Wednesday, May 30, 2012

May 30th - Beaufort to Oriental, North Carolina

Lat: 35 02N Long: 76 42W

We'd thought we'd seen everything along the ICW but you always see something new. Our recommendation .... don't travel the ICW on Memorial Day! It's a zoo! Passing through Wrightsville Beach we encountered about 500 small power boats rushing around in all directions just below the bridge. They were all bulging at the seams with scantily clad women with one or two guys and not one of them was even remotely looking to see where they were going. We almost got into a collision twice while waiting for the bridge to open.
Once we successfully made it out of there we headed north to the Figure of 8 swing bridge which refused us an opening because it was now blowing in excess of 35 knots ..... so we waited again ... fun isn't it?!
After about an hour the wind died down and they opened the bridge for us ... whew!! Let's get out of here!
On we went following our chart plotter and the poles they use here for waterway markers. They are supposed to be the same as on the screen.

Pretty straight forward isn't it? Well, when you look outside this is what it actually looks like. I took both of these shots within seconds.
We've been down through here before but it sure doesn't resemble what's on the chart plotter above. Can you see any islands or nav aids?

Stepping back a little ......
Our first day out after leaving Beaufort, South Carolina we headed up to Charleston, SC, where we spent the night at the Maritime Center Marina. Then on to Georgetown, Myrtle Beach for the night before heading north to Southport. The folks along the ICW will do anything to stop the sport fishers from creating huge wakes and destroying their properties. We've seen funny signs, threatening signs, signs that say "Smile ... you and your wake are being recorded" and various others .... but nothing seems to work.

Our arrival in Georgetown was relatively easy as it is very well protected behind a man made island.
Our Dock mate was this beauty. She was built entirely of mahogany in 1935 by John Trumpy ... hence the type ... a TRUMPY! We saw a bigger version in the Bahamas. It was named "FREEDOM". This was "ENTICER".

Georgetown is another example of civil war era houses but have an added twist thrown in. During the civil war, when General Sherman was burning all the towns in his path, the people of Georgetown foresaw this and removed all the official documents to the court house inland at Darnville for protection. For some unknown reason, Sherman swung west and went around Georgetown .... however, on the way through he burned Darnville to the ground along with all the documents .... including deeds for all the properties in Georgetown. To this day the folks here have no proof that they actually own their homes or the properties they stand on.

Every now and again along this tranquil passage you pass by a group of condos where not only does everybody know your name .... but everybody owns 65 foot Viking sport fishers.

It's no wonder there was a gas shortage down here.

Continuing along on the ICW brings solitude as it quietly winds its way through the mangroves and deserted rice fields of the early 1900's.

Every now and again you would come upon one of these old swing bridges that link the outer banks to the mainland, but for the most part they are fixed highway bridges with a clearance of 65 feet.

Approaching Southport we saw that one of our favourite places, the Provision Company wharf, was full so our new cruising friends Chuck & Maryanne, on "SYMPHONY suggested we dock up the river a little at the Deep Point Marina, on the Cape Fear River.
The Cape Fear River is appropriately named as when the winds kick up to some 25-30 knots with a strong out flowing current, this place can become very nasty as you steam up the river towards Snow's Cut and Carolina Beach.

Next stop took us through the craziness of Wrightsville Beach before heading further north to Surf City, Morehead City and on to Oriental. This was supposed to be a pleasant trip but as I stated at the beginning, this was Memorial Day weekend. It's sunny and hot and everyone in the USA owns a boat of some sort .... and they're all heading to the beaches in droves.

Better get out of the way folks .... nothing stops them ..... they're all over you ..... they even cut in close to the commericial barges so they can get somewhere first ..... I don't think they know where that is ... they just go.

As long as there's some sand and it resembles a beach, they're out there. Even if they don't have a boat ....

Some people will do anything down here to sell their house. Any takers?

With the uncertainty of Tropical Storm Beryl approaching us from the south in a couple days, it was time to find a safe haven. Oriental looked like the logical place.
We're tucked in behind the Oriental Marina & Inn at a very secure dock. The town of Oriental closely resembles other small and peaceful boating communities like we have at home, such as Chester and Mahone Bay, NS. We have a couple large trawlers on either side of us and a big Inn out ahead so we have pretty good protection here.

Today is May 30th .... and it's raining cats and dogs.
Tomorrow we're heading out after Beryl passes out to sea. This time, instead of the Dismal Swamp Canal we're taking the outside Virginia Cut via Coinjock, VA to arrive in Norfolk in about 4 or 5 days.

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