June 22, 2014: McClellanville, SC to Carolina Beach (off Cape Fear River), NC
It’s going to be a short one today – since it’s been a rather long one today. Ten hours running the boat, much of it through small rivers, inlets, and canals lined with docks. Although you’d never know it by all the center consoles racing by us waking the hell out of everything. It’s a little frustrating as we could go so much faster than we chose to go out of respect, only to have so many others ignore any courtesy at all. But regardless, it was actually a really fun day.
We left McClellanville at 7:20am, of course to no water as it was low tide – again, but eventually escaped the greenheads – uh, cowflies – and the scenery changed to that of vibrant green canopy composed of languid trees draped in dense moss.
It was quite pretty. And, it being Saturday, the various rivers and waterways were absolutely crammed with pleasure craft. Sequel got more than her fare share of stares, stares, and the occasional (nudge) “look at that boat” points. We were decidedly quite different than the other boats around us – pontoon party boats and center consoles being the norm. I swear there must be some kind of law in the Carolinas that stipulates every water born vessel must at all times carry one male and at least three bikini clad women. At minimum.
There was one three mile stretch in South Carolina filled with rocks and tales of woe and sinking boats, appropriately named the Rock Pile. For anyone looking to do this span, I highly (as in highly) recommend reading up on this notorious section of the ICW and above all – stay in the center of the channel.
This can be challenging when confronted with commercial traffic trying to push you off to the side. Fortunately we didn’t have to deal with that on our transit – but it was a tense section regardless. Here’s what can happen if you aren’t prepared:
But we finally we made it into the broad and commercial-infused Cape Fear River, without sinking, just as dark and low clouds came rolling in. We picked up speed and gunned it for the mooring field at Carolina Beach Municipal Marina and Moorings.
There are nine mooring balls located here – and can be had for a paltry $20 a night. There were two other boats sharing the field with us – a sailboat hailing from Annapolis, Maryland, with a banner hanging in the cockpit reading “OUR DREAM”, and a 40+ foot trawler named Harbour Reach hailing from Warwick, Rhode Island. Small world! Our new marina is just across the Narry from Warwick.
I hope we can see them in the morning before we leave, it would be interesting to chat. I was thinking of running our RIB over to them tonight, but the rain that has started to fall has washed away that idea.
One thing is for sure – the water definitely breeds some interesting characters. Enough to populate volumes of sequels (yes – not to be forgotten that I’m an author and I am always seeing people as characters, as others see characters as people).
Example: after we picked up the mooring – the wind blowing pretty strongly from the Atlantic with the incoming storm – we sat on the bow and drank champagne with some brie and crackers, waiting for the harbormaster or equivalent to show up on his launch to sign us in and take our $20. We speculated on various boats, guessing if it was going to be our guy, each time we were wrong. Then Amy jokingly said, “there he is, in that paddleboat,” and to our amazement, running down with the wind to his back, peddled a grey haired, ponytailed harbormaster who sidled up behind us admiring our Freedom dinghy lift. You just can’t make these things up.
Okay – that’s it. We just had dinner (stay tuned for a post from Amy on her experiences in the galley), the genny is shutting down and so am I. Amy is already in bed.