If not for family, friends, and our new home, I could easily be living on the North Carolina coast — and probably in Beaufort. When we moved back to NC in 1989, I figured we’d one day retire to the NC coast. BUT, THAT was before Kristin graduated UNC, moved back to Charleston, married Bobby, and gave us three grandchildren! So much for post-retirement planning!

But, back to cruising! From Beaufort to Belhaven there’s so much inland open waters you would at times swear you were heading into the ocean.

Since we would be leaving Beaufort early the day after her July 4th birthday, I gave Carolyn her birthday present – an inflatable kayak – early, so she could enjoy paddling Taylor’s Creek and over to the Rachel Carson Reserve across from the marina.

I was skeptical of inflatable kayaks, but her new Sea Eagle Tandem is awesome! Whether she’s kayaking alone or we’re together, the thing tracks beautifully, even in wind and a strong tide.

Beaufort Docks always has beautiful flowers on the fence above the bulkhead, but this year the American flags in each arrangement made them twice as beautiful.

While dockside buildings block the actual sunrise at Beaufort Docks this time of year, the sun’s illumination of clouds over Taylor’s Creek and the ocean, can be stunning. And the same can be said about sunsets.

Talk about patriotism on Independence Day, how many communities across America actually host a parade! And how many American Independance Day parades include an old London Transportation Authority bus. Wonder if our British friends would see the irony?

7:38AM, Thursday, July 5, 2018. After one birthday and four nights in Beaufort, it’s time to cruise at sunrise. Thanks for the memories, Beaufort, NC. See you next year.

Fair winds and following seas