15. From Beaufort NC to Oriental NC and on to Belhaven NC

Leaving the Beaufort City Dock I got another broadside look at the massive sailboat. What a beauty!

I’ve panned out this shot a bit to provide a little better orientation of this segment to better known areas. This segment of 25.5 nm is basically due north up Adams Creek to the Neuse River and Oriental NC. It was a fairly typical ICW run, reasonably narrow channel and isolated area.

This is time lapse photography compressing probably 20 minutes into 30 seconds. I didn’t realize at the time that my iPhone was taking pics towards the stern rather than towards the bow. I rarely, if ever, move that fast. And my more typical piloting ‘pose’ when in more open water is reflected in the clasped hands over head.🙄

Oriental NC, at least from the perspective of a boater, is a real shrimper community. I’ve not seen such a large congregation of shrimp boats, both at work at in the harbors. I found our marina intriguing. Immediately across the fairway (entry) was 2 blocks of shrimp processing buildings. Immediately across from our slip the shrimpers were moored as you would think of parallel parking. Further down the mooring configuration was more like angled downtown street parking. At the entry break wall to the town, but on the pleasure boat side was another area for shrimpers. There were probably only a half dozen in that area but the hulls were all painted with the same color – red.

The marina was very nice. It had a pool which was appreciated in the 90 degree plus heat. They touted showers with towels, soap and shampoo furnished. Guess it pays to have an associated guest hotel. At the pool deck they had a tiki bar and on the spacious lawn they had 3 large tents (they had had some sort of event) so there was ample shade over the comfy Adirondack chairs. The best??? About 500’ away was an ice cream shop!

I docked ‘bow in’ because I wanted a port tie (the dock on the port side) because the air conditioning discharge port on the boat is on the port side at the waterline. Unless it’s a face dock, I always dock ‘stern in’. I had inadvertently introduced a severe air lock in the system when last cleaning the sea strainer so the 4 ac units (water cooled) were not cooling. I hadn’t over the prior few days been able to clear the air lock below deck so I planned to lay on the dock and with the shop vac hose stuck in the outboard discharge, try to pull the air lock through and out. Didn’t work. The finger pier was too short to allow me to reach the discharge. Upside though, the depth at the shore side of the dock was minimal and I watched my ‘stern in’ neighbor digging mud with his props when he left in the morning. With my props 50’ off the land, I had deep water at my stern and kept my props pristine, I hope. Had really nice neighbors on both sides and the boat that we were ‘stern to’ (the Mary Beth) in Beaufort arrived about an hour after the Last Resort and slipped 3 down from us.

Oriental Marina. Foreground – shrimper “parallel parked” with a second shrimper rafted off. Background is the pleasure boat section (Last Resort in the middle with the dinghy raised above the aft cockpit). Yellow buildings and blue awning part of the hotel.
Shrimp processing plants. Shrimpers came and went thru the night.
View of the shrimpers on both sides of the harbor – taken from the Last Resort back deck. Reminds me of The Platters, from my day, singing “Harbor Lights”

Leaving Oriental

Leaving Oriental, Last Resort traveled 43.8 nm to Belhaven, NC. following a route back to the Neuse River, thence north up Goose Creek to Pamlico River, across it to Pungo River and north to Belhaven.

In the Neuse, as we were leaving, we passed a shrimp boat coming back to port after a night of fishing.

We passed literally dozens and dozens of shrimpers dragging their nets in the Neuse.

It was an absolute superb travel day. Dead calm, reasonable morning temps and a nice breeze on the bridge. Lots of open water areas with ample depth and Last Resort was allowed her legs. The temps did rise and by the time the boat was tied up in Belhaven, it was very warm! And no pool!

This time I had port tie on a face dock and so I tried to suction the ac discharge again. I did manage to pull some air bubbles but not enough. The pump was still cavitating. We were the only boat in the basin and the dockmaster wandered over to see what was happening. I explained the issue. He worked in the ship engine room in the Navy and he felt challenged. He went down in the engine room and found a relief plug on the pump and relieved most of the air (thank you (NOT) Capt Bob’s Marine Mobile AC, Owl Creek Boat Works, Thunderbolt Marina and Zimmerman’s Marina for not being able to solve the same riddle before). Some remaining air after the pump still remains but am confident the system will sort that out by itself.

The dockmaster also told us of a restaurant to try. We had actually read about it from other Loopers. Belhaven is a small town of 1600 and by road pretty much nowhere. Some yrs ago a retired exec moved there and fulfilled his dream – a farm to fork restaurant with quite an East Coast reputation – named Spoon River Artworks and a Market. It was the dining tray of the trip and then some

Menu cover
Arrived before service and they allowed me in to take some pix while they set up
Painted concrete floors, hand painted table tops
And all kinds of little alcoves with displays. Note the huge bookcases in prior pic.
And the piece de r’esistance – mashed potato, carrot and squash topped with filet, bernaise sauce and misc greens. I forgot to take a pic of the extremely creative salad.
…and mine but with an underlying bed of new potato and buttered corn.

Who knew? from Belhaven NC!

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