Wild, wild, horses, we’ll ride them one day*

We thought Loopers were pretty hardy folks.  During the windstorm on Friday, however, Eclipse showed up and showed us up.

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Crewed by three young dudes who left Puerto Rico eight days earlier and came straight here, they rolled in covered in salt and stink.  We think eight hours in fair weather is rough.  They asked our opinion about whether hitting the laundry or a bar was more important for their first task on land.  Ahh, the foolishness of youth.  Clearly a bar.

As expected, with the wind came rain.  And chores.  Our obligatory sunset photo came from the safety of the pilothouse.  

The highlight was cards with Baytripper.  Apparently country music isn’t a thing in Minnesota and we don’t like cold and snow, but they’re good folks nonetheless.  They even agreed to try pickleball.  We also ate some good fish.  Homer Smith runs a fishery as well as a dock.  They gave us some fresh-off-the-boat snapper.  Too windy to grill, but still delicious.

So Saturday we all played pickleball.  In the wind.  Which sucked.  But it was fun anyway.

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During our first east coast stretch we commented on the maritime museums that every small town offers up as a big attraction.  “Here’s a replica of the boat ol’ Henry crashed on the rocks back in 1938.”  But they try.  Bless their hearts, they try.  Beaufort has the North Carolina Maritime Museum, with a dolphin skeleton and a whale skeleton and some replica boats and all that.  (The skeletons were assembled as part of the “Bonehenge Project” so they get high marks for being punny.)

What makes this museum cool—apart from the fact that they don’t charge an entrance fee—was all the Blackbeard stuff recovered from where he crashed just off Beaufort Inlet.  Loot” is one of those words that would be cool to use but there aren’t many times where it doesn’t sound like something from a really bad bank-robbery movie.  “Now see here boys, we split the loot and make our getaway before the coppers arrive.”  The museum had actual pirate loot, however, which pushed its status way up the Small-Town Maritime Museum rankings.

Later Southern Cross hosted a bunch of Loopers in the area.  Texas Gold, Baytripper, About Time, and Magic, all were there.  Even a non-Looper—Firefly—showed up.  We all watched our friends on Bella Blue dock in difficult circumstances before Rex and Donna (and Gracie) joined us in a group hug.

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Today we got a free show from a stunt pilot.  It wasn’t an Osprey but he did get it straight up and straight down a bunch of times.

Then off by ferry to Shackleford Bank, one of the zillion barrier islands that make up the famed Outer Banks of North Carolina and Virginia.  Like many of them, Shackleford has a colony of feral horses.  The handful of other tourists mostly looked for shells while we trekked around looking for horses until we found some.

Okay, we know they don’t look much different than the horse on Old MacDonald’s Farm.  E-I-E-I-O.  But we still kept a bit distant since the signs said they can be aggressive if bothered.

Dana also bagged some bird photos.  Here’s a Laughing Gull, a Willet, and a Sanderling.  Cute little buggers, no?

img_7766A local in Beaufort put up bird houses with openings way too small for respectable-sized birds.  Maybe that’s why the gull was laughing.

Like many children, Mallory and Shannon were susceptible to the marketing genius of toy companies.  Hence we went through—among many other painful things—the Polly Pocket phase.  “Pa la la la Polly, playin’ in my band”  is seared into our brains as if with a branding iron.  But what ever happened to those cute doe-eyed Polly Pockets?  We now know.  They became bail-bond “chix.”

Tomorrow we head up to Oriental.  Maybe we’ll buy some rugs. 

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* Flying Burritos version > Rolling Stones version.  RIP Gram Parsons.

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