Prior to leaving Belhaven for Oriental, Tracy had made contact with Mark Zaleta of Offshore Rafting in Arapahoe, NC to discuss working some cosmetic magic on our dinghy. He had told her that once we docked in Oriental, he’d make arrangements to come over with his trailer and pick up the dinghy, bring it to his shop, examine all potential defects and give us a proposal for the work. So on Saturday, Feb. 11th, Mark met us at the town boat ramp and took our dinghy to his shop. We knew we needed some new attachments glued/epoxied onto the inflatable hull section of the dinghy. We showed him everything we thought needed work and he took off. Two hours later, he called us with his proposal for the work including a few more items he found once she was out of the water and we agreed to proceed with the work. He said it would take two weeks for the work between ordering the parts and letting the glue cure. So we know we’ll be in Oriental for at least two weeks.
Within walking distance of the marina, there’ are three restaurants, a great multi purpose store called Inland Provisioning Company (marine supplies, small marine consignment area, tourist clothing and gifts, organic groceries), The Bean (fresh coffee, bakery and ice cream), and Nautical Wheeler Clothing store, so keeping ourselves occupied won’t be a problem. Also, Inland Provisioning Company has loaner bikes for transient boaters and with the bikes, we can get to a hardware store, a Piggly Wiggly, two more restaurants and see some sights. Actually, we find out that if you are buying at least $60 worth of groceries, the Piggly Wiggly will send a vehicle to pick you up and later, return you to your boat! So we have many options going forward to keep ourselves entertained.
As we’ve discovered in so many other locales along this journey, the locals are tremendously courteous and friendly. Everyone waves hello to you whether you’re walking, riding a bike, etc. Therefore it doesn’t take long to feel at home here also, however we are starting to get some feelings of being homesick a bit. We decide to deal with that by having more frequent facetime conversations with the family. By Sunday, we’re on first name basis with the people in the Inland Provisioning Company as we’re trying to resolve some parts issues on Kailani. We’ve been looking for a new oar blade for the dinghy since the summer, and right on the shelves here Pat has them in stock!
Tracy has also tried to make arrangements for an upholstery fabricator to meet us on Kailani to look at reupholstering our Salon couch cushions. The leather was pulling apart and scratched.- tc We bought the fabric and Tracy bought a small sewing machine, but it’s quite difficult to neatly tuck all the nooks and crannies without the proper experience, so we figured we’d just hire the right guy and get it done well. As it turns out, Mac is having new enclosures installed on his vessel and the guy doing the work is the guy Tracy was trying to contact, so when he has a chance, he’ll stop aboard Kailani and look at our project.
He did stop aboard and told me it was a small job I could easily do myself…gaaaa! I have tried and the seats are now covered in teal sheet fabric. I gave up on the sewing machine and resorted to staples. They could be better but they could be worse.- tc
Close by to Oriental is the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point and we learn through the town newsletter www.towndocks.net that starting on Tuesday and running through Thursday the US Marines will be conducting air and land drills in and above Oriental from 0500 to 2200 each day and townsfolk should not be surprised to see soldiers on the streets along with low-flying fixed wing and rotor aircraft during those hours.
These midweek exercises make for quite a few local sights to view as our marina becomes one of the spots where the air maneuvers occur very close to ground level.
This week starts to show signs of continuous warmer weather for both daytime and nighttime. We are able to turn our heater completely off, strip one heavy blanket off our bed and stop wearing jackets, hats and gloves! The forecast calls for next week to be even more spectacular with seven consecutive days forecasted to be 70’s for high and 50’s for lows. We’ll have to see how good the forecasters are down here.
One Friday evening each month, the locals run a movie in the local theater and the February movie is this Friday and they are showing “Kinky Boots” for $6.00 including popcorn! So guess what we did on Friday night? Walked to the cinemas and enjoyed the entertainment, and bumped into some of the aforementioned employees from Inland Provisioning Company. Afterwards when the movie was getting out, we talked with them on the sidewalk for about thirty minutes before calling it a night. This is life in the slow lane/small town.
We completed a few small projects this week aboard Kailani as we spent two days under the helm sanding and cleaning all 12 volt DC connections and fuses that drive all the instruments, gauges, windlass, etc. Once they are all done with necessary fuses replaced and everything working properly, we’ll spray a rust inhibitor over all surfaces to help maintain the clean connections. Electrical connections and marine environments don’t really play well together, so this is just a normal, time-consuming maintenance item. Tracy also found some useful items on a local Craigslist ad and we bought a replacement 50 foot long 30 amp shore power cord for a backup, and a combination microwave/convection/toaster oven for the Galley. Lastly, in the Inland Provisioning Company, they have a consignment shop where Tracy found a used 4 loop SeaTek Handrail, which will work perfectly for climbing from the Salon up to the sundeck. This is a $35-$45 dollar item when purchased new, but Tracy got it for $15.00 and worked all this week sanding and staining it. I’ll install it next week, so watch part 2 for pictures of the installation. PS. It comes out beautiful!