Oriental NC (pop. 875). calls itself “The Sailing Capital of North Carolina” and with good reason. The Neuse River is wide with plenty of wind to fill a lot of sails but we haven’t seen too many sails out on the river from our vantage point.
Our marina, Whitaker Pointe Marina, is absolutely lovely. It is very modern with a drop-dead gorgeous clubhouse that is only about five years old with all of the needed amenities. The bathrooms and showers are very large and extremely clean. The docks are fixed docks as there is no tide swing here, other than what the wind blows in and out. It is quiet and picturesque and we are really enjoying our stay here.
The marina has a loaner car so we were able to get into to town for a while on Saturday and checked out all of the other marinas and took in the sights of this quaint little town. And little it is. There is a West Marine Express store, a grocery store, hardware store, a few sundry shops, a marine consignment shop, a few restaurants and that’s about it.
We ate lunch at a restaurant called M and Ms and our server was a very nice and friendly young lady named Amelia.
On Sunday we had a very surprising experience that illustrates why we love this lifestyle and why boaters are some of the best people on the planet. Our marina is on the east side of Whitaker Creek. This makes it a looooong walk to get into town because it is on the west side of Whitaker Creek. There is a loaner car to use and it worked on Saturday but not on Sunday when we needed to get back into town for just a few more things. So we decided to dinghy over to a very nearby marina on the other side of the creek, tie up and walk to the grocery store.
We got the boat down in the water, hooked up the trolling motor and silently motored over to Sail Craft Marina. We crawled down the marina looking for the dinghy dock but couldn’t see it. There was a gentleman named Rusty on his sailboat cleaning so we asked him if he could direct us to it. He told us where it was but offered for us to tie up on the stern of his boat and we could walk in from there. But then he had a better idea. He was so nice and hospitable he told us that he would drive us to where we needed to go and help us find an electrical part we needed. Now get that – he drove us around the town in his pick-up truck! How cool is that?! Oh yeah, and this was after he rummaged through his parts stash on his boat, his garage and the garage of three of his neighbors looking for the small parts he needed. Awesome.
As I sit here early Monday morning, April 30, we have just a few things we have to accomplish: laundry, setting the chartplotter and the like. We will head out Tuesday morning with favorable conditions to head out back on the Neuse toward Pamlico Sound but tweaking up into the ICW before we hit the sound itself. We have a cruise plan to Norfolk VA of four daily legs in a six day window. So far the weather looks good. Should be able to make it.