John and Bob’s 35 hour trip from Ft. Pierce to Morehead City was uneventful. (But who would know!) My assignment was to drive from our home in Hilton Head and meet them on Sunday evening “somewhere near Wilmington, North Carolina” (depending on how their trip went). Of course there had been no communication with them since they left Ft. Pierce early Saturday morning. John was to call me when they neared their destination. I expected to hear from him around 2 pm. I had our two dogs – M.E. and Macey – with me in the car, and it was about 85 degrees outside. As we approached the Wilmington area around 2:30 pm. I still hadn’t heard from John. I pondered what to do, particularly in light of the fact that I had these two panting dogs to consider. I couldn’t just sit in the car with the engine/a.c. running indefinitely! We walked around a tree-full park and continued to wait for the phone to ring. Around 4:00 I started to go into panic mode (unusual for me, not generally being a worrier). Do I call the Coast Guard? Who could I call that would appreciate my situation and be able to not only console me, but offer me practical advice. Nobody really. I continued to just sit and wait….engine running. FINALLY, at 4:15 the call came. It was the most welcomed call I’ve ever received! They were headed to Morehead City. I was delighted to put the car in “D” and drive the additional 2 hours north. I was never so happy to see two people – and a beautiful Krogen Express at the dock – in my life! Even though they were unshaven and rather unkempt, there were big hugs all around! The boat was a mess. While the guys washed the outside, I tackled the inside, and was I ever happy to do it!
We all had a sound sleep that night, particularly the guys; and Bob left in the car early Monday morning to head home and back to the office. John and I and “the girls” (our affectionate name for our dogs) set out for an easy, short ride to a spot near Oriental, NC, River Dunes. This is a fairly new waterfront development of coastal/southern-style homes with a man-made, very protected harbour/marina. http://www.riverdunes.com/index.php?flag=marinagallery It has a pool, workout room, and a gorgeous clubhouse/restaurant (open only on weekends). J.C., the dockmaster, and his assistant Reggie, greeted us “with open arms”. We had a long walk around the neighborhood and then a dip in the pool, followed by a meatloaf dinner on the aft deck of “Joy”.
Tuesday morning was very rainy and windy. We head for Manteo (pronounced Manny-o). This town is off the ICW, but it’s one we’ve visited before and really enjoyed. Within a 2 minute walk of the town dock are shops and good restaurants. The dockmaster, Carl, has been there forever. The docks are fixed, wooden, the only downside. Our boat is such a snap to get on/off with floating docks, and while fixed is do-able, it’s certainly not preferable. Anyway, the forecast called for a NE wind of 5-10 with 1 foot seas. Turns out it was more like 20knot winds with 2 foot seas, and numerous rainstorms which made the seas kick up even more. Saw lots of shrimpers along the way (see photo). Once (very) happily tied up at the dock, we hosed the boat down, and took a short walk with the girls. M.E. made a new friend who was aboard a Nordic Tug and they had a blast running around the park area at the marina. John and I got cleaned up and met our friends, Joe and Laura, who drove us to their Italian restaurant in Nags Head for a fabulous feast. Filled up with pizza, hot wings, eggplant parmesan, lasagna, salad, and bread, they then insisted on ordering us dessert. (No refusals, here!) Mousse cake, tiramasu and cheesecake topped off the meal, and they even sent us home with a couple cartons of (big surprise!) left-overs. Needless to say, “sweet dreams” followed.