Log 3: Annapolis to Beaufort

November 16, Andy writes,

We left Solomon's Island safely and motored due south with the wind on our nose… seems it's always from that direction! The
destination for the day was Sandy Point, on the west side of the bay, and we reached it relatively early, around 1530, perfectly
in time for sundowner cocktails.
We were accompanied by only one other boat, both of us with dropped hooks. The anchorage was perfect, with excellent
protection from anywhere but an East wind.

Next morning we set out around 0900 as it seems impossible for us to leave any time earlier, despite that we initially wake at
around 0530, as the sun rises. It is so easy to turn over, place a pillow over the eyes to cut out the light, and drift off to sleep
again. I mean, what's the hurry?
An old copy of Cruising World, which we had brought with us because there was an extensive article in it about sailing the
Chesapeake, pointed to the East River, actually on the west side of the Bay, as a good next destination. The wind, again on the
nose, was stronger which led to waves in the 3 ft range. I think I miscalculated the "60 miles to go from Solomon's Island"
mentioned in the last log, because we could not hope to make the Sandy Point to Norfolk stretch without another stop. Annapolis
to Solomon's is around 35 miles, with another 120 to get to Norfolk.

Turning off the Bay led us to the most poorly marked area we had yet encountered. This meant we had the binoculars out and
the backup navigation system working (electronic charts on the ThinkPad, with an attached handheld GPS) because that
morning, the main GPS decided to stop working. It had worked fine in Toronto, but from Oswego onwards needed a little coaxing
every morning, by way of several power on/off cycles, to acquire satellites. Now it was in a state of permanent somnambulance.
Murphy visits again! There were a number of green and red marks, but they were small in size and quite widely separated.
Paying close attention is always a good idea because there are shoals everywhere outside the buoyed channel. We actually
touched bottom at one point, despite being within the channel, but the engine powered us through the mud. It was still a knee
shaking moment. The East river is quite narrow and has fame because, apparently, John Lennon once owned a farm on its
banks. We actually dropped anchor quite near to that spot.

Next morning, feeling somewhat lazy, we toyed with the idea of staying put for another night, but the weather forecast quickly
got us moving. The next day was to be extremely windy, with over 30 knots from the West.

The stretch to the "entrance" into Norfolk was uneventful but motoring past the Naval Base to the marina took 90 minutes. At
the marina, we picked up diesel (the vent works… yippee!), pumped out, and docked at the designated slip. That evening the
wind picked up and the next day it positively howled. Word is you had snow in Ontario and power was out (again) in the East!
I called Raymarine's Tech Support about the problematic GPS that afternoon and they suggested a couple of tests, which did not
solve the problem, but by the time they were done, the Help Line was closed. The next morning it was still quite gusty and we
decided to stay another night so we could get help from a local marine electronics installer. The first call gave a recorded
message, and after our experiences with unreturned messages in Annapolis, I decided to try others. The next one had a
Receptionist, a good sign, but she said the earliest they could send someone out was in a week! I groveled, whined, sniveled,
and begged. My good IBM training in these must have helped because she relented and eventually booked us for an 0800
appointment the next morning. I also called Raymarine again and they said a new GPS unit would be shipped to the marina, with
overnight delivery.

Our marina, the Tidewater, was actually in Portsmouth, across the river from Norfolk. We had picked up some local brochures at
the Marina and discovered that downtown Portsmouth had been extensively restored and was blessed with several antique
stores and restaurants, so we decided to head out for a visit. On the way we spotted a Library which turned out to have Internet
terminals upon which I was able to catch up on Man Utd and discovered they had beaten Liverpool (sorry, 'bout that, Leo). They
did not, however, let us plug in our laptop, so we could not upload our latest log
Most of the old houses had indeed been well restored but the antique stores were, again, lacking,l except one. This was one of
the best antique stores Marilyn or I had ever been in. Lots of beautiful china, glass, furniture and linens, and all beautifully
displayed. Marilyn chatted (as usual) with another shops owner and found out that there was no Internet Café in Portsmouth. We
headed up High Street, which we found quite deserted, and happened upon a computer store. I was on the hunt for a cable
which I could use to attach the handheld GPS to the chartplotter, as a further level of backup, in case the primary GPS, broke
down again and that coincided with the ThinkPad also not working. I know this is a "belt and suspenders" approach, but with the
way Murphy seemed to want to move in rather than just visit, I decided not to take any chances. We went into the store and
Marilyn smooth-talked the owner into letting us attach to his network, which enabled us to do the log upload and retrieve mail.
He also had the cable I needed, used, which he said would cost US$2. I was embarrassed to discover I had left my wallet behind
on the boat, so he said to forget the payment! Another kind hearted individual, we appear to be meeting many on this trip.

