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More than one way to enjoy the water

Posted on October 23rd at
We're surrounded by water and enjoy it from land all the time, but oh how we miss actually being on it (riding the ferry to work doesn't count). Verkennen is still not ready to go back in (a house renovation is getting in the way now), so we did the next best thing and headed down to Swansboro to look at some kayaks. We had a good idea of what we wanted and tried out several at a kayak rental place. We settled on two 14' recreational kayaks that can go in the ocean (not that that's a need of ours, but we will be in the inlets). After hurricane Irene we picked them up and have taken them out nearly every week.

Now we can enjoy the wildlife up close again. I especially enjoy paddling with the dolphins although we don't always see them. The wild horses are more common as they come down to the shore to feed on marsh grass. We have countless creeks, marshes and sounds to explore and a great variety of islands. We move pretty well against the tide but it's a bear when a strong wind is against the tide also. So we're learning to time our long trips to the tides.

Now that the migration south of cruisers has begun, we often find ourselves in the company of cruising dinghies out exploring. I remember with fondness all the exploring we did in our dinghy and envy those cruisers as they head to fun adventures. We'd love to go spend another winter in the Bahamas ( and the Keys too) and haven't ruled out more cruising. The right jobs and circumstances have to occur and we're hopeful. Until then we'll paddle our kayaks whenever we can and enjoy all that being on the water has to offer.

Good Night Irene

Posted on August 29th at

Paul - hard at work on 'hurricane shutters'

This has been a long week. The pre-arrival hype for Hurricane Irene had her making a direct hit on Morehead City as a category 2/3 with winds of 110mph. The build up had me quite nervous, but Paul was able to concentrate on just the information we needed and not all the horror stories. Being newbies to hurricanes and having just moved into our older house, with a questionable roof, we decided it would be best to ride out this storm at the college where I work. It’s a hurricane shelter, and we were able to have my classroom all to ourselves.

Shortly after we awoke Saturday morning, Irene made landfall and the eye did go over Morehead City. But the winds were down to 85-95 mph and our fair city weathered it quite well. So did we - we decided living on a boat and facing all those conditions we all encounter prepared us well for the howling winds and torrential downpours we watched all day. Isn’t it amazing how sailors always seem to gravitate to each other, and we whiled away the hours sharing sailing stories with a Columbian sailor who now lives on the Outer Banks and a couple from Michigan who have a 2nd home down here.

Sitting out the storm

The first thing we checked after the storm was Verkennen. A tree had fallen across the entrance to the marina so we parked the car and made the trek through the woods where we found Verkennen sitting nice and pretty in her jackstands. I think her low center of gravity is helpful, and while most boats made it through fine, a few boats across from us weren’t so fortunate. Several boats in Beaufort and Morehead were blown up on the islands, but that’s rather understandable since they were left on their moorings in fairly open creeks during a hurricane.

We were so thankful to see our house weathered the storm quite well, as did most of Morehead City. There were lots of trees and limbs down but little major damage. Aside from a limb through our porch rail and part of the fence and branches down, our worst loss personally was the loss of our pecan crop. But at least most of the tree made it through.

For those of you who’ve been through Oriental, I’m enclosing a couple of pictures of the town under 9 1/2 feet of water from the storm. There was major flooding in Pamlico County and some of my co workers lost their homes and/or belongings. I don’t know when I’ll be back to work. But, it’s a new week, our yard is back to normal, and we’re headed out for a swim in the sound.

Oriental Marina

The Bean Coffee Shop and Village Gallery

Summer update

Posted on June 25th at

Sailing on the Beaufort waterfront

We were awakened Sunday night by howling winds, a spectacular lightning show, peals of thunder and pounding rain. It was a short, but powerful and welcome thunderstorm - all the more welcome because we haven't seen rain for 7 weeks and are 10" below normal. Fortunately we were snug in our house instead of on Verkennen because the 12 minute storm wreaked havoc with the boats at anchor in Beaufort. For those of you familiar with the anchorages, Taylor Creek had its share of boats breaking loose and some damage, but it was chaos in Town Creek. An 80' yacht broke loose from it's dock at the marina and took another yacht with it across the creek. The second yacht had someone aboard so he was able to get his boat back to the dock. But the unmanned eighty footer blew through the anchorage taking out several moored boats before running aground just before the boardwalk.

We had lost power so were in Beaufort at our favorite coffee shop when we heard of the wreakage. On our way home we stopped at Town Creek to gawk and saw no less than 15 boats aground or sunk. It seemed that boats not knocked loose by the yacht had been blown loose or blown over and sunk. Flotsom from two sunk houseboats littered the creek and owners were gathering their belongings along the shore. As the tide rose 3 Tow boat US boats came to tow the yacht back to the marina. Several live aboards were working to free their anchors and move their boats back to deep water. Local police, wildlife officers and the Coast Guard were all there so the place was hopping. We spent the whole morning watching the progress and it felt like we were back on Verkennen watching life happen from the cockpit.

Unfortunately, Verkennen is still on the hard while the house remodeling continues. We hope to move in the middle of July and then the pace can slow a bit. We had a break on our anniversary and took our bikes aboard the ferry to Ocracoke, where we spent a peaceful day riding around and enjoying the island we had first visited on Verkennen. We hope to bring Verkennen back here so we can have an extended stay again. But for now, we still continue to enjoy the water, in lots of varied ways.

Ocracoke ferry and sunset

Yard work

Posted on April 28th at

Verkennen has been in the yard in New Bern for over a year now. Paul finished the hull in February and sanded and painted the cabin in March. We're stripping down the exterior teak to let it stay natural. Repainting the deck, recoating the cockpit teak and cleaning the interior are mostly what remains but boat yard work has come to a halt due to yard work of another nature -

In March we closed on a house we bought in Morehead City, NC. It's an in town cottage, one mile from the ocean and downtown. We are one block from the water and 5 blocks from the ICW. So those of you passing thru, let us know - a hot shower and a ride to the grocery are always available.

Owning a home ends my hope for a long term cruise, but not for time on the water. We're still open to a variety of plans for cruising, but Paul was ready to stop living aboard and to settle down. Maintaining an older boat, outfitting her for extensive offshore cruising and working to refill the kitty were major reasons for our change in plans. Unlimited financial resources would have made a big difference for us in continuing to cruise, but we feel very much at home in Morehead City and are happy in our new adventure. This town is a good fit for us and although our 'cottage' will be a LOT of work, it is work Paul enjoys and I know we can make it comfortable. (After a new bathroom, kitchen and some major rearranging of walls - not to mention a major scrubbing)

As long as we own Verkennen I will continue with periodic updates to the blog, but for awhile my main focus will be our house renovation. If interested, you can follow along with renovation work at moreheadcottage.blogspot.
com. We'll continue to rent while doing some major work on the house and I'll be recording house and yard work on that site.

Marsh behind our house

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