July 3rd, 2006

little review

Poem for Monday

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Sunday was a somewhat chaotic, though enjoyable, day. After breakfast we parked in a satellite lot and took a shuttle into Beaufort for the America's Sail festival. While we were on the bus we met people who had had tickets for the day before but couldn't even get on the docks, there were so many people. While one had to have tickets to board the ships, there was no sort of entry to visit the piers, so there were hundreds of people who'd paid hundreds of dollars and couldn't even get near the ships since the police kept shutting down the area due to overcrowding. So we went to see just the ships docked in Beaufort -- all of which were closed to visitors -- but the Morehead City State Ports were closed completely and the old Beaufort Seaport was only open intermittently. Rumor has it that ticket prices would be refunded for people who couldn't get to the ships, so we're hoping this is true.

Since we couldn't board the ships, we looked at the skipjack Ada Mae, schooners Compass Rose and Serenity and ketch Three Belles and visited the North Carolina Maritime Museum in downtown Beaufort, which has exhibits on southern coastal maritime history, local marine wildlife and Blackbeard's connection to the region, including exhibits and artifacts the wreck of a ship believed to be the Queen Anne's Revenge. We also saw most of a film about a voyage around Cape Horn in the 1930s. There was a "Pirate Encampment" in the middle of historic Beaufort (home to Civil War leaders and the like) with reenactors in pirate costume and cannons and such. We had lunch, then decided we were too overheated to wait another two hours to see if the docks reopened and took the shuttles back to the van.

We had plans to meet up with vertigo66 and her family in the evening since they were coming to North Carolina for a week at the beach, but since they were just arriving, we decided to go to the Pine Knoll Aquarium, since we could get in for free with a reciprocal zoo membership. This is a lovely little aquarium, part of a group of which we had visited another when we were in the Outer Banks several years ago. The focus is on local marine life, meaning that there are sharks, jellyfish and a variety of fish, but our favorite exhibits were the outdoor boardwalks over the salt marsh, where we saw several varieties of crab, turtles, fish, egrets and various other animals. The aquarium also had reproductions of local underwater shipwrecks and what they looked like surrounded by fish, crabs, eel, etc.

We went to Emerald Isle to meet our friends and went to the beach. My first venture into the Atlantic for the season was entirely successful: we caught and released sandcrabs and little burrowing clams, found scallop shells and came back to vertigo6's beachhouse with so much sand in the kids' clothes that it required sweeping the bathroom floor twice. The kids bonded over GameBoy and making lots of noise. Then we had pizza and drove back to Jacksonville to get ready for the long drive home Monday. We're on the last pages of The Dark Is Rising, heading into Greenwitch.


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We're in an utter piece of shit Best Western -- the cheapest rat-hole within an hour -- so I am dialed into an AOL connection that keeps crapping out and can't open half the pages on the web. Will get comments when I am home, assuming my internet connection there works since I hear it was crapping out last week as well!