Thursday, November 3, 2011

Rick: Hurricane and Hero Mile Marker 284

October 24-28, 2011

Beaufort wasn’t on our list for a long stay, but stay we did. Hurricane Rick could not outdo a 35 knot gust when docking on the Alligator River; hence we were in search of repairs to our stern pulpit. Once we connected with a really nice craftsman who was willing to fit the job in, we were committed to four days in this seaport town.
Beaufort is full of 200 year old coastal homes and the people are very accommodating. For cruisers, the Town Dock is convenient to 26 restaurants and there are a few things to see and do. Each morning the Shackleford Ponies come to the water’s edge on Carrot Island, directly across from the marina. Strong winds and choppy waters prevented us from a dingy ride- it was a tease to watch the ponies so close by. Dolphins swim in the harbor; we never take their sightings for granted.
On Wednesday, October 26, a consortium of university, ecology and selvedge groups raised a cannon from the ocean’s floor about 6 miles off the coast of Beaufort. It was the thirteenth of twenty three cannons from the ship Queen Anne’s Revenge, belonging to none other than Blackbeard, the Pirate. Some speculate that he actually ran his ship aground in a downsizing effort, trying to reduce his fleet of 300-400 men. Beaufort celebrated, closed the streets, and the cannon was brought into town for a quick peak before it was moved to Eastern Carolina University for a three year cleaning/restoration. the barnacles and artifacts crusted to it were as amazing as the 700 pound cannon itself.
Friday we were awakened at 4 AM by a man, well in his cups, swimming around our boat. With help from two mates across the dock, Rick pulled the man out of the water (twice, because he fell back in.) We called police, Rick suggested he needed a hospital as it was 33 degrees out, and once he was safe in an ambulance, we tried to sleep because this was to be departure day. At first light we discovered he had tried to steal our dingy!
Our serviceman came early to return the pulpit. He was very helpful in putting all the canvas back on and we managed to cast off lines by 10:30, days late but in good shape to handle the poor weather coming our way. We feel like we have had three weeks of high winds that are even unpleasant at the dock!