By the way, many thanks to those of you who have sent us e-mails. These are greatly appreciated. It's so nice to know you're
missed. We are enjoying the news and comments about our logs. I'm sorry if an earlier instruction in the log implied we weren't
interested in hearing from you. It was a poor choice of wording on my part. Of course we want to hear from you! Now that we
can download our mail rather than reading it on-line the size of our in basket is irrelevant.

We walked on and soon discovered that the reason it was quiet in 'downtown' Portsmouth was because it was surrounded by a
rather questionable neighbourhood . We had to walk through it in order to get to the grocery store. Most of the buildings were
abandoned and others had somewhat seedy looking individuals hanging around outside, despite the blustery and cold weather.
The grocery store turned out to have a pretty poor selection. This always seems to be hit or miss. We are so spoiled by Loblaws.
Very few stores have the produce we are used to. It did, however, have an item I have not ever seen before, though which
brought back childhood memories of England, namely Spam Spread. Many stores have the normal, if there is anything that can
be defined as normal relative to Spam, type but a spreadable version is truly a huge leap forward for mankind. In fact, I almost
bought a can Steve Fowler, but feared I would break down and eat it before I could deliver it (NOT!).

Next morning, just before 0800, brought "Butch" the electronics technician. I explained to him how I had wired the instruments
up, and what the problem was. He took out his multi meter, humm'd and hah'd, called up his buddy at Raymarine, and then told
me that the wiring was incorrect. This was not a surprising conclusion, as it was what I had suspected. Nevertheless, it was a
disappointing as I had talked to several tech support guys at Raymarine, as well as consulting a couple of experts in Toronto,
and had been told by all that the wiring plan would be fine. Butch explained how to recable the units and went off on his way. By
then the replacement GPS had arrived and I spent the next hour or two installing it, with a successful conclusion. So now I have
several levels of redundancy, not a bad thing given how much one tends to rely on the GPS!

We then packed up the faulty one for return to Raymarine and headed out to the Post Office, which was right next to the Library,
so we went in again to take advantage of the free internet setup. That evening I spent over an hour on the phone with David,
trouble shooting the Ham Radio email system, and eventually got it to work as well… a productive day.

The next day was the one during which we motored for some six hours in total and managed to gain only 0.7 miles towards our
destination! Why you ask? Well, soon after we left the marina, Marilyn discovered her purse was not hanging in its normal place.
A thorough search followed and she then came to the conclusion that it must have been left in the Library on the previous day. A
call there indicated no one had handed in any purse, so the next call was to VISA, to put a hold on the card. This was quite a
disaster in the making as it meant my own VISA was also unusable, and also in the purse was Marilyn's driving license, bank
machine card and phone cards. We called the Marina, just in case it had been left there, but with no positive outcome. Then we
decided to call the Library again to leave them our cell phone number, just in case it showed up. Miracle of miracles! We were
told it had just been handed in moments ago! Money and all! Now came the tricky part, namely how to get it from the Library to
the boat, without needing to turn around and go back. No problem, one might think, right? I mean, FedEx should be able to pick
it up and deliver to a Post Office, General Delivery, for us to pick up two or three days down the ICW. No such luck. They
couldn't do this apparently, because FedEx can't deliver to a Post Office (go figure). Neither could the US Post Office help, as
they could not pick up from the Library. The librarians were unwilling to take the risk of just putting the purse into an envelope
and walking it to the Post Office for mailing, postage to be taken from the money in the purse. They needed approval from their
manager, who would not be in till Monday. So, reluctantly, we turned around and headed back to Portsmouth, walked to the
Library, picked up the purse and discovered that some cash was missing but not the main stash, only some $15 had been taken.
The sign located outside the Library, Drug Free Zone, all of a sudden took on a new meaning! Now about the 0.7 miles…in order
to at least have some semblance of progress, we did not go back to the same marina we had been in previously, but one a tad
south of it...hence the 0.7 miles ...all in all "one of those days".

