Conditions: Mostly sunny with and calm. Winds east/southeast 5 mph.
Distance traveled: 89.3 statute miles
Time underway: 8 hours 9 minutes
Average Speed: 9.5 kts
Max Speed: 20 kts
Fuel used: 108 gallons
After a good night’s sleep, we were up with the sun with a planned early departure and a relatively long day ahead. Despite our 6:50 am departure time, we were one of the last boats to shove off the docks, just behind a flotilla of five that we would travel with for much of the day. As we made our way past the Coinjock Marina property it was nice to get a shout-out from owner Louis who wished us well over the radio. Great guy, great place – we’ll always look forward to our stop in Coinjock.This was one of those days that was exactly what you wish every day on the water was like. It was a crisp morning and the mist rising off the water was beautiful. With sunny skies, eventually warming temps, calm waters and a stretch of the ICW free of problem areas it was as straightforward as it gets. One observation we had which has been shared by fellow cruisers we spoke with along the way was that we have never experienced so much boat traffic in this area at this time of the year. We have done this stretch before when hours have passed without coming upon another boat. There was not a moment on this leg when other traveling boats were not in sight.
We should have kept track of the number of passing arrangements we made with sailboats and slower powerboats as it certainly was a new record. To our surprise, most were monitoring the radio and there were even a few boaters we passed who actually knew the proper protocol for making a pass go as smoothly as possible (if the boat being passed doesn’t slow way down we can’t possibly pass them without tossing them around).
Belhaven is one of our favorite stops on the entire trip. It’s a small town of around 1,700 people and covers only two square miles. But there’s something so warm and inviting about it that has always drawn us back. The approach by water is easy with a well-marked channel just off the ICW that takes you through a breakwater after which the few marinas are immediately to starboard. We had such a great experience at Belhaven Marina back in the spring that we knew we wanted to return. Gregg, the Harbormaster, was very accommodating when we needed to delay our arrival because of our Coinjock lay day and also needed to add a day to our stay because of more incoming weather. Despite the limited space, he made it work and warmly welcomed us back as we pulled in. One nice note about Belhaven Marina is that they have big fender balls attached to their fixed docks so there is no need to deploy your own fenders.
It turned out that the flotilla we left Coinjock with was also staying at the marina. Between OLOH and those boats, we occupied almost half of the available dock space. Two of the faster boats in their fleet arrived first and because we overtook the slower three during the afternoon we were the next to arrive. Last to pull up was Rock Me Baby. Their spot was between us and one of their friends, in perhaps seventy feet of space if that. Not an easy task to put that boat in that hole, particularly in a narrow fairway, but there was barely any wind, no current, and the captain took his time and landed without incident.
One of the highlights our last time through was dinner at The Tavern at Jack’s Neck and we were looking forward to our return. Bridget, the manager, made our last experience there exceptional and we’ve kept in touch as she’s followed our travels since then. It’s always a wonderful experience to be welcomed like family when you’re in a town far from home. We had a wonderful meal and we were given a little mini-tour of the soon-to-open new bourbon and oyster bar and steak house (A.J. might have tickled the keys on a piano as well…which you’ll see soon in our next video). Thanks, Bridget it’s always wonderful seeing you.
Two nights in Belhaven meant another night out at a place we really enjoyed a few years ago on our first time in this town, Spoon River. It’s just a stone’s throw from Jack’s Tavern and while a different experience, has the same warm and welcoming energy. The always gracious owners, Mark and Teresa gave us a warm greeting and we enjoyed a terrific meal there. You may recall our Seefare post we wrote about them two years ago — Seefare – Spoon River Belhaven. This time was equally pleasurable and our server, Blakely was exceptional. She took great care of us and by the time the evening was over, we felt like we’d known her forever. Thanks, Blakely, it was wonderful meeting you!
If you decide to stop into Belhaven, and we think you should, let the small-town charm, the friendly locals and easy-going nature of this special place wash over you.
After sitting out 30 mile an hour winds, we’re going to have a relatively short run to check out the town of Oriental for the first time as our next stop. See you out there…
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And that concludes your OLOH instructions. M/Y OLOH back to 1-6