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Boat Show 2014 - Hope Floats In
Paddling 200+ Miles of Neuse To Oriental
April 16, 2014

t’s just over 200 miles – give or take a few paddle strokes – to kayak the Neuse River from its start in Raleigh to Oriental. Some paddlers with the cancer awareness group Hope Floats NC did every mile in an 8 day run. On April 12, the dozen paddlers put in the final few paddle strokes and finished their trip at Oriental’s Dinghy Dock right in the midst of the Oriental Boat Show..

Laura Mata of Fayetteville pulls up on to the temporary floating dock — on display as part of the Oriental Boat Show. The Hope Floats crew themselves became a Saturday feature of the show as its dozen paddlers worked their way to the Dinghy Dock and wrapped up their week-long adventure.

This was the third April that the group paddled the Neuse River, but the first in which they’ve finished at Oriental. That it coincided with the Boat Show as serendipity. The dozen who finished late Saturday afternoon, appeared as a fleet, low on the horizon, as they turned the corner from Styrontown Beach and the Windmill Pointe subdivision.

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Some paddlers started the Hope Floats NC trip in Raleigh but had to break away a few days in, a few picked up the paddle along the way, and some did the entire 200 plus miles. Here are the dozen who came appeared on the horizon of Oriental’s anchorage on Saturday April 12.

The final day had been especially arduous, as they had to buck some stiff winds. It tested the resolve, if not the patience who looked damp (some dripped water) as they stepped out of their kayaks. One paddler was heard to joke that she didn’t think she’d ever even drink water again. But within minutes there was talk about doing it again for a fourth year, in 2015

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A member of the Hope Floats NC land crew assists a paddler after her arrival at the temporary floating dock next to Oriental’s Dinghy Dock. They had paddled from New Bern that day. The paddlers who did the entire route from Raleigh covered more than 200 miles in 8 days.
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In Oriental, father and daughter reunion. Eight-year-old Elizabeth Engler hops in to the the kayak that her father, Chris, had paddled for 200 miles down the Neuse River as part of Hope Floats NC. She and her mother and sister had traveled – by land – to Oriental to meet her dad.
Group photo at the Oriental Dinghy Dock a few moments after all twelve paddlers arrived.
Kim Tart on the Oriental Dinghy Dock after wrapping up the last day’s paddling. Asked if she’d do it again, she answered by way of saying this was the third year of the event, and the third year she’d done it.
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Kayak festooned with names and memories.
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Craig Engler of Chesapeake, Virginia and Chris Tart of Lillington who spent the previous 8 days paddling from Raleigh to Oriental.
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Waiting crews made quick work of hauling the kayaks out of the water at Oriental’s anchorage.

Posted Wednesday April 16, 2014 by Melinda Penkava

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