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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.

Two Hulls, Two Twins
November 11, 2008

Many conversations, too many, really, start with something timeworn, such as the weather. At the Bean, one morning in late October, Ally Snead skipped the weather — perhaps because she hasn’t learned that conversational habit yet — and got right to the current issue in her family’s life.

“Our mother lost her credit cards and drivers license.”

Ally had turned in her chair to offer that opening line. We stopped reading the paper.

“Where?” we asked.

“In the water,” she chirped.

Ally, decked out in pink, was seated at the adjacent table. With her was another girl, also blonde, also dressed in pink, who, in marked contrast, quietly ate her breakfast.

Miakoda at Town Dock.
Ally did most of the talking. “We’re twins!” she practically sang. “Seven and a half!” She also explained that as her and Emma’s mother stepped off their catamaran that morning at the Town Dock, the license and credit cards spilled out of her bag and in to the water.

Their dad, Ally said, was out there right now, trying to retrieve the license and credit cards with a net from the dock. We thought about the murkiness of the water in the harbor and how immersion in the water would probably be necessary. (We also made a mental note of .. the weather .. and how it wasn’t the warmest of mornings for the eventual diving.)

We didn’t share that with the young visitor. Ally was already looking at the bright side. With an air of knowing priorities, Ally noted that her mother’s “wiper for her sunglasses,” hadn’t fallen in as well.

Brian, Ally, Jennie and Emma Snead.

Ally and Emma and their parents, Jennie and Brian, live on Miakoda, a 41-foot Lagoon catamaran. Their destination for this year-long trip is the Bahamas.

They had arrived in Oriental earlier in the week, initially anchoring out near the entrance to the harbor. They had planned to be in Beaufort for Halloween, but after a day or two at anchor in Oriental, they decided instead to extend their stay in town through the holiday.

What’s a trampoline for… if not to jump? Ally Snead on the foredeck of Miakoda.

When we visited Miakoda and her crew, two days before Halloween, the twins were starting to work on their costumes on a table in the catamaran’s spacious cockpit. Emma would be a Fairy Butterfly. Ally, a MerFairy. Emma got to work right away, intently painting and mixing new hues of pink. Ally helped explain the combination of mermaid and ferry that inspired her costume.

Emma paints.

Their mom, Jennie, explained that the family bought the catamaran two years ago, with the idea of going cruising with the twins. They lived on board for a few months while moving the boat from Florida to the family’s home port of Annapolis.

While on that trek northward they had stopped in Oriental. The parents remembered it as a boat repair that had them tuck in to the village. For Ally however, it was the dragon in the Duck Pond that was lodged in her memory.

Ally starts work on her wings.

This latest trip had begun a few weeks earlier. Some of the crew is still adjusting a bit. “Ally and I tend to get seasick, “ Jennie says. “But now we know what to do. We come up above. And for the first two hours … we go to the bow and look out. And we don’t do anything.”

Twins berth.

So far, on this trip, the roomy cat is working out for the family Having two hulls, their parents say, gives the girls a place of their own and provides lots of storage. There are lots of kids’ books, Jennie says, though more may be in order. Emma looked up from her costume painting to report that Ally has already “read every single one.”

Jennie is homeschooling the 2nd graders. One hurdle she had to overcome? “I wasn’t Miss Clark, “ their previous teacher.

Another consideration of being out of the school setting is finding other kids their age. On Ocracoke, where the family spent several days before coming to Oriental, the twins joined in a children’s Halloween Parade that numbered 90 kids. And before that, at Jockey’s Ridge State Park on the upper Outer Banks, they rolled down the sand dunes with newly-made friends.

MIakoda. Among some Native Americans, the name means, “Power of the Moon”. As painted on the Lagoon catamaran, the logo features caricatures of the two twins.

Emma paused in her painting to clarify that it was her twin, Ally, who broke the ice. “Ally meets everyone. I’m the shy one.” She then returned her focus to mixing the exact right shade of pink paint for her FairyButterfly wings.

When they get to the Exumas, Jennie says, she hopes to enroll the girls for a few weeks in a local school known for welcoming cruising kids.

Emma and Ally work on the wings for their costumes in the cockpit of Miakoda.

While in Oriental, the Dolphin Mania Academy (the twins’ name for their school) took a field trip in to the Garland Fulcher Seafood Plant. As part of their studies, the twins and their parents toured the plant and watched the inner workings of the place.

“We saw,” Ally said very seriously, “the whole, entire process.”

Brian Snead says that meant seeing the crews do everything from “taking the shrimp out of the hold to taking off their heads.” And then they bought a few pounds for dinner.
Twins on foredeck of Miakoda in late October while at Oriental’s Town Dock. Emma shows her paint-covered hands.

Seafood is one of the big things the two girls are looking forward to on this trip to the islands. They developed a taste for it during those months they lived on the boat two years ago. Emma’s faves are conch and seaweed and conch salad. They have brought along a Hawaiian sling to catch lobsters.

At the Town Dock in Oriental, they were content to get the seafood — a few pounds of shrimp — from Garland Fulcher rather than fishing for it themselves.

One tool for license and credit card retrieval.

Brian Snead however, did jump in to the waters of Oriental’s harbor, not in search of seafood but for his wife’s credit cards and license. With some help and the loan of a tank from local diver Ralph Evey, Brian retrieved them.


PostScript: A few days, and many dabs of paint later, the FairyButterfly and MerFerry costumes were ready. Emma, Ally and some new friends from another cruising boat went trick or treating in Oriental. Early the next day, they were gone with the morning light, heading south toward the lands of conch and seaweed salad.

Emma Snead of Annapolis on left and her twin, Ally, flank sisters Kristen and Arianne MacRitchie of Pictou, Nova Scotia for a photo before hitting the town on Halloween night.

Posted Tuesday November 11, 2008 by Melinda Penkava

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