Week. Long visit in Oriental, NC boating Capital of the World

Monday September 30 to Monday, October 7. Days 83 to 89

It’s almost 3pm on Sunday and this is the first day that Phil and I have been semi-relaxing since coming to Oriental. We’ve been busy visiting cruising friends in the evenings and working on boat projects during the day except for a trip into New Bern, NC to get some Sunbrella. So let me start at the beginning.

Monday, September 30 We woke in Belhaven this morning at 6:25 AM and listened to Chris Parker for weather. We were trying to decide whether we should put the zincs on the prop shaft now or wait for later and it turns out we decided to go forward and put them on after we reach Oriental. We raised the anchor at 8:05 AM, exited the channel and raised the headsail at 8:20 with the winds at 12 knots on a broad reach. Lorraine fixed pancakes for breakfast while we were underway. We passed a couple boats along the way; The first was S/V High Spirits from Cleveland Ohio, the second was S/V Plover which we found out later was a friend of Don and D’s and had just left their dock this morning. By 3:15pm at the Oriental channel we contacted D on the radio and by 330pm we were docked in their slip, B10, at Oriental Harbor Marina with Mark, the Dockmaster, D and Don to welcome us.

After getting tied up, the first order of the day was for Phil to put the zincs on the prop shaft. This turned out to be easier said than done because the water was murky making it difficult to see where to insert the Allen wrench to tighten up the Zincs. Phil decided to only put one on and then in another 4 to 6 weeks he’ll put the second zinc on so that they don’t wear out at the same time.

That evening we went over to Don and D’s house for dinner and got a chance to see Anne & Doug Siddens again from SV Drakus.

Tuesday, October 1 was spent making the Sunbrella covers for the Honda 2000i generator. I was able to make the pattern, cut the fabric and have it completely sewn before the dinner. I posted about that on the Facebook group Women Who Sail and got a favorable response from the women there. After the sewing project was done, we rode the loaner bikes from the marina to Don and D’s, got some winter pears and a quince, saw their boat projects and went out to dinner at Brantleys restaurant.

Honda 2000i Generator Cover

Honda 2000i Generator Cover

Honda 2000i Generator a cover Back

Honda 2000i Generator a cover Back

On the Honda 2000i Generator with extra line to attach to object on boat.

On the Honda 2000i Generator with extra line to attach to object on boat.

This shows the handle.  It's loose enough to attach a lock.

This shows the handle. It’s loose enough to attach a lock.

Wednesday, October 2 we spent some time on the computer in the morning then in the afternoon rode our bikes to the Marine consignment shop to try to sell one of the magnum grill regulators we had that doesn’t work with our current model. I found a book about Caribbean trails to hike on the top islands there and bought it. It will be good to take some of these hikes when we are down visiting the islands and help us to keep in shape. Then we rode to the post office to mail the generator cover and DVDs and then ride out to Inner Banks Canvas and Sails to look at their fabric for sunshades and for covering our cushions in the cockpit. The Pfeiffertex Plus that they had will match the toast Sunbrella and I was able to get some other fabric for the bottom of the cushions. We were thinking about getting new foam instead of using the bottomsiders, but will think about that to decide if we want to do that or not.

After riding home I made beef with black beans and rice and acorn squash for supper. We ran out of propane and so had to change the propane tanks. This is only the second time that we’ve had to change them for the stove so I think we’re doing good that way.

The Silos restaurant is having open mic tonight so we joined Don and D to watch the show. The Silos were a hopping place tonight and it was good to see all the different people from town.

20131007-152551.jpg Everyone who played was very good and we really enjoyed the music. This gentleman made his instrument out of various woods that were being thrown out. The front of this instrument is made out of Pitchpine, the back made from a wood from Africa, curly maple and green plastic for the side. I think it’s really beautiful and it sounded good too when he played it a little bit for us.


Thursday, October 3 was spent driving the car to New Bern, North Carolina to get foam to put on top of the bottom siders for our Cushion project. I also got some Sunbrella fabric to make more generator covers. I chose Black, Captain Navy, and Cadet Gray as I think they will last longer in the tropical sun. While we were there we stopped at Morgans’s Tavern as recommended to us for Southwest chicken salad and a meatloaf sandwich which were both very good. On the way home we stopped at Habitat for Humanity to pick up something for Anne and at Food Lion to fill up with groceries. D invited us over for a potluck so I made brownies and green beans with my new dehydrated mushrooms. I’m still trying to work out baking items in my oven with the new pampered chef baking stone. Baked goods are taking twice as long to cook as they should and the brownies were still a little bit undercooked but everyone loved them anyway. At the Wogamans’s we met Peter and Gail from Australia who are currently living in Oriental updating their boat. We met Richard who has a Ferro cement sailboat and his project is painting the topsides for the fourth and hopefully the last time.

