Tuesday, July 3, 2018

A Pause in the Action

[Hilde's log]

We’ve been at the dock in New Bern, North Carolina, since my last post. We wondered how the area had fared in our ten year absence, and to our delight we discovered that it’s pretty much the same. New Bern is about 300 years old (founded in 1710) and maintains a vibrant and charming downtown area. Its close-in residential areas are full of beautifully kept old homes, many of which are priced so reasonably we could buy one.

 A trip down Broad Street in New Bern


New Bern sits at the junction of the Trent and Neuse Rivers, and so has a lot of beautiful waterfront and lots of area to sail when the wind is up (which it is not in July and August).

The town docks on the Neuse River, just off Union Point in New Barn. Free for 48 hours! And, unlike Oriental, you can actually get to them in a decent amount of water.
The front of the DoubleTree hotel in New Bern. The crepe myrtles are all over town, in white, pink, watermelon, and bright red! I've never seen a red crepe myrtle, but they are gorgeous. AND they don't make me sneeze.

This is a view of the waterfront on the other side of the DoubleTree hotel that faces the water. As marina residents, we are also hotel guests, and that means free coffee every morning. And hot showers. And a deck. Sweet.

A summer storm sweeps over the marina. It brought some cooler temperatures for a day or two, which was a big relief.
David and I loved it here when we lived here 10 years ago, and so we began to wonder...why not move back? We’re retired, we can get a house, the area is centrally located along the East Coast with beautiful sailing areas in close reach. What’s not to like? We even went so far as to shop for homes, looking near and far (a whole 10 miles away from downtown), at new homes and old, big and small and in-between.

A glimpse of New Bern. The bear statues (to the right in this photo) are all over town, like the pelican statues in Seabrook.

You know how things can look really, really good on paper, but they just don’t seem to work out? That has been our experience here. We couldn’t find a home that was just right, or a neighborhood that was just right, or a price that was just right. Either the house needed too much updating or it was too far from downtown or it was claustrophobic or too unique for resale or just too big to keep up and have any kind of life. It was very frustrating.

Regardless of the house, we knew we wanted to have a car. That’s one of the most frustrating aspects of cruising. When you get to shore, you are stranded in the vast majority of places. You can get to any place that’s within a couple of miles of the harbor simply by walking, or you can beg or borrow or rent a car. It can be really frustrating to run those necessary errands. So, since we had decided to stop until fall (summer here is almost as bad as summer in Houston), we needed wheels.

That was absolutely no trouble at all! We found a local Hyundai dealership and actually liked the folks working there. When has that ever been the case? Never for me. We ended up with a new 2018 Hyundai Sonata for about the same price I paid for my Acura Integra 20 years ago. No lie. I keep waiting for the wheels to fall off, but so far, so good.

Check it out! Red!

In the process of buying the car, we discovered that our previous belief, that North Carolina does not tax retirement income, was incorrect. North Carolina does not tax Social Security income. It does tax IRA distributions and pensions, at 5%. Talk about a cold shower! That put a halt to looking at homes in a hurry.

So, we wondered, how to alleviate some of the more irritating aspects of living on a boat at the dock? One major irritant is feeling overcrowded. Spare parts, project supplies, winter clothes in summer, winter shoes in summer….all crowd the cupboards and lockers until I want to pull my hair out some days. That was one of the draws of a house: being able to unpack!

David fixing the A/C. He's had to fix it three times since we've been here - all sorts of vegetation floats in the water and plugs up the intake. Notice the disaster wreaked in the cabin by having to move everything from the port to the starboard side and dig out tools from the v-berth. This is the way the boat feels some days, even when it isn't a mess and why it was so very tempting to find a house to spread out in. Raven doesn't feel small on the water, only at the dock.
Since a house was out, we decided to rent a small air conditioned storage unit for the overflow. We drove out to a likely place on Sunday. It was closed...but the owner saw us in the driveway and came over to chat. Finding out what we were looking for, he told us he has one that had come vacant the day before, opened the office and signed us up. As it turned out, it was the only one that size he had vacant.

One some levels, our experience here has been a resounding “No” - as in, no house, no you aren’t going to live here. On others, the experience has been eerily easy: new car, no problems (in fact that’s what saved us from making a very expensive mistake), storage space, no problem. I get the feeling we are being gently herded...somewhere.

