WE FINALLY LEFT ORIENTAL!!!!!!!! Not that I'm incredibly excited about it or anything...
So anyway, our bow frog was gone. I knew that I didn't tie him up too well when we were trying to dry him our for stowage, I take full responsibility. Finally we spotted him on the other side of the river. Yeah, that tiny green spot. So I got an early morning workout rowing over there and back. Not my first dinghy rescue mission (see: Pepper Pots). So the frog was only prodigal in that he returned to us after chancing it out in the big world on his own, which really has nothing to do with the definition of 'prodigal.'
Well, eventually we made it on our way, and waved goodbye to our new family on the dock... We had planned on going to Beaufort, but realized we had been planning on leaving from New Bern. Therefore, Beaufort was only a couple hours away, and we had time to make it to Swansboro.
So we started out and everything was going smoothly...until the first wave of the Neuse River hit. That is the first turn we made - we had been beam to, and so I turned the boat into the waves until we could recover. Nothing is ever as stowed as it should be, especially in the cockpit. And from the first turn to the second, we were making sure everything was tucked away for some serious heeling.
But you know what they say, if it weren't for bad luck we'd have no luck at all. Just after we crossed the bridge by Morehead City, there was a large WHUMP and the boat heeled a little bit. Darcy found a shoal. We had grounded, HARD. It's a lot like being rear-ended in a car - first you make sure everyone's okay, then you make sure the vehicle's okay and you try to figure out what happened. I hadn't even been watching the depth sounder. A rookie mistake.
The towboat had been listening to us on the radio, and he actually came out even though we didn't ask. We had been about to try kedging off when he arrived. However, after he pulled us off the sandbar it was clear we wouldn't have been able to kedge off anyway.
So, after that harrowing day, we were pretty happy to anchor in Swansboro. The town was pretty dead by then, but so were we so we weren't looking for too much entertainment. And to end, a couple photos from last night.