Sunday, November 05, 2006

Bath NC

Bath NC, N 35 28.597 W 76 48.917

It is amazing how a few degrees change in temperature makes to our attitude. Yesterday morning we got up at 0730 and left Belhaven. The temperature was 39F (4C) and the 25 knot wind coming across the water cut into the core of a man's soul. The only thought on our minds was to abandon all plans and head south as rapidly as possible. Nevertheless, we decided to take a side trip up the Pamlico River to Bath. By noon we were tying up at the free state dock in Bath, the wind had stopped, the sun was high and strong, and the temperature was in the 60s (>17C). It felt wonderful and we wondered what the rush was to head south. Last night, after the sun set we had a glorious full moon in a crystal clear sky and it turned bitterly cold again. Like magic we again considered a panic flight south.

Sailing down the Pungo River yesterday morning, we became part of a large conga line of boats sailing southward on the ICW. We saw 30-50 other boats similar to Tarwathie all heading the same way. I recognized one of them from Charlotte Vermont. We met him in Solomons. He had our friend Don Lacoste from Maine onboard, and I think I saw Don waving to us. It's neat to think that if we continue this migration for several more years, that we will see people we know almost every day. Don't read that as a prediction of our future.

Bath is much nicer than Belhaven. Belhaven was a sort of impoverished place full of empty abandoned storefronts. Their fate will soon change though because they are building a huge waterfront condo complex. When that is occupied the population of the town may double and the average wealth of the citizens will grow by 1000% or more.

Bath is completely different. Bath is North Carolina's oldest city, incorporated in 1705. It still has many buildings remaining from the 18th century that are in remarkably good condition. The trees and shrubbery show the kind of discipline that 300 years of refinement can produce. The bank of the river is lined with a narrow park filled with bench seats where residents can sit in peace and watch the sunsets during summer. The only commercial place in town sells pizza and Italian ice. The place once called Swindlers Cash Store is filled with delightful antiques that you can see through the windows. Things like snake oil remedies.

We called our friend Walt Novinger, who now lives in Raleigh NC, to see if we could meet him for a little sail on Sunday. Alas, his phone message makes it sound like he's out of town. In any case, at the moment of this writing it is becoming warm and pleasant once again so I suspect that we'll be content to stay here another day.

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