Leaving Charleston, it was a perfectly flat travel day as we moved toward Harborwalk Marina in Georgetown. We planned to leave the boat for a week and take a quick trip home, but Teresa got sick so we visited a med center instead. Minor sinus infection and fluid in her ear. Picked up some antibiotics and that kicked the infection. While there, we visited the Rice Museum. We found out that the area including Georgetown had been home to many rice plantations back in the 1700-1800’s. It was one of the richest areas in the country due to rice production. The fresh water rivers and tides were used to flood the low fields in the area. The tides would back up the fresh water rivers to allow the fields to flood. They used gates on canals into the fields to keep the saltwater out. Soon other areas of the country could produce rice cheaper and the area turned to other products. Leaving Georgetown takes you through the Waccamaw National Wildlife Refuge. We are finally seeing lots of tall trees with leaves! How refreshing from the normal non-descript rice patties turned marsh fields.
We stayed two nights in Georgetown and then moved on to Myrtle Beach Yacht Club. We stayed just one night there and had dinner at the Yacht Club with John & Sandra from Compass Rose. It was trivia night, but our table was not very good at their trivia categories, so the “loopers” did not win any of the prizes.
North Carolina – Day #225 & 2909 nautical miles. Just crossed the line over into North Carolina! Still seeing many mega homes with greatly extended docks out to their covered areas where the boat is kept. Due to the amount of marshy areas, owners must extend their docks to get beyond that and account for the great fluctuation in tidal changes.
The next stop was Southport, North Carolina, home of harbor hosts Robert and Kay Creech. We really enjoyed the seaport town of Southport which appears to be more affordable for regular people than the last three larger, more popular towns/cities. We met the Robert & Kay on their front porch which overlooks the water. Harbor Hosts are hospitable people who live in the harbor town and volunteer their time, and provide transportation for other loopers who venture into their town. We visited with them on their porch overlooking the bay and later on Short Vacation (another looper boat) for docktails. Southport is a quaint little town with many opportunities to walk the historic neighborhood, shop, and eat. Provisions Company Seafood is a MUST casual restaurant to dine at and is within a short walking distance from Southport Marina where we stayed.
We were blessed to be just in time for the Southport Spring Festival featuring local artists, good, and music by the Brunswick Big Band. Steve was itching to get up on stage and play his trumpet too. On Easter Sunday, we were but a short distance walk to Southport First Baptist Church founded in 1871. Very friendly people who greeted us and afterwards we presented Pastor Thomlinson with a copy of Teresa’s book.
Some scenes from Southport
We stopped in Wrightsville Beach for a night in the anchorage. Once safely anchored, we took the dinghy to shore and explored the area taking a walk on the Atlantic beach Ocean. It is a small beach community, but we did find ice cream on shore so it gets a good rating.
Scenes along the ICW
Day #229 – Into every life, a little rain must fall, and during the night, fall it did! But we were warm and cozy in our enclosed cabin area. Sanctuary anchored in Mile Hammock Bay near New River Inlet with several other boats. Watched dolphins swim around us, Osprey planes fly overhead from the nearby military base, and water birds dive for food.
Day #230, we completed 3000 nautical miles under our keel as we passed Camp Lejeune. Part of the waterway passes through the live Firing Range. There are large signs with flashing lights. A boat will be on station to block the way if they are conducting live firing exercises. Lucky for us they were not active, so we passed through without delay.
We arrived at Homer Smith docks and Marina after the anchorage in Mile Hammock Bay. From the marina, it is a short walk to downtown Beaufort NC. There is a free museum with appealing displays of Black Beard the Pirate. We stayed two nights at Homer Smith. As we were getting ready to leave, we got a package of fresh tuna from the marina seafood supply connected with the marina. They process a lot of seafood which comes off the shrimping and fishing boats, so it is a good place to purchase fresh sea food.
The next stop was Oriental—the sailing capital of North Carolina. There is a free dock in town available, so we tied up there. Dave and Liz, friends who used to live in Grand Rapids and kept their sailboat named Double Vision in Muskegon, moved to New Bern (near Oriental). Dave came and picked us up at the marina and took us on a tour back to New Bern and their house. Once Liz was done with work for the day, we relaxed for a while on their deck and went down town for dinner. After dinner, we went back to the boat. When we arrived at our dock, we received a big surprise that was not good. We were docked to a very tall shrimp boat. A flock of cormorants (really, really crappy birds) landed on the upper booms and cables of the tall shrimp boat next to us. The wind was blowing in the direction of our boat. It was literally raining bird poop all over our back deck covering every inch. After moving, hosing, and scrubbing for a couple hours most of the deposits were removed. The second night was at a different free town dock and was much better. The next day we attended the Oriental Boat show. We did not buy a new boat there, but did find a few treasures.
Oriental Town Dock
Leaving Oriental was one of the roughest days of our trip. The wind was strong to begin the trip, but the waves were only about a foot so continuing seemed like a good plan. After a while, the wind and waves continued to build on the Neuse River. The river is about 5 miles wide and feeds into Pamlico Sound which is about 20 miles wide. We needed to make about 12 miles to get to our planned inlet and get relief from the wind and waves. The 1 foot waves soon turned into 5 to 6 foot waves. We considered turning into a bay along the way, but that would have taken almost as much travel as the one that was our original goal. The boat was very wet outside and inside many things moved around, but thankfully we safely made it to the bay. Froggy was looking very green, but also made it without incident. We were very glad to make it to the dock in Belhaven NC. We met looper friends Pat and Kathy from Southern Cross at River Forest Marina and went to dinner with them at The Tavern at Jacks Neck. Jim, Jimmie, and Jim, have taken an old store front and remolded it into an amazing place. The food and service was excellent, and the atmosphere is a beautiful nautical theme with lots of wood. Come for the food, but also have Jimmie give you a tour and explain the facilities and history of the store fronts. They also are working on opening a steak restaurant next door. Fun town with a few shops, less than 2000 residents, nestled in a quaint setting.
The mess after the rough ride
The Manor at River Forest