United States
Township 2

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    • Day 56

      Bye Oriental, We're On The Road Again

      November 15, 2015 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

      Lastly and the greatest news in our haul out was the fact that everyone said our rudder was fine ….. and we should stop being a pair of Nancies about it and sail on over to Bermuda already.

      A few months earlier before our shake down sail in September, we hauled out in Salem MA. The inspector mentioned a bit of “play” between the rudder post and rudder and saw water bubbling out of the post. We had a wet rudder and he showed concern about it. We contemplated and researched all our venues of possible outcomes on the way down. We learned that FossFoam (in FL) was our go to for a new rudder. And if they had a mold already set for a Pearson 424 they just had to reconstruct the rudder which would be a HUGE cost savings. Unfortunately (or fortunately …) Pearson boats aren’t known for rudder problems. We have a skeg rudder that is essentially built solid with epoxy on the perimeter and has two or three metal arms attached to the rudder post and act as the skeleton of the rudder. Next to the metal skeleton is foam. The concern would be if the welds attaching the arms to the rudder post were corroded and broke in heavy weather. Then we would be left with a free spinning helm and no Shit-happens-cough-it-uprudder control. We drilled a hole in the top outside of the rudder in case of a rudder
      emergency. The idea is to tie a rope through the hole and steer Captain Ron style. The following day we also asked if Turtle, expert mariner, would take a look at our boat. He did and explained how boats like ours were born (made). The woven fabric of fiber glass allows the boat to heave and move with the ocean whereas the epoxy acts as the solid rigidity. Both sides of the equation will change meaning your hull will change and you’ll see “age lines”. Over the years, your boat takes hull shuddering hits, enormous gusts bending and testing the rigging and the keel. What I found interesting was the fact that the hull shape will change when it moves from water to land. You’re engine / Vdrive shaft alignment is different on land than it is in the water. After looking Gaia over, and talking to us about boat construction for a better half of an hour, he looked at us point blank and spoke honestly. He said ocean worthy boats like this are overbuilt. The boat will last, it may sail differently if the hull were to be waterlogged balsa core but she’d still sail. He looked at our rudder and shook his head. “I wouldn’t touch the rudder if it’s working right now. If it’ll help you sleep at night, then sure. Do it if you want for that reason but other than that, you’re fine to go to Bermuda.” And it dawned on me, most of my fears were mental or because I was still novice.
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    • Day 42

      Gaia Gets Hauled Out

      November 1, 2015 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      Oriental NC had previously been this unseen golden city that boaters would wistfully sigh over and preach the good works of the peerless marine services conducted here. It’s where anyone with major boat issues trudged their vessel to so the expert mechanics, riggers, glass workers (fiberglass), and electricians could work their magic. So when we arrived in Oriental, I could finally feel our goal, Bermuda, was within reach! Our rudder would be new our propeller would be fixed and our boat would be prepped for departure!

      We chose SailCraft Marine Services, known for their fiberglass work as opposed to Deatons. The two rivals sit literally within throwing distance of each others travel lift.

      Upon entering the SailCraft dock, Alan, the owner, showed us the layout, the bathrooms, amenities, the different offices and tool sheds, he introduced us to the employees, and other boats hauled out from our neck of the woods! Really above and beyond and we learned of the catastrophic boat overhauls they had completed. One man, came in days earlier with a keel partially torn off. Remember the Dismal Swamps we went down and my post on watching out for deadheads (= dislodged logs pinned to the bottom of the canal pointing upward)? Yeah, the boat hit a deadhead straight on and busted a hole in the boat. And if your curious, yes it was a fin keel.

      So being on the hard, on the stilts, stuck on the dirt… it’s not fun. The marina backs you up into a slip where they lower two thick nylon slings and synch it snug around your 22,000 lb vessel and hope the sling is far back enough it doesn’t catch on your ruder, prop, or shaft but not too far back that the slings don’t capture the weight of the boat evenly. And then you watch as your 22,000 pound home is raised, above your head; OUT of the environment you’ve learned to keep your boat safe and protected. And then you watch as your baby is driven away by a complete stranger from you, it’s very emotional (*this end part was overdramatized by the author in case you’re not familiar with her*).