Friday, October 4. I start out my days now listening to Chris Parker Carribean Weather on SSB channel 4045 at about 630am. My alarm is set for 625 am. We will become a sponsor soon and will get individual weather forecast for where we are since we want to do an outside passage, which means go out an inlet onto the Atlantic Ocean and sail down a couple hundred miles in to Charleston with Masonboro Inlet as our backup if weather gets too bad.

So this morning we heard information about Tropical Storm Karen that had us (probably more me than Phil) a little concerned. We had discussions about where to go to be safe and have decided to listen to the weather forecasts to see what develops before we get too worked up.

Today my project was to make the covers for the cockpit cushions. The Bottomsiders cushions have broken down from their use since the last trip. I didn’t take photos of my work in progress for teaching the steps, but I started about 1030am and finished about 5pm. Instead of getting all new foam, we flipped the Bottomsiders so the smooth side was up and then topped with the 2″ foam for outdoor cushions we bought yesterday. Here are some photos.

Lorraine Sewing

Lorraine Sewing

Inside out ready to turn

Inside out ready to turn

The cushions are slightly softer than before and we are happy with the way they look. Now to keep them clean.
Lorraine holding finished cushion.

Lorraine holding finished cushion.

Since I was busy all day, we had left over Beef, Black Beans and rice to which I added some hotdogs and Brussel sprouts on the side. It didn’t seem as spicy hot this time.

Today is Don Wogaman’s birthday, so we were invited over to their house for a campfire on their back patio. They have been gracious enough to let us borrow their car, so we had the luxury to drive there and back. We had a nice time, but said that we were going to stay home tomorrow night. We need some relaxing time, which they understand.

Saturday, October 5
This morning about 8am while the winds were still calm, we took down the head sail so that I could restitch the sacrificial part of the foot of the sail. It was so bad that I needed to use the double sided basting tape to hold it in place while there was tension on the sail before taking it off the forestay. We have been having VERY hot and humid days (I know everyone’s violins are playing for me at home) so we’ve been very glad to have a place in the shade to do these sewing projects. The stitching went well being on the edge of the sail. I did notice that my repairs from where there was chafe from rubbing on the lifelines and the spreader was in need of repair again, so I stitched some leather in those areas. I hope it lasts at least 2 years. The stitching for the webbing at the clue was gone on one side, so Phil spent the next one and a half hours and maybe more to hand stitch the webbing back on, it being too thick to fit under the pressure foot of my Sailrite sewing machine. While he did that, I cut out the camel colored sunshades and then measured and stitch the hems for hanging them off the stern and sides of the Hard Bimini. By 2pm we were done. We were both tired, but we did put the head sail back on the forestay before we called it a day. We relaxed for a couple hours then called Anne to see if we could come over to see their boat SV Drakus, which they have been working on since 2006 to get ready to go cruising. About 400pm we drove over and we can tell they have made a lot of progress in their projects, but still have more to go. Who doesn’t? We stayed so long, we decided to go to Brantleys Restaurant for dinner. They have a seafood buffet on Saturday nights which sounded good to me. I think that their seafood was better than what we had in Elizabeth City, especially when you got it right after a fresh batch was added to the pans. On hindsight, I guess we didn’t stay home like we said last night, but we had a very enjoyable time out.

Sunday, October 6, Day 88
The day started out hot with no winds. Phil attached the quarterturns to the Bimini and sunshades while I cleaned down below getting ready for visitors. I had invited Don & D and Anne & Doug over for lunch so had a good excuse to get it done. That’s the good part of living on a small boat, not as much to clean!

I decided to make a Crab Primavera with a light cream sauce over angle hair pasta for lunch. Everyone liked it and we had a nice visit with them. We showed off the boat and the results of our boats projects. I so appreciate all they have done for us while we’ve been here. We were thinking about leaving Monday, but will have to check the weather. TS Karen is no more, but there is a cold front coming. It was at lunch that we learned from D that Stephanie and Brian from S/V Rode Trip were coming to Oriental and may dock next to us!! They are a young couple whose blog we have been following since last fall so we are looking forward to meeting them.

