22. Beaufort

Beaufort, which rhymes with dysentery, has been my home for the last week now, and I’ve enjoyed pretending to be one of the locals. My accent tends to give me away though, as the real locals are starting to sound pretty southern now. There are also fairly regular sightings of palm trees, which I think adds about five degrees to the ambient temperature. I think the Live Oaks are more interesting, though. The way some neighborhoods nestle into them is pure southern charm.

There are some really beautiful houses here. Many have spectacular two story covered porches across the front, which I covet greatly. I love a good porch, and these folks know how to do it. One such house was having an estate sale. I’d never been to an estate sale before, so I wandered in. It had been going for a while, and was nearly sold out by the time I showed up. It’s just as well, I’ve already got a house full of junk I don’t know what to do with. I don’t need any more. I did enjoy getting to see inside of one of these houses at least. A lot of the houses around here have placards on them that show when they were built, which is pretty neat. The oldest one I’ve seen is 1728, which by American standards is officially old.

I decided to rent a car while I was here. I missed driving, and figured it would make errands easier, and would allow me to spread out and see more of the area. Fun fact, I’ve rented probably two hundred cars over the years, and this is the first time I’ve had Enterprise come pick me up. What a handy feature that is.

Even with the car, I wandered around town on foot quite a bit. I hit many of the touristy spots. I stopped in every Tshirt shop on Front street, and picked up a couple of things I didn’t need. Stickers for example. I don’t know why, but I’ve always loved stickers. I don’t really know what to do with them, but still I buy them. I have a collection of stickers that I’ve yet to stick, which I occasionally look at and think ‘I should really find somewhere to stick these!’ and that collection now includes two from Beaufort, which will likely never be stuck.

The Maritime Museum didn’t really pique my interest, oddly enough. It was well done and all, but I didn’t engage with the material. It was largely about pirates. The main thing I learned is that apparently I don’t care about pirates.

I made my way across Bogue sound to Atlantic Beach, where I took a beautiful afternoon to wander around Fort Macon State Park. The fort itself is a nice way to spend a couple of hours, and the trails and beaches surrounding it are exceedingly pleasant.

There is no shortage of places to eat around here. Several of those places have names that don’t exactly draw me in, though. There’s a place called ‘Dank Burrito,’ which I’m sure is excellent, but the word dank just kinda turns me off. Things that I think of when I hear the word dank include: dungeons, musty smells, dampness, rats, and dripping sounds. Things that I don’t tend to think when I consider the word dank include: ‘this is nice,’ and ‘boy, I’d punch a baby for a burrito right now.’

There’s another joint called ‘Sanitary Fish Market.’ Part of me wants to know why It’s called ‘Sanitary Fish Market,’ but all of me doesn’t want to eat there, much in the same way that I wouldn’t want to stay at the ‘Structurally Sound and Fireproof Hotel.’

I’ve shared my time here at the Homer Smith Docks with a lovely cast of neighbors. One particularly attractive neighbor has a delightful habit of parading around with no shirt on, which I’m totally okay with. Another neighbor told me that my boat would give be hemorrhoids. He didn’t say why exactly, but he did say not to worry, since they could be cured by rubbing a banana peel on my anus. Seriously. Big pharma and the folks at Preparation H don’t want you to know about that though, so keep it under your hat.

As it happens, attractive neighbor is also a youngish single guy adapting to his first time liveaboard experience, heading south from where be bought his boat in the frozen north. He has no set schedule or destination, and is also having issues with his head. Toilet I mean. He seems sane enough. It’s nice to know that even if I am crazy, I’m in good company.

I lavished some attention on Sylphide’s vital organs while I was here. I hired a gentleman to come down and go over a variety of regular maintenance items with me. An oil and filter change for Perkins and Genny. A tightening of the belt, and a changing of the Racor and engine fuel filters. New impellers and a couple of new zincs.

Tomorrow, with fresh blood in her veins, Sylphide and I depart the fish house dock, and shape a course for a night at anchor in Mile Hammock Bay.

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