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, November 29, 2009

11.29- FREE: one lightly used head

An "Ecolet" composting head at town dock

Oriental residents have long debated the pros and cons of offering public restroom facilities for visiting cruisers and aliens...

Today a cruiser seems to have weighed in by offering up this fully-functional "Ecolet" composting head, left next to the public trash and recycling bins by Oriental's public town dock.

No doubt the unidentified head-dropper has opted to install a "Nature's Head" composting head on board, and discarded the bulky Ecolet... a guess, based on the fact that there is an authorized distributor of the fine "Nature's Head" products here in Oriental...

While Sun-Mar has apparently dropped the "Ecolet" model name, they still offer a range of composting heads.

Whether it's a "Sun-Mar" a "Nature's Head" or an "Air Head," composting heads are the way to go on your cruising sailboat... few parts to fail, no toxic chemicals, compact waste storage... and they produce good fertilizer for your on-shore ornamental gardens!

Or you can safely empty them into local sewer treatment systems via any on-shore water closet.

And no, they don't stink. In my experience, holding tanks stink a lot more, never mind the inevitable pump-out catastrophes.

For my non-sailing readers, please pardon this somewhat scatological posting... as a wise sailor once explained to a me when I was yet a tyro:

"Sailors always end up talking about shit!"


Saturday, November 28, 2009

11.28- Buzzard Bay / Lukens Cemetery

Lukens Cemetery on South River, Carteret Co., NC

Today while boating around with my brother, I dropped by Lukens Cemetery on the banks of South River.

Formerly known as "Buzzard Bay Cemetery," this small cemetery once served the small, remote and now extinct community of Lukens on the eastern side of the South River. (see map below)

The oldest dates I could find among the many well-worn markers was Samuel Pittman's birth date of 1823 (died 1848) (at right, click to enlarge)

Lukens is still an active burial ground, and there were gravestones dating to at least 2006.

It is clearly a well-visited memorial, despite its remote location and limited access (by water) many plots were decorated with recently-left flowers and other symbols of endearment and remembrance left by relatives and loved ones.

Also among wooden and stone monuments were a number of graves of Confederate soldiers (on left, click to enlarge.)

Visible in the background at left are some folks from three boats anchored in South River... they had dinghied ashore to check out the cemetery.

South River is a popular anchorage for boats going up and down the ICW... It is a rustic, quiet and dark spot to park overnight, and the folks who want to avoid the hustle and bustle of Oriental often drop their hook here, a good seven miles across the Neuse River from this busy metropolis.

While the South River anchorage and Lukens Cemetery can be a peaceful place, BEWARE OF HUNTERS WHEN GOING ASHORE AT LUKENS!

The cemetery is on land of "Open Ground Farms," the largest farm in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River (see green shaded area on map below)...

While 35,000 of Open Ground's 45,000 acres are active crop-land, Lukens island is largely comprised of pine timber forest, and is mostly used for hunting leases... so when deer and ducks are in season, there are usually active hunters around.

Just make sure you stay on the cemetery grounds (which you would want to do anyway due to some thick undergrowth surrounding the site.)

Lukens Cemetery as seen from the water of South River... there is a small-boat dock to the right of the grounds (click to enlarge) :

Location of Lukens Cemetery on South River, Carteret County, NC:

View Lukens Cemetery, South River in a larger map


Friday, November 27, 2009

11.27- "Melodeon"... and thinkin' of Joe

Melodeon, home port Halifax, spreads her wings while tied up to town dock in Oriental
(click any image to enlarge)

Melodeon, a steel-hulled junk-rigged three-master, was largely built by her owners... something like thirty years of welding.

The distinctive sails are constructed from awning material the owners got from a friend in that business.

As I was shooting, I noticed Melinda, from TownDock.Net aboard, taking notes and pictures... (seen at right leaning on the railing for a shot as TownDock.Net staffers loiter on the dock)

That means Melodeon is sure to be featured in TownDock.Net's "Shipping News" column, so check back here and I'll have the link as soon as they publish. I look forward to the story.

Melodeon has started a travel blog here, though there are only three entries at this point... check back for updates of her voyage.

Below you can see the ship's dog, Ginger Bear, hamming it up to the many visitors who have come by town dock to check out yet another of Oriental's interesting itinerant vessels:

click to enlarge

ODP wants to give a big shout-out to Capt. Joe, laid up in the hospital after a scary A&E down to the Bight at Cape Lookout...

Get Better, Joe!!!!
we're all pullin' for ya

(and for you, too, Shari... Capt. Ralph has proposed, and all agree, that you are henceforth to be known as "Salty."


Thursday, November 26, 2009

11.26 - Stuffed silly

Another Laura Turgeon original artwork
(click to enlarge)

... Having renowned local artist Laura Turgeon as a guest means not only her delightful presence during the event, but also a signature thank-you doodle, suitable for framing.

This is the latest addition to the collection.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

11.22- Ben's Chili Bowl revisited

Redskins vs. Dallas at Ben's

Went to Washington (the big one, not the little one) to bring my brother down to the ONC for the holidays.

