North Carolina

North Carolina
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NC - 1

Trip's Log

Date: Apr 21 to May 15

Total Distance: 352 nm
Route: ICW, Albamarle Sound, Pamlico Sound: Georgetown, Oak Island, Wrightsville Beach, Beaufort, Pungo River, Broad Creek, Great Bridge, Virginia

Click on the map for a bigger image. The purple line is the ICW route.

Apr 21 Left GeorgeTown anchorage around 6:30am. For the first time, we were able to stay up in the flybridge all day long as it turned out to be a perfect summer day with temperatures in the mid 80s, a slight wind, and most importantly,  mosquitoes were nowhere to be found!  Initially, our plan was to tie up at Barefoot's Landing (free, up to a maximum of 3 nights! Step outathere and you'll be in the outlets), slightly north of Myrtle Beach, but there was no empty spot.  Plan B was to anchor 7nm north at Little River, but found out soon enough that it has only about 3 feet of water. Our boat draws 3.5 feet and we were there at low tide. A sailboat, having had the same idea went in and got stuck there for a little while. So we kept chugging along...passing the North and South Carolina border.

 Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge

At Statute Mile (SM)  337.9, around 2:30pm, we waited and waited for the Sunset Beach Pontoon Bridge to open. It apparently opens on the hour. This bridge is a relic indeed. It swings to one side, and you have to wait till the attendant lowers the cable before passing through.  
Two hours later, we fueled and docked at Blue Water Point Marina for the night. We ate at the Fish Restaurant at the marina. Eileen finally tried the Frogmore Stew with jumbo shrimp, crayfish, sausage and potatoes ($13.95), Sophal had the Fried Platter of flounder and deviled crab with fries ($12.95). Both choices were superb.
Apr 22 We awoke to a glorious sunrise. After chatting with the people at the marina office, we walked across the street to Long Beach. We walked all the way up to the pier, about 5 miles away. Quite a few people had already cast in their lines and patiently waiting for their catch. 
The beach was strewn with shells and even jellyfish, some of them  still alive. Along the way, Eileen found a  beautiful whelk, her best find ever! As we walked further, we found another one that was still alive! We tried to save it by throwing it back to the ocean.

Sunrise at Blue Water Point Marina

The day turned out to be another beautiful summer-like day. Again, we drove up in the flybridge almost all day for 35 nautical miles before anchoring at Wrightsville Beach Basin. Excellent place to anchor with depth of about 10 feet, but be prepare to rock a little as this is a bustling place with boaters, yacht club and marinas galore, and where boaters do not heed the "No Wake" sign. With or without a dinghy, the evening promises not to be boring.
  Apr 23 Left anchorage at 07:00, and just missed the bridge opening. Instead of waiting for the next hour, we decided to test Mai Thaiís vertical clearance, and verified it to be just about 17 feet, instead of the 20 we had originally thought. Phew, what a relief! Now we can go under more bridges without having to plead with them bridge operators. An hour into our way, we sighted a tugboat named Miss Peggy (no, Peggy, we're not making the name up) pulling a l-o-o-o-ong barge. 

Miss Peggy

Around 09:00, I came up to the flybridge with bagels and cream cheese. As we were munching away, Sophal commented on how this area (SM 270, just past marker 98) was so peaceful it was almost boring, all of a sudden we felt a jolt so hard plates fell off our laps. Both our eyes went to the depth sounder which read about 3-4 feet of water. The propeller had nudged into a shoal. We immediately lower the throttle, then try to maneuver our way out of these shallow waters. This stretch of water from Wrightsville Beach to Beaufort (pronounced Bow-fort, by the way) is very narrow, as there are lots of shoaling, especially around the inlets. One has to be cautious and pay attention to the markers at all times. It is never a dull moment out here. We were told later by the locals that even if you are heading for the next marker, you have to make sure your stern is also lining up with the marker behind you, as the wind will blow you to the port side ( from a North-bound cruiser point of view). All in all, we almost ran aground 4 times on this leg of the our trip. We decided that on the way back, we will skip this part of the ICW and go out in the ocean instead.

We'd love to hear from you. Drop us a line - Eileen or Sophal
Last updated: 04/12/2007
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