Beaufort in a Day
November 10, 2018
Saturday morning marked one week into our journey. I find sailing to be a practice of continuous mindfulness. There are so many objects of attention, and each is fully absorbing: the ebb and flow of the tides; the strength of the currents; the endlessly changing wave shapes and heights; the direction and strength of the wind. We navigate our course on paper charts with a parallel ruler and dividers, or on electronic charts, integrating vast amounts of data; I deliberate with Christoph over whether and how to raise, trim and furl the sails. We assess the condition and performance of every piece of equipment on the boat; we study the changing weather indices and forecasts, contemplating our plans in relation to its insistent demand on our focus.
We hoped to make Beaufort in one long day on the intracoastal, and have time to explore the town upon arrival. It had rained hard overnight, and a light rain was still falling, so we donned our foul weather gear and weighed anchor at 6:30 am, made our way back around the channel buoys, and rejoined the intracoastal. The weather cleared as we motored down the Pungo River and entered Goose Neck Creek. Then we were in the Neuse River, with a following wind. The Neuse can be a rough and unforgiving body of wide, shallow water, but the wind was favorable for our passage, and the sun had come out. We motor sailed, our spirits as bright as the blue-sky, throughout the afternoon.
At 3:30 p.m, we arrived at Homer Smith’s Marina, recommended by Bob Sherer in his ICW Cruising Guide. Originally a marina for shrimp boats, it has been expanded to accommodate transients. The deck hand guided us onto the end of an immaculately maintained T dock.
Beaufort is a lovely beachfront town, brimming with boutiques, restaurants and historic homes. We wandered through town at dusk until we found a restaurant that appealed to us, and feasted on locally-caught grouper, deliciously prepared at a tapas-style restaurant.