Of course, while in DC I had to make my semi-annual pilgrimage to Ben's Chili Bowl for a chili-half-smoke.

We watched the heart-breaking end of the Redskins-Cowboys game... several Ben's employees were actually openly rooting for Dallas, which blew my mind.

See some of my prior photos of Ben's:


Saturday, November 21, 2009

11.21- PEA cans

Gill-boots make pecan gathering more comfortable after recent rains

It is the pecan-gathering time of year in these parts.

I approached the woman featured in today's photo, and asked if she minded me taking some shots of her gathering "p'CAWNS," as they are called in Texas.

She said I couldn't do that, but she wouldn't mind if I took pictures of her gathering "PEA-cans."

However you say it, they sure make great pies! Not bad straight-up, either.

I've seen a variety of tools and methods employed on this task... some folks are ok with the bend-down-pick-up-place-in-bag method, while the more serious gatherers use tools as featured today.

This woman was using a "slinky" style gatherer... push it down on top of a nut, and the nut springs into the slinky trap.

Others use hamster-style balls on the end of a stick... push it along, the nuts pop through the wire into the ball.

I have also seen a number of sticks with "grabbers" on the end, linked to a lever on the handle of the stick... grab the nut, dump it in the bucket without bending over.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

11.18- Frequent Stop

Cable trucks at South Ave. / Lou-Mac Park waterfront.
The noon hour usually brings at least a couple of out-of-town work trucks to the parking spots on South Avenue facing the river Neuse.

This being a rather small town, many contractors, utility workers, cable installers, etc. come from a ways away to service local homes and businesses... those crews who are frugal or enjoy a lunchtime view find this a nice spot for brown-bagging.

Many locals and aliens alike come by and park along here facing the river throughout each day... some stop for five minutes, some for hours...

It is a soothing place... the ever-changing light on the river, the open skies, the variety of human and animal activity playing out upon the three-mile-wide expanse of river.

Some folks get out and walk around the South Ave. breakwater and the diminutive but comfortable and scenic Lou-Mac Park and fishing pier... but many more simply sit in their vehicles chatting, daydreaming, listening to the radio, or putting their seats back for a siestita.

I often am parked here, watching the river, birds, boats, barges, USMC aircraft, fishers, fish, dolphins, and even a mink or two, while I am at least pretending to read a newspaper or my latest book.

On rainy days like today, of course, most folks are satisfied with the view from behind the windshield.

Today I cruised by to watch the incoming rain as it moved up the Neuse towards Oriental.

You can't really see much of the river in today's photo, but to the left of the trucks you can see one sailboat heading into Whittaker Creek, and one Pelican looking for its own noon-time meal. (click image to enlarge)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

11.17- Gaff-rigged weathervane

Weathervane near Smith's Creek.
But of course, you don't need a weathervane to know which way the wind blows... (apologies to Dylan)

Boats at anchor work just as well. (background - click image to enlarge)

The gaff-rigged sloop weathervane in today's photo is located along Smith's creek near Oriental.

You can order one just like it from Country Weathervanes.com

"The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails." -William Arthur Ward

Sunday, November 15, 2009

11.15- Horn cleats

Cleats on the Dinghy Dock

Several days of continuous N'y to NE'y winds of course means local high waters as Pamlico Sound gets blown up into the river Neuse.

As a result, most of Oriental's public Dinghy Dock lies just beneath the surface, with only the cleats poking up, doing their best imitation of the anchored boats in the harbor.

NOAA indicates winds will continue from the North to Northeast until at least next weekend, so there should be some extra z-axis room in the harbor this week.

A lot of people ask me where I look for weather (it being a common topic among boaters)...

I always direct folks to NOAA's hour-by-hour Interactive Graphical Marine Forecast page for Newport/Morehead City.

You can mouse-over the times and the map will show wind strengths and direction (and other weather conditions) in Pamlico Sound and the Neuse River, with color-codes and helpful little vectors.

I find it is better at predicting what will be happening right on the Neuse River, with hourly changes, while textual forecasts for Pamlico Sound and Morehead City might not.

Check it out at : http://www.weather.gov/forecasts/wfo/sectors/mhx.php

And they have the same thing available for other places around the country.


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

11.11- Lost Maple

Norwegian Maple tree on Kershaw Road
As I rounded a familiar bend on Kershaw Rd., I was awed at the sight of this vibrant maple among the drab pines dominating the roadside.

The lone explosion of fall color along the drab pine roadside reminded me of "Lost Maples," a small state park in the Texas Hill Country, the only place I saw real-no-kidding fall foliage in TX during my 20 years there...

Even on this gloomy day, this maple actually glowed... I continued driving past, thinking "I should come by tomorrow and take a picture."

Then I thought about how we might see 30+ mph winds tonight as the remnants of former-hurricane Ida pass over... I stopped, u-turned and snapped some shots.

