Monday, April 13, 2020

Oriental NC, a Sailors' Town

The town of Oriental brags that it has three boats for every human being. So as expected the town is set up well for cruisers. The local grocery store is a Piggly Wiggly and it has a shuttle van: for now it delivers groceries to the dock, in better days it shuttles cruisers to and from the store.

The OiNC shuttle

The adorable restaurants along the waterfront, shuttered for now, have wooden patios that look quite dog-friendly. I can't wait for the day they are populated and I can taste the goodies listed in the window menus. Everybody we meet around town shares a friendly wave. I imagine they are smiling beneath their masks.

The wind here is fairly constant; we're not that far from KittyHawk after all. I can see why the Wright Brothers chose this region for plane development.

The whole town follows a central essential website daily. It's a tidy way of keeping a community together, something I have not seen anywhere else in the nation. Check it out for a glimpse into this small town life:, it's got everything from the local gossip, to restaurant and business hours, to swap meet locations, to weather reports with a slant towards boaters' concerns. This morning a neighbor told us copperheads have come out of hibernation and are being seen around town, he read it on "the website". 

Here on the East Coast there are two tides to worry about. The normal moon tide that we are already familiar with, and also a wind tide, the latter of which being far more prevalent here. The wind blows water in and out of the rivers and since Minerva draws over 6'6" of boat draft when fully loaded, this greatly affects the windows for getting her into and out of the repair yard and some marinas. For now she is low on fuel and low on water so she can make it around town to her various appointments, she looks a bit cork-like riding a full foot or so above her usual waterline.

Minerva at rest in her Oriental Harbor Marina slip 

Buying a boat is a process, and we are now in the phase where repairs are being made to satisfy the insurance company, pursuant to surveyor recommendations. The things the insurance company is concerned with have to do with safety of vessel and crew, Lance has his own checklist above and beyond that. He loads the daily tools into the Mini almost every morning while I work at my desk and spends the day alongside the owner wrenching on this or that, both of them decked out in stylish N95 masks (we dug ours out of  the first aid kit). Later this week a different surveyor will come by to approve completion of the insurance company's checklist, next will be the sail test. Assuming all of that goes smoothly we will be trading keys and signed documents for our life savings. Hopefully soon.

New Friends in Times of Plague

We found covered storage for Loretta in nearby New Bern. Lance still wants to drive her home to California so my Dad can keep an eye on her but considering the state of the nation the trip might not be wise. We have completed quarantine here and there may not be services to support Loretta on her journey across the nation now, also he may not be able to make it back by public transport. Importantly, we'll lose sailing time while he makes the round trip, which becomes more precious as hurricane season approaches. So we'll wait and see on that for now. Oriental is a good spot to ride out the plague, and it would be safe and dry enough under cover for Loretta to wait out the summer while we sail up to Maine and back. Mr. Toad is not part of our long-term picture so we'll be looking for a new home for him soon, it makes more sense than storing him.

The RVers' world is beyond crazy right now. Some states have simply closed parks, cancelled incoming reservations and kicked everyone out who was already there. While this makes sense if you have a home to go to, or if you are just camping for fun when you should be sheltering at home, it doesn't make sense at all for full-timers. Forcing someone to move around who had been safely quarantined in place is the opposite of helpful, but that is exactly what has happened in many places. We barely made it into Oriental before the lockdown went into place by order of the NC governor, the park we left made it clear we couldn't come back once we had left, and we were one of the last allowed in before the town locked down on this end too. It made for a stressful transition, others haven't been as fortunate as us. Many full-timers we know have been bounced out with nowhere to go, roaming between WalMarts and private parks, always in quarantine since they are never allowed to stay anywhere for long. I'm grateful we made it into this private park just in time, it's within bicycling distance of most everything we need, which right now is an endless loop of boat,  chandlery, and groceries. The RV faces a huge lawn area, Lance thinks it is sod being prepared for sale. Chloe and Stewie frolic daily on it with the neighbor dogs and I enjoy the stunning green view outside my office window.

Chloe frolicking on the lawn beside the RV park. The light is magical here.

This is probably the last view I'll be enjoying from this window for a while. The next round of stunning views will all be from the water: Annapolis, New York, Maine. Maybe the fjords of Nova Scotia if we can get moving in time.

Internet Speed Comparison
Oriental RV Park, Oriental, NC
Sampled 3/31/20 at 11:41 am

MB down
MB up
Calyx (Sprint)
Google Fi
Jetpack (Verizon)
Park wifi

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