So, today, we set out again and are now tied up to a free dock. We picked up a few more groceries in a great store, and decided
to order a pizza from Pizza Hut, as I had a huge hankering for a Supreme, And Nothing But! It took some persuasion (three calls
and a one on one with the delivery guy) to get them to deliver to the boat, but it should be here in a few minutes. In fact, it has
just arrived. Yummmm Yummmmm!

Tomorrow will be a challenging day as this stretch of the ICW has shallow parts (6ft, to go with our draft of 5'8) as well as tides
and currents. (editing a few days later …this is an understatement! Also, there are negligible tides in this area but wind pushes
the water around significantly enough to change the depth).

We lucked out earlier today, which is the reason we stopped for the night rather than going further. The Great Bridge, where we
are, is one of the few that opens "on the hour" rather than "on request". We got to it with some 45 minutes to go so decided to
tie up at the wall while we waited. Chatting to some other boaters, on a handsome Hans Christian, we discovered that there was
no good anchorage between here and Coinjock, some 37 miles down the ICW, despite an entry in the Skipper Bob book to the
contrary. We were the third boat to tie up for the day and now, at 2000, the wall is full. We'll have good company tomorrow! It
always pays to have
a chat with the other sailors.

Nov 18th Andy writes

My knees have stopped shaking enough for me to write, but you'll have to read on a little to find out why!

We left Great Bridge at 0800, in the largest convoy we had yet experienced. There were some 14 boats, of which 7 or 8 were
sailing vessels. Of course, the power boats zoomed off into the distance while the sailors made slower speed along the fairly
narrow channel, surrounded by shoals. With zero wind and a glass surface, it was relatively easy to keep on course and we
arrived at the marina in Coinjock around 1400.

We did, however, come across a bizarre scene. The channel's direction swung around some 80 degrees and a power boat didn't!
It ended up totally beached, and tied up to it was the trusty TowBoat US vessel, with the operator scratching his head as to how
this could of happened and how he would be able to refloat her without bringing in some serious equipment. We speculated that
the owner may have been traveling at night and just did not notice the required course change, or perhaps developed a steering
problem, or went below for a visit to the head at the wrong time.

After tying up and discovering that the marina had just recently removed their propane facility we sat sat in the cockpit,
relaxed, and read. We noticed, however, that none of the power boats from the Coinjock convoy had stopped here and all the
sailboats ended up at the other marina, on the other side of the channel. This made us wonder if they knew something we didn't!
At dusk a couple of sailboats did eventually join us on our side. As always, chatting to the owners was interesting. In this case
we discovered that the Captain had had a heart attack three weeks ago and had been outfitted with a pacemaker. They also told
us about an incident earlier that day where a small, maybe 22ft, green sailboat had radio'd for help. Apparently, the lone
occupant had lost his specs overboard, was having rigging problems, and had run out of gas. He eventually got a tow from a
passing boat into Coinjock.

We then listened to the weather forecast and heard that tomorrow would be a good weather day, but Wednesday, the day after
was going to have 30+ knot winds, rain, and possible thunderstorms. We looked at the charts to see what marinas or
anchorages were within the 40 to 50 miles range ( what we can do in a day) and discovered that the "best" place was 80 miles
away and, in addition there was a marina some 35 miles southward and an iffy anchorage 45 miles away. The first would mean
some 12 hours of fast motoring ie leaving at 0500 in order to arrive at dusk. We decided eventually to head for the middle
option and went to bed. Sometime later, we heard a thud against the hull which Marilyn went out to investigate. She called me
out to point to the same small green sailboat drifting slowly downriver with no sign of the owner aboard! I pulled out the boat
hook, extended it fully, and ran down the dock to see if I could catch the errant vessel. At full stretch, I managed to get the
hook around the forestay and pull it in. Marilyn then banged on the hull to ascertain if anyone was inside and, a few moments
later, a groggy voice responded. We then noticed an empty beer can in the cockpit and figured the owner had fallen asleep while
not been securely tied up, which indeed turned out to have been the case.

