Saturday morning I awoke in my cabin # 11 at the River Forest Marina, and shared my concerns regarding the weather with Axson and his wife Lisa. She went in and checked the NOAA marine forecast for this part of North Carolina, and came out onto the porch, and confirmed that it does not look good for the next few days through Wednesday. Later they invited me into the house for a drink, and we discussed various options. Axson called the TowBoatUS office to confirm that I was a member in good standing, which I was, but he did not think that he could use a boat under the service and take me down the Pongo River and across the Pamlico River without my being out on the water, and receiving a call from me stating that I could not proceed with out help . I told him that I was concerned about being able to reach him if I needed help. I then asked whether there were any young men who might like to earn some money taking me to Oriental, on the Neuse River (the last that I would have to cross in NC), and past 15 miles or so of open exposure to the largest open water in the state, Pamlico Sound. Axson called his son, who agreed to take me on Monday for a fair price. We then agreed to have dinner together at the Farm Boys restaurant in town, where Lisa and I had a meaningful conversation about what is important in life. I told them they had become members of my club of angels, and they said they wanted to come down some day, meet Grace and see St. Augustine again. I later called Grace to let her know that a decision had been made, and we both felt very relieved. My apprehension about these large bodies of water has grown with my experience in paddling down or across them in the Chesapeake Bay and in North Carolina. There is no question that my paddling skills have improved measurably, but they are not good enough to do a self rescue far from shore.
Sunday broke sunny and with barely any wind. I attended the St. James Episcopal Church on Main Street at 9 AM, and Father Dan asked me to get up and explain to the small congregation what I was doing and why. Afterward, we went to the fellowship hall to have coffee or tea, and there I met most of the members and had pleasant talks about my adventure and about their lives in Belhaven. After a call to Grace, I went to get some food and brought it back to the room before it started to rain. Actually, most of the day was sunny with almost no wind, but an important decision had been made, and I saw no reason to change plans, especially given that adverse weather report starting tonight. As I write these words, the sky is becoming darker. We will see what tomorrow brings. What I will do once I reach Oriental, and pick up my charts that I mailed to myself from Portsmouth, will depend on the circumstances. Once I cross the Neuse River, however that is done, I will go down Adams Creek south through another canal that will bring me to Beaufort, NC, a new milestone in this remarkable journey.