N 34 42.9 W 76 40.0 Beaufort NC (that's Bo not Byu) is a little port just off the Atlantic where the Newport River enters the sea. It was settled in 1709 and quickly was named an official port by the British - meaning they could tax the shipping in and out. At that time ships arrived with bricks as their ballast which they traded for pine tar and pitch. The bricks were used for building and the tar was shipped to China where the used it to make turpentine. The ships were then loaded with china and sailed back to England where the cycle repeated itself. The longshoreman that loaded the pine tar were the first union in America and came to be know as "tarheels". At least that's what we were told upon arriving at the dinghy dock by a local named Marty. The picture at the left is one of the "pyrate ships" that will be part of the annual Pyrate Days celebration here in August. Edward Teach - aka Blackbeard - used to work his business in these waters until his unfortunate demise. The Maritime Museum here is fantastic. Besides the current fad with all things pirate, the museum contains many old ships and ship models, sections explaining the coastal fisheries, fishing techniques, and fishing apparatus. One of the most interesting displays concerned the "Surfmen". The US Coast Guard established teams of men all along the Outer Banks whose purpose was to rescue shipwrecked sailors. The Outer Banks and Cape Hatteras area is infamous for bad weather and dangerous shoals. With the surf breaking over the broached ships it was impossible, even suicidal to try and take another boat to rescue the sailors. Instead they developed a technique where they would shoot a line to the wreck using a small cannon. The folks on the boat would haul the connected larger hawser over and attach it to their mast. On shore, the Surfmen would raise a pair of beams anchored in the sand and then send across either a "breech bag" or a metal container that would hold up to eleven people. Even if they could haul the wrecked sailors to the beach they might be drowned in the high surf before they were landed. Really cool place and free! We wandered about town and met several of the sailors and local folks. We spent quite a while talking and drinking with Jimmy at the "Dock House". He's a local carpenter and a very nice guy. Later that night we sat out on the boardwalk and listened to a couple of guys on guitar and snare drum play covers. They were very good. Every now and then the drummer would trade his sticks for a mandolin and they would cook. Another local shared a table with us while he shook a tambourine. after the music was over we chatted with the musicians and several of the sailors sitting at anchor off the town docks. Wonderful town and friendly folks! We will probably stay here a few more days before heading up to Oriental.