One of the homeowners came out as I was snapping... she said the tree hadn't been in full glory this year because we haven't had a frost yet.

The leaves on the ground, she assured me, have all fallen since yesterday... all will have fallen tonight or tomorrow night.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

11.10 - Southern exposure

Solar array atop Hwy. 55 bridge over Oriental harbor

The solar panels that power the red and green passage lights on the NC State Road 1308 bridge across the mouth of Smith's Creek onto the river Neuse...

The solar panels face south, towards Adam's Creek on the other side of the river Neuse... Adam's Creek is the southern continuation of the Intracoastal Waterway leading to Key West.

The anchored boats face into the north-easterly winds that have brought us a taste of autumn and elevated water levels as the wind blows Yankee air and Pamlico Sound waters up into the river.

Tomorrow morning the boats will head south down the Adam's Creek ditch to Beaufort, Morehead City or Swansboro... or maybe they will stay at anchor and wait for the rains from the remnant former-hurricane Ida to pass before weighing.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

11.7- "Low Rider" under way

Low Rider's mascot keeps constant vigil
(click images to enlarge)

I have featured the Chesapeake Bay crabber-cum-party-boat Low Rider in a couple recent posts...

Today I got to go cruising aboard her, on Green's and Smith's Creeks.

"Nemo," the stuffed fish, kept watch from the pilot-house.

Here is another shot from inside the pilot-house:

While "Nemo" was on duty, "Chico" enjoyed the ride as pampered passanger... some sun, a tennis ball, and what a view:


Friday, November 6, 2009

10.6- "Peace" headed south

Co-Capt.s Annie and Neville of Peace take on provisions

The James Wharram designed, marconi-schooner-rigged catamaran Peace continues to grace Oriental harbor as she does twice a year during the north-south migration seasons. Currently headed south, of course, towards the islands.

See my previous post of "Peace" in the harbor in April 2009 on her way north... the posting includes an additional photo of her in the harbor in April 2008. I have a feeling we will see her again in five months.


Thursday, November 5, 2009

11.5- Mustang parts

Soybeans awaiting harvest near NC 55

According to the NC State University College of Agricultures and Life Sciences, soybeans are NC's largest acreage row crop, with 1.2 to 1.5 million acres grown annually.

Average farm-gate value of the state's soybean crop is approximately $200 million, ranking it 3rd behind tobacco and cotton.

There are many varieties of soybean plant grown in the area, with different colored flowers and different colors in their ready-to-harvest stage... I couldn't tell you whether these particular beans are "
Croplan 4955," "Dyna-Gro 33C59," or "Progeny 5650RR," but these are a bit more of a rusty color than many of the fields around here.

The NC Soybean Producers Association http://www.ncsoy.org/ explains that in addition to "multitude of edible products [and] animal feed applications," soy beans produce oils and meal products used to make tractor body parts, newspaper ink, crayons, candles, machine lubricant

... and even the seat-foam in your brand-new Ford Mustang.

In 2008, North Carolina farmers were expected to plant nearly 1.6 million acres of soybeans. In 2006, North Carolina farmers produced 43 million bushels of soybeans on 1.4 million acres.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

11.4- Migrant season

Vessels at anchor in Oriental harbor as the sun sets

The fall boat migration season is in full swing...

Folks headed south to FL, Central America, the Caribbean, and other warm winter lands, are travelling down the Intracoastal Waterway this time of year, with cooler weather on their heels (or stern or transom, I suppose.)

For the past week or so, I have counted between 6 and 15 boats anchoring in Oriental harbor every night. Lots of boats from New England, Canada and Europe have been keeping Oriental harbor and area marinas busy lately.

Many cruisers can be seen walking and riding folding bikes for provisions, boat parts, or just to tour the town while stopping over, and the bars and restaurants are seeing a lot of new folks with odd accents each night.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

11.3- E-Day

Polling station for Oriental municipal elections

Nine candidates were competing for five slots on the Oriental Board of Commissioners... The current mayor ran unopposed.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

11.1- "Wan Fu"

Wan-Fu at the Fuel Dock
(click to enlarge)
While returning the Bauer Dinghy to the OYC today after last night's pirate festivities at town dock, I found this very pirate-y looking vessel tied up to the Fuel Dock at Oriental Marina & Inn on Raccoon Creek.

She is a 58.2 foot, three-masted, gaff-rigged, steel-hulled recreational vessel built in 1977. Word around the harbor is she is headed for Guatemala.

That is all I know about her... If you know more, please post a comment to this posting, or drop me an e-mail! (captainbenonc@gmail.com)

Here is another view of Wan Fu:
(click to enlarge)

11.2 ADDENDUM: Wan Fu was designed by naval architect Thomas Colvin, famed for his steel boat designs, many of which are junk-rigged, as, it turns out, is the Wan Fu (not gaff-rigged, as I had earlier guessed without seeing the sails up) ... Here is a picture of her under sail (no, not taken here in Oriental, nor by me) -

(click to enlarge)