Next morning we got up early… early, that is, for us yet we were the only boat still there. Apparently everyone else had decided
to leave at the crack of dawn. This was not good news as I had wanted to be in the convoy, and not leading it either, so we
could follow someone else through the narrow channels of the North River. We set out on our own, with me on the wheel, and
very soon made our first contact of the day with the bottom! This is a most disconcerting event. The boat's nose goes down,
forward motion stops quickly, and panic sets in! The options are to throttle up and head back into the channel or to stop, engage
reverse, and head backwards through one's own furrow to safe ground. Neither is foolproof. This time, we got off quite easily,
by going out backwards, but the experience was not a pleasant one. The wind was quite strong and tended to move us out of the
narrow channel. Wisdom says one needs to look over one's shoulder constantly to verify how much drift is occurring, as well as
to watch the depth gauge like a hawk. Many times, the GPS showed us being slap bang in the middle of the channel but the
gauge started to show decreasing readings and I would wonder if this was normal, ie the depth of the channel was actually
getting shallower, or if I was drifting to the side. Needless to say, this is most stressful. Imagine a channel not much wider than
the Western Gap, say some 30 yards, and you needed to stay within this unseen path for a couple of hours as it meanders
southwards. Tricky moments included a couple where the channel marker appeared to be slap bang in the middle of the channel
and not to the side.

I grounded again, this time appearing to be in exactly the position in which I should have been! Doing this twice in a day does
nothing for the sense of confidence one has for one's abilities. The worst part was that this was all happening in the river and we
still had the Albemarle Sound to get across, some additional two hours of tension. Make it we did, however, and the Sound
turned out to be a piece of cake, as it was 18 feet deep. We turned towards the marina quite thankfully… and then managed to
ground yet again, just in its entrance! This time, however, it was not because of navigational ineptitude but because the
entranceway had silted up from its advertised depth of 6'0. In fact, we could not even go fully into the "4-posts & short finger"
type of dock that appears to be prevalent in these parts and ended up with Amida's beautiful canoe behind sticking out for all to
see (not a bad thing, even though I can feel her blushing as I write this).

So, here we are, the only boat left of the 14 that left Great Bridge. I wonder where the rest are and how they will cope with
tomorrow's high winds. We have decided to take a rest day and stay put in the marina…

There are two other sailboats here at present, both shallow drafted at 4'6". The strangest coincidence is that the three males are
all of Polish heritage… what are the chances of that! Ken has been living on his boat, a 32 footer, for 25 years. He is here to
replace a broken transmission. The other fellow, whose name I do not know, needs to replace the shot bearings on his traveler.
For a change, we are the ones without any immediately pressing problems to solve.

Nov 20th Just when you thought you were safe…
If there could be a musical accompaniment to these words, it would certainly be the Jaws theme!
But first, I'll write about yesterday. We were glad we were in the Alligator River Marina, let me tell you, where we were well
protected for the south wind which steadily increased till it was averaging around 35 knots with gusts to 45. Thankfully, the
predicted thunderstorms bypassed us as did the Tornado Warning. We lounged in the boat and spent most of the day reading.
Here's a recommendation, Elizabeth George's book, "A Traitor to Memory" is really, really good. Those of you who know about
my fondness for Rankin should know that I think George is a superior read.

I had briefly considered attacking either, or both, of the outstanding problems that are left over from the rather long list that
developed in the first few weeks of the trip. One is the radar that blows its fuse when I try to switch it on. But who needs radar
anyway? The other is a misbehaving alternator which cranks up its charging voltage too high for a few minutes after I start the
engine… but only if the batteries have been on the shore power charger all night, and not even consistently if that condition is
met. It is one of the "Smart" alternators and I think it is developing its own intelligence because as soon as I got out my multi
meter to measure the voltages in order to be able to talk to the Tech Support guys, it has stopped misbehaving! Just like the
flies, car noises, and the relationship between cigarettes and taxicabs.

