Day 16, Year 8: ICW Mile 283 to Mile 311, Wrightsville Beach to Southport
Date: Monday, November 19, 2012
Weather: Overcast and Windy, but NO Rain; Winds N 20 with Higher Gusts
Latitude: 33 55.263 N
Longitude: 078 03.683 W
Location: Intracoastal Waterway, Mile 311, Southport, NC

Our day was shorter than usual. We left Wrightsville Beach and 7 am and
were tied up to a T-dock in the South Harbor Village Marina in Southport by
11:30 am. We decided to play it safe and transit the next two inlets on a
rising tide tomorrow morning as recommended in the cruising guide. So we
stopped at the last marina. It was an easy stop after a rowdy ride through
the Cape Fear River. We had wind against current and it was a bit like I
think it would be in a washing machine. But at least getting into the
marina was easy. All we had to do was make a right turn off the ICW, enter
the marina, turn the boat around, and tie to a T-dock. The marina manager
was on the dock to catch our lines, so even with the wind and current we
made a smooth landing. I washed down the outside of the boat and then we
spent our afternoon doing laundry, taking showers, and taking a nice walk.
I needed to cut Mark’s hair, so we took a chair from the marina complex and
put it out on the lawn between the marina and a restaurant and bar next
door. I’m sure we provided great entertainment for the people in the
restaurant, but cutting hair on the lawn and letting it fly away sure beats
cutting it on the boat and having to vacuum up hair for days. We are now
ready for our final day in this transit from Cape Cod to South Carolina.
Tomorrow night we hope to be tied to a dock in Lightkeeper’s Marina in
Little River that will be our home for the next two months.

Traveling through the Intracoastal Waterway has been an interesting
experience. We did this same trip in the late 1990’s in our previous boat,
Sky Breaker, but it was early summer and the weather was quite different.
But there are certain things that are the same. In the past few days, we
have left the quiet solitude of the North Carolina marshlands and have
entered vacation land. We are now seeing shrimp boats, palm trees, low sand
dunes fringed with little sandy beaches, vacation homes in pastels and vivid
colors associated with the tropics, and more pelicans and porpoises. We
have also met positive and then negative currents that change direction with
every inlet from the sea. So you go slow with the negative current and then
fast with the positive. It is a little disconcerting not to know when the
current will change, but in the end, it all evens out. We have seen boats
with the most interesting names and met some fellow adventurers. While
doing laundry this afternoon we met a young man with three crew members
headed to Panama to go surfing. This adventure trip has been six years in
the making and they are so excited to be on their way. For just a moment,
Mark and I both thought, “Wouldn’t it just be easier to fly to Panama to go
surfing?” But then we looked at each other and knew that if it were us with
the surfing dream, we would be sailing there as well.

We still have the wind, but today we didn’t have to deal with the rain. For
that we are thankful. Still, it takes the full attention of both of us to
keep on course. I regret that I have not been able to be out on deck to
take photos and video of the pelicans, dolphins, and porpoises. But we have
enjoyed seeing them nonetheless. The pelicans are particularly fun to
watch. They seem to fly in pairs just above the surface of the water. They
remind me of fighter jets doing a reconnaissance mission. Sometimes they
land right beside or in front of the boat. Today I was sure I was going to
hit one, but she escaped by paddling her feet just a little harder. And I
love watching them on take-off. They slowly flap their wings, rise out of
the water with their feet still lingering below them, stretch out their
necks, and then rise into the air. Mark calls them Pterodactyls and I have
to agree that they look like something from prehistoric times.

We are going to dinner at a little Italian restaurant here at the marina
complex tonight. We were told that it gets quite crowded by 7 pm, so I will
stop here and go to dinner.

121119 Day 16 Passage South, USA–ICW Mile 283 to Mile 311