Wednesday morning was a beautiful day when we awoke. Sunny skies and light winds. We wanted to arrive at Morehead City close to slack tide which was mid-afternoon. Since Morehead city was only 27 nm away, we decided to wait till around 11 am to depart. What a luxury; we made breakfast and lounged around till about 10:45 am.
By 11 am, Adrienne was steering Curiosity away from the dock, and we were soon in the Neuse River. What a difference a day makes! The winds were about 10 kts from the southwest and the river was calm.
It was a peaceful journey down the Neuse, enlivened only by the presence of the Amara Zee, a flat-bottomed sailboat with its masts down, modeled on a Thames River sailing barge. It is apparently home to the Caravan Stage Company, a group of about 20 performers who, according to the NY Times, “deliver waterfront productions of experimental opera that might be described as Cirque du Soleil meets Occupy Wall Street.” Apparently they got kicked out of New York. It was certainly a strange site on the Neuse River.
A we neared the turn for Adams Creek, a large barge emerged from the cut being pushed by the Beaufort Belle – the same tug we had seen the day before.
After a quick call to the tug, we passed it port to port and eased into Adams Creek, a waterway that cuts from the Neuse River to the Newport River, which Morehead City is located on. Unlike the Pungo River-Alligator River Canal, Adams Creek has a number of houses lining its western side, though the eastern side seemed largely to have remained as marshy low county.
Much more exciting for Adrienne was the presence of dolphins. I saw at least four and two of them swam alongside us for a minute or two. Adrienne tried to get a picture but they were too quick.
As we neared the end of Adams Creek, we realized that we were going to be too early for slack tide at Morehead City, so Adrienne, who was driving, slowed us to less than 6 kts. It drove me crazy.
By nearly 2 pm, we were entering the Newport River, just as another tug and barge were entering the Creek. We passed each other without incident.
Half hour later, we turned into the entrance for Morehead City Yacht Basin and by 2:30 pm, we were tied up. There was definitely some current but the tie up went smoothly.
Adrienne checked us in while I rinsed the boat. Despite the calm seas, we had picked up some salt spray, so a thorough rinsing was in order.
The rest of the afternoon was relaxing; we called Katherine, our daughter, who is teaching in Germany for a year and chatted for over an hour. The Yacht Basin had great wifi, so we were able to use WhatsApp and chat for free with Katherine. The advantages of the Internet Age!
For dinner, we wandered over to Floyds 1921, a local restaurant recommended by the dockmaster. It was a short five minute walk from the marina. The restaurant had tapas but of the most unusual kind. We ordered the Shrimp Napoleon that consisted of two fried cakes of grits with mozzarella cheese in the middle and covered with a Tasso ham gravy and shrimp. It was kinda of like shrimp and grits meets lasagna. It was quite tasty but definitely could have used some more shrimp. We then ordered the Red Neck Egg Rolls, which were Chinese egg rolls stuffed with Carolina pork BBQ and served with a Thai Chili Sauce and Wasabi Slaw. They were really good. In addition, to make Adrienne happy, we had a boring salad. The Dockmaster had given us a card for a free dessert, so we ordered their apple streusel. It was a special that night because it was part of the restaurant’s special German Oktoberfest menu. The streusel was ok, not nearly as good as Adrienne’s homemade streusel.
That night we relaxed on the boat and took advantage of the high speed internet to watch an episode of Dr. Who. Crazy, but entertaining.
Thursday was another beautiful day, and it was great to be able to take our time waking up and getting breakfast. Well, at least Adrienne was able to do that. I had made arrangements the previous day for a diver to take a look at the port side of the hull just to make sure that log we had hit in the Alligator River hadn’t damaged the stabilizers, the paint or the props. We didn’t think so, but wanted the reassurance before we headed for the ocean in the latter part of next week. The diver arrived promptly at 8:30, and after examining the hull, the stabilizers and the running gear, pronounced Curiosity in great shape.
With that chore out of the way, we hopped in the marina’s courtesy car and made our way to Harris Teeter for some provisions. On the way back, we decided to cross the bridge to Beaufort to remind ourselves what Beaufort looked like compared to Morehead City. We had stayed in Beaufort when we were heading north in the Spring. This was our first visit to Morehead City. Beaufort definitely comes out on top in terms of charm, attractive appearance, and quality and quantity of restaurants. Morehead City is more of a working city. A train track runs down the middle of the Morehead City main road and leads right to the commercial shipping docks. There’s just not a whole lot of charm you can get out of that setup.
On the other hand, Morehead City has made efforts to spruce up its waterfront. And while it’s not nearly as nice as Beaufort’s, it has its attractions.
We decided to tour this area on foot after lunch. The day remained pleasantly warm and sunny. It was a short walk to the waterfront area.
We were happy to see some antique stores and art galleries. We wandered into the Carolina Artist Gallery, which is a co-op of local artists. A number of the artists had works on display, and there was a show of artists from all over the country on the subject of “Soul of the Woman.” Most of the pieces fit the theme well. But the second place work puzzled us and the woman who was managing the gallery that day. It was a painting of the bow end of a sailboat crashing through a wave. Maybe the sailboat was a metaphor for a woman? A woman crashing through life? We didn’t know.
We returned to the boat to finish up laundry, fill up the water tank and other exciting chores. Around 6, we wandered back to the waterfront for dinner at the Full Circle Café, a small restaurant that opened only about 1 month earlier. We were the first customers to arrive, but many people soon followed and filled the small space.
The Full Circle Café has an interesting menu. It’s a mix of salads, burgers, pizzas and ramen noodle bowls. The flavor combinations were not the usual. The ramen bowls tended toward oriental flavors, and the pizzas were just eclectic. We opted for an iceberg wedge salad and a pizza with shrimp, assorted olives, artichokes, roasted tomatoes and goat cheese. It was very good. All those ingredients worked, and the crust was thin but crusty and flavorful.
After dinner, it was back to the boat to get ready for our cruise the next day, take in some Thursday night football and relax.