After a stormy night, Monday was a beautiful morning with flat seas and virtually no wind. The run across to Columbia took less than two hours. We traveled closer to the center of the sound and found that the crab pots were being laid at about 60 degrees to the center line of the channel, so it was somewhat easier to pick a path through them.
Don gave me the helm about half way in the trip, so I "drove the boat" for about forty minutes until we reached the entry channel to the marina which was narrow and required a hand with more experience than mine. It was fun to handle the boat for a little while, tho.
This is clearly the most remote place we have been. The marina is small and rustic, but has all the facilities that we need. We are not all moored together as we have been everywhere else, so it's not quite as much fun. One cannot walk off one boat and onto the next one to visit or help with some small job. The little town is very little! David took me into town to get Gatorade at the local Food Lion, which was nice and new.
All but Mitchell went to dinner last nite at Mike's where one could get sandwiches, seafood or Chinese. A surprising number chose Chinese - perhaps because Mike obviously was.
Tuesday we spent more than half the day in and around Columbia. This is the smallest town we will visit and the one that so far appears to be struggling the most. It is truly tiny - about four blocks square for downtown. There is a drugstore and a hardware store - three places to eat (open at different times of day and on different days of the week. An art gallery and craft center and that's about it. We had lunch in the local lunchroom, which had excellent food.
We spent the afternoon learning about wine making - Scuppernong Wine. There is a small vineyard and winery in town that is trying to take scuppernong wine mainstream. We visited their tasting room and then traveled fifteen minutes to the vineyard. Having just been to Chadham where they produce more typical wines, it was interesting to see the small differences. Scuppernong is a type of muscadine grape and is two to three times the size of a "regular" wine grape, so these fields will eventually produce 17 tons of grape per acre as compared to 7 tons per acre of the smaller grapes. From there the process is pretty much the same. They are already producing about nine wines ranging from semi-dry white to sweet red, with a blush in between. The big difference is that this wine has a very strong fruity smell. Many of us had difficulty with the drier taste of many of their wines when combined the the strong fragrance. I did buy a couple of bottles of the more "normal" sweet red wine. It's a far cry from Mother's Vineyard (of Petersburg), but still a quite sweet wine.
It was really pretty day and I think we all enjoyed our visit. By the time we returned to Cypress Cove, even Mitchell was feeling well, so by tomorrow I think we will be at full complement of able-bodied sailors.
The trip with Don and MA has been really fun. From our vantage point, it has not been too crowded and we have enjoyed their company thoroughly. I am really looking forward to tomorrow's trip back to the north side of the Sound to Elizabeth City. This will be the largest city we visit and should have much to offer. Stay tuned.