27 November 2006

Southport, North Carolina

November 27, 2006

We left Morehead City on Saturday morning and had a fairly short and easy day motoring down to an anchorage maintained by the Marine Corps at Camp LeJeune, Mile Hammock Bay. There is a boat landing which marines & their families use for small fishing boats, and the rest of the relatively large basin is used by passing boats. We were the second boat in and by sunset there were nine other boats. It was the first night we had to contend with mosquitos, which must be the tradeoff for warm weather.

Pelicans and seagulls sitting on the sandbars along the edge of the ICW in the Bogue Sound.

Kitkat with her ears flat as she visually stalks the birds.

On Sunday morning we left pretty early (7 AM) and headed for Wrightsville Beach, NC. We are truly in the "ditch" of the ICW now. Each day is a pretty straight shot down the ICW, we rarely need to look at the charts since we basically just motor in between the red and green markers. Mostly there are houses of all sizes on the western edge of the ICW with piers and fishing boats, marshland to the east and in the distance we can see either large houses, condos or hotels which are built up on the edge of the ocean.

The "ditch." Houses to the west, marshland to the east.

Some of the houses on the ICW are ridiculous. One was pink with portholes for windows and a matching pink lighthouse, complete with palm trees. It's amazing how the waterside development doesn't seem to stop down the North Carolina coast. N.C. has miles upon miles of beaches and there seems to be development all along the way.

A "cottage" along the banks of the ICW in North Carolina

someone's pet giraffe

Motoring in a small saiboat is a bit of challenge as Whisper wasn't designed for motoring and every time a power boat passes us, even if they slow down, we get tossed around on their wake quite a bit. Today a large powerboat passed by very close to Whisper, going probably 20 knots and did not slow down. We turned right into the wake so we could take it on the bow and then Hans called on the radio to yell at them. Of course they didn't notice. At times you really want a red button to take care of people like that.

A tug pulling a dredging barge. One would think that the larger the boat, the bigger the wake, however that's not the case. Tugs and barges give us very little wake, while a 25 foot powerboat can really toss us around. It all depends on the speed and displacement of the powerboat.

All the southbound sailboats lined up waiting for the Wrightsville Beach Bridge's 2PM opening.

The anchorage at Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina

Wrightsville Beach at sunset.

We got an early start, well earlyish, this morning, and arrived in Southport, NC, a little after noon. We anchored in a small harbor, had some sardine & tomato sandwiches for lunch and dinghied ashore to walk around town. Southport is a quaint, historic town which is capitalizing on it's history and small town charm. There are lots of antique stores, boutiques, and some toy stores. The first fort in North Carolina was built here, Fort Johnston, however all that remains is the barracks.
We stopped at a little cafe for some ice cream and, without looking at the menu, Kristen asked if she could have a single scoop strawberry ice cream. Without blinking or showing any sign of emotion, the clerk replied "No.". Kristen wasn't really sure how to respond in turn and the two spent a couple seconds just staring at each other until the clerk said "we don't have no strawberry" and pointed at the ice cream menu. Kristen got a black raspberry ice cream and Hans had a chocolate & black raspberry cone. We sat out in the sun (73 degrees today!) and ate the cones while watching the water and passing car and foot traffic.

We stopped at a seafood store in Wrightsville Beach yesterday and bought some shrimp and tuna, both local, so we'll grill up the tuna for dinner tonight.

We're still trying to figure out our best daily mileage and have come to the agreement that we really enjoy getting into port in the middle of the afternoon when there is still a couple hours of daylight left to hang out at anchor or to go ashore and explore a little. This means we'll take longer to get to Florida (and thus the Bahamas) but it gets pretty tiring to motor for 10 hours a day. We'll probably average between 30 and 40 miles a day.

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