The current plan is to enjoy the A/C (when it is working) at the dock for July and August. In September we leave for England to visit David's mom. Then in October, when we return, we'll set off for the Chesapeake and some good sailing! Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, we have been promised fireworks over the Trent River basin (just behind us in the marina) on the 4th. I plan to sit out on the foredeck with a cold can of seltzer and enjoy the show, heat or no heat. Here’s wishing all of you a festive Fourth of July!

Monday, June 18, 2018

One of those days when it all goes wrong...

Below is the log I wrote just before we came in to the New Bern Grand Marina, plugged into some very welcome A/C and started a nice two-week rest, filled with old friends. Fortunately, days like the one I detail below are not that common!

[Hilde’s log]

As I write this, we are at anchor under driving rain in Goose Creek, about seven miles from New Bern where we have a slip a week from now. We are desperately hoping they can squeeze us in earlier. We have enough food for a day before we started eating really weird combinations of things, and I have no more clean underwear. It’s getting urgent.

It's always a good idea to avoid expectations when you travel, and that rule holds true even more so when you are cruising. However, when I've been out 12 days and am hot and sticky and smelly, I tend to romanticize coming ashore. I have visions of hot showers, food I did not cook, a dry boat, and maybe a bit of conversation with other boaters over a hot cup of something.

I certainly had all these expectations for our planned stop at Oriental, a tiny town on the banks of the Neuse River, well known among boaters in this area. We met some nice folks in Georgetown who waxed lyrical about the free town docks we could tie up to for 48 hours, and get water and a pumpout. We were looking forward to connecting with them again, and looking forward to those services. Our cruising book advised that we could anchor out if the docks were full. No problem!


This morning, all looked promising. The NOAA forecast was for thunderstorms in the afternoon, and we certainly didn’t want to cross the Neuse River in that. The Neuse is extremely wide, and is more like a bay than a river. The fetch is long and when the wind blows, it can work itself up into quite a froth.

So about 8 a.m. we pulled out of our anchorage at Cedar Creek and eased into the channel. Unlike in Texas, thunderstorms in this part of the world can lower the overall temperature about 15 degrees. Because we’d had rain all day yesterday, it was downright chilly, and as we began our crossing the wind piped up and it was downright cold. The waves were all over the place, and Raven bucked along throwing spray to one side and then the next. No problem! We were only an hour from civilization and hot coffee at The Bean (a local coffee shop we visited once, many moons ago, by car).

Well. We did get there in an hour, only to discover that the “free town docks” we’d been told about were at the end of a long, narrow channel and were occupied; docks to the right of us hosted a boat that had taken the “middle half” and left no room for us. Other possible places to anchor were very shallow or had been taken over by new dockage. If you draw 5’ or more, do not plan to anchor in Oriental. Ok, problem.

After our aborted attempt to anchor in shallow water, David went below to start the washdown pump to wash off the mucky anchor and chain (the switch is in the head). To his extreme frustration, he discovered the door to the head had locked itself (because I had inadvertently bumped the lock in our lumpy crossing). Dangling her mucky anchor and chain, Raven waddled over to the main channel and we dropped the muddy hook a second time. David went below to dismantle the door lock (read: take the lock completely off the door). Meantime, as he steamed and banged around below searching for tools and trying to see what he was doing, a small skiff with two older men motored by, pulling a fishing net, and the older of the two, a prune-faced fellow whose wife is no doubt thrilled that he spends all his time wandering around the creek, yelled at us to “Get out of the channel!”

So much for the "friendly" part of my daydream. Sheesh.

On top of all the rest, there is no T-Mobile phone service in Oriental, so any hope of getting weather or any other information we needed was quashed.

Once the door lock was removed and the anchor chain washed and in its locker, we “turned on our heel” and motored back out into the river. So much for daydreams of friendly, quaint little villages and hot coffee and showers and potato chips (that last is especially painful).

Cold, smelly, tired, frustrated, and chipless, we turned north and huffed our way up the river for about four hours, pulling into Goose Creek in the middle of one of those thunderstorms I wanted to avoid. We just caught the edge of it before setting the hook and diving below, getting drenched in the process. Shedding wet clothes, we have applied baby powder to our bodies and are drinking tea and have not been electrocuted, so I guess all is well that ends well.