So, what do flies, alternators, car noises, cigarettes, and taxicabs have in common, you may be wondering? Well, how many
times have you heard a "noise", some sounding more expensive than others, in your car yet when you take it to be serviced, it
disappears? Smokers, have you never waited for a cab for hours and hours, OK, minutes and minutes, and as soon as you light
a cigarette, one appears? Have you not noticed that flies disappear as soon as you take a fly swat into your hand? Except those,
that is, in the middle of Lake Ontario. These little #$@%*#@ appear out of nowhere, 20 miles from land, and decide to have you
for lunch. How do they know you are there? Is there a sophisticated fly network that telegraphs the departure of vessels from
port, giving bearing and speed, so that their bretheren are able to set an ambush?

The wind then shifted to the north west and we had to don our foulies to put out additional lines and fenders to protect the
starboard side of the boat from grinding against the poles. We were fortunate to catch a relative lull in the wind, as trying to
push some 20000 lbs of deadweight against the wind is not an easy task.

Wonder of wonders, this morning we departed at 0710 and were the second boat out of the marina as we had a longish day of
50 miles ahead of us. I must admit that my mind was in a bit of a state as the grounding experiences of the previous leg had left
me scarred. So, I was almost pedantic in positioning Amida correctly in the channel, watching charts, gauges, and markers, as
well as constantly looking back over my shoulder. It was all worth the effort and we passed the test of the first 3 hours of open
water successfully before entering the Pungo River Canal. This waterway is about 25 miles long and is as straight as an arrow.
The depth at its entrance was 18ft, which was quite a welcome change from the 10-12 we had been experiencing at some stages
earlier in the day. I mean this was easy! We were safe, at least for the day! Fade in the Jaws music theme here, of course…

No sooner had I thought and said these words, I spotted a crew working in the centre of canal a couple of miles away, which
was around Mile 120 of the ICW. Of course, at this moment, I was just completing the overtaking of a slower sailboat and trying
to get out of the way of a power boat who wanted to get ahead of both of us. Of course, this was the also the time when the first
vessel of the day to approach us, coming the other way, would appear on the scene.

A minor segue regarding power boats… many of them generate an absolutely enormous wake… some of their owners are
considerate and slow down when overtaking, to reduce this wake… others seem to take savage glee in seeing just how close
they can get and how much angle of rock they can induce in a sailboat. Back to the story…

It turns out that this section of the ICW was being dredged, perhaps because of Isabel damage. We hailed the barge on the VHF
to find out where it was safe to proceed and were told to pass her to starboard and, just as we were doing so, the vessel
approaching us got into some difficulty as it, yes, you guessed it, grounded. Moments later, so did we! Much blue language
followed. I mean, we'd asked for directions… OK, OK, Marilyn had asked… we were where we'd been told go, and we still got
stuck. The problem was to figure out whether to go right or left. The dredging crew were a little less than helpful in telling us to
stay in the middle, which is where we were already. Having the 56HP engine in Amida certainly helps in these circumstances and
we slowly eased our way off.

Well, the next few miles were an absolute nightmare as the "middle" was no guarantee of success. The power boat and second
sailboat were now in front of us and each grounded at some stage or other. The sailboat hailed us to say they had gone from
14ft to 4ft… in the middle. I think we hit bottom four times in this short stretch. We then came across a pole with a sign on it
saying, "Danger Shoals". Thank you very much for that useless piece of information.

Needless to say, we were both on tenderhooks for the rest of the canal segment as who knew if there would be another,
unmarked, shoal area. I developed a technique of slowly weaving from one side of the canal to the other, while watching the
depth gauge. After passing the middle, I would wait for the depth to start getting shallower, which signified it was time to weave
back across to the other side and then repeat the oscillation.