      But really, Alan, was very professional and maneuvered the travel lift perfectly. He’s been around boats his entire life and it shows. He put us down on the block and put a few more extra stilts under the hull than what we’re used to. Alan mentioned they do this for added protection. As someone who has slept on a boat on stilts… let me tell you, it can be REALLY unnerving when you first feel the boat move on land, so I was quite pleased to see this. He also kept the boat level on the blocks which was nice.
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    • Day 44

      Oriental Where We Work Hard For It Honey

      November 3, 2015 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 19 °C

      For the every day life. You walk up and down a ladder to get to your home, get a drill, forgotten power cord you name it.
      Every morning you wake up get dressed and walk to go to the bathroom. Since the plumbing filters out into the yard gravel; I’m not a fan of brushing my teeth where I work. It’s not a far walk to the bathrooms thankfully but enough to make you skip your polite hellos to friends and power walk. Most people understand. When we did dishes, we carried the dishes in a tub down the ladder and past the docks. When we showered we climbed up and down the ladder with our shower bag and towel. And lastly, the little problem of having NO cell phone service and little to no internet.

      I took a few pictures of our work in the yard seen below. We also varnished the bowsprit and toerail, rebedded the stanchion and inserted epoxy in the deck to reinforce soft balsa wood, install new aft cabin and kitchen lighting (led strips!), there was a bunch of parts ordered and one passport expedited. Thankfully, there was a car at the marina we were able to use to drive 30 minutes into a neighboring town for the nearest CVS for a passport photo.
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    • Day 47

      Oriental, Where We Live On The Hard

      November 6, 2015 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

      Dust and woods bits will inevitably find there way into your bedroom sheets, kitchen and salon with any form of drilling or sanding. To unearth needed power tools, epoxies, varnish, sanders, and materials you need to tear through cabinets & mattresses to access storage units. All of this equates to a temporal work room war zone. I’m sure we’ve all been there whether it be moving, or buying a new house, it’s the first week of sleeping on a few cushions or camping gear. That was us for the past three weeks. But to be honest as sour of a situation I paint, I love the people, I love the stories, and honest to god I even love the work (Sometimes. As long as there’s a good podcast. and it’s sunny. with a beer. and beer koozie. and I have help…)Read more

    • Day 50

      Oriental, It's All About BOGO Night

      November 9, 2015 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 20 °C

      Let me start this post with the P to B ratio of Oriental (the Population to Boat Ratio)… 1:3ish. That’s right, 900 people and just about 2,500 boats.
      Our two weeks was made wonderful by the amazing establishment and closest bar, ‘Silos’. Open Tuesday-Saturday there’s always something on the calendar. Tuesday was BOGO day (Buy One pizza Get One free), Wednesday was open mic night, Thursday was dollar drafts, Friday was live music in the back yard (Lake Street Dive played there), Saturdays are party nights. For a community that is increasingly becoming dominated by retirees looking for a good town, this place was wildly fun. Tuesday pizza night was easily the towns favorite. We went into the hardware store and the clerk felt it necessary to alert us ‘transients’ of the phenomenal BOGO day. We also ran into two separate friends who informed us we should get to Silos early tonight to secure a good seat for BOGO. It’s pretty great to see a community come together over pizza.

      Sitting in Silos, everyone is in the boat world, you work for the boat yards, you work as a fisherman, you teach boating, you race, you do canvas or boat related services (West Marine / Radio Shop). In some capacity EVERYONE we met in town is tied into this interwoven community.