[Here are photos we took of our anchorage, which we would have missed altogether if Oriental had worked out. Far better than my feeble daydreams!]

Our view from the Goose Creek anchorage once the rain stopped.


Sunset on Goose Creek. Dear Lord, it was beautiful!

Sunrise the next morning. Were we glad to be at anchor and not at a dock!

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Summertime

[Hilde’s log]

We’re beach weanies. I’m not much on sand (it’s hard to walk through and gets everywhere) and David doesn’t like the heat. Neither of us has much urge to swim in opaque water and be nibbled by anonymous critters. So we wandered out on Wrightsville Beach, took a couple of snaps, and wandered right back into town.


Wrightsville Beach - gorgeous white sand and hot white sun.

Then we found out that the only attractions at Wrightsville Beach are the water and the beach. David solved that problem by fitting out the sailing kit for the dinghy, and we spent a couple of hours sailing up and down the anchorage. He sails; I’m ballast; we both have fun!

Sunset at Wrightsville Beach.

A long, 40-mile day found us at anchor off Camp LeJeune at Mile Hammock Bay. We were so bushed, the occasional ordnance fire didn’t keep us awake at all. Early in the morning, smoke from fires set off by the “war games” woke us. It’s a nice anchorage, despite the army activity, and it was a relief to be able to stop for the night.

Our next stop was Swansboro, where the anchorage was shallow, but gave us a good view of the town, the highway, and various restaurants. We spend three nights there. Our second day, we dinghied in for breakfast at Yanna’s, which was spilling over with customers. A walking tour of the town took up the rest of the morning. That evening we dinghied in the opposite direction and treated ourselves to a fine Mediterranean meal. 


We admired this house's beautiful garden.

One of the streets in the historic district, Swansboro.

Stormy skies over Swansboro. This one blew past us without even a sprinkle.


Swansboro - view from the water.

Here we are in the anchorage...before I ran us aground.

Our third day was not planned. As we were leaving the anchorage, I managed to ground us (again – this is my third time, I think; I am losing count) and we spend the entire frustrating day on board sweating and waiting for the shallow tide to rise and lift us off, which it did about 4 p.m. We went into the fuel dock for diesel and turned back to the anchorage for another night. Fortunately, David has a program on his phone that shows the contours of the bottom (sonar charts), so he downloaded this anchorage and we were able to leave without further ado the next morning.

The next day was another long trek, from Swansboro through Bogue Sound, past Moorehead City, and up Adams Creek. I remembered the anchorage at Moorehead City and was glad we didn’t have to stop there. It’s narrow and crowded and bad holding. We zipped past the town like a cat with its tail on fire: the current was running at 2.2+ knots with us and Raven flashed along at over 7 knots. That’s fast for us.

Underway from Swansboro under a beautiful summer sky. We have the jib out to give our speed a boost.
One of the huge working ships at the dock at Moorehead City. Check out the "little" boat (probably 20 feet long)  running along beside for a size comparison.

I love Bogue Sound. It’s a wide, wide expanse of water which is a delight in mild wind. We passed numerous pockets of tiny silver fish that flittered and leaped about on the surface of the water, creating water-borne glitter. I fantasized they were playing in the sun, but I’m pretty sure they were trying to avoid being lunch for the dolphins that surrounded us. 


The sound is broken up by islands and sand bars and coves. Houses line the shores, but they are so far away it doesn’t feel crowded. We passed one couple who had pulled their runabout up on a sandbar and debarked a couple of folding chairs and two excited dogs who ran back and forth on the bar, splashing and snapping at the water. Great idea! Pull up to your own little island and let the dogs run while you read the paper.

Neither of us remembered the views on Adams Creek, except we are both pretty sure it wasn’t built up ten years ago. Now there are three story houses on both sides of the Creek for quite a way. They finally peter out near the Neuse River. Cedar Creek is just a little south of the Neuse; Oriental is just across the Neuse River.

Arriving about 4 p.m., we anchored in 7 feet of water and spent a pleasant evening watching the world chug down the ICW. Fishing trawlers motored up and down with their nets out, and at one point two barges converged, one from either end of the channel. We were very glad to be anchored and not playing tag with those behemoths. When we came in, a lone catamaran was anchored near the shore. One other sailboat came in about an hour after we arrived, and then all was quiet.

Nose to nose barges on the ICW off Cedar Creek.