On exiting the canal, the markers changed from Red on Starboard to Red on Port, except when heading off the ICW into a creek
or river, which added another dimension to the need to concentrate. We then had another two hours to get to Bellhaven, where
we had decided to stop at a marina for the night as the river it was on was not protected well from the NW wind.

Yes, I know, we seem to be spending far too many nights in marinas, certainly more than I had anticipated. This is a threat to
the budget but then, there are far fewer anchorages around than I had expected and not always do they provide adequate
protection. At least we are not spending money on eating out. Speaking of eating, we have just finished dinner and, yet again, it
was superb! Marilyn has done a fabulous job in the galley. I swear we are eating better than we did at home before setting out.
It helps, however, not to be getting back from the office at 7pm or 8pm and feeling too tired to prepare anything lavish. My
sympathies to those of you who are still in this phase of your lives! Here, we have docked, or anchored, by 5.30, which gives
plenty of time to have a period of relaxation, then getting a gourmet meal ready. I'm glad we did not have space to bring a
weighing scale, as I'm sure this good food will find a way to state its presence in a rather permanent way. There is very little
exercise on the boat… very few stairs to climb, only a few paces for walking. In fact, stress is probably the biggest calorie
burner, especially these last few days. Not a problem, though, as soon as we get to the warmer lattitudes, the plan is to swim for
an hour a day. I mean really swim, without flippers or other aids. You believe that will happen? It had better!

Now that we've finished eating and the writing is up to date, I need to work on the route for tomorrow. I think we will be able to
get to Oriental, which has been recommended to us as a must-see kind of place. I also need to check out what tides and
currents to expect as these will be becoming a bigger and bigger problem from now on. I guess I can look forward to further
groundings when I read from Skipper Bob about:

Mile 290: 4ft reported at low tide (I guess we won't anchor there)
Mile 283: ICW badly shoaled. 6ft in centre and only 3' a short distance off centre. (Could you possibly be a little more precise?
Would that be to Port or Starboard? Would that be 5ft, 10ft, or 15ft off centre?)

We met an "Al" yesterday who said that the Bahamas also has lots of shallow areas and our draft, as well as our fin keel, would
give us grief. He had been told by a different "Al" that fin keels can undergo a stress fracture from grounding, which is why he
had purchased a boat with an extended, shoal, fin keel.

Perhaps it is time to take a different attitude and treat what is happening as mere training for what is to come… Perhaps
grounding in a fashionable and correct way is an art form in which needs skills to be honed… Perhaps I should stop writing and
go to bed!

Nov 22 Oriental, NC
We didn't quite make Oriental but decided to stop early in Belhaven where there is a small but wonderful marina, Belhaven
Waterway Marina. It is run by a young couple who took it over a couple of years ago and have since spruced it up magnificently.
The washrooms are something else! The Gents, a single, has a waiting room outside it with a couple of armchairs and a shelf of
books and boating mags so you can sit and wait in comfort and take your mind away from pressing needs. It's also easier to
keep your knees tight while in a sitting position. There are nautical knick knacks all over the walls including WWII memorabilia
from a certain Robert Roth, aka Bernie. One of these is a letter, dated 1942, from his fiancé requesting to be released from her
promise as her spark of love for him had died. There are also towels, shampoo, conditioner, body wash (guys, this is soap), and
lotion (guys, I don't really know what this is used for). The showers have lots of hot water and good pressure, as well as a snake
fitting which accommodates all body heights in comfort. The final touch is a radio/CD. This is better than most of us have at
home!

The Ladies, I'm told, is decorated in a shell motif including an extensive shell and sharktooth collection, wooden and ceramic fish
all over the walls, as well as a fuzzy floor mat.

Outside, there is a hot-tub and a gazebo overlooking the water.

A few hundred yards away is a Library with Internet terminals as well as an old-fashioned hardware store. There's also a
grocery a mile away, to which the owners will drive you, but we did need to stock up just yet.

From Bellingham to Oriental is a wonderful stretch of the ICW, with just a couple of areas where you need to concentrate
because it is shallow near the meandering marks. A mark, by the way, appears not to designate a "safe" position, eg if you are
approaching a Red on your starboard then anything to the left of it is OK. It imparts a much more subtle message, ie it is safe
somewhere nearby, generally to the right of your boat! Ergo, give marks room and cut corners at your peril.

