Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Memorial Day Memories-Part 1

Scott and Cristina rolled in about midnight Friday for the long Memorial Day weekend. I was on the porch swing and didn't even see their car lights pass by. All of a sudden the dogs were wailing, signalling "strange" visitors at the front door. I had been looking forward to their visit-it's the first time she has seen the house and the town, but I sensed that Scott was even more pumped up to show her all of our hangouts and haunts and great restaurants. Scott had driven the last half of the trip and Cristina was in a post-nap fog. After the usual exchange of gift and trinkets and T-shirts, she was off to bed and Scott and I made sure the boat was equipped beer, tackle and rods. We were headed up in the marsh mid-morning to try and find some redfish, let the girls sleep in and shop and meet them for a waterfront lunch at 1:00. That done we booze-cruised it down Taylor's Creek (home to a small herd of wild ponies and the Rachel Carson Nature Preserve). There was a brisk wind from the southwest that would be blocked by the island and I also think it's the first time Scott's made the 30 minute no-wake zone trip to the eastern end of the creek which is the gateway to Shackleford Banks. We had promised Cristina wild ponies and dolphins. The dolphins were a no-show, probably a function of the boat traffic but we spotted the first pony grazing early on.
They subsist on marsh grasses and can dig with their hooves to find fresh water. They are the descendants of a herd left by Spanish explorers in the 1600's.
We made it to the end of the creek, made the turn into the wind and had a wet, bumpy ride to Shackleford Banks, a 12 mile strip of sand dunes and salt blasted trees. It is the second most southernly of the outer banks and stretches from Beaufort Inlet to Cape Lookout. It also is the home to a large herd of these wild ponies. The girls and Scott laid on the beach and I hooked up the boat with double anchors so the boats beer cooler would be closer to us. I heard Scott yell and when I pulled my head out of the cooler I saw a pony go galloping past them between where they were and the beach. He couldn't have been further than 10 feet away from them. He ran past them, kept up his trot for a couple hundred yards and then darted into the maritime forest.

It was truly one of those "Chamber of Commerce" moments.
We stayed and drank beer and looked for shells and Cristina fell asleep on the beach for what she said was a first for her. We left at 5:00-another wild and wooly ride down the main shipping channel with boats coming from all directions. Scott and I let the girls out while we put the boat on the trailer and headed home to some hot showers to wash away the salt spray. Had a great dinner at the Blue Moon Bistro, the girls shared a bottle of wine and we hit the Dockhouse where our friends Dicky Scearce and Jack Ketner were playing.

The boardwalk was packed with locals, tourists and the Triangle crowd, the band was fantastic as always and the night was magical. We got back home about 1:00 A.M., had a couple more toddies and awoke to a great sunny day on Sunday.

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