23 to 26 November, 2004. I crashed right into dock here even though I was just coasting in with the engine off. The other sailboaters there and the dockmaster, Sam, helped us tie off. This is the place we've been reading about since before we left Harbour North Marina in Maryland. Fred Fearing and his friend Joe began offering a wine and cheese party for the visiting boaters here 22 years ago. Joe passed away about 15 years ago but Fred, now 90 years old, carries on the tradition. He drives around in a golf cart donated by Willard Scott, who visited here some years ago. Another man named John arrived 16 years ago to help Fred with the tradition. The day after we arrived, the wine and cheese party ensued at precisely 4 pm. Fred doesn't like you to be late. Fred made a brief speech about 4:30 pm, telling us about the tradition of the "Rosebuddies" of which he is the original member. Joe would clip roses for the ladies on board the visiting boats, which had become cotton buds for this time of year, picked from a plantation nearby.
We met Gary and Mary on their 44 foot sailboat. Gary would mix mudslides (made from rum, not vodka because sailors drink rum) in a blender that ran on a weedeater engine. It was pretty funny to watch him pull-start it. We spent a few evenings on their boat with some of the other people we met there, having drinks and plotting courses beyond the Albemarle Sound. Gary and Mary are hoping to be in Key West, FL for New Years Eve. We'd love to meet up with them there but that looks doubtful. We also met Richard and Frances on their 50 foot sailboat. Rocky was very impressed with Richard because he thoroughly explained the reasons for the advice that he gave. We also met Lisa and Joyce who were traveling on their 36 foot sailboat. I spent a lot of time talking with Lisa who also had some great advice. Sam and Charles were another couple who we met there. All ten of us got together and had Thanksgiving dinner at The Golden Corral.
Rocky moved us over to the $15/night docks next door one night (managed by The Thornton Development Corp., behind a lawyers office) because the restaurant (Grouper's) was blasting music so loud that the bass was pounding through the hull of our boat. When he went over to ask them to turn it down, they were less than kind and even less accomodating. The following morning was a Saturday so there was noone to take our money. We got some free elctricity out of that one. Other than that, everyone we met in Elizabeth City was totally cool. Everyone wants to give you a ride since they know you came in on a boat and have no car, especially Sam, the dockmaster. The "Harbor of Hospitality" is supposed to limit your stay here for 48 hours but they've never enforced it. We were waiting out the weather in the Albemarle Sound so they were happy to accommodate us for several days. The Riverwind Health Club here offers a full days use of their shower, hot tub, sauna, steam room and indoor heated pool for $5. We took advantage of that. This might just be the friendliest place on the eastern seaboard.