This is another marina review on the Why Knot Great Lakes Grand Tour. Using the N D S, A A, P P marina analysis model, I'll fill you in on what my experience was. The views expressed are strictly my own.
I have a confession. I have a bias towards Whittaker Pointe Marina. It is one of our most favorite marinas of them all. It's quiet and serene, perfect to chill for awhile. It also is beautiful with a wonderful clubhouse and a great view out over the Neuse River.
N: Navigability – Almost directly across the Neuse River from Adams Creek. That's the part of the ICW that comes up from Morehead City. It's also just east of Oriental proper. It's entrance channel, which it shares with several other marinas, is shallow, but not so much that any normal vessel can't get in and out. Tons of sailboats use it. Mind the markers. When we entered this most recent time we never sounded what would have been less than 8 feet of water from surface to bottom at low tide.
D: Dockage – Three t-head docks and a bunch of slips with plenty of water. The marina is laid out at non-ninety-degree angles so turnaround room in the thoroughfares will vary. But it's enough everywhere. The docks are fixed concrete with pilings and cleats – very substantial and strong. You'll feel secure. There are a few slips wide enough for cats.
S: Services – No fuel. No pump out either. They have a manual pump out cart that is free to use. But you have to do ALL the work, from wheeling it down to your dock, to operating the hand pump, to hauling it back on shore to the sewage spout, and emptying it. Pump out is available at the marina next door at their travel lift slot.
A: Amenities – In my humble opinion, this marina's clubhouse (lounge, monster-size bathrooms, laundry) is the very best out there. It is bright, clean, and very up-to-date – mega-comfy. They also have a swimming pool! We were never able to use their wifi for the docks.
A: Accessibility – Whittaker Pointe has a loaner van available. You can ride your bike also; it's 4.0 miles from the clubhouse to the waterfront in town.
P: Provisioning – There is a small Piggly Wiggly in Oriental for provisioning. There is also a West Marine Express and a hardware store too. And that's pretty much it. The marine consignment shop exists in name only. It looks like someone is trying to convert it to a sail and rigging loft. It smelled awful from dirt and mold, and there isn't any merchandise to speak of, good or bad.
P: Price – Their published transient rate on Active Captain is $1.60 per foot. If you pay for a week you get a month.
Oriental is a cute town. There's a few good restaurants (M&Ms, The Silo) and it is pretty. But if you really look at it carefully, there isn't much else to do. It exists to support the marinas and commercial fishing boats there. We think Oriental would be at its maximum-fun quotient if you were traveling with boat-buddies and brought a party with you.
Verdict – Whittaker Pointe Marina is a gem. The setting is idyllic, and the facilities are first-class. We feel very much at home there. We've always set aside time to stay there when we crossed paths with it. You should too.
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