      In general, a great thing about boat yards are seeing all the other boats and if you’re lucky enough, meeting the owner and having a few beers together. We met a fellah named Mike from Canada and he was finishing up redoing his entire interior. He bought his boat as a fixer-uper and the entire below deck had mildew problems (ceiling, floor, and cushions). He was a wealth of knowledge and we were grateful for all his tips on engine alignment.
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    • Day 53

      Oriental, That Small Town Feel

      November 12, 2015 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

      Another character and incredible wealth of knowledge was the fiberglass genius, Turtle. One day I was half way on my mile walk into town to get a propane regulator when he pulled over and offered me a ride. I said sure. He pointed out historic sites in the town and recited the history. He drove me to the hardware store and then drove right past it saying I had to cross the town bridge and get a good view of the entire town... I learned his great great grand daddy founded the town and the origin of the town name came from a Civil War era ship! A few laughs later and a great tour of the town I found myself at the the hardware store.

      My small town story continues with the hardware store…. I found two identical products that would work for the propane tank but wasn’t sure about the sizing. The owner agreed it could be either size and after a few minutes of deliberation he set his car keys on the counter and said ‘Why don’t you take my car to your boat and test out which one is right for you. When you’re done, just come back with the packaging of the one you need and the one you didn’t use. I’ll be here until 5, so no rush.’ I’d just like to mention, I’ve been living in cities for the past 13 years and am in no way accustomed to an offer as this. I let him know, I was perfectly okay with walking, my legs worked fine, it was sunny and warm… why was this man trying to lose his car and give away his products…. I would never dream of stealing a car but still…. this kindness didn’t sit right with me, it felt bizarre. And yet…. 10 minutes later I drove into the marina where Mike had a few questions for me… Yes we fixed the regulator to the propane unit. (As a side story, the damn thing began malfunctioning on the coldest night of our entire trip. I was going to fight the cold with BAKING! Terrible timing but that’s the way the cookie tends to crumble on a boat).
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    • Day 28

      Cape May, NJ to Oriental, NC

      October 30, 2021 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 66 °F

      We had a very pleasant trip off shore from Cape May to Portsmouth, Va., getting just ahead of a gale. We were happy to be in a marina until the winds died and enjoyed a ferry ride into Norfolk and a fun tour of the battleship Wisconsin and the Nauticus Museum. We were fortunate again to be ahead of another gale when we travelled down the beautiful Dismal Swamp route of the ICW, anchoring all by ourselves near Goat Island in the lovely Pasquatank River. We grabbed a 1 day window to get across the often unruly Albermarle Sound and were grateful to stop at a new-to-us, very protected anchorage way up the Alligator River, recommended by our buddies on Sailin' Shoes. With no signal to get a weather update, we waited to leave there until yesterday at noon, when it looked like heavy rain and wind had let up. We had a beautiful afternoon going through the Alligator-Pungo Canal, oblivious to the conditions out in the rivers. We were greeted, upon exiting the Canal, with rough conditions and winds in the 30s. We made a quick turn into the north part of the Pungo River and found good protection for the night. By this morning, winds had died down and we had an easy trip down to Oriental where we are at a dock so Dave can watch Ohio State play!
      We plan on leaving here tomorrow, anchoring tomorrow night, then taking advantage of a nice 2 day window to go off shore from Beaufort to Hilton Head. Yes, 2 more overnights, but even here it's getting into the 40s at night later this week. Just a little further...
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    • Day 35

      Belhaven, Oriental, Beaufort, Wrightsvil

      September 24 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 79 °F

      Oh boy has it been an action packed week or more! We are currently in Wrightsville Beach, NC just outside of Wilmington. We are going to be here a little while. :) Good thing it is a very cute beach city with PLENTY going on and Wilmington not that far away.

      Where to start....I am writing and picturing all of this so I can have it when we are done. I just turned 50 (thanks to everyone that wished me Happy Birthday) and I just don't trust my memory so much. The pictures are funny for me, because they may seem inconsequential but they trigger a memory of a location or an event. Find Penguins limits me to 10 pictures per post, so these I had to chose VERY carefully. I want to remember so much about the last week or so.

      We traveled pretty fast from Belhaven to Beaufort because of the damage done to the boat during the storm and we wanted to be planted to do the repairs. We "skipped" our planned overnight in Oriental, only stopping for gas, a walk and lunch. It was a cute little town with another marina / motel Dave and I should consider for retirement (only kidding). But other than that, it did not have much to recommend it other than a lot of flies and tightly packed in boats. The best word to describe it was - Mayberryish.

