Tuesday, October 26, 2010


Oriental, NC  35°0248N | 76°6948W

Today we opted for a layover day, a short respite after an arduous 7-day frenzy of leave-taking preparation and two long days of slogging down the Pamlico.

My goals for the day:
  1. Sleep late
  2. Don't cry 
It's a good thing this blog starts with the successful accomplishment of a 10-year goal lest I look like a pitiful failure.

Despite my best intentions, my eyes popped wide open at 5:45, not just a fleeting blink of consciousness but full on, uncharacteristic wakefulness.

We had hoped to take a day of rest but realized our chore list was rather long, starting with a good scrub down for Cara Mia.

Then, with a squall on our heels,

photo by Chip
we set out to meet the people of Oriental. That squall soon overtook us, and we had a 30-minute walk in an utter deluge, which makes me wonder why only children and crazy people go out in the rain. The rest of us could learn a little something from them about spontaneity and childlike joy.

Our mission was to stock up on spare parts for the engine at one of the few Yanmar parts outlets along the coast. We spent well over an hour with Lucille at Deaton Yachts identifying which tiny engine parts were the right ones. She patiently tracked down every part we needed, including one that is being shipped on ahead -- and, just when she thought we were done, we remembered that 5/16" line we need for our topping lift. All during the tedious process, Bill was waiting behind us. Despite several offers, he declined to play through. Instead it was apparent he was vicariously coming along on our $600 spending spree and, for that little while, hitching his wagon to our dream. 

Bill kindly drove us back to the boat, waited while we scrounged around gathering our used equipment -- and then drove us, still dripping, to the consignment shop. That's where Cindy took over. She registered our radar dome, portable autohelm, boom break and a box of hinges to be sold on consignment. We told her we would walk back to the boat to retrieve a small Fortress anchor to sell as well, but Cindy would have none of that. 

"Tonight is sushi night at M&Ms, so just bring the anchor to me there," she said. "M&Ms is a lot closer to the harbor!"

Okay, this is a town with great folks, but no tears yet, right?

Well, back there right after I woke up too early, we walked across the street to Oriental's notorious gathering spot, The Bean, where the posted speed limit is 15 but seems slower.

The barista, June, told us that sometimes she gets carried away looking out at the view of the harbor and burns the coffee.

"I spent too much of my life not getting carried away," she said.

For 28 years, June worked, not as a barista, but in the IT field, until one day, eight years ago, she realized she wasn't having fun any more.

"That's when I started over. I moved to Oriental, and this is the only job I've ever had where I look forward to going to work on Monday mornings."

We told her about our similar life reboot.

"Oh," she said, "You are going to love your new adventure. Some of the best people on earth are water people, I see it every day."

I think June is probably right. I would only add that the people on the edge of the land are pretty awesome as well.

It's June's fault I teared up before 8 a.m.

Today: 0 for 2

Oriental, NC  35°0248N | 76°6948W

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