Yesterday we had our canvas repaired in Oriental.  Wally the canvas maker came right over when we called and took our dodger to repair an open seam.  He ended up restitching almost all of the seams for a very reasonable price–we’re definitely not in Annapolis anymore!

We relaxed, did laundry and worked on small boat projects.  Skip and I took a nice walk later in the afternoon.  There are quite a few homes for sale in Oriental and Skip found one he really liked that had a large barn he could use for his wood shop.  (That appears to be the main criteria for our next home;-)  I liked a cute little house painted in Margaritaville colors with a fence topped with seashells.  The Neuse river was a lot calmer than yesterday!
















Our friends from New Bern, Elliott and Ina, met us for drinks and dinner in Oriental.  Since the cold weather is getting very tiresome, we decided not to take a detour up to New Bern.   Elliott extracted a promise that we visit in the Spring on our return trip.

We left Oriental early on Thursday with chilly but sunny weather.  The wind was still pretty strong and didn’t quiet down until evening.  We saw our first dolphins today!!!! As we motored towards Beaufort the scenery gradually changed to be more coastal with green water and low, sandy shores.  The channel past Beaufort is very narrow with strong current.  If you get distracted for the smallest moment, you can get pushed out of the channel and then you’re aground.  That’s what happened to a sailboat in front of us who had to call a towboat to get off.  We ran aground near Swansboro and managed to get ourselves back into the channel.  We’ll have to really pay close attention now!

We pulled into Dudley’s marina in Swansboro right on the ICW.  The marina is home to mostly fishing boats and the office/store has a large supply of fishing equipment and very friendly staff.  Bailey met Elvis the blue tick hound dog and a very large tropical bird.  A single-handing sailor at the dock came over and offered to share a bottle of red wine so he wouldn’t drink the entire bottle.  We graciously obliged!  We dined in tonight because we felt a need for comfort food…macaroni & cheese! 

So far, it appears that we are doing the ‘marina tour’ as we head south.  If you’ve kept up with my posts, you may notice that we haven’t dropped the anchor or dinghy since Deltaville!  Well, we do plan to anchor out in the future; however, the marinas are so reasonable (tonight’s stay cost $28.50) and we’ve stayed at several free docks–a concept unheardof in the Chesapeake.  Maybe if it’s warmer, we’ll anchor out tomorrow…