The Adventure Begins

The Adventure Begins
Skinny Dippin'

Monday, June 20, 2011

Settling into our new Home!!

The thing about New Bern is, when the weekend is over, you never want to go home. There is something about this place. I’m not sure what exactly it is. It’s got to be a combination of the fabulous marina staff, the welcoming boat-centric community, the somewhat protected waters we cruise, and the amazing people in our Marina.

Tivo could probably tell this story better than I. When we arrived without him on Memorial Day weekend…I felt like he was really going to like it here. There are a ton of ducks to chase, and so many other dogs that are all so friendly and waggy. Everyone loves each other. A sniff here, and a ruff there. Everyone is friends. He’s never been around so many friendly dogs. Heck, neither have I!

We spent the first weekend at the new Marina doing projects. Tom painted the sundeck rooftop and I refinished the hatch frames over the galley and also the stern hatches. To cover actual boating, we took Tivo for a dinghy ride to do some duck hunting at eye level!

We met a ton of new friends, so many that it will take a while to get all the names right! So when I call you by the wrong name, forgive me for a little while!

The second weekend at the New Bern Grand would be a marina pot luck day! This is a great opportunity to meet more marina neighbors and eat too much! We went for a little bike ride in the morning, then a little boat ride up the Trent River. We arrived at the potluck just a little late!

After the lunch, we jumped in the dinghy to go over to the store around the point. On our way, we spied a familiar looking trawler at anchor in the Neuse River. We decide to buzz the boat and see if it’s who we think it is! As we get a little closer to the 34ft Marine Trader Europa, we can see Jay on the aft deck. It is Al Dante! Jay and Emily are here! We stop to visit for a little while and catch up. We do leave too early, but the Neuse was getting pretty choppy and the horizon was looking too threatening to be out in our 8ft inflatable. We hit the Galley Store and try to get back to Skinny Dippin’ before the weather turns!

We arrived back to the boat safely. I spent the afternoon dusting and doing little projects while Tom tested out the sofa. After I turned in for the night, we had some more friends from NWC come to visit. I’m sorry I missed Bill, Bob and Mona that evening!

Sunday was bath day for Skinny Dippin’. I spent 5-6 hours seriously scrubbing every exterior inch. It’s been a while since she had a good detail job, and I was happy to do it. This old girl deserves a little pampering now and then. And she looks so good clean. (I’m talking about the boat here)

We are happy to be settling in! And we’re about to plan another week long cruise! Not sure where we are going. I’m thinking Bath and Belhaven…or Oriental, South River and Ocracoke. But you can’t go too wrong with Beaufort, Morehead City and Cape Lookout. As we get closer to weather forecasts, We’ll decide. Keep an eye out for the next big cruise.!!

To old friends and new, Thank You so much for being a part of our adventure….you’re being here means more than you know.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Skinny Dippin' Journeys Home to New Bern NC

Skinny Dippin' has journeyed home to New Bern!!

Memorial Day weekend starting May 26 2011 was the cruise “home” to New Bern NC. It was a journey on many levels, for both of us. As Captain and First Mate, husband and wife, this would be a journey home.

Once upon a time, an old sailor said to me, "For sailors, it's about the journey, for Powerboaters, it's about the destination". While that statement is very, very true, there is another category or two that needs to be added. Trawler people are really more sailors than powerboaters. And for Cruisers, it's about the journey AND the destination. Or, perhaps the journey is actually part of the destination.

Incase I've confused you….We are Cruisers….but we are Cruisers that still have to work for a living. For us, anytime spent on the boat - on the water - coming or going - or simply at anchor, this is our journey. We love travelling from town to town on the boat. We love cruising the rivers and ICW, with or without a destination in mind.

When we left Northwest Creek Marina in November of 2010, we were powerboaters. We thought the answer was to be close to easy distance weekend destinations. So we moved to Carolina Beach where we had several short distance weekend destinations very accessible. Once we visited those locations, we started looking for the spots to journey to, and spots to anchor in, and special places to just simply "be" on the boat. (Wait, that's what sailors do.) It dawned on me, that as we grow in our experience levels with the boat, our boating personality seems to morph and grow as well. We really don’t fit into a single category of boat personality. We might just be making a new category all by ourselves.

We bought Skinny Dippin' at NWC and kept her there in that same spot for 18 months. Everyone there knew her as "the previous owners' boat". We had a hard time shaking that stigma. We really had to leave that marina, as much as we loved it there, to become the boaters we wanted to be. And to help Skinny Dippin’ become the boat she was destined to be.

When we arrived back in New Bern last weekend, we had become Cruisers. We are now the kind of boater that lives for the cruise. We love to spend days and weeks on the boat visiting new places, meeting new people, and always revisting and reconnecting with people we know and love.

Our cruise home was long…and short. The hours were long, the days were short. We did our first solid 12 hour cruise, completing 95 miles. The weather was almost ideal. As we crossed Bogue Sound, the wind was rolling a nice quartering sea. Always fun in a skinny channel.

Then we followed with a second 55 mile day. We stopped in Oriental on our way from Morehead to New Bern to visit Sailcraft Boatyard for a quick powerwash and zinc check. It was nice to be back where "people know your name".

As we passed Minnesott Point on Friday, the South wind was throwing waves over our bow, actually hitting the flybridge a few times. I called our new marina, the New Bern Grande, at 430 in the afternoon to let them know we were coming, but would never make 5pm. When we reached the markers 17 and 19 the winds laid down and we had smooth motoring to get us into New Bern.

As we were making our approach to our "new to us" slip….Allan, our new dock person, came racing down the dock to help us in. He had actually stayed and waited for us to arrive until 630pm to make sure we arrived safe and sound. This is what I love about the Neuse…fellow boaters that really go beyond the call to make sure we all arrive home safely.

As we tied up the boat, Jay and Emily from NWC came down the dock to welcome us home! They were having dinner on the deck as the drawbridge opened and we came motoring through! They couldn’t believe that after just talking about our returning to New Bern, here we were coming through the bridge. What a nice surprise!

My take away from this journey was how much we have grown as boaters. I’m somewhat torn between telling you about the actual cruise, and the personal journey that we have been on. The weather was great, albeit a little windy. The views were amazing. The people were by far the keys to making another especially memorable weekend. The personal journey was finding our own unique special place in this boating-cruising world that we have entered. Making our own way, in a world dominated by so many that have passed through here before us. This is the journey that we have just completed. We now understand who we are, and what our beloved boat means to us.

Here’s to finding your own special place in this world. May the wind be always at your back and the sun always shine warm upon on your face.