Here it is Sunday afternoon and I winding up my weeklong stay on the “Crystal Coast” of North Carolina. I’ve had extremely nice weather the whole time I was here with just a couple brief showers one evening and morning. The temperatures have been in the 70s to mid-80s with mostly sunny skies. On Friday I did a bunch of chores in the morning cleaning the RV and doing numerous loads of wash at the Laundromat. But then I decided to head into the town of Beaufort in the afternoon. This town was first settled in the 1600s is a fishing community in deepwater port. Tom had suggested I check out the Maritime Museum in town. So I left Maxine behind at the RV to do a little exploring on my own. Over the years I’ve explored many different maritime museums all over the country. And each one has its own unique and interesting way of explaining the Maritime history. Some focusing on Merchant Marines, some to the Military and others like this one, more on the history of the Pirates in the area. This Museum is totally free only asking for donations, here’s a website for more information. Back in the early 1700s, Blackbeard one of the most infamous Pirates was known to frequent these waters along the Atlantic Coast. Capturing and robbing many merchant ships. At one point he captured a French slaveship (the La Concorde), and made it his flagship of his fleet of Pirate ships. He renamed it the Queen Anne’s Revenge and used it as his command ship as they pilfered the waters up and down the East Coast of the United States. There is much speculation as to what actually happened and why. But in 1718 after Blackbeard only having this ship for less than a year it ran aground in the Beaufort Inlet, North Carolina. Where it was even abandon and eventually sunk. There is speculation whether he did it on purpose to betray his men or if it was an accident you can find out more information at this website. There’s numerous other documentation available all over the web. The exact location of the sunken ship was lost in time for many years. But in 1996 the wreckage of a ship believed to be the Queen Anne’s Revenge was discovered in the waters off the Beaufort coast. Over many years and still an ongoing project they have been salvaging relics from this wreck and working hard to authenticate its true origin. The museum is full of many salvaged items from this wreck and numerous other maritime items. They show a nice documentary telling the story of blackbird and highlighting the discovery of this wreck, it was very interesting. Here are some photos from inside the museum. One of the many Canon salvaged from the wreck. They had a fourth order Fresnel Lens on display. They had different types of boats and motors on display.
They had a very nice research library.
And lots of other different types of artifacts found in the wreckage.
And they had numerous displays of replicas of weapons of the time frame.
This was a very nice and interesting approach to the Maritime Museum and quite different from others that I visited. After spending a couple hours exploring this Museum I headed off across the “Sound” to Fort Macon State Park. Maxine and I had been to the park before to enjoy the beach. But this time my visit was to check out the old “Fort Macon” inside and out by myself, because dogs are not allowed in the buildings. The site that this Fort was built on has a very colorful and long history, dating back to the 18th and 19th centuries. There were numerous defenses built on this location over the years with the Fort that is presently there, being constructed over an eight year timeframe from 1826 to 1834. The most active periods of time for this Fort were during the Civil War and again during World War II, find out more information here and here. The Fort had capacity for over 50 different guns to be mounted on rotating turrets. Here’s some photos of the working guns that have been relocated here. Some are original to the Fort and others are not.
Here’s what the turrets look like that the guns were set on. There were beautiful views where you stood up on the walls of the Fort here’s one close-up of a container ship leaving the harbor. Looking down from on top of the walls of the Fort into the courtyard. I managed to catch a guided tour by one of the volunteers that shared lots of information about the Fort. They have many different rooms of the Fort set up the way the barracks would’ve been at different times of its operation.
They had lots of displays showing the different types of projectiles there were used in these large guns.
And other displays of all the different types of weapons that the soldiers used over the years.
About half of the Fort was just open rooms with the bare brick walls.
There were a couple interesting things that I learned about different cannonballs and how they were used from these displays. The first was this exploding cannonball and how it worked.
And the other was how they would heat cannonballs red-hot, to shoot at the old wood ships and hopefully catch them on fire. Here’s a display explaining that. And this is what the furnace look like, off to the right side in this photo. There was tons of stuff to see and lots of information to take in and the best thing is its total free admission. And the views all around the Fort in the park are spectacular. That made for a full Friday, and the plan was that Maxine and I were going to hang out with our friends Tom and Pam on the beach, out in front of their place on Saturday afternoon. It rained a little overnight Friday and in the morning Saturday, just a few scattered showers. But it cleared up to be a beautiful afternoon to spend at the beach. Pam had fixed us a nice picnic luncheon. We sat and enjoyed a relaxing afternoon getting some nice sun. Here’s a photo of Tom enjoying one of Pam’s delicious brownies. And of course Maxine had a great time chasing her Frisbee for hours on end and I managed to get a little sunburned. After spending several hours just relaxing we said our goodbyes for the evening and Maxine and I headed back to the rig, where she immediately collapsed. She still thinks she’s a puppy and can go go go, but all that running took its toll on her, and Sunday morning she could hardly move. But that was okay because Tom, Pam and I had made plans to go to the “Blessing of the Fleet” on Sunday morning in Morehead City. This is a blessing of the commercial fishing fleet, that work up and down the North Carolina coast. This tradition is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year, first being done on October 5, 1997 in Morehead City. It is just a small part of the “North Carolina Seafood Festival” that has been going on for 30+ years. This is a large fall celebration in the port community of Morehead City. This was the first time any of us were to this type of ceremony and it was quite interesting. Of course they had speakers, and songs were sung and prayers were prayed. And lost souls were remembered of family members and employees of the commercial fishing fleet over the past 100 years. And then there was a parade of boats as many of the commercial fishing boats from the surrounding area passed by. Here are a bunch of photos of the different vessels.
It was interesting to observe this local tradition, celebrating the fishing industry and how it’s changed over the years. It’s a long family tradition that spans many generations and as they read the names of the lost souls, you can see this is a close knit community as many of the families have been here a long long time. After spending a couple hours taking in this ceremony we went out for lunch to a local restaurant and then they took me back to my rig for me to relax and get ready to move on tomorrow. So I took some time to share more of my wonderful time here on the “North Carolina Outer Banks” and a wonderful time spent with my friends. Tomorrow morning I will pack up and head down to Myrtle Beach for a few more days on the beach. And again the plan is to meet up with more friends from Wisconsin that have just relocated to that area of the Carolinas. That’s it for now safe travels till next time, Rick