A Fond Look at Oriental, NC (Statute Mile 181)
The heart warming story below comes to the Salty Southeast Cruisers’ Net from our dear friend, and fellow nautical writer, Captain Wally Moran, and from his LiveBloggin the ICW (http://bloggingtheicw.blogspot.com/). Anyone who has ever visited Oriental will quickly discern the truth of what Captain Wally has to say!
Wally seems to be lingering in North Carolina waters a bit longer than most, before heading south to warmer climes. We’ll keep following his travels here at the Crusiers’ Net as he heads his sailcraft towards the Sunshine State.
A drinking town with a sailing problem…
That’s how Oriental bills itself…well, actually it calls itself the sailing capital of North Carolina, but the t-shirts and coffee mugs all tell a different story.
It’s a friendly town – people wander to the dock to chat after getting their coffee at the Bean, which is across from the free dock (free is good!â„¢).
The town is also the most dog-friendly place I’ve ever been. You’ll frequently see dogs roaming the street, and if one of them decides to lie down in front of the Bean (happens often actually), drivers slow down and move around the pup. It’s really quite a hoot to see – anywhere else it would be honk the horn and get upset time, but not in Oriental.
There is a West Marine, but no other box stores in Oriental. That’s because the locals voted it that way – talk about a great sense of values. West Marine good – Wal Mart bad!
This is a town that, on New Year’s Day when everyone else in America is watching football, is having their New Year’s Regatta. The last time I was here for it, 26 boats were competing. I was heading out that day and darn near became the 27th boat!
The wind today turned strongly into the southwest, and since I hadn’t yet gotten groceries, I chose to remain one more day at the free dock (free is good! â„¢), rather than bash down the canal at the end of Adams Creek on the way to Beaufort. Winds go light tomorrow, so morning will be an excellent time to head out.
Like I said, a great sense of values.
LiveBloggin the ICW
We love Oriental and always make a point of stopping there. However, the lack of pump out facilities is a concern. Oriental Marina has none. The public free dock has none. The marina to the west has two portables but they are often out of service. There are way too many boats in Oriental that should be pumping out and obviously do not. The worst part is that no one we talked to about this problem cared. One marina owner said `I don’t have to have a pump out, so why would I want one?’
River dunes, sailcraft marina and deaton’s marina all have pump outs. Possibly more marinas close by.
Let me remind Ms. Caldwell and other cruisers passing though Oriental that most of our marinas and other waterfront facilities here are still very much in recovery mode from hurricane Irene, the worst storm we’ve seen here in recorded history. There are adequate pumpouts if you know where to find them but but some of the regular places are still out of service. Everything should be online and operating when the snowbird migration heads north in the spring.
Captain Andy Denmark
Lower Broad Creek