This morning started early (5:00 am) as we wanted to get an early start. Jeff bid us farewell from the dock at 7:45, as he was traveling back home to California. It was such a wonderful time with him, and we cannot wait to share new exploits. The day dawned partly cloudy, light breeze and 66 degrees – perfect for just about anything, especially cruising.
The trip today was a short one – 25 NM (nautical miles) up the Cape Fear River and on the ICW to a Wrightsville Beach anchorage. We somehow forgot that today is Saturday, and were abruptly reminded of how much North Carolinians love to boat. Lots of traffic, along with a dredging barge in the middle of the channel, tug boats and every type of watercraft imaginable.
Adding to this mix is a river system that curves and bends often, with areas of shoaling (where sand and dirt encroach back into the channel) just for good measure. Kathleen did a lot of the driving today, and though proudly did not run aground, was tense and tired by the time we anchored.
A shout-out to Bob423, a blogger who cruises the ICW from Virginia to Florida each year, he provides his boat track data for upload into your navigation application to aid in finding deep water around the many shoals and obstructions in the ICW.
Neil had to perform some boating maneuvers when two tug boats, with a few hundred yards of piping between them appeared to be blocking the exit from Shinn Creek at the Masonboro Inlet. He was able to back up, swing around the convoy, holding the boat in a very small area of “deep-enough” water. Kathleen in the cockpit was watching kids playing in the water seemingly very close by. We both breathed a sigh of relief when we were able to maneuver around and make way up to the anchorage.
Wrightsville Beach is very pretty, and obviously a place to play. The anchorage is big and relatively protected; we settled in to enjoy the rest of the day.
It was only noon, so that was fantastic. After securing the boat and shutting down the engine and electronics, we sunbathed on the upper deck (top of the pilothouse) for a bit, and then went swimming off the swim platform at the back of the boat.
We even tried out our new swim ladder, confirming that it can be deployed from the water and does not result in a concussion. As an added bonus, it is even easier to use than the original ladder on the opposite side of the swim platform.
Sitting here now, writing this blog, watching the late afternoon sun dapple the water like immeasurable diamonds, with billowing clouds rolling in which just might portend an evening thunderstorm. Tomorrow we continue our journey north; for now, we’re enjoying this Salt Life. And we completely understand why JT wrote a song about coming here in his mind.