We ended up sharing space with an entire commercial fishing fleet. They were the fishing trawlers we had been watching - seven boats that went in and out of their marina all afternoon and well into the evening, followed by a cloud of squawking gulls. In addition to the lone sailboat that anchored near us, the morning light revealed four more sailboats rafted up near us, flags flying gaily in the breeze. They took off later in the morning, but were replaced in the rainy afternoon by another three sailboats and a catamaran. We saw more sailboats at Cedar Creek than we’ve seen in the last two months!

We broke out the dinghy again and sailed all over the little bay. About eleven a.m. we heard thunder, and about noon a huge mass of black clouds appeared and roared through the anchorage bringing heavy rain and blessedly cool temperatures. The storm whooshed past, but left gray skies and constant rain for the rest of the day. It was a blessing – it was finally cool enough for me to cook something in the galley.

Rainy day on Cedar Creek.

It feels good to be back in North Carolina. It’s like East Texas with a lot of water. A lot of water. Last night I lay awake and listened to whip-poor-wills call in the trees; the air smells like wet pines. I am excited to be on the way to Oriental for a few days and then on to New Bern. We lived in New Bern for a year and we are both anxious to see how it has fared and whether we still feel at home there.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Glorious Summer v Too Many People

[Hilde's log]

The unparalled beauty of the Waccamaw River in summer

Being of the opinion that there is just so much natural beauty a person can stand, we have decided to enjoy civilization here at Wrightsville Beach for a couple of days. Just a barrier island away from the Atlantic, Wrightsville Beach is one of the vacation destinations here in North Carolina. After a week of soggy, stormy weather, we have been blessed with blue skies, dry air, and cool temperatures for the last two days. Both sides of the waterway and the Atlantic beach are lined with vacation homes and rentals full of happy vacationers, and the waterway bustles with watercraft of all kinds.

This afternoon we spent a delightful hour or so watching a sailing class made up of four optimist prams, two lasers, and a sunfish, with kids from age 8 to about 14 skimming across the anchorage, just off Raven’s port side, tacking, jibing, racing, and occasionally turning over their boats. They were having a blast. What a great experience and what a confidence builder! 

The colored sail is the Sunfish, the boxy little boats are the Optimist Prams, and the other two flat boats are lasers. David used to sail lasers and really enjoyed the show!

We had a ringside seat for the races. Watch the video above for the action!

The trip up from Georgetown, SC took us up a path we traveled down in the dead of winter ten years ago. I must say, I like the summer better! For better or worse, so do the inhabitants of North and South Carolina, who flocked to the coast this past weekend by the thousands. We were swarmed with jet skis, fishing boats, air boats, trawlers, power boats...all going along as fast as they could, swamping us with wake. We saw about three sailboats along the way. Probably everyone else headed for the Atlantic and sailed up on the outside.

After a particularly irksome afternoon at a beautiful anchorage beside the Waccamaw River, where a power boat with two middle aged people dropped the hook near us, cranked up their loudspeakers to earsplitting volume, and capped off three hours of togetherness by prancing about on the deck shrieking along to their favorite tunes before weaving away in the dusk, and after a long, hard day coming up the Waccamaw River through Myrtle Beach dodging hundreds of watercraft and suffocating from waterside development, we almost bailed out to the ocean ourselves. In fact, we got rigged to do just that, but a look at the map showed that we would have to backtrack almost a day to avoid troublesome shallows near the coat. So we took a deep breath and kept on going. Fortunately today is a weekday, so a lot (by no means all) of the rowdy vacationers have gone home.

Our anchorage, without the sound effects.

We spent last night in Pipeline Canal, where we spent a very cold week in December a decade ago. Like everything else, it improves in the summer. It’s a very shallow anchorage, though, really only easily accessible at high tide. We left as the tide was rising, but David still had to power through the soft mud through 4 and 5 foot depths (we draw 5 feet). Fortunately, the ground was soft. In fact, it’s kind of like tar. I remember we had a hard time getting the anchor set that week in December – we literally had to reset it about four times. I guess the “tar” gets hard in the winter. Yuck.

Pipeline Creek, in the early hours of the morning.

Pipeline Canal is just south of Southport, NC, which looks like a lovely place from the water. Hopefully we will stop there for a week on our way back south later in the summer.

