Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Oriental, NC

We had a short, uneventful cruise from Beaufort to Oriental on Tuesday, May 15. We traveled, once again, in beautiful warm weather primarily along Adams Creek, a fairly undeveloped area, until we arrived at the FREE town dock in Oriental at about 12:30.  At first we tied up next to the pump-out station but we found a better place and moved. With the help of sailors on a beautiful Island Packet, we tied up in a perfect spot. 

Silly Lynn was wearing flip flops and slammed her pinkie toe twice scrambling during the tricky docking process. Looks like another broken or at least a badly bruised little toe, but she just bound it to the next toe and carried on.

We immediately set out to show Robbie one of our favorite small towns.

We were hungry so we walked a few blocks to the closest restaurant where we all ordered soft shell crab sandwiches ( Rob’s first)! They were very good and we’re looking to eat a lot more soft shell crabs while they remain in season.  Along the way we passed these charming sights. Kackleberries??

Just down the street from the dock is the marina Provisioning Store.  They have an eclectic selection of goods and this time we discovered that they have free loaner bicycles.  We were looking to buy fresh fish for dinner and the friendly proprietress suggested a fishmonger located over the bridge (the only hill around) because the tiny fish market near the town dock was closed.  We ventured out and over the bridge with stunning views of Oriental Harbor.

We arrived at the obscure little fish “market” which became one of the the highlights of our day.

The owner of Endurance Seafood looked like a guy out of Duck Dynasty. He was a very sweet and knowledgeable Long Island transplant.  He sold us a gorgeous 6 lb red drum fish which after he cleaned, yielded us 3 pounds of fabulous fresh fish.

As he cleaned, we chatted away and he told us about his operation particularly his crabbing process. 

 He gave us a tour of his aerated crab tanks.  We had a fascinating lesson in how crabs molt and become soft shells. He actually showed us the crabs that were undergoing this process. It was so interesting. He and his wife have to keep a 24/7 watch to catch them at the point that they emerge from their shells and while doing so almost double in size. Within about 25 minutes of shedding their shell, they must be plucked from the tanks and refrigerated. If they are plucked too soon, they become mushy. If plucked too late they are either consumed by the other crabs in the tank or their shells start to harden again.  See how the crab in the foreground of the photo is emerging from its shell.

Unfortunately, he only had 2 crabs available for sale so we decided to delay our purchase of soft shells for the day and satisfy ourselves with the red drum.  We spent the rest of the afternoon biking around the lovely little town of Oriental whose symbol is an Oriental dragon that is portrayed in many interesting ways including a fanciful mailbox.

Lynn couldn’t resist picking sweet lilacs that were in bloom everywhere as we rode through pretty residential areas.  Rob bought a fishing license at the local hardware store and we biked along the peaceful shore line where Rob found the small and quiet public beach.  

After returning the bikes and repaying the store by buying an array of the local North Carolina micro brews, we returned to Zendo.  There, Lynn nursed her injured toe while Rob returned for a swim at the beach and Jonny did his usual futzing about (always very productive)! 

That evening the team went into gear preparing dinner.  Rob used his secret spice mix to create a rub for the redfish, Jonny cooked it on the grill and Lynn made mashed sweet potatoes and green beans. We had a terrfic feast on the aft deck. There’s nothing so delicious as a grilled  fresh fish dinner! Is it any wonder that Oriental is one of our favorite places?

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