      From Oriental we stayed on the ICW and made our way into Beaufort. Beaufort docks were very expensive, but we found a dock that was owned by a local Friends of the Museum group. It was cheap. It boasted a porta potty (1) and the Junior Sailing club. It was a mile from town and had a great field for the dogs to run in. Dave already mentioned the pirate rally that was going on when we arrived!

      In Beaufort we rented a car since we knew we were going to be driving around for repairs and we got off the boat for a few nights to celebrate my 50th Birthday. Dave showered me with gifts, flowers, treats and catered to my desire to recover from our Ophelia trauma with relaxing by the pool. My friend Aimee, who is doing so much for us, did one more thing and surprised me by showing up to celebrate with us. For some reason I am very bummed about turning 50 and all of this really helped me jump over the milestone. It was perfect.

      After Dave "mostly" finished the needed repairs, we decided that 6 days in one city was a little too long and it was time to move on. Our very poorly researched plan was to hit Swansboro, just about 2 hours away. The thing was, the days had been very grey leading up to our departure, we had no water and no pump out on our inexpensive no frills dock and our solar was down to it's last watt. Without a whole lot of planning, we decided that the best thing to do was to use the boat engines to charge our batteries, make a 2 hour journey into 3 or 4 and go far out into the Atlantic to make water and dump our black water (the rule is 3 miles out). Things started out fine and ended with us traveling almost 70 miles and 6 hours straight to Wrightsville Beach, past Swansboro and Past Surf City, our other planned stops.

      I'd have to let Dave tell the story to fully encapsulate what happened but I can tell you what I know. The solar not charging was too much drain on the batteries and whatever Dave tried to do to circumvent that drained the boat batteries instead of the other way around and that made the boat stop running altogether, let alone make water or dump black water. We floated a bit and then began calling the very very few marinas we saw along our route. We found one we thought would be fine in Swansboro, but we had to get there before 5pm. On our approach to the inlet, we noticed that waves were breaking in what was marked as the channel. Trusting our navigation charts, we attempted an approach anyway and hit 1 ft of depth. You guessed it! Another bent propeller! And a frustration at not being able to get into the channel to stop for the night. More frantic research ensued and the best we could come up with was to make it another 40 miles to Wrightsville Beach.

      As I mentioned when we hit Swansboro we were pushing 5pm. With another 40 miles to go that means at least 2 and half hours for us. And yes, that would mean attempting to enter another channel, but this time in the dark. All I can tell you is that I sighed. Dave researched and memorized the channel on his graphs and we thanked the gods when we saw lighted channel markers and many houses and a bridge lighting the waterway we needed to anchor in. And after 4 tries, anchor we did. That is where we are now. Anchored in the middle of Wrightsville Beach. Dave is so happy! It's FREE!

      What Could Go Right? I feel incredibly loved. Our dogs are so fun to watch frolic. It's like watching the world through little kids' eyes. Dave is very very handy and when the boat just turned off in the middle of the Atlantic, I DID immediately look up Boat Tow telephone numbers, but I believed him that he could fix it. The weather is BEAUTIFUL for the next at least 5 days. There is so much to do here and another car rental is right up the street for ease of getting around. We have had great access to groceries and laundry and we really lack for nothing. Even water. We have just had to buy it to drink. Dave has a plan today to get our boat pumped out and water filled for showers while he does the remaining fixes, so it should all be really comfortable.

      What Could Go Wrong? Well, I have outlined that, but for posterity's sake; In Wrightsville Beach Dave will be working on sanding and gel coating the boat, solar fix, finding a back up generator, replacing the propellers (good thing we have those extra's now), getting an air tank, getting gas, getting water, getting pumped out, re-anchoring and he STILL doesn't have great fixes for oil leak and water leaks.

      Boating is so much fun!
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    • Day 44


      November 13, 2017 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 12 °C

      With the cold weather that has set up shop in the last weeks and the shorter days, we are moving slower. The town is beautiful but we won't stick around to explore in this weather!

    You might also know this place by the following names:

    Township 2

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