5.11- The water is back

"Captain Ralph" cruising Oriental Harbor

What seemed like about ten days to two weeks of constant and often heavy southwesterly winds, a front passed through bringing in cool winds from the north.

All that SWy wind had been keeping local water levels very low (all the water gets blown out into Pamlico Sound), which in turn kept Tow Boat U.S. quite busy round here.

You can tell the water levels are actually up high today by looking at the town's "Dinghy Dock" in the foreground. NEy winds blow the water into the river and creeks from Pamlico Sound.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

5.10- Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) and MOM!!

An Osprey takes flight with a meal

Happy Mothers day to all Moms out there!
(my, so many of my friends and peers are moms, I cant begin to list them...
But I will give a special NEW MOM shout out to
Frances Hawener Cook!
Way to go Fran!)

but ESPECIALLY to my own Mom!

Happy Mothers' Day!
Now that is a cool Mom!

...Now, so far as Osprey go, it is difficult to tell a male from a female, but I'm gonna declare this Osprey I saw today to be a Mom!
(Click on any image to enlarge)

She was perching and munching on a fresh-caught dinner, no doubt eating for more than one... When I beached the boat to take photos, the sails started luffing and Momma Osprey carried her dinner away to a more private dining venue...

Even minus the head, that fish is a good percentage of her own weight, and she carries it with no apparent effort at all (and with only one leg!)... And she no doubt acquired it by swooping down and snagging it live from the water!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

5.9- Steel-wool fireworks

Improvised fireworks

Did you know that if you tie a piece of non-soaped steel wool to the end of a wire, light the steel wool on fire and swing the wire around, it does this?

I learned of this tonight.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

5.6- "Il Gatto"

"Il Gatto" walking up on us

Reuben (on right) and I set on a mission to find a sailboat and crew to go sailing this afternoon. We were successful.

While out sailing in 15-20 knot winds on the River Neuse, we ended up on the same tack as "Il Gatto" (a catboat, of course.)

As every sailor knows, a sailboat race is defined as any two boats sailing in the same direction.

"Il Gatto" soon began toying with us like we were "uno topo." We trimmed the sails, put almost 500 lbs. of human ballast on the windward rails, trying to put off for as long as possible the inevitability of "Il Gatto" passing us by:


Saturday, May 2, 2009

5.02- Sailboat Racing

... Just don't ask about the marker-piling splinters or the dislodged stanchion on the forward deck.

I was thrilled to accept an invitation to be a fill-in crew member on "Tom Tom Taxi," this very cool Thompson Yacht Design T8r, 8 meter racing sailboat. We sailed in two buoy-races today. (that's her captain in the photo, not me)

It was an exhilarating experience (scared the *#%& out of me at times, to be honest)...

The Capt. and 5 crew on a 26 foot long, open-transom, kevlar-sailed, carbon-fiber hull etc. etc. pure racing boat... Winds were in the 20+ knot range. Pretty hot.

This sailboat heeled over, pointed into the wind and boogied like none I've ever experienced, thats for dang sure (for whatever that is worth.)

I couldn't very well take a camera with me on this trip, as everything in this boat is subject to sudden drenching, and usually gets it.

Never mind that keeping this wind-rocket under control leaves little time for even the lowliest of crew/ballast to take snapshots... And it is full-contact blood and bruises action on deck during tacks and jibes.

You can see some pictures of this particular boat design in action at the Thompson Yacht Design page for the T8 ( but I haveta say, the TYD pictures make the whole thing look calm, relaxing and non-physical... I can assure you the experience of racing her is none of those things.)

When I saw the boat rules inscribed on a sticker pasted to the boom, I decided to do my best to comply...

I found out that once you obey the first rule, the other three follow naturally in accordance with instincts of self-preservation:

Well, would say more, but it has been a long long day of wind, sun, water and sailing (cue violins...)

Friday, May 1, 2009

5.01- Windex installation

Captain Robbie descending after installing a Windex on top of the mast
(Click on image to enlarge)

Sailing season preparations continue... Today Capt. Robbie installed a Windex on his Catalina 25, "Coriolanus."

For my non-sailing readers, the Windex is the weather-vane looking contraption on top of the mast... I lets you know the direction of the wind (the apparent wind, anyway) and the two little tabs on either side of the arrow thingy let you know where the "no-sail zone" is at any given moment... See, you can't sail a sailboat directly towards where the wind is coming from, and can only sail so-many-degrees (varies by boat and other conditions) "close to the wind"... If you sail too directly into the wind, the sails will not be able to create the high/low pressure differential that is the basis of sail power... and you then find yourself within...the "No-Sail Zone"

If the "Coriolanus" were sailing and the Windex was as appears in the picture, she would be sailing on a "starboard tack, close reach," meaning sailing nearly as much towards the wind as she can, and with the wind coming over the right-hand side of the boat (as you face forward on the boat).

Capt. Robbie ascended the mast in a bosun's chair, drilled holes, mounted the hardware, and eventually was lowered down.

I dropped by to lend my assistance... luckily for Capt. Robbie there were four of us down on the boat and the pier, splicing main-braces in the beating sun, and giving Capt. Robbie as much helpful advice on how to install the thing as he could possibly wish for (and maybe even a little extra on top of that.)