Friday, August 9, 2013

A tale of two marinas

Last night, we stayed at River Dunes Marina. It is located just  north of Oriental, NC (the sailing capital of North Carolina) only a few miles off the IntraCoastal Waterway (ICW). It is attached to a development that, unfortunately, got caught by the recession and has yet to grow to fruition. It is several miles from the nearest town and that is not a big town.
That's us - the little boat in the middle.
River Dunes Marina

As a result, they have an amazing marina that was designed to attract the flow of boats and yachts that travel north and south on the ICW in annual migratory flocks. They have a handful of gorgeous homes, cute rental cottages and a whole lot of unsold lots.

It has sort of a sad, creepy feeling because it is so nice - the infrastructure is outstanding, the engineering and design is great - and yet, there are very few people around.

 For us, it meant great dockage at reasonable prices, amenities including steam showers, pool, hut tubs, laundry, loaner car for a grocery run and a list of things we never got around to investigating. Incredibly nice staff, beautiful grounds. I hope that they get back on track as the economy heals.

Speaking of healing, thanks for all the nice comments and well wishes for Junie. I was insistent that we stay another night at River Dunes to give Junie's back a rest. She was insistent that she wanted to move on to Morehead City today. So, anyone want to guess where we are tonight?

That's right! Morehead City! We motored out of River Dunes at 8:00 am to head down the ICW about 35 miles. We got out without running into any shallow spots (several days without running aground now - so proud). Running the ICW is mostly just about staying between the markers and avoiding other boats. Which sounds easy. Except that the markers are relocated on a regular basis due to shifting shoals. But it was a pleasant trip.

Portside Marina, Morehead City, NC
Yes, that's us - the little boat in the middle.
We were headed to another marina. This one, Portside Marina in Morehead City, is only one mile inside of Beaufort Inlet which leads directly into the ocean. This is a working port - the only one between Charleston and Norfolk. It is busy. Crazy busy. Big boats, little boats, ships, fishing, dinner cruise boats. It is about as far from the idylic setting at River Dunes as possible. We have a port terminal right next door with cranes and stuff. We have ocean swells rolling us at the dock. We still have some amenities but a little more spartan. The people, however, are wonderful, helpful and glad to have us here even if we are just passing through.

And, most importantly, it stages us nicely to sneak out into the ocean, around the corner to a place called Lookout Bight. It has been a safe anchorage stuck out in the ocean since the days of Blackbeard the Pirate - well, right up until they sunk his ship (Queen Anne's Revenge) in the middle of Beaufort Inlet.

Junie is not healing up as quickly as she would like. She is not a very good patient. Obviously. Or we would still be in the hot tub at River Dunes:)

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