Late in the afternoon we heard on the VHF radio D and Stephanie hailing each other to discuss where they will dock. First they were going to the town dock, then in the Marina we’re in next to a Beneteau on A dock, then next to ours on B dock, so we went all over but ultimately it was all good. We are glad to have them next to us.

After they were settled, we talked and decided to join them at Silos Restaurant for pizza. They were going to walk and we’d drive. Oriental is a sleepy small town that pretty much closes up at about 8pm most nights, and being Sunday it’s even sleepier. We found out that Silos was closed after Brian and Stephanie left so drove to catch them and decided on other options. We opted for M&M’s Restaurant right around the corner from the Marina. They had good food and once we were done eating we called it a night.

Monday October 7 Chris Parker said the TS Karen is no more, so glad I don’t have to worry about that. Now to be aware of the cold front that is coming through soon. Usually here at Oriental the winds are calm or very light first thing in the morning then pick up as the day progresses to calm down again at night. Last night and today was different. It was windy last night in the 10-14kt range from the south and the winds continue to get stronger as the day progressed. Last night I heard the dinghy knock against the boat, took a look and noticed that there wasn’t a fender like we usually have. In my haze from sleep, I thought we just needed to fix it tomorrow. This morning Phil took a look and that’s when we realized the fender that had been hanging was gone. Phil looked and didn’t see it. I looked in a different direction closer to shore and low and behold, there it was hung up by a line holding a little sailboat away from the dock.

Dinghy Fender in Oriental Harbor Marina

Dinghy Fender in Oriental Harbor Marina

We got in the dinghy and pulling on dock lines and the wind pushing us under the docks, then Phil rowing on more open water we retrieved the fender who’s line was snagged on the small sailboat’s dock line. It’s good that the wind hadn’t climbed up to the mid 20’s kts yet, so we had a easy time getting back to Changes
Phil tying up the dinghy after fender retrieval

Phil tying up the dinghy after fender retrieval

After we returned to Changes and reattached the fender this time with a longer line, I started working on the blog and Phil took SV Rode Trip crew into the grocery store and then got more hardware for the sun shades at the canvas shop.

The afternoon was spent giving Stephanie and Brian a tour of Changes and then we toured Rode Trip. I am envious on the amount of storage they have and their composting toilet which I would love to have but can’t as our bathroom is too small. 515pm came all too soon as I had to make the rice dish for the Cruiser’s Potluck in the pressure cooker. We walked together with our boat neighbors and welcomed the A/C after a mile walk in hot and humid weather. The food was good, I got new recipes and a good time was had by all. We even got in a couple games of Mexican train dominoes before Anne took pity on us and drove us home.

Doug and Anne Siddens on SV Drakus, Stephanie and Brian Grandjean on SV Rode Trio, D and Don Wogaman on SV Southern Cross, and Lorraine and Phil Dolsen on SV Changes

Doug and Anne Siddens on SV Drakus, Stephanie and Brian Grandjean on SV Rode Trio, D and Don Wogaman on SV Southern Cross, and Lorraine and Phil Dolsen on SV Changes

Our time in Oriental has been very enjoyable, but it’s time to get moving again soon. We want to go to Morehead City, NC to visit the Loves, so will check out Marina options for a one night stay.

4 thoughts on “Week. Long visit in Oriental, NC boating Capital of the World

  1. I finally spec’d out your open water trip and the inlet you chose if weather forces you to taken its safety. Fickle weather always requires planning. Very professional on your part and expected on my part. Due to get-togethers with old and new friends, your days are hell-bent for rigorous activity. Wonderful life you both have ! How old is Changes and your present power plant? If you needed a replacement, what would you seek? Lorraine, your Sunbrella-cloth covers are handsome and very durable-looking. They add much to the money box in the bilge.


    • Changes and the engine (power plant) are vintage 1978. We have solar panels 2-140 watts that really supply our electricity and do it very well when there is sunlight. Even on a cloudy day, we get some output.

      Thank you for your comment on the Honda generator covers. I hope they do add money, but time will tell. Looks like the weather is better where you are. This too shall pass (our bad weather here).


  2. Loraine you are doing great things with the Sail Rite sewing machine. I think it has paid for its self several times over. It’s nice to save money but the best part about being handy, as you both are, is that when you make something you get exactly what you want. There is no compromising with a purchased ‘one size fits all’ solution.


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