Other than those shallows, the route is well marked with water depth in the 50 - 20 feet, which made me feel much, much safer.
We put the genoa, briefly, but the wind did not cooperate at all, so most of the day was, again, under power.

We arrived in Oriental in the early afternoon, as we managed to depart Bellingham around 0730.
What a wonderful port of call! There is a town dock, with room for just two boats so forget thinking you'll be able to get one of
the spots, and a few marinas. By chance we selected the Oriental Harbor Village Centre Marina which had good draft and had
been built quite recently. We were helped into the assigned slip, tied up, locked up, and headed into "town" where we found
some really neat shops.

One of these contained an extensive used book section and the proprietress was extremely well read and offered us some great
suggestions so to which new authors we might like. We ended up taking away some ten books, priced between $2 and $3.50,
including two more Elizabeth Georges.

The "craft" stores were unlike any I have seen elsewhere. Normally, I find them full of kitsch and tasteless rubbish but these had
lots of classy items. There was an art gallery with wonderful pottery and paintings, the prices of both astoundingly low. We
managed to restrain ourselves from any purchases, only because there would be nowhere to store them.

We came across a grocery, again disappointing by Loblaw's standards, but stocking Moosehead beer. By now we were about a
mile away and not relishing the walk back laden with several bags. The friendliness of the locals was again evidenced by a lady
who stopped and offered us a ride back to the boat. She told us to say "hi" to George at the marina, so I stopped any and every
male we came by but none of them hailed to that name. I hope they didn't think I had ulterior motives…

We then chatted to one of the marina owners, a retired Small Claims Judge, his two partners being an architect and a lawyer. He
gave us a short history of the project, which took three years just to get planning permission from the some 23 agencies who
needed to provide approvals. Talk about bureaucracy! The dredging costs alone were $1M and the total came to $12M. The
marina office used to be the old town railway station. Apparently, there are 300,000 more boats than available slips along the
Eastern US seaboard so they don't anticipate selling the slips (which probably cost $50K each!). He recommended a restaurant,
the Oriental Steamer, that we intend to try for Saturday dinner, our first real eatout since our oyster-fests in Annapolis (Pizza
Hut does not count).

We went for another walk and M found a ladies store with neat clothes as well as jewelry, and came out of it with a watch /
bracelet combo for a mere $40. This was a 'required' purchase as her dress watch had broken and, of course, only guys can go
around everywhere wearing a digital model. Across the street was a Tiki Bar, just outside one of the other marinas, where we
found a couple of boats that we'd met in Norfolk. BTW, that one, the Oriental Marina and Inn, is probably not a good choice as
the Tiki Bar's music is quite loud and late. We did, however, stop by the Bar and sat on its patio, overlooking the water and
boats, with the sun setting from a clear blue sky.

Today is another beautiful day, with more blue sky and a temperature in the mid 70s. For our exploration we took a couple of
the bikes, no charge, offered by the marina (BTW, they also have free laundry facilities) and cycled around. We found a local
craftsman making his marine version of Muskoka chairs and I later took my partly finished cockpit table, currently just a teak
rectangle, to his workshop so he could radius the corners and route the edges… all for $10. Coming by a bakery we bought
some sticky buns and ordered a loaf of bread for later pickup.

Back at the boat, I checked engine vitals, oil level, strainer, alternator belt, mountings, etc while M went to the office with
laundry. She came back with "local knowledge" about an anchorage, a bight by Cape Lookout, an hour past Beaufort, to which
we will travel tomorrow. To get to it, you have to head out into the ocean, then come back again, so that will be a welcome
change from the ICW.

So, now all there is left for the evening is to go back into the marina office, upload this log using their wireless setup, assuming
we can get it to work, take a shower, get dressed up a little, and head off to the restaurant for dinner. So… bye for now.
History Log: Season 2004
Amida travels from Toronto to Trinidad.
Our first years adventure.