The next couple of hours we spent on the Cape Fear River. A strong current kept us moving against a brisk wind, a combination sure to churn up the water. The good news was the 40 foot depth. I get tired of watching the depth meter…

We did have to dodge a couple of car ferries (above) and a barge tow, but otherwise it was just us and the wind. So cool!!

Braving another bevy of water-born vacationers along the coast, we dropped the hook here at Wrightsville Beach, where, rumor has it, there is a grocery and a seafood market not too far away.

Wrightsville Beach anchorage.

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Ten Days on the Road, er, Creek

[Hilde’s log]

Never underestimate the value of dry, clean sheets! After ten days "on the road" we pulled into Harborwalk Marina in Georgetown, SC, plugged into the AC, and stripped every bit of cloth from the boat. Five loads of laundry and four hours later, we sank gratefully onto the settees and gloried in cool, dry air, clean bodies, and dry bedding. Ahhhh. We sure enjoy being plugged in when it happens.

Since Beaufort, we've traveled ten days straight without coming in to land, with the exception of a brief stop at Isle of Palms for diesel and water. Raven chugged right by Charleston without any desire to stop. We were there two weeks ten years ago, and although we have fond memories of the old city, weren't tempted to stop this time.
Instead, we kept going and pulled out to anchor in Whiteside Creek, north of the city. Another on our list of beautiful places, we ended up staying two nights.

Glamor shot of me filling the water tank. We stopped at the fuel dock at Isle of Palms, just north of Charleston, for diesel and water and potato chips. The essentials.

Sunrise, Whiteside Creek, our first anchorage north of Charleston.

On lazy mornings, when the tide doesn't rise until noon, David gets a much better breakfast!

We spent the whole day at anchor, again seduced by the still beauty all around us, broken by the occasional deer fly, bent on a quick snack. SWAT. The next morning we motored another 15 miles to Awendaw Creek.
Our next stop found Raven floating at anchor about as close to the Atlantic as you can get, without being actually out in the Atlantic, in Awendaw Creek. Just across the marsh and nestled in among the trees, I could see a few houses, but if I looked in the other direction, all I could see was the slim outline of some barrier marshes and the sparkle of light on the water. If you have followed the “breadcrumb trail”, you will have seen this place, where it looks as though we were anchored in the ocean.

Both days of travel north from Charleston were marked by a parade of Hatteras fishing boats. These are high dollar fishing vessels, and we were passed by at least ten of them, coming in clumps down the ICW, throwing high wake to either side of the canal. All were well-captained and obligingly slowed down as they went past. We just scratched our heads at the sheer numbers. Headed south for a boat show? Fishing tournament? Breeding season? Who knows.

One of the Hatteras boats that passed us. These bad boys cost about $1 million per boat... Also, what is the plural of Hatteras? Hatteri?

Awendaw Creek stuck in our minds as one of the memorable anchorages from our trip south a decade ago. We anchored here in December, and I remembered the oyster reefs where we tentatively went ashore to pee our schnauzer, Schnitzel, me keeping a wary eye out for alligators even in that cold air. The water was looking-glass still at night, and I remember the carpet of stars above us, shards of twinkling glass in that clear, cold sky, all of which were reflected in every detail in the black, still water around us. It was like floating free in a star field.

Awendaw Creek is a wide-open anchorage.

The view was totally different this time. We were surrounded by green marsh grass and trees in full leaf. The wind kicked up, and Raven danced at anchor the whole time we were there.


Looking across the marshes from Awendaw Creek, you can see houses peeking through the trees.

An egret looks for lunch amid the oyster beds. This is what we waded through to take the dog ashore all those years ago.


With high winds forecast, I did not feel at ease with so much open space around us, so after only one night we moved on to Minim Creek, motoring by the Francis Marion National Forest and the Santee Coastal Reserve, wilderness on both sides of the canal. (see below)



The rain that had been dogging us for a week finally caught us at Minim Creek. David did manage to rig the sail kit on our dinghy and puttered around the creek, but later in the afternoon the clouds closed in and we sat through about 24 hours of heavy showers. The mosquitoes were out in force, and somehow found ways in through our screens. We carried several of the big, black, toothy insects with us all the way up Winyah Bay to Georgetown.
Technology has changed so much about cruising in the last ten years. We've had cell phone access in almost every anchorage (not Minim Creek, where we really wanted to know when the rain would clear out). Internet access has taken much of the mystery of traveling with the tides and gives us instant access to weather and wind strength along the way. Instead of consulting a battered tide book to determine when to travel up or down a river, or over shallow spots in the ICW, we have instruments on board that show us exactly where we are in the tide cycle at our present position.

I can upload photos and post the blog almost anywhere, instead of having to wait to hook up to a marina’s questionable wi-fi, or having to lug the computer to the local library for internet access. In most areas we can make and receive telephone calls with ease, even video-calls.

We can watch TV on our phones almost every night, if we want to, not to mention calling ahead to make reservations at upcoming marinas or to alert fuel docks that we are approaching. It’s a lot less like traveling by covered wagon, and a whole lot more like driving an RV along a highway through a national park, although the views on the water remain unsurpassed.


Nice improvements! Now, if I could just figure out how to keep the sheets from getting soggy.


Friday, May 25, 2018

Blessed Quiet

[Hilde’s log]

Our path from Beaufort took us from the Beaufort River north up the Coosaw River, across St. Helena Sound, then through the Ashepoo-Coosaw cutoff (where we stopped short to avoid being creamed by a giant container ship) to the Ashapoo River. Angling through the Fenwick Cut, we anchored in about 20 feet of water in the South Edisto River, beside Fenwick Island. I keep these details because, although we know we came down this way ten years ago, I have absolutely no memory of the area, other than one or two anchorages that have stuck in my head. So this time I am keeping track. Off Fenwick Island, we anchored next to friends Ann and Tony on Stella Maris. The next morning, they set off for Charleston, but the area was so incredibly calm and beautiful we couldn’t bear to leave, so we spent a lovely day floating alone, marshes and woodlands on either side of the wide expanse of water.

The birds in the trees sang all day.

A glorious break of day.

This whole area is gorgeous and makes the trip worthwhile. As a refugee from a metropolitan area of over 12 million, and as a life-time reluctant city dweller, I delight in the absence of human buildup. There are houses scattered over these islands, but they are not, for the most part, intrusive, and many areas seem deserted (I know they aren’t, but I pretend).

Anchoring in a remote area is so restful to the soul. My favorite time of day is the early morning, when the soft, cool morning air is filled with birdsong from the neighboring trees and the only other sound is the gurgle of the current against Raven’s hull, the slap of waves on the nearby shore, and the croak of the occasional frog. Air that has only been breathed by trees and the sea is simply intoxicating, like a crisp chardonnay for the lungs. The absence of all sounds of mechanization makes me go limp with relief. We can usually enjoy about two hours of “silence” before the fishing boats break into our little cocoon of quiet. I am ridiculously territorial, resenting any intrusion by anyone into our solitude.


The next leg of the trip took us from the South Edisto River through Watts Cut to the Dawho River, which spills into the North Edisto River. That turns into Wadmalaw Sound, and we turned off there to anchor in Church Creek. As we left our anchorage across from Fenwick Island, we noticed quite a build up of black clouds to the west. A check of the radar revealed a nasty little clump of rain cells that was passing us to the north and west. It dogged us all day, sometimes nearer, sometimes farther away. Only one shower found us, but I couldn’t believe the rainstorm was moving as slowly as we were. There was no lightening, so it wasn’t scary – in fact, made for pretty good pictures!


I should mention here that David is our resident photographer. If you see a good photo, he’s usually the one who took it. I get lucky sometimes, but often steal his shots as they are usually better than mine. Credit where credit is due! Also maybe this will poke him to do a blog entry. (Ahem.)

Typical pose of our resident photo-guru.

Today as I write this, we are at anchor in Church Creek, one of seven boats who chose to spend the night here. Yeah, crowded. Sigh. You will see how silly I am when you see how far the other boats are from us, but still. We are waiting for the tide to rise, as some of these cuts are notoriously shallow – so why stress?

Our "crowded" anchorage in Church Creek. We were one of seven boats.

This morning as we had our tea on deck, we think we heard a loon call. Google informed us that yes, there are loons as far as South Carolina in May. I was amazed; I thought they stayed in the far north. Other informative tidbits: they are a very large bird (5 foot wingspan), are not related to ducks, have solid bones, and have been around for about 65 million years.

Morning tea. Side order of foot, optional.

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