Finally a day where nothing really serious happens, no problems to worry about and an easy docking in Oriental, NC.

I could just post this and go to bed but you know I would not do that to our loyal readers so let’s review the day.

By 0800 we were backing out of Caspers in Swansboro and heading ever northward though at any given time of day the compass could show us going in any direction except south.

There was much shallow water today but clearly marked fairways and pleasant scenery. I believe the least I saw under the props at any time was 3.2 feet. That means the overall depth at that location would be about 6.5 feet. In some places we have traveled, like Steinhatchee or the Keys, that would be considered deep water. It is amazing how we have changed many of our long held perceptions concerning boating. On the Tennessee we would be in a panic over 3.2 feet and some of the wakes we have received would have made us crazy. Now it is just part of the day. And going into a marina with strong current and wind and trying to back this boat between two pilings set 18 feet apart would have made us scream. Now the Admiral can dock in a gale force wind and we don’t even bother to call anyone on the radio to request a slow pass. And speaking of slow passes the old green hulled boat got cursed not only by other boats today but a marina operator threatened to call the police!

Note: Some readers have written to ask me why I do not give the name of the offending vessel so they can be on the lookout. The answer is that I have no idea who we know that may be best buddies with these folks and I do not wish to start a feud when all I have to do is push the throttles forward and leave him far behind.

We met a tow pushing a single barge in a narrow channel today. Jan was at the wheel and I radioed for instructions from Lisa Mora. Remember we have AIS so we know their names even when we cannot see them yet. He told us how he wanted the pass to happen and where. I took a series of photos from Jan’s perspective so you can experience what it feels like to do a dance with several hundred tons of moving steel.

We came out of the ICW into the broad Neuse River and headed out into big water to cross over to Oriental, NC.

Remember yesterday we had a 21 gun salute? We later learned it was not just tanks and cannons shooting, it was a Navy warship offshore firing live rounds into the beach and then an amphibious landing by Marines. At one point things got dicey when two stupid fishing boats without VHF radios moved within 2 miles of the warship. They are supposed to keep a 15 mile distance and there are helicopter gunships to enforce it. Naturally it would be an international incident if the Navy blew up two 18 foot fishing boats so they bent over backwards to deal with it but I am sure the Captain always had the USS Cole in the back of his mind at all times.

I got sidetracked because I was about to tell you that today we had a 3 duck salute. Three ducks came running out as we landed with a chorus of AFLAC, AFLAC! They are permanent residents here and chase the poor motel cat around if he strays too close.

Bikes out and a trip to West Marine to purchase a hand vacuum pump. It is nearing time to change transmission fluid and filters and they are not connected to the automatic drain pump and it will have to be a hand job. But I can do it as soon as we stop moving every day.

Tomorrow we go to the small hamlet of Belhaven where we are told there are new free public docks downtown.