November 27, 1999 -- Parade of Lights

Today was the day that the Parade of Lights occurred. After discussing this with Yvonne, we decided to invite everyone out to the boat to watch both the parade as well as the fireworks afterwards.

We spent the morning cleaning up the boat; I even vacuumed! We ran out to the store to pick up potato salad and ground beef for burgers and then returned to the boat. With a little bit more work, the boat was ready. We rewarded ourselves with a little bit of quiet time.

Yvonne called to let us know that they were leaving the house to come down, then Joe called to let us know that they found a parking space at the dinghy dock. Mike stayed on the boat while I took the dinghy out to pick everyone up. Two trips later, everyone was on the boat. Shortly after everyone was on the boat, we decided to walk to the festival to see what was for sale. Three trips later, everyone was off the boat and headed towards the festival.

We wandered around the festival and saw some interesting crafts, though the only thing that really attracted us was the food booths at the end! After a leisurely walk back to the dinghy dock, we headed back out to the boat. Three trips later, everyone was safe aboard the boat, and it was time to start working on dinner.

The most complicated part of making dinner was making the beef into hamburgers; it was a terribly complicated process! Dinner was a smashing success and completed with enough time to chat for a bit before the parade started.

We did learn something new about boating well actualy about anchoring, that Mike dubbed, the Wrightsville Tug. You see as we where waiting for the parade to start we where watching all of the boats come out to anchor and watch. Well it seems that a large percentage of the folks here have come up with a new way to anchor that involves tossing or lowering the anchor (this depends on the size of the boat) allowing it to touch bottom that let out about 5 to 10 feet extra of rode. This is in comparsion to the normal way, that involves 3 to 7 times the amount of rode as the water depth incluesive of the distance from the water to bow roller depending on the bottom type and rode type. Anyway we would then watch them Tug on the anchor rode to see if it was set instead of backing down on it with the boat. One to fine minutes later we would watch as they hauled up the anchor and try it again because there anchor was dragging and not set. We watched several boats do this at least 5 time each. Needless to say this did our nerves a whole lot of good, especialy when they where trying to anchor near Nightwinds. Mike with his Type A personality had a hard time controlling his need to get on the VHF and instruct these boaters in the proper way to anchor, but he did manage to keep off the radio. He really wanted to take to the VHF and provide harbormaster service to boats, telling them how much rode to put out and the exact spot he wanted them to anchor in.

The parade was incredible. There were about 20 or 25 boats involved. You could tell that a lot of thought went into the creation of the floating works of art. People did everything from a jungle scene, complete with monkeys to the standard Santa on sleigh with reindeer to a Y2K scene of the New York sky line and ball dropping, inclusive of the lights going out!

After the parade ended, Fireworks were set off. Of course we figured they were for us, celebrating our continued residence in Wrightsville Beach.

After the fireworks ended, we waited about 45 minutes for most of the boats to clear out before delivering everyone to shore. After that process was completed, we settled in for the night.