Earl Punctuated our long stretch of travel on the ICW from Charleston to Elizabeth City like a bloated double-spiked comma rolling along the South East US. Fortunately, it was just a comma, not a period, nor exclamation mark.
We pulled down all of our canvas and stuffed it below decks as we motored up past the Elizabeth City bridge in search of shelter on the river. We encountered some folks with a deep canal from the river in front of their houses, tying up their boats.
"Would you all be willing to rent us a spot for the night?" I asked as we approached.
"I won't rent you a spot, but you're welcome to stay," the owner replied. Thanks to their kindness, we tied up to the safest spot south of Dismal Swamp.
Stripped down and tied up:
And that is where we had our hurricane party. Earl was a swing and a miss - the winds hardly peaked above 40 knots where we tied up. They did blow off the odd bugs which swamped us in their tens of thousands along the Alligator River, making the task of stowing our canvas a little more miserable than should be expected.
The generosity and kindness we experience here in the coastal South is amazing - sometimes even surprising. Everyone we meet along the river greets us and is happy to talk. There seems to be more time here for long conversation under shady trees and the ubiquitous benches that line the waterways of the towns along the river on this stretch of North Carolina coast. We are enchanted and delighted daily, and the local folk are genuinely happy to share in our enjoyment.
Dragon Eggs are scattered around Oriental:
The nights are cool, even chilly now. The days are still hot, but with a pleasant breeze. It is easy to forget the swirling hurricanes offshore which seem to pressure us north. They cut short our time with friends we made in Oriental. If you find yourself in Oriental, be sure to go by the M&M restaurant on Sunday for breakfast. Afterward, head over up the street and check out the Hawaiian print shirts Douglass and Matt sell on the corner. Oriental is a gem for sailors - if you're afloat you owe it to yourself to put your hook down there for a time.
It seems less and less likely that we are going to go much further north this season. We're on the edge of the NC/Virginia border, and starting to look for places to put down for the winter.
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