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Lots of boats come to Oriental, some tie up at the Town Dock for a night or two, others drop anchor in the harbor for a while. If you've spent any time on the water you know that every boat has a story. The Shipping News on TownDock.net brings you the stories of the boats that have visited recently.

Prinses Mia
The Not Normal Voyager
November 26, 2013
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Soon after arriving in Oriental in November, Martijn was told of an ongoing controversy in the town’s anchorage.

Pascal Ott and Monique Christmann aboard the sailboat “Primadonna” had occupied a spot in the anchorage for a year. This was taking up valuable space, especially at a time of year when many boats were traveling south. Word had spread in the cruising community that boats were bypassing Oriental because the red steel boat – and three other homesteading boats – were occupying much of the anchorage.

Primadonna

As reported in a Shipping News in July, Primadonna’s French crew claimed they couldn’t leave because they lacked funds, fuel and a few parts for their boat. Area citizens, churches and organizations had been pitching in since Primadonna arrived in November of 2012. Despite the help, they remained.

In May, Monique was arrested for shoplifting. In October, Pascal asked a local man to co-endorse a check for $2,980. Pascal received the cash. The check proved bad and Pascal only repaid $500. He kept the balance.

Many Oriental citizens were frustrated with Primadonna’s ongoing presence in the anchorage. Yet for all the controversy surrounding Primadonna, no one could seem to get the steel boat to leave. The US Coast Guard was called. ICE (US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement), and border control issues raised too. Numerous calls were made to the Homeland Security Hotline. Even the French Consulate was contacted but that too, brought no result. The Pamlico County Sheriff’s Department did no better. Oriental’s Town Board did nothing.

Martijn on the other hand, took action. He says that, given the hospitality he knew in Oriental, he found it “impossible to believe” that with after a year’s worth of assistance from area residents, Primadonna’s crew had been unable to fix the boat’s engine. So almost immediately upon arriving in town, he kayaked over and offered to help Pascal Ott.

Aboard Primadonna, the two men went to work. When efforts to repair the engine proved unsuccessful Martijn says Pascal, “did not even say thank you. Then he asked me to fix his outboard engine.” And then, Pascal had a final request. He asked Martijn to tow Primadonna to Morehead City.

And that is how Martijn Dykstra became something of a folk hero in Oriental. Minutes after 7a on November 12, Prinses Mia took Primadonna in tow and pulled her from Oriental’s anchorage. Around noon on that Tuesday, Primadonna was secured to a mooring in Morehead City. Martijn’s big steel boat had achieved in few hours what multiple agencies seemed helpless to do over much of the past year. That night at The Silos, many came up to him and thanked him. Several suggested he be the Grand Marshal in the Spirit of Christmas parade in mid-December.

princes mia tows primadonna
After helping lift her anchors, Martijn tows Primadonna from the anchorage, in front of the Oriental bridge and …
princes mia tows primadonna
…past marker #8 at the end of Oriental’s breakwater. A few hours later…
princes mia tows primadonna
… the French vessel is towed down Adams Creek canal toward Morehead City, where the French sailboat’s captain asked she be towed.

Martijn says Primadonna’s crew did not offer to pay for the fuel he used for the towing job to and from Morehead. Primadonna’s crew did not even thank him. He says that’s okay – he still likes helping people. As for the three boats that continued squatting in the anchorage, he says, “I wish we could tow the other ones.”

Next, a sail aboard Prinses Mia.

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Posted Tuesday November 26, 2013